DEAR READERS: Today's column is a continuation of yesterday's, with more of your thought-provoking answers to my question, "What do you think is society's greatest problem?" Read on:
DEAR ABBY: You won't print this, but in my opinion organized religion has a lot to do with why the world is so badly messed up.
Although most religions espouse values of kindness, generosity and good works, in practical application, it seems that religion is used more often to divide "them" from "us," and to give people yet another way to discriminate against one another. It isn't limited to wars between different religions; one need only look back a few years to see different sects of Christians killing and terrorizing each other in Northern Ireland. And look at the state of religious warfare today. Muslims are murdering and terrorizing other Muslims in Iraq just for belonging to a different sect of Islam.
If people were more concerned with doing the right things in THIS world, rather than preoccupying themselves with what is going to happen in the NEXT one, our world would be a better place. -- KIM IN COLUMBUS, OHIO
DEAR KIM: Your letter has merit, and that's why I printed it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in this world a little more than 14 years, and to me, the main problem in our world today is lack of forgiveness. We hold onto our anger and hate, thinking it makes us who we are, but really it destroys us.
Abby, I am not naive. I know not all people are good, but I believe people's actions depend on their circumstances and past, and we cannot judge them solely on what they do. If we could forgive people's bad decisions and move on, the world would be a better place. -- KATIE IN JAMESVILLE, N.Y.
DEAR ABBY: It's the "me first" mind-set that is illustrated by the guy who cuts you off in traffic, the young woman who rushes past the elderly woman with a cane entering a public restroom to grab the larger handicap stall when all the others are empty, the young mother who continues shopping with a screaming toddler having a tantrum -- oblivious and not even trying to control it.
It's the co-worker who rises to the top by telling lies or taking credit for the work of others, or the person who cheats you in a business deal.
The bottom line? We have made evil politically correct and faith unmentionable. -- MARTHA IN CRESCENT CITY, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: I think the problem is ignorance -- ignorance of the fact that we are faced with choices every day and can act on them for better or worse. We are ignorant of our own empowerment when it comes to the environment, how we treat others, our society's history that at times leads us down the same path toward war and the destruction of others. It's ignorance of the plight of our neighbors, our community, our country and around the world. There is woeful ignorance of our government, that it services the people, that its prime mission is the safety and well-being of the people, and our own civil rights.
Merlin of King Arthur's round table said, "The curse of man is that he forgets." If only we won't forget that we are loving beings, capable of great love beyond measure, if only we would not ignore so much, but remember just a little. -- MAURICE IN ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.