Faith is Fine, but It's Not Proof
(Printed in The Daily Review on 7/30/96.)
Editor: Keven Stiles (Review, June 10) described the recent series of letters "from John L. Ferri or from the readers he offends" as "consistent bickering" and "childish arguments." I consider topics that include religious beliefs (or the lack thereof), morality, people's rights, and abortion to be very serious subjects that should be discussed openly and objectively. This also gives interested readers the opportunity to read the opinions of community members and respond if they wish.
My opinions are based on my beliefs, and I express them openly for criticism. I do not doubt that they may offend some or many, and I do not apologize if they do.
Mr. Stiles has known my e-mail address much longer than I have known his. If he wishes to debate privately, I would welcome any such correspondence.
Two additional letters on June 10 from Dan Arnold and Dale Abbott took issue with statements that I have made concerning the independence of morality, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. Neither of their letters distorts anything that I have previously written. Both of their conclusions are that the only true and absolute guide for morality is "the Christian with his profound belief in a transcendental Truth" (Arnold) and "good old 'dogma'" (Abbott). However, I stand by my statements.
The contention that all morality comes from the Bible rests completely on the assumption that the Bible is divinely inspired. For the Bible to be divinely inspired, a divine entity, God, must exist. Therefore, my arguments would be wrong, and Arnold and Abbott would be right if God can be shown to exist. If a divine entity does not exist, then the Bible can not possibly be divinely inspired, and morality must have some other source. Also, the morality of homosexuality would have to be reevaluated based on criteria other than dogma.
Here are my claims -- I make none. I cannot prove that God does not exist, but then neither can I prove that Santa Claus, unicorns, or the Tooth Fairy do not exist.
The extraordinary claim of a supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent being requires proof. However, absence of such proof does not prove that the being does not exist. But then I could make any number of similar fantastic claims that you would not be able to disprove, but it would not make them true. You would require proof.
So do I.
John L. Ferri