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Letters to the Editor

December 10, 2009

Powell made some solid points in his Nov. 20 column



To the editor:

In Allan Powell's recent column ("The purpose-driven life is a good idea for rational use," Friday, Nov. 20, page A4), he made some solid points.

In his mini-critique of Pastor Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life," Powell notes that Warren accuses philosophers of "just guessing." I agree with Powell that this is overstated. Clearly, philosophy is a vital discipline that offers a vast amount of useful knowledge. Philosophy, in my view, can be considered the immune system of every other discipline. As C.S. Lewis wrote, "Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered." I believe many followers of Christ do see the value in philosophy. This would explain why Christian philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga, Dallas Willard and Richard Swinburne teach in some of our most prominent university philosophy departments.

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Further, I found Powell's commentary on Victor Frankl thought-provoking. Frankl, while suffering in Nazi prison camps, was able to cultivate a "will to meaning" during horrid imprisonment. However, the question must be asked: "Does life have meaning simply because we 'will' it to?"

Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre was another philosopher who attempted to create his own meaning for life. Sartre reasoned that one could create their own meaning for life simply by choosing a certain course of action, but if one's meaning is simply a "personal choice," then how can there exist any ultimate meaning for life? And if no ultimate meaning exists for life, then isn't life meaningless? Sartre choose Marxism; Dalmur chose cannibalism, but if they both felt their choices gave life "meaning," who can say they are wrong in a universe where no objective meaning exists? We know this to be false and Frankl and Sartre are basically claiming that life has meaning if we pretend it does. This is self-delusory.

In conclusion, it is God alone that gives life objective meaning, purpose and value. In his more candid moments, Frankl understood this:

"I am absolutely convinced," Frankl had said in The Doctor and the Soul, "that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers."

Jesus said that He was "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) and that we each had to answer the question, "Who do you say I am?" Jesus also advocated personal choice; however, a wrong choice, He claimed, has eternal consequences.

Chad A. Gross
Hagerstown




Keep government out of health care reform



To the editor:

In response to Charles R. Gaush's Nov. 18 letter to the editor ("Bartlett should put people ahead of politics," page A4) wherein he states that U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has a duty to provide his constituents with "guaranteed health insurance." It absolutely is not government's place nor responsibility to provide guaranteed health insurance.

Now before someone cries "you've got Medicare," remember, Medicare was mandated by the government. And those who receive it have paid and continue to pay into it - and that payment increases every year. On top of that, the government is considering cutting billions of dollars out of Medicare - which doesn't cover everything anyway.

As a result, you have to buy your own "supplemental insurance" to fill the gaps Medicare leaves. I don't know where some people get the idea that Medicare is free. Surely you don't consider that a good example of government "guaranteed health insurance" - a government system that is financially broke anyway.

Bartlett is absolutely in favor of health care reform. However, he's holding out for meaningful reform and not this current trash bill. This mess is little more than a thinly veiled attempt at further government control. I applaud those who did not vote in favor of a bill they weren't allowed to read.

On Nov. 17, WUSA-TV reported that the U.S. Preventive Sevices Task Force was recommending that women who did not have risk factors did not need routine annual mammograms until age 50. A panel of doctors was taking calls from viewers, and the doctors were appalled by these "new" guidelines.

Did you also read in the paper where it seems the cutoff date for those who can now receive the H1N1 flu vaccine is posted as age 64? That's your government at work for you.

Yes, we need health care reform, but we need to keep government out of it.

Barbara Murphy
Hagerstown




Chambersburg can learn lesson from Rendell



To the editor:

Although I'm not a fan of Gov. Ed Rendell and most of his policies, I have to admit he got it right when it came to Christmas and decorations.

It was in his first term as governor when apparently, he was given an "I gotcha" ultimatum from the American Civil Liberties Union or some other such organization where they wanted either the Christmas tree and/or decorations removed from the Capitol rotunda.

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