Letter to the editor: There’s value in individual faith


To the editor:

Our founding fathers considered religion with freedom of thought and speech so important that it is first in the rights of the people. To them, religion only meant the diversity of Christian faiths.

Today, we accept them along with Muslim, Hindu and other East Asian religions. This only shows the importance and value of individual faith. Research shows religion is associated with better physical and mental health, feelings of gratitude, involvement in civic society, general happiness and charitable giving.

Gallup recently released a poll showing that belief in God, along with four other “spiritual entities,” including angels and heaven, is at a record low. In 2001, 90% believed in God and 83% believed in heaven. Today, the proportions are 74%. They look at religion as fundamentally superstitious and anachronistic. As such, a move away from religion supposedly represents both moral and intellectual advancement.

If I seem to sound like a broken record or computer stuck in a loop, it is because I fear for our country if such thinking persists, and I see the importance of returning to the traditional value of religion.

We observe from the daily news of political corruption, damage done by corporate greed. Also, there is the epidemic of drug abuse, domestic violence, daily reports of shootings in our cities and a general breakdown of law and order.

If you believe the research, I mentioned earlier you will quickly see the correlation to our social breakdown. The question then is how do we change this downward spiral of our society? We can point fingers to place blame, but that helps nothing. We need to seek out ways to change the thinking with the freedom of conscience of an entire generation.

Looking at the positive aspects of our life today, we see unprecedented prosperity and a greater understanding of social issues of race and gender equality. We need to build on these attributes and find ways to relieve the hardships of those living on the fringes of our society.

The division and decline in our mainline churches seem endless, but we can look across the way and see many churches with strong attendance and an active mission and ministry. We must observe their outreach and see what makes them attractive today when others are in decline. If we can follow their example, we may still save our country.

William Gerhard, Scipio

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