Monday, August 1, 2011

Supporting Skeptics

Dear Editor,

On July 29th you ran and article describing how “Backyard Skeptics”, a group of atheists and agnostics had recently purchased advertising space on bus shelters to voice their views on God. As an Orange County minister, I want to say thank you for running this story, and thank you to those brave skeptics who spent their hard-earned money to display a diversity of opinion about an important topic.
It is so encouraging to hear genuine diversity in the public discussion of religion in Orange County. It’s true that there are growing movements to embrace interfaith dialog. However, the view that there may be no God at all, is typically cast aside as somehow irrelevant or mean-spirited.
It fact, the messages sponsored by this group talk about their own beliefs only. It is sincere self-expression. They do not denigrate the beliefs of others. This is a marked improvement over the “new atheists,” the cadre or recent authors who insult the intelligence of people of faith, and speak only of the worst examples of religious life in contrast to the best examples of scientific achievement.
I’m proud to say “Backyard Skeptics” would be welcome at my church. We encourage questioning and doubt, and think it is the foundation for a growing mind AND SPIRIT. In fact many Unitarian Universalist ministers are themselves atheists. I am not an atheist my self, but I appreciate their contributions to our shared community. The reason for my writing today isn’t to recruit the Backyard Skeptics to join us, but to say keep up the good work. Your sincere messages will certainly inspire your neighbors to talk, and maybe even think about the questions you raise.

Rev. Kent Doss

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