I would like to respond to George Kocan’s letter found in last week’s Wednesday Journal. [‘The atheist is a predator in waiting,’ Viewpoints, May 5]

I am continually amazed at the lack of understanding by theists such as Mr. Kocan of what atheists and agnostics believe or don’t believe. While I personally do not have a need for organized religion, I do respect those who find value in religion, regardless of their choice of worship.

He stated that sin does not exist for an atheist and there is nothing to bind an atheist’s conscience. From my understanding, doing something unethical or morally wrong is different from sin. Atheists do adhere to a moral code, albeit there may be extremes, just like in religions; however, they do so based on the impact to their fellow human beings, rather than blind obedience to some perceived divine mandate.

I respect Mr. Kocan’s right to freedom of speech and the free exercise of his beliefs as stated in the First Amendment. I just hope that he and other theists understand that, to maintain a civilized world, tolerance and respect are two-way streets. Religions have long divided humans and have flamed the fire of intolerance.

Think what a world would be like if this was one less thing to pull us apart. That alone may allow everyone to fit in civilized life.

Mark Schlosser
Oak Park

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