The inability to think critically leads to irrational responses
Stabroek News
April 22, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I am in the process of winding down my contributions to the letters' column. This forum is fast becoming a place for plagiarism, a repeat of American network news, and old, worn-out and repetitive political commentary.

I had one final concern and that deals with the belief that anarchy is now the norm in Guyana. I have been researching this model and most people seem to agree:

what we have here is 83,000 square miles of ghetto.

The cover page of any newspaper or the lead story in any news broadcast provides evidence that Guyana has become a ghetto nation. We have regressed to this stage because of the ongoing brain drain and more so because there is a clique of men intent on making society as ungovernable and backward as it possibly can be. "Ghetto" is all these men know, so "ghetto" is all they can offer.

Every day, news reports indicate how irrational and unreasonable we have become, how quickly we have slipped passed the acceptable mark of civilized social behavior.

The inability to think critically raises the possibility that published letters can easily be misinterpreted or improperly analyzed by an irrational readership; the writer can then be easily dragged into the mire of absurdity that has become our societal standard.

For example, Nadr Jomha (SN 04/16) assumes that I believe that religion causes all wars. Now, when have I ever said that? What method of assessment did Jomha use to arrive at this conclusion about my beliefs?

Jomha referred to a previous letter of mine (SN 04/08) captioned, "Religious belief can be divisive" [ please note: links provided by LOSP web site ] but that letter dealt explicitly with conflicts between different religious sects. It dealt with factional battles and had absolutely nothing to do with global warfare. A discerning readership would have been able to recognize the difference.

Further, I had made it clear that the problem was not a belief in God, but rather "dogmatic religious doctrines" which are responsible for believers turning against each other.

I have said many times that I am agnostic, Jomha however labels me as atheist. I understand the cause for this misunderstanding: strong emotions cloud the ability to think and in writing to the newspaper, Jomha admitted to moving rapidly from the basic emotion of amusement to that of extreme frustration.

My recommendation is to take a time-out and calm down. Rational thought is the natural state of a composed mind. More than anything else, this country needs a cool, calm and collected citizenry.

In the past, I have praised the positions of many of the faithful, like Fr. Aloysius Church, Fr. R. M. Chadwick, Bishops Benedict Singh, and Randolph George among others. I have said before that I am a great admirer of the courage displayed by devout men like Fr. Andrew Morrison. I have lauded the noble spirit of Buddhist monks and have expressed awe that modern science continues to harmonize much of its findings to the most ancient of religions, Hinduism. I have thrown my support behind people like Rohan Sooklall who fought to protect Hindu school children against the predatory-like behaviour of some religious sects. And more recently I praised the unity and resolve of Muslim leaders in the Middle East and have referred to the current violence in that region as a holocaust against the Palestinian people.

But religious fanatics are scared of such objectivity. They see everything in black and white, they will attack, as long as you don't subscribe to their own narrow one-dimensional view of reality. Sadly most of their opinions show that they are unable to recognize the difference between atheism and apostasy. Sometimes, people just become tired of dealing with such a primitive mind set.

Yours faithfully,

Justin DeFreitas