February 28: Questioning our faith

This is not the first time our questioned faith has had us all intrigued and rushing to judgment

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Questioning our faith Sir, - Much the same apathy toward Christianity that witnesses the falling attendance at our churches directly attacks the core belief of Jesus's resurrection. This is not the first time our questioned faith has had us all intrigued and rushing to judgment. The last fraud, the ossuary brought to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in 2002, turned out to have been tampered with to portray it as that of James, brother of Jesus. Our faith in a Christian God is just that, faith, and although we must not be blinded by what is the written Word, the vigorous assailing of the very basis of our beliefs, the ascension of Christ, suggests our failings as followers of Christ. The resurrection, that has long been questioned, has never to date found substantiated evidence connecting Jesus to any of his relatives of that period. Do I as a Christian fear that tangible evidence may be found to contradict the accession of Christ? No, but what is troubling are the extreme efforts to knock down our belief structure in the Christian faith. Simply put, I ask: Who would benefit from proving that the resurrection was a fallacy, and where would Christianity evolve from there? ("Israel may consider opening 'Jesus family' tomb in Talpiot to the public," February 27.) DANIEL KOWBELL Toronto What Israel needs Sir, - "We desperately need friends" by Michael H. Steinhardt (February 27) caught my attention. I am a Christian, but feel part of the Jewish family. I live in Switzerland, but feel Israeli deeply in my heart. So I am obviously a supporter of the Jewish-Christian friendship. But not at any cost. Israel and Jews should trust in God only, while living ethically, and not in nations or friends, no matter how good they seem to be. Then the friends that remain will be real friends. Christian friends who want to proselytize in Israel are not friends - how could they be? The essence of the Jewish nation and people is Judaism. Israelis and Jews do not "desperately need friends." They need to assert themselves and their difference, be autonomous and fully defend their space, territory and integrity in every sense of the word. That is dignity and self-respect, and that is what Israel needs. AURELIE SIMONET Geneva With you, wholeheartedly Sir, - We would like you, as a nation, to know that our prayers and support are with you and your soldiers, and that God will keep you safe in His arms. He has always kept His promise to protect your nation, just as He did while He led your people out of Egypt through Moses. CHRIS McCALL Emmett, Idaho Erez Levanon Sir, - Today Erez Levanon gets a brief mention on your Web site ("Shin Bet arrests Erez Levanon killers," February 27); by tomorrow he will be forgotten. Levanon, of Bat Ayin, was stabbed to death by two Palestinian terrorists near his home. The two woke up Sunday morning, took knives and set out to kill a Jew. They will be heroes in their village. They could in future be freed as part of an exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Israel, have you lost your ability to get angry? Have you become so Europeanized? Or is it OK if the victim is one of those strange-looking "settlers," and not an enlightened Jew from Tel Aviv or Haifa? You don't seem to get it, Israel - you are Erez Levanon! And the world is about to forget you, too. ABE KRIEGER Philadelphia Work, not war Sir, - Although Hamas and Fatah may temporarily form a unity government it is unlikely that they will truly recognize Israel's right to exist. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement is an easy solution for the two political parties to turn their attention away from each other and direct their unified energies toward eliminating Israel. Perhaps the unity government's time would be better spent trying to address the shockingly low unemployment rate and lack of opportunity for the residents of the Gaza Strip. Maybe then residents will focus on greater opportunities rather than on war ("Independents split over joining PA unity gov't," February 26). LINDSEY B. GOLDSTEIN Ann Arbor, Michigan Vigilance isn't hysteria Sir, - Shimon Peres states: "There is no need for hysteria." Meanwhile Hizbullah has all the time in the world to renew its armaments and strengthen its terrorist resources. This is thanks to the UN's flaccid UNIFIL, or rather, the UN's unfulfilled commitment to monitor the illegal weaponry pipelined to Hizbullah via Syria. Time is of little or no consequence to those designing Israel's end. Like all predators, they will wait it out, striking their intended prey only when the odds are in their favor. Israelis, of all peoples, are mindful of this; so why suggest disquiet and vigilance is hysteria? ("IDF: Hizbullah getting arms from Syria on regular basis. 'There is no need for hysteria,' Peres says on tour of northern border," February 21). RIC PARKER Toronto Forgotten at Gusen 2 Sir, - Congratulations on Anshel Pfeffer's "Dark skies" (UpFront, February 9). Is there a Jewish community out there that could arrange to bring a rabbi to the remnants of the former Gusen 2 - Bergkristall concentration camp to pray for the souls of thousands of forgotten Jewish men who died in constructing this huge underground plant under the most unimaginable brutality? As far as I know, no rabbi has found his way to the site in the last six decades. It would be also wonderful if relevant organizations could support the Gusen Memorial Committee to get the still-existing underground Bergkristall plant open to the public. RUDOLF A. HAUNSCHMIED Traun, Austria Cell phone companies encourage speeding Sir, - Several points about driving are fairly clear: The faster the driving, the greater the risk; using a cell phone while driving, without a speaker or with, is dangerous; and Israeli drivers will take advantage of situations which, while risky, will help them get to their destinations more quickly if they feel they can do it without getting caught. It is revolting that the cell phone providers are now widely distributing information on speed traps, use of police radar, and the police presence on highways. Armed with this info - which requires answering a cell phone while driving - most drivers will exceed the speed limit and commit other moving violations until they are close to the camera or police operation, when they will slow down briefly, then resume their problematic driving. The cell phone companies will enter their profits, and their attorneys have certainly told them it's not illegal. But that doesn't mean it is ethical. There is no way to justify telling people when they can speed, or slow down to avoid speed traps. One cell phone company employee told me: "We aren't telling people to speed, just where they will get caught for speeding." Sure, drivers want this information for the pure pleasure of acquiring the knowledge STEPHEN J. KOHN Ra'anana Sir, - Maybe the Brits are getting it right for once. They are proposing to introduce the searching of cell phone records of drivers involved in road accidents to ascertain whether a phone was in use at the time. What are the chances of this being introduced here? M. VEEDER Netanya