Letters: week of Jan. 16

People, not God, cause human misery

Sir: In his Dec. 19 letter, Paul Pinel stated Hitler was a Christian and implied Stalin was also.

While it is true both these men had some religious upbringing, it ends there.

Stalin’s father was a very cruel alcoholic, according to Wikipedia. His mother was a deeply religious woman who wanted her son to be a priest.

Stalin entered a seminary at 16 but as he grew older devoted himself to Marxism and declared himself an atheist.

Hitler’s mother was a very devout Catholic, but his father considered religion a scam. From a young age Hitler expressed disbelief and hostility towards the Church. By 1942 he vowed to root out and destroy Christianity and Judaism.

Being brought up in a church setting didn’t make Hitler or Stalin a Christian.

Mr. Pinel asked why nine million children under the age of five die each year for lack of clean water and food, without intervention from a loving deity, and why children suffer and die from cancer. I don’t think it’s fair to blame God for this.

The earth was created with enough resources to sustain us all. Could it be a lack of education, greed and warfare that denies children and their families a place to live and food to eat? Most sickness and disease is caused by ignorance.

This once pristine planet has been turned into a garbage dump, with its food and water sources contaminated. Can we honestly blame God for that?

Some people say religions are responsible for all our conflicts and wars, and we would be better off without them.

What they overlook is what Christianity stands for. It’s more a way of life, and how you respect and extend kindness to others, than it is ceremony and rituals. The reward is having it returned to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Mary Jane Foley



Foundry lands cleanup

Sir: Regarding the Dec. 12 story, ‘Owners ordered to clean up foundry lands.”

A municipality can seize a residential property for non-payment of back taxes. The owners should be given time to clean up this property and, if they don’t, they should be fined or the land expropriated by the provincial government for another use.

That site has been sitting in that condition for a long time. It is an accident waiting to happen.

There must be some way for this to be resolved.


Duane Skuce



Why do religious believers attack atheists?

Sir: In her Jan. 9 letter, “To know God, you must humble yourself,” Jill Andrews takes the approach of attacking atheists and suggesting they’re vain, prideful, grandiose, and in denial.

This blatant personal attack has no bearing in the argument of belief versus lack of religious commitment; in fact, this kind of ad hominem shows a complete lack of understanding of what atheism is.

Virtue signaling seems to be the new buzz phrase for committing ad hominems. “Oh look, that person had an affair, therefore, their argument’s invalid and they’re virtue signaling.” Said by everyone who lacks the ability to have an intellectual debate.

Quit using the term. It’s erroneous. Humility, empathy, and compassion are not exclusive to the religious, nor are selfishness, hate, and cruelty. These traits, like many others, are human traits and as such should not be treated as though they’re inherent to religious people.

Here are the hard facts: an atheist does not acknowledge the existence of any god (Christ, Allah, Odin, Krishna, etc.) based on the lack of evidence.

An individual’s personal behaviour has no impact on his or her argument; a person can be horrible and still make a valid argument.

Attacking the person instead of the point, along with a multitude of other logical fallacies, is why many atheists are not outspoken about their lack of belief. They are often shunned and attacked, among many other hurtful reactions, for ‘coming out.’

Let’s have an honest discussion of what is really happening. It appears believers are fearful the voice of logic and reason will prevail, so they resort to attacking outspoken individuals about being an atheist in hopes of persuading others to remain in line.

The most recent letter wasn’t the first in which a believer made ad hominems towards non-believers – it’s time to stop.

I ask all religious persons: “Is your faith so fragile that you fear non-believers and must attack and shun us?

Is it so wrong to not believe? Is your god so fragile and weak that you must admonish us on its behalf?”


Michael Van De Weghe



19-storey tower approval was bad decision

Sir: I just finished reading Ed Williamson’s factual letter of Jan. 9 regarding the 19-storey tower going up on Water Street, near Front.

With city council’s approval this now a ‘done deal.’

I recently took a drive around the area of Maxwell, Water and Front streets, and was horrified to picture the end result of this humongous building going up where Sarnia Rent-All is situated.

I can fully understand the disbelief and disappointment, and maybe even rage, of the neighbouring Bayview Towers’ tenants, the Hospice and others in the area.

Unless the 19-storey tower is right in line with Bayview, the view will be compromised to the west and south. It appears this new tower will be closer to Front Street, on somewhat of an angle.

As Mr. Williamson stated, council cast aside nine bylaws, including restrictions on height, lot size, parking, etc. As Coun. Margaret Bird aptly asked, what good are bylaws if they’re not enforced?

Now I ask, does this not set a precedent for future builds in Sarnia?

Coun. Bird and Mayor Bradley were the only two who voted against this tower at that location, in a 6-2 vote. Our long-time mayor stuck firmly to his promise of ‘working for the people’ and giving them due consideration. Kudos to Mayor Mike.

And shame on the others who approved this location for the building of this monstrosity.

My sympathy to the neighbours who will be affected in more ways than one.


Nadine Wark