Posted by: peanutbutteryelleytime | September 16, 2009

in which yelley is a good person without god.

The local newspaper here in Modesto, The Modesto Bee, has an opinion section in which members of the community can write about whatever it is that they feel. For some reason I like to read them, even though I know that my beliefs are generally not in line with the conservative Central Valley and most of the things I read in the opinion section are perplexing at best and maddening at worst. Sometimes people say things that make sense though, for example:

Regarding “Bible fights crime?” (Aug. 21, Letters): I was born with no religion in my household (or school) and I am a pretty good person. The reason why I don’t commit crimes or do anything dumb is because my parents have taught me better.

You don’t need religion to tell you what’s good or wrong; you need positive people who can inspire you to do good and be successful and not worry about the little things that can mess up your life. To teach God in schools in unconstitutional, because everyone has the choice of religion.

This is something that makes sense to me. While it is definitely true that religion can teach a lot of good moral values, I would say it is also true that one can obtain good values from non-religious sources. Teaching about the Christian god in schools should not be allowed, unless you are going to teach about every sort of god and the absence of god, which I don’t see happening since apparently we can barely even teach kids to read in school now, but I digress. Even if you were to disagree with the statement made about not needing religion to be good, I would like to think that disagreeing with the bit about teaching God in schools being unconstitutional would be a bit odd.

So here is the response to that letter that does not make sense to me at all:

Regarding “We can be good without God” (Sept. 1, Letters): With deep respect, I would like to make a correction: Some people can be good without institutionalized religion, but nobody can be good without God because all good comes from God, whether you believe in him or not.

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) God’s law is love and goodness, so every time we do an act of love we are shouting to the world that we indeed believe in God or a Supreme Being, however we want to call him.

Remember, the only difference between the words God and good is the extra “o.” Just an interesting coincidence? The great irony of faith: sometimes you believe in God without even knowing it.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. Opinions like this just leave me totally confused about what goes on in some people’s minds. Do you think by saying “Supreme Being” the writer also means Ganesh or Poseidon or FSM or any of the other gods that people worship? I’m guessing no. I just don’t understand how someone could be so audacious. It essentially says “Hey, you’re wrong, and I have a holy book to prove it. How do I know it’s holy? Because it’s the word of god. How do I know it’s the word of god? Because it’s holy. You call it circular reasoning, I call it no loose ends.” Really, we’re talking about the same book that gave us these gems:

If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. -Exodus 21: 20-21

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. -Exodus 35:2

If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity. -Deuteronomy 25: 11-12

“But yelley, those are the outdated parts of the bible. Everyone now realizes that not everything needs to be taken literally.” Well, if that’s the case, can I be the person that chooses which parts of the book we get to ignore next?

The second letter is an insult and even if the writer said it, that person means no deep respect. What is being said is that it does not matter what everyone else believes in, the writer’s beliefs clearly trump all else. The real great irony of faith: faith is something that people will defend the strongest, but cannot be backed up with any strong facts that don’t rely on that same faith. Maybe I should write a letter too.

P.S. Dad asked me to start a new blog where I don’t talk about religion. Sorry Dad, I promise I didn’t make this post to spite you.



  1. Yelley, you are so awesome that words fail me!

  2. Thanks Mike, but writing is easy when you have this kind of inspiration!

  3. One of the feeds I follow is published by McClatchy, which apparently owns the Bee. Every now and again there is a screed against liberals, athiests, homos, hippies or people that want to fix water problems.

    Some are entertaining, others make my blood boil.

  4. In Bloomington, IN the public transit buses now have ads on the side that say “You Can Be Good Without God”. They were allowed only after pursuing legal action against the bus company, who originally said they had the right to refuse ads of a controversial nature. However, within a short time of these ads being posted, another ad appeared on the opposite side of several buses. It reads “You can be good without God, but you cannot be saved without Jesus”. It’s funny, in a sad sort of way.

  5. Hopefully you never meet Kirk Cameron in a dark alley.

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