Letters to the Editor - July 2

July 02, 2012

Allan Powell, don’t change a thing

To the editor:

This is in reference to the short letter written by Mark L. England of Hagerstown that appeared on The Herald-Mail editorial page on June 27.

His criticism of columnist Allan Powell is that he explains his topic in a way so that everyone reading his article can understand it better. I appreciate the professor taking the time to do that for me. England is telling me in his letter that he is so smart that he doesn’t need anything explained to him. That is fabulous — but for me, I like to understand what I am reading.

I may or may not agree with the professor’s thoughts, but when I complete the last sentence of one of his columns, I know I will have learned something. That’s the goal of a good writer.

David Wiles
Clear Spring

Voltaire, and maybe Powell, should know better

To the editor:

In his column on Voltaire, Allan Powell seems to accept the proposition, like Voltaire, that the evils, physical and moral, we see about us preclude the possibility of an all-good, knowing and wise God.

Voltaire, with the advantage of his fine Jesuit education, should not have failed to see that his first premise is, if not false, at least unjustified. It assumes that our tiny, finite, time-constrained mind knows what infinite eternal knowledge must do.

He should have remembered his lessons from Aquinas’ “Summa Contra Gentiles” on the problem of evil. Or the viewpoint, from eternity, as St. Paul put it, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Or for that matter, the optimism of Socrates when unjustly condemned to death by his democratic state for following his quest for wisdom. He told his jury, “… if you put me to death, being such as I am, you will not hurt me so much as yourselves. ... for I think the eternal law forbids a better man to be hurt by a worse.”

And his final words to his friends, “… this one thing you must take as true — no evil can happen to a good man either living or dead, and his business is not neglected by the gods, nor has my business now come about by itself, but it is plain to me that to die now and to be free from trouble was better for me.”

Richard Giovanoni

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