Letters: 27 March 2016

Multiculturalism as a benefit

In the wake of the tragic attacks in Brussels this week, many have succumbed to a familiar knee-jerk reaction, accusing anyone and everyone of the Muslim faith of being somehow connected or even at fault for these horrific events. Multiculturalism, they say, is what brought this plight upon us. 

I would not like to delve into the role of Islam in the modern world, however I would like to take the opportunity to defend multiculturalism. The Maltese seem to forget how murky and muddled their own heritage is, with regard to race. Thanks to its central location and geopolitical importance, the island drew to it people of many creeds and colour. 

Similarly today, Malta’s stable economy and desirable standard of living has brought droves of foreigners over to work, live and contribute to Maltese society. Both specialised and unspecialised jobs are being filled by people from all over, bringing with them new and diverse perspectives, ideas and ambitions. 

It would be hard to imagine what Malta’s economic landscape would look like if all foreigners decided to up and leave. Creating an increasingly hostile environment for anyone who is not local risks this very thing happening. Multiculturalism is an asset, not a burden. The sooner we realise this, the more peaceful our society will become. 

Albert Grech, Rabat

Swieqi livestock farm

Reporting on the new project proposal we shall be submitting (MaltaToday, 16 March 2016, “Developer abandons plans for Swieqi tourist village”), the item says that we “are now committed not to propose any building beyond the footprint already occupied by the present abandoned livestock farm”.

For the sake of precision, what we wrote to you when you asked for our views was that “we shall not be proposing any building beyond the square meterage already committed, and which has been committed for decades”.

In other words, we have absolutely no intention to increase the size of the built-up area beyond what exists today. Because of the nature of the project we might need to reshape it. But we will not be proposing to increase the existing total built up area.

Rodrick Fenech

Mensija Real Estate

The atonement myth

“What are we to make of the thought that Jesus died for our sins?” asks Elizabeth Anderson in her article If God is Dead, is everything permitted? “This core religious teaching of Christianity takes Jesus to be a scapegoat for humanity. The practice of scapegoating contradicts the whole moral principle of personal responsibility.

“If God is merciful and loving, why doesn’t He forgive humanity for its sins straightaway rather than demanding His 150 pounds of flesh, in the form of His own son?”

The doctrine of the Atonement was made up by Paul of Tarsus, as Will Durant explains: “Recalling Jewish and pagan customs of sacrificing a ‘scapegoat’ for the sins of the people, Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ: namely, that every man born of woman inherits the guilt of Adam, and can be saved from eternal damnation only by the atoning death of the son of God.”

The idea that God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children is contrary not only to the moral principle of personal responsibility but also to every principle of moral justice.

In one of his treatises, Kant asked: “How did evil in human nature begin? Not through ‘original sin’. Surely of all the explanations of the spread and propagation of evil through all the members and generations of our race, the most inept is that which describes it as descending to us as an inheritance from our first parents.”

So, it comes as no surprise that the philosophers of 18th century France “laughed at original sin, and at the God who had to send himself down to earth as his son, to be scourged and crucified to appease the anger of himself as Father piqued by a woman’s desire for apples or knowledge.” (Will Durant, The Age of Voltaire)

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s