Does God exist?
Stephen Mayes is mistaken about the religious beliefs of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and about the nature of deism in his letter to the editor of Dec. 19. Deists do acknowledge a supernatural being, but deny that he is active in the world, thereby dismissing miracles. Judging from their recorded statements, however, most were likely theists, and many were Christians.
But whatever shape their worldview took, it’s certainly true that they intended to craft a government that would allow Mr. Mayes and others the freedom to reject the God they believed in. The freedom of religion we are guaranteed in the First Amendment protects their right to consider appeals to God “ludicrous” and its corollary freedom of speech their right to say so. Thank God for those framers.
They also protect my right to argue that belief in God is not only not ludicrous but the most rational response to the evidence. Contrary to what many skeptics and unbelievers think, biblical faith is not “believing in what you know ain’t so,” but trusting in what you have good reason to believe is true.
There are multiple lines of evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible which are formulated as logical arguments. The Cosmological Argument may be the most powerful, as well as the simplest. It says that anything that begins to exist has a cause; the universe began to exist; therefore, the universe has a cause. Because this cause brought all of space, matter and time into existence, it must transcend all of them. A supernatural, all-powerful, personal, self-existent being is the only logical candidate for the cause.
The Teleological Argument posits God as the best explanation for the incredible fine-tuning of the universe. Scientists have discovered that numerous constants and quantities, such as gravitational force, must fit into an extremely narrow range in order for any life to exist. The probability of all of them being so precisely finely-tuned by chance is so unimaginably unlikely as to be impossible.
The moral argument reasons that without God, objective moral values and duties would not exist. But objective moral values and duties do exist. Therefore God exists.
There are others, but because my freedoms don’t give me the right to demand more than my 500 words, I’ll just point the interested reader to an excellent and easily accessible resource. Philosopher William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith organization has produced short, animated videos presenting and defending each of the arguments for God’s existence. You can find them on YouTube by searching “Dr. Craig videos,” or through his website reasonablefaith.org.
What our founding fathers believed is debatable, and though it can inform our understanding of the Constitution, it matters less than what you and I believe right now. Does God exist? I encourage Stephen Mayes and all honest seekers and skeptics to examine the evidence.
Nature of park issues
Since John Oros criticized my previous letter to the editor in his “Residents support parks,” a response is justified. First of all, Geauga Park District Executive Director John Oros failed to state why the people in charge of the September park board meeting stated that biologist Paul Pira was against accepting the land donation when that was simply not the case, and in fact Paul listed many reasons in his report indicating why the donation would be of value to the park and to the county.
See for yourself the video of the September meeting and Mr. Pira’s report at protectgeaugaparks.us. It was obvious in Mr. Oros’ response that access for recreation, amusement and direct human use is Mr. Oros’ first priority. He and the commissioners and the good judge seem to have no understanding that natural areas provide ecosystem services outside of their immediate use by people such as cleaning the air and water, sequestering greenhouse gasses such as carbon, providing habitat for sensitive species, I could go on and on.
Where an organization spends its funds is a good indication of priorities. In the case of the parks, I’m told money for a 12-foot plastic climbing wall, recreation facilities and buildings at Claridon woodlands. Yet when past commissioner Jeffrey Orndorff proposed protection for endangered and threatened spotted turtles at one of the Geauga parks that would have cost maybe $20,000, he was shortly thereafter fired by the good judge and that proposed protection never materialized.
Once again Mr. Oros spinned the passage of the latest park renewal levy saying that the “66-percent approval rate surpassed every ‘yes’ vote in our history.” While technically correct, his and the good judge’s like statement brought to mind the definition of a lie by Mark Twain as there being three kinds: lies, damn lies and statistics.” Two previous pre-Probate Judge Timothy Grendell park renewal levies passed by nearly the same percentage of voters, and they were not reductions in millage. One might have expected that the latest levy, being a millage reduction, would have passed by a much larger percentage. In addition to the three countywide levies on the Nov. 5 ballot – the Metzenbaum issue, mental health issue and the park district – the park levy fared the worst even though the other two were not reductions in millage as was the park levy. Not an indication of resounding approval of the way the park district has been operating since Judge Grendell began appointing district board members.
Perhaps Mr. Oros and Judge Grendell should send a thank you to Protect Geauga Parks since that organization actively promoted the passage of the levy. Likely, they were concerned that a levy failure would mean the firing of valuable employees, further cuts to the parks’ biologist and naturalist programs and maybe even the sale of some park land.
John G. Augustine
Fostering changes lives
During this time of year we especially treasure time with our families. Some kids don’t have that. If you would consider becoming a foster parent and changing a child’s life, call Job and Family Services at 440 285-1224 and ask for Amy Buresch. Find out what it’s all about. A child is waiting. We are former foster parents.
Pat and John Leech
Don’t fell trees near church
The current administrator of Church of the Holy Angels feels the campus lacks open green space and has proposed the clearing of 6 acres of wooded land for the construction of a prayer grotto, picnic pavilion and playing field. This clearing is the equivalent of four and a half football fields of space and far exceeds the reasonable needs for the projects. The timber would be sold to help finance the effort, as well as be used in the construction of some structures. Grass and evergreens would be the “environmentally friendly” replacement for the trees.
I find this proposal appalling. In this era of environmental awareness, it is unconscionable to needlessly destroy so much forested land. Whether you are a parishioner, neighbor or concerned township resident, please voice your objections to Bishop Nelson J. Perez of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and to the Bainbridge Township Board of Zoning Appeals when the zoning variance request comes up for approval.