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April 29, 2008

Atheist in Faith section

The Star includes a Faith section in the Saturday edition presumably for the people with noteworthy expressions concerning their faith. So why do you publish the ranting from an atheist on that page? (4/26, Faith, “Saving lives is better than saying prayers.”) Is that not an oxymoron?

A letter from an atheist on the Faith page is misplaced. Give the atheists their own page. Very few will read it, and it won’t litter the space for those of us who know better.

Frank Statesel
Overland Park

As a Christian, my complaint is not that Chuck Lunney, as an atheist, is given space in The Star. It’s where his column is placed that offends me.

If I am reading the Business section, I’m not likely to find a featured column ranting on the failures and fallacies of American capitalism. When I read the Sports section, I’m probably not going to see a piece that suggests that sports fans, in general, have lower IQs than, say, musicians. By placing this column in the Faith section, The Star is essentially saying, “Here’s your religious section, believers, and oh, by the way, none of it’s true.”

I’ve visited with atheists numerous times and have found that they can be every bit as “evangelical” in their “non-belief” as the most conservative Christian. It’s certainly Mr. Lunney’s right to believe as he does, and I wouldn’t begin to try to denigrate him for it (although I suspect he may not know as much about us as he thinks he does). And I’d also have to question the thinking behind putting an atheist on a 12-member “Faith Walk” panel.

I’d be happy to read Mr. Lunney’s opinions again, but in another section.

Steve Parks
St. Joseph




Then you are testing the placebo effect of prayer. That is completely different than testing the effectiveness of prayer.

If you get better because you think someone is praying for you, that is the placebo effect. If you get better because I pray for you, it is effective prayer. If you get better because I pray for you and you believe I am praying for you, it is a combination. You can't test something if you don't know whether or not it is happening.


"How do you set up that experiment that would come remotely close to appearing to come near to an objective experiment."

I imagine it's done by comparing people who believe they are being prayed for to those who haven't been told they're being prayed for.

I didn't find his claim that studies show that prayer to have largely a placebo effect as absurd as you find it.


I really don't care if they put an atheists opinion in the faith section. I just wish he were as objective as he thinks he is. Claiming that scientific studies have shown that prayer is ineffective is just plain stupid. How do you set up that experiment that would come remotely close to appearing to come near to an objective experiment. The people who "weren't prayed for" could just as easily have been prayed for by millions of people around the globe. There is no way of knowing. Perhaps those that "were prayed for", the praying parties didn't bother.

If you don't want to believe, I don't care. However, don't pretend that you are better than me.

Dan Beyer

is that why the Star's stock prices are plummeting?


No Dan, the citizens are reading the Star on line rather than subscribing to the hard copy.

Dan Beyer

Well Casady, the Star is becoming more and more anti religion and are clinging to the wrong side of divisive issues. Their stock prices are falling and their subscriptions are dropping. In other words the citizens of the Kansas City metro area are rejecting what the Star stands for.


The section is Faith, Frank. Chuck seems to have Faith in his abilities and in Responsible Thinkers as I do- perhaps to cater to the religious, the section should be re-titled as 'Blind' Faith. And I believe you are wrong how many Skeptics would read their own Faith section. Good idea, Frank. I'll ask the paper about this--cm


But do atheists generally profess a belief that "there is no god," or is it simply that they profess no belief in a god?

There's a difference between the two positions, and most folks I've met who tend not to buy into theism are more rightly dubbed agnostics than they are atheists. From reading Lunney's column linked above (and not having read any of his other writings), it's certainly not clear to me that he's atheist in the absurdist sense of affirmatively believing there is no god -- he could just as easily simply be agnostic.

(though one might argue that the existence of male nipples and the high rate of miscarriages - i.e., spontaneous abortions - provide evidence against a beneficient and omnipotent/omniscient creator, and that hence it's not that absurdist to believe there is no god. but I digress)


Athiesm is really comical to me because it involves the very same faith leap that Christianity does, just in a different direction: we have no proof that God doesn't exist, so an athiest would need faith to bridge that gap.

I like to keep it simple...I don't deal in things which I can't prove. I respect religion and religous people, but I don't really make religion a part of my life. I don't profess to know that there is or is not a God.

Because athiesm requires faith in that which one cannot prove, I guess it is appropriate that it belongs in the "Faith" section.

T. Hanson

While I don't have so much an issue with his article in the Faith section I find his logic flawed. He makes it sound like if you pray you don't give blood. I don't know about the rest of you but I usually pray when I give blood....

"Please don't let this hurt, Please let them find the vain, Please ouch... darn she missed, Please let this be over with... Please let me get up without fainting. Please let them have chocolate chip cookies this time."


It seems to be a pretty universal feeling that people strongly dislike having their religion derided and smeared.

I'm neutral on whether it's appropriate to have an atheist as one of The Star's "faith correspondents," but it's not surprising at all that people are offended by a column whose main purpose was to offend.

Prayer is stupid so give at the blood bank. I would have been happier with only half that statement, especially on the one page devoted to faith.


Can someone use the renfro decoder ring and explain to me what that post was supposed to mean? It was written in teenager text language or something.


“Give the atheists their own page.” - Frank Statesel

“I’d be happy to read Mr. Lunney’s opinions again, but in another section.” - Steve Parks

“It wouldn't matter where The Star printed anything about Atheism that wasn't derogatory toward it. All of the "Christians" would object to it having been printed at all.” - DonS

You mean all of the “Christians” except these two letter writers? While Steve would be happier to read Lunney’s opinions somewhere else you wouldn’t be happier because Steve would still disagree with Lunney’s opinions.

“These folks just need to chill out.” - Don S

This is should be considered for personal application as well Don.

Don S

It wouldn't matter where The Star printed anything about Atheism that wasn't derogatory toward it. All of the "Christians" would object to it having been printed at all. Many of these "Christians" are the same ones that believe they have the right to force their world-view into a woman's womb, regardless of her needs, circumstances or personal wishes. These folks just need to chill out.


“Atheism is the complete emancipation of the human mind from the chains and fears of superstition.”

In Emmet’s never ending need to appoint himself god. Good luck with that Emmet.


WOW! –- Two more of Gods super delegates advising the “Ivory Towered Star” on how to run a "private" business? --- Sound familiar Yael? -- What goes around comes around!
Statesel and Parks can relax --- when they reach Heavens gate on Comet Hale-bopp and have a little kool-aid with Jim Jones they will be relieved of all those “fateful” decisions of what they are compelled to read or watch and with whom they share planet earth!


Mr. Luney devotes his entire second paragraph and half of the seventh paragraph to denigrating the religious practices of others. I’m not a regular reader of the Faith Walk column, but the times I have read it, the writers always emphasized how their faith uplifts them. I doubt a column written by a Lutheran belittling Catholics for saying the Rosary, or by a Wiccan denigrate Muslim calls to prayer would be well received. Why couldn’t Mr. Luney tell us about the blood drive and his convictions without disparaging others for expressing their faith?


"Steve are you eluding to musicians having low IQ's"

I think Steve was insinuating that sports fans are not as intelligent as musicians (except drummers of course).

And Dan, I suppose feel your views are indicative of the majority of Kansas Citians?


agree with Joe Barone below. Well-stated.


It always amazes me when I see a nice piece of freethought written in this paper, how the religious get their panties is a twist.

The first step, then, in understanding Atheism is to disregard all the lies and propaganda that religion has spread against it. Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature. It could be said that Atheism has a doctrine to question and a dogma to doubt. It is the human mind in its natural environment, nothing is too holy to be investigated, nor too sacred to be questioned. The Atheist Bible, it could be said, has but one word: “THINK.” Atheism is the complete emancipation of the human mind from the chains and fears of superstition.
~ Emmet F. Fields

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