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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Your Opinion: Discussion and debate invited

Dear Editor:

I always find Geraldean McMillin’s letters inspiring — even her latest which offered only a tantalizingly opaque glimpse into the points she was trying to make.

I know her to be a woman of compassion and courage who is not afraid to manifest her beliefs in the world. She as a Christian and I as a Buddhist are required to “love one another,” we don’t have to always like others. I both love and like Gerry.

I do take issue with her assertion that “... we disagree much more than we agree.” I have always sought to harmonize our two belief systems and to emphasize our many, common, shared values and beliefs. Although I am not a professed Christian, I find her personal version of Christianity far closer to my own values than, for example, the fundamentalist sects.

I am also puzzled by her assertion, “... I do not know how he has come to the conclusions he describes in his letters.” Even though I realize it is not always possible in the truncated 400 words of these LTTE to footnote and otherwise substantiate every assertion I make, I have always tried to allude to the sources and reasons that frame the basis of my assertions.

If Gerry would care to detail her areas of disagreement we might have some basis for educating each other in a straightforward, loving way. Simply stating that we agree to disagree without mentioning where she disagrees does neither one of us any good.

I also detected a kind of left-handed dismissal of my beliefs by way of alluding to my “unique” life experiences.

I contend that ideas, opinions and conclusions can be expressed, debated, validated, opposed and dismissed quite independent of the biography (unique life experiences) of those who hold those assertions. That is why it is so important, insofar as it is possible, to objectively examine ideas solely on the basis of the principles of empirical induction and logical reasoning. Any other approach advances us ever so much closer to the slippery slope of Ad Homonym.

If all Gerry intended by her LTTE was a further exhortation to loving, civil dialog, then I think she has more than made her point in this and many other similar letters in these pages. I would like to invite her to dip her toe into the deeper waters of substantive discussion and debate.

Come on in; the water’s fine.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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