I’m with you, James Valentine (“I’m Not Religious, But My Faith Is Beyond Belief,” July 10). Well said, but it’s getting harder and harder to maintain the ethical tenets of our beliefs. Is it too much to ask to participate in more? Colin Mondy, Newcastle
The mixture of virtues that Valentine presents – love, respect, truth, compassion, reason, hatred of injustice, dignity, human rights, rule of law, equality – are the hard-won product of two thousand years of Christian belief. , especially faith in the notion that humans were created in the image of God, and therefore have essential dignity, rights, powers of reason, and agency.
The kind of atheistic humanism he espouses has no equivalent ethical foundation, and if our society relies solely on personal sentimentality, it risks a devastating loss of clarity about its sources of vitality and freedom. Peter Fleming, Northmead
Valentine’s use of the word “love” is where the need for sound academic analysis comes into play. The word “love” did not come into use in human society and civilization until the life of Jesus- Christ. Before Jesus Christ, the Greeks used the word “philos” which meant “a passion for something”, ie philosophy, a passion for knowledge and learning. Christ used a Hebrew word which was translated into a Greek word “agape”, which means “to give without expecting in return, in the same way that God gives”. Loving others as oneself is explicitly Christian. Chris Beal, Forster
Can I join James Valentine’s Church, please? Stewart fist, Lindfield
Defenders of the Faith
That a growing number of Australians identify as having no ‘religion’ comes as no surprise (“Sydney is losing its religion, says census”, 10 July). For decades many Australians have had ties to some sort of church, although they haven’t been there and can’t tell you what a Christian is. The numbers just tell us what has been true for a long time.
As a Christian, I would prefer things to be more clearly demarcated. What do Australians think words like “Christian”, “church” and “faith” mean? Generally, in conversations with people who claim no faith, I find them misinformed about God and have adopted the socially acceptable antagonism towards him. They usually have a wrong idea of Christianity and that’s what they reject.
Not that I blame them. We Christians have to take some of the blame because we haven’t communicated as well as we should and for a few decades we’ve been a little complacent. The survey numbers simply define our task more clearly. David Ashton, Katoomba
One omission in the recent census of religion types was the Great God Sport. There are many fervent adherents in this country. Nora Hinchen, St Leonards