Letters to the Editor

Dangers of black-and-white thinking

The great irony of our time is that so-called Christians support Manicheists such as Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush and John McCain.

Manicheism long ago was condemned by the church as a heresy. It presents a world-view in unconditional terms -- of good and evil, light vs. dark, the godly vs. the malevolent, good guys (us) vs. bad guys (them).

Seeing a black-and-white world fosters fundamentalism -- the Arab kind with suicide bombers and our kind with F-14s. (Phyllis Shaffley said God in his wisdom had given the United States the atomic bomb first!)

Fundamentalism is absolutist. It is anti-science, anti-knowledge (the president voices doubt regarding global warming, and skepticism about evolution). Fundamentalism is derisive of its detractors: Disagree with Cheney and he accuses you of aiding your country's "enemies." Fundamentalism can compromise with nothing, especially not with democracy.

Jimmy Carter is regarded as a failed president, yet he understands the pitfall of viewing the world in Manicheistic terms. Carter was recently pilloried by the right for daring to talk to "the enemy." Much better to use bombs against "them" because "they" are not rational.

Were it only that simple.