In a column in the Sept. 7 edition of the Torch, the author addressed her personal beliefs on a billboard located on U.S. 131. The billboard reads, “You don’t need God to hope, to care, to love, to live.”
In many circumstances, religion has been a sensitive topic when acknowledging the different beliefs of others. By no means was either the author nor the Torch’s intention to offend the personal beliefs of anyone who read the column. Based on the response our readers have shown, there is a level of support toward both sides of the issue. The author is clearly not alone in her opinion on this topic.
A number of individuals who have read the billboard have viewed its message as offensive, truthful, false, or an example of freedom of speech.
Regardless of how you view its message, in its sincerest form, an opinion should be viewed as an individual belief and not a means of simply proving another wrong. The opinion of the author and the billboard itself should be used as a means to create dialogue between opposing viewpoints.
If we allow this purpose to get lost in personal emotions, we lose the opportunity to gain knowledge on our differences; rather one’s personal beliefs classify them as Christian, Catholic, atheist or agnostic. The response to both the author’s column and the billboard’s message has shown that there are a multitude of misconceptions regarding the purpose of faith.
I believe the most valid point the author made in her column was “There are people who live through their faith when they have nothing else…”
This is a statement that connects us all no matter which side we stand on in regard to this issue.
The future of this debate should not continue through attacking unfamiliar beliefs or convincing another that their beliefs are misguided. It should be to understand the beliefs of others and learn acceptance toward another’s opposing views.