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Letters: Teach history of various religions

Letters to the Editor • Oct 6, 2016 at 11:08 AM

I think it is important for students to be taught in school about the nature and history of various religions, some of which have an important impact on national and world events. I think it is also important that the content of the lessons should be strictly factual and not include anything that could be construed as an endorsement of any particular religion or attempt at indoctrination.

It should be taught that there have been countless religions in the distant past involving thousands of different gods. The major religions of today are based on ancient legends that are still accepted as true by millions of people with faith in beliefs that have little or no evidence to support them. The major Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto and Confucianism should be included briefly, with the Western religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam taught in more detail.

It should be made clear that the Jews, Muslims and Christians all worship the same god that they call “Yahweh,” “Allah” and “God” respectively, even though they may have different understandings of that god’s attributes, and that only Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a deity and not just human.

It should also be made clear that the books that each of these religions consider to be holy — the Tanakh, the Qur’an and the Bible — were written by men many years after the events that they describe took place.

If the history of Judaism includes stories that are found only in the Tanakh with no other historical evidence, they should be identified as legend and not necessarily historical fact. The history of the Christian religion should not leave out the Crusades, the Inquisition, nor the violent conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. The history of Islam should certainly describe the spread of that religion almost entirely by military aggression and conquest including even Spain for a while before she was liberated.

American students should be taught how nations dominated by each of these religions in today’s world compare in how much individual liberty is enjoyed by her citizens, how other religions are tolerated, and how their women and their homosexual citizens are treated.

H. Herren Floyd

Piney Flats

What about gravity?

There is much discussion about man’s impact on global warming but little about the effect of gravity. Several years ago the outer planets aligned in such a way that their combined masses along with their shortened distances from the Earth resulted in higher than normal forces of gravity exerted on the Earth. This resulted in a perturbation causing the Earth to tilt on its axis slightly more than normal and thus more direct sunlight on the polar regions. This in turn caused higher temperatures.

Will the Earth tilt back naturally because of gyroscopic forces, or will we have to wait on another counter solar alignment which, when in the opposite direction, could lead to the next ice age?

Any way you look at it, it has been hot this year.

Eric DeLoach

Church Hill

Raises weren’t earned

I agree with the Sullivan County commissioners. The custodians and maintenance department did not earn raises or bonuses. This is not the employees’ fault. They are not required by their supervisors to perform their job duties. This is proven by the condition of most Sullivan County school facilities. The maintenance department makes their own rules, teachers and staff disregard dress codes, and policies are not enforced.

Taxpayers should take a tour of facilities — North, Weaver, Bluff City Middle, Colonial Heights Middle, Sullivan Middle — and witness the unsanitary conditions. The blame for these conditions falls directly upon supervisors, and now this will cost the taxpayers dearly.

Gail Thompson