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Plenty of non-believers are good and upright

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Date published: 6/14/2012

Plenty of non-believers are good and upright

This is regarding the letters about atheism from Dan Dormer ["What is an atheist?" May 15], Rob Lundberg ["Can morality exist without religion?" June 3], and Vera Huffman ["All religions should look to the Golden Rule," June 10].

Many people think that the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, also Mark 12:31) is uniquely Christian. It's not; it's found in some form in the Scripture of every major religion.

Not only that, but it also makes sense without any religious basis. Do not do unfair, unkind, and cruel things to others that you would not want done to you.

It's hard to understand the arrogance of Mr. Lundberg (and many like him) who say that without a supernatural "Moral Lawgiver" there can be no concept of good and evil.

We may be but "stardust," as Carl Sagan said, but we are "stardust that thinks." We are the only stardust (on our planet, anyway) that understands the concept of good and evil. That is one of the meanings of the Garden of Eden story, and it's part of what being made "in the image of God" means.

Why can't these folks understand that most atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists want the same kind of world for their children that believers do?

They want a world where kindness, consideration, fairness, and justice prevail, and where the opposite of these things is minimized to the greatest degree possible.

I just finished teaching an adult Sunday school class on St. John's gospel, and one of the conservative textbooks we use said the same thing as Mr. Lundberg--that there can't be any morality without religion.

I would like the unbelievers in our community to know that there are Christians who disagree strongly with this. We know that there are many people who can "be good for goodness' sake" without believing in a "Big Guy in the Sky" constantly watching them.

Sarah G. Marcus