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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Rebuttal from an Open-Minded Athiest

This is taken from NPR's website. It is a transcript of Mitt Romney's speech that he gave Thursday December 6th at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. The entire transcript is available here. Here are two excerpts that stood out in my mind.

"Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world."
. . . .

"But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong"

Mitt Romney, it is you who is wrong. More and more Americans tire of those who would FORCE their beliefs on others. Personally, I follow a live-and-let-live policy, which, if more widely followed, would help alleviate many of the social and ethnic problems present today. While I acknowledge that certian situations,such as the one in Israel, cannot be resolved with such a simple solution. Nonetheless, a growing number of people are becoming weary of constant
exposure to other people's views. I see frequent proof of this during protests in metro Milwaukee. The rough pattern I have been observing is an increase in the number of people who either counter-protest or are unreseptive to the protestors' message. With the freedom of speech comes the freedom of thought
. Protestors have the right to demonstrate; everyone else has the right to make up their own mind. Gathering all of one's information from one source is a socially dangerous habit--it is far too easy to become nothing more than mindless cattle that is far too willing to accept news as truth. Being open to all mediums of information allows for a broader understanding of the subject matter--even two biased views on the same topic is better than only being aware of one biased view. The expression of beliefs drives change, but on the other hand, change wrought from mind-numbing persuasion and repitition is irrevelant and devoid of true (i.e. heartfelt) consensus.

Mitt Romney's comments against the "[establishment] of a new religion in America" were also unenlightened. First of all, "atheism" is defined as "disbelief in or denial of the existence of god." It comes from the Greek word atheos
, which translates to "without a god." Therefore, atheism is not a new religion;rather, it is the absence of one. The technical details behind the idea of atheism are not terribly important. If atheism is indeed a religon, it should be treated with the same tolerance (in an ideal situation) as any religion. Even Scientology, which is as religious as a Nigerian money scam is a valid plea for help from an exiled prince, should be allowed to exist, assuming that followers of Scientology do not break any laws.

In the end, there is a fine line between sharing one's views and forcing them on others. In the heat of the moment, an accidental swerve towards the side of forcing views on others can be forgiven. A habit of forcing one's veiws on others cannot be tolerated.

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