Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, January 8, 2009

STREET FIGHTING MAN

All-or-nothing Omar: That was an interesting read about Omar Call ("Performance Athiest," Niki D'Andrea, December 25). It's unfortunate that he's an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

At one point, he was a 100 percent Christ-believing Mormon. Then he becomes a 100 percent atheist who wants to convert small children to his newfound belief system. Weird.
Jeff Schrade, Stafford, Virginia

Trading one dogma for another: I feel just as sorry for strict atheists as I do for strict Christians, Jews, or Mormons. How can anybody be that sure they're right?

I know, some people will say they talk directly to God — that's how they know. These are the people whom I consider bonkers, or liars. At least Omar Call doesn't do that.

Yet all he's done is replace one dogmatic belief system (Mormonism) with another (atheism). He's a fool to be so committed to any belief. Omar's just another of those annoying street preachers you cross the road to avoid. Here's an idea: Why don't we all stop worrying about what some religious/atheistic propaganda tells us and just try to be good and honest people? What a concept, eh?
Jack Williams, Las Vegas

Pray for Omar: From one extreme to the other. From the LDS cult to atheism. Hope Omar Call regains his faith in God.
Avinash Machado, Los Angeles

Welcome to the new cult: If millions of people worldwide share the same common (non)-belief and use the same arguments and rituals to convey those beliefs, then atheism in and of itself is a religion. Welcome to the new cult.

Niki D'Andrea's article proved what I have known for years: Atheists have now become every bit as annoying (if not more so) as the street-corner Bible-thumping testifiers that inspired them to turn their back on the word of God.
Jack Fire, Mesa

Suggestive poses are unbecoming: I know Omar. I debate with him often on Mill. He gave me a ride home once. Interesting guy.

Some of the pictures (flipping off, cross as gun, hostage situation, cross in mouth) invoke a sense of hostility, and even violence, that caught me off-guard. This type of posturing is unbecoming.

LDS and actual Biblical Christianity (read: orthodox evangelicalism) theologies were unfortunately conflated in this article. This is much to the detriment of the reader's understanding.

Once again, I'm just glad New Times is covering stuff like this. So props on that end.
Vocab Malone, Tempe

Christ's radical message gets lost: Very good article. I admire Mr. Call's willingness to publicly challenge religious dogma.

Some [people] assert that LDS is not Christian. That assertion is false. LDS members believe in their version of Christ, just as Catholics and the many Protestant faiths have their own versions. The LDS version is among the least believable, but it is a variant of Christianity.

Not mentioned in the article is the overwhelming scientific and historic evidence that people created god(s). The reason there's so much good and bad is that there's no beneficent god ordering nature. The good and bad done by people is all to our credit.

What I find most frustrating about Christianity is the failure of many Christians to pay attention to Christ's message, which is very radical. Christ said to love our enemies and to practice pacifism and material selflessness.

Many people in the United States, and especially those who call this a Christian nation, are among the biggest supporters of our military and the strongest opponents of collective welfare. These positions contradict Christ's teachings.
Jesse Chanley, Mesa

Pictures not suitable for Christmas: What were the editors at New Times thinking by running such a sacrilegious picture on Christmas Day? The very idea of running a story about such a terrible man on this holiest of days!

The pictures on the inside of your paper were worse than the one on the cover, especially the one in which he's got the cross in his mouth, as if it were a gun he's using to blow a hole in his head.

I can tell him that he doesn't need a gun or a cross for that; he's already got a hole in his head, judging from your story.
Ned Graham, Phoenix

For believers and non-believers: Interesting article! I haven't read much atheistic work, like Richard Dawkins' or Sam Harris', but a Buddhist friend of mine let me borrow Anthem by Ayn Rand.

I'm a very open-minded/curious guy who loves to pursue absolute truth wherever that leads me. Here's a really good book for believers and non-believers: I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.
Name withheld

Doesn't mean God was involved in the good, either: Omar Call talks about the evils done in the name of God. Just because evil is done in the name of God in no way means that God was actually involved.

On the flip side, how about the good done in the name of God? The charities, the homeless shelters, the food and clothing banks, the hospitals? Ever hear of an atheist charity? Ever hear of a pagan food bank? Me either.

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1 comments
G. Cohen
G. Cohen

Dear New Times:

The full page ad on page 4 of the January 8 New Times asks �Why does a Gazan child have to lose her life.� The clear and simple answer: because Hamas has killed her. Hamas military leader Nizar Rayan proclaimed in November 2006, �For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry in which excel the women and all the people of this land: The older people excel, the jihadists excel and the children excel. Consequently, [the Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, older people and jihadists against the Zionist bombing machine that is telling the Zionist enemy we want death just as much as you desire life.�

Israel does not wish to kill Palestinian children. Israeli�s do not wish to kill Palestinian children. Hamas picked a fight with Israel and then, like cowards, hid behind civilians so that the poor children shown in the ad would bear the horrible consequences of Hamas� actions. This is a clear violation of the international laws of warfare and armed conflict and, unfortunately, the results are grim but predictable. As a result, the only reason that Gazan children are dying today is the disgusting and cowardly way in which Hamas conducts itself.

G. CohenPhoenix, AZ

 
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