Letters to the Editors

Front page photo highlights symmetrical executive teams

Dear Editors:
Re: “And the race is on …” (Journal, January 23, 2007).

Props to the Journal for the front page photo highlighting just how symmetrical the teams running forthe AMS executive this year are. This pathetic lack of choice extends beyond appearances. Just
compare the team’s platforms. Empty rhetoric and promises to “advocate” on behalf of student interests are laughable after one look at the records of both presidential candidates, Alvin Tedjo
of Team TPC and Kingsley Chak of Team CMM. Take, for example, Chak’s abstention from the vote in which the Board of Trustees raised our tuition last year. We need an alternative to the farce that is the AMS elections. The best ballot I feel that I can cast under these conditions is a spoiled one.

Tyler Martin
ArtSci ’08

Both sides of religion debate are ‘missing the point’

Dear Editors:
Re: “A virtue out of ignorance” (Journal, January 16, 2007).

I think people on both sides of the issue are missing the point of why religion is good or bad. Both sides can go on from now to eternity giving examples of good and bad things that religious people
have done. What needs to be discussed is whether religion is relevant to whether or not good or bad things are done, or whether good or bad things will happen independent of religious influence.
I will work on the assumption that a god/spirit/whatever exists. Is an action good because this god says it is good, or does this god say it is good because it is inherently good? I can argue that at least in the Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions the god is presumably all-powerful and unbound;
therefore the action is good because god says it is good. If the action was inherently good then it becomes necessary to accept that a morality exists higher than god, and this is something religions, do not accept.

Charity is good because god says it is good, not because charity is by itself good, for example.
Now most religious people would say they can personally communicate with god through prayer. These prayers can be “answered,” and they can be certain that the responder is “god.” If they are not certain the responder is god, they would be doubtful of all answers to their prayers, and be lacking
in guidance. What if one day, in the same manner that one had always been certain it was god responding to one’s prayers, god was to say that humanity had gotten it all wrong, and that “good” really requires us all to kill babies, burn houses and eat copious amounts of muffins. I would hope most logical, reasonable people would not do so. Most people would continue to think it was wrong to kill babies and burn houses. Most people would follow actions they believe are good instead of what this god is telling them is good. The scary thing to me is that some people would actually go through with it and do things like suicide bombings, and invade foreign countries, because they believe god said to do so.

I would say that the values and morals of religious people stem from personal upbringing and societal influences, and not from the guidance of any god. The conclusion is that religion is irrelevant to whether people do good.

To those that would follow if god told them to kill babies, burn houses and eat muffins, I would say you make the world a scarier place to live in.

Marvin Ferrer
ArtSci ’09

On Friday, the Opinions page will feature students at large writing about AMS executive teams, as part of the Journal’s AMS election coverage.

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