LETTER: Clarifying beliefs

By Venkat Maruthamuthu

Kudos to Lally Gartel for the article on the reported distrust of the American public towards atheists. She has rightly debunked the much-touted assumption of organized religion being a necessary and sufficient condition for moral behavior.

But there is one crucial point that wasn’t taken note of, even in the referenced study itself. They did not make a distinction between an atheist and an agnostic. While the former is a person who believes there is no deity, the latter is one who doesn’t believe in a deity. I think that most agnostics also call themselves atheists due to (understandably) inaccurate use of words and this fudges things. The difference is not just about lofty semantics, but about the person’s approach to life itself.

Most of the nicest guys I’ve met have nothing to do with organized religion. Its not that they are convinced that there is no God or Godliness, as is espoused in atheism, but just that they don’t want to believe blindly in something (either in the existence or non-existence of God). For one, I truly think that the world still survives not because of the strength of one’s belief, but the purity of one’s heart – a purity not dictated by holy books or priests.