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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Calling yourself an atheist is about honesty, not rebellion

Alfredo Beltran and his wife, Catalina Beltran, Latino atheists in the San Gabriel Valley
Alfredo Beltran and his wife, Catalina Beltran, are reflected in the rear window of Alfredo’s truck with stickers for their group of Latino atheists in the San Gabriel Valley.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Atheist Alfredo Beltran is quoted saying, “I don’t know about you guys, but when I finally decided to say I was atheist I felt like this huge weight just fell off my back.” (“In a church of their own, Latino atheists fear no God. But Mom? That’s another matter,” Jan. 6)

This is a man who grew into authenticity and is now reaping the reward. He brings to mind the advice of Polonius from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

Polonius’ words encourage us to live honestly with ourselves. Similarly, Beltran shares a personal lesson with his friends, namely that we cannot lie to ourselves (or others) without negative consequences.

For him, the supernatural concepts within religion do not represent truth. He will live his own life with the inner strength of authenticity.

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Rolf Olson, Palm Desert

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To the editor: No one should fear not believing in God. Until someone comes back from the dead and tells us how wonderful the afterlife is, it all comes down to one’s personal belief.

I think of the great atheist scientist Stephen Hawking, who upon death was met with one of two possibilities: nothing at all, or the realization that he was wrong. Either way, we will never know.

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One thing is for sure: We are here, we are alive, and that is a wonderful thing.

Stephen Mirkin, North Hollywood

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To the editor: So, choosing atheism can take a burden off one’s back, as someone in your article said?

This choice is unnecessary. Keep God; He’s the good guy. Get rid of hell and eternal punishment for everyone, and you can similarly be unburdened.

W. Michael Johnson, San Marino


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