Anthrax has become a major scare over the past weeks, and I feel many media have gone too far, scaring people into believing that there is a more serious threat than there really is ("Nothing to sneeze at," Nov. 3). Right now the biggest cause of fear is ignorance and media overkill. The vast majority of people have a better chance of winning the lottery than contracting anthrax, yet some people are going to hospitals because of false symptoms or hysteria, while the antibiotic Cipro has gone from obscurity to necessity. - Brian Noakes, Albany, Ore.
Andree Seu is the best writer I've read in a magazine or newspaper in the last 40 years. Her Nov. 3 column, "In due time," was first-class. - Roger Faber, Golden, Colo.
WORLD's special issue on Islam was outstanding. I believe it gave a fair, accurate, and relevant biblical assessment of today's Islam. I also believe your describing it as Cold War II is an eye-opening and accurate perspective. I've passed my copy on to family and friends. - Don W. Seagraves, Kingwood, Texas
Some among us
We just received the special issue titled "Islam & terrorism." I am looking forward to reading every article in it if they contain the same no-nonsense insight and approach presented by Marvin Olasky's "Coalition, sure" and Joel Belz's "Tolerance vs. pluralism." Regarding Mr. Olasky's observation that "Muslims accept neither the Bible as written nor the God of the Bible," that's true, but I firmly believe that a large percentage among those who carry the Christian moniker are guilty of the same error. - Don Spencer, Sumner, Wash.
I agree with Mr. Belz's distinction between pluralism and tolerance ("Tolerance vs. pluralism," Oct. 27). Although the term pluralism has one relatively patriotic definition, it has come to connote in our society a lack of conviction, an "anything goes" mentality, and a lack of opinion simply for the sake of avoiding conflict. I wholeheartedly agree that we must not sacrifice our convictions and callings as Christians to satisfy a prevalent American ideal. - Stephanie Rose, Corvallis, Ore.
Call for change
Joel Belz's Oct. 6 column, "Preaching can wait?" made me feel that the American church is in worse condition than I thought. We need at this time a prophetic voice, and I thank you for expressing the need for repentance even more than the need for patriotism. Of course our hearts ache for those who have died and the families they left. Of course we are overwhelmed with the radical changes that have taken place in our country and the fearful prospect of more terrorist attacks. But we need to be awakened to the fact that God is calling us as a nation to make significant changes in our way of life, or we will perhaps face harsher consequences. - John E. Hunn, Willsboro, N.Y.
I am 14 years old and homeschooled. I have heard people on some conservative radio and television shows say that it is no big deal if some Afghan civilians are killed because terrorists killed so many of ours. I don't think that is the right approach. A life is a life, and all life is precious to God, whether Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim. I can somewhat relate to what these people are feeling, because justice needs to be administered, but taking an "eye for an eye" by way of Afghan civilians will not get the job done. - Lauren Hildreth, Sarasota, Fla.
Thank you for your production of a biblically based newsmagazine. Although our concentration on the 9/11 tragedy is well deserved, somehow I also find our focus to be self-centered. The loss of around 5,000 lives was truly tragic, but thousands of children around the world die each day of disease and malnutrition and we fail to see continuous media coverage of this issue. - Gordon Oakes, Port Angeles, Wash.
More than patriotism
As the daughter of a third-generation career Foreign Service officer and the wife of an active duty Air Force serviceman, I understand the necessity of a global coalition, of sustained diplomatic efforts, military action, and economic sanctions. I am thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and the material wealth of our nation. However, Christians must not substitute patriotism for reliance upon God. Diplomacy, military power, and economic strategies will not win this war on terrorism. This nation will prevail to the extent that we trust in the Lord. - Inga R. Taranger, Kissimmee, Fla.
Regarding Joel Belz's Nov. 3 column "Trading places": Amen. - Rob Eby, Olathe, Kan.
Thank you so much for the wonderful special issue on Islam ("Islam & terrorism," Oct. 27). I teach high-school world history in a public school and will be using your information to teach my students about Islam. - Joy Bowman, Thornton, Colo.
Hats off to Marvin Olasky and the staff at WORLD for their excellent issue about Islam and terrorism. While it is right and necessary for the president to work to build coalitions with Islamic nations to help in the war against terrorism, it is also the duty of the church to speak out powerfully against the errors of Islam and point people to their need of the Savior, the only hope for lasting peace and security. I am thankful that we live in a nation where the church is not under the state but can have an influence on the state for the furtherance of Christ's kingdom. - Ellen Boyne, Loveland, Colo.
Thanks so much for your insightful distillation of Muslim beliefs and the comparison to Christianity. I'm sure there are many more details and complexities, but this will be so helpful to me as I continue to befriend a Muslim student and his family who arrived from Palestine in August. I have shared with them love, compassion, and generosity; I want to share Jesus more clearly, as well as understand his wife's way of thinking. John Piper's column, "Hate and tolerance," was also a challenge and a stimulus. I thank God for the body of Christ which can, even over great distance, encourage each other. - Evelyn Stilwell, Fayetteville, Ark.
We just read your editorial, and did our part to expand WORLD's readership ("Not so fast," Oct. 20). I sent a gift subscription to our son, a new Taylor University grad. - Alan & Valerie Bierlein, Goshen, Ind.
"A faith of peace?" in the Oct. 6 issue was right on the mark, although I wouldn't have had the courage to print something like that myself. All the travels I have done in the former Soviet Union and in the Muslim world reveal to me the effects of oppression and hatred, and you are right-people are not lining up to get into these countries. - Lewis Codington, Sheffield, England
Recently my 2 1/2-year-old daughter found the special issue of WORLD that covered the events of Sept. 11 ("9/11," Sept. 22). She opened to a two-page spread of black smoke issuing from the still-standing towers, and asked, "What happened, Mommy?" I thought through the list of words she understands, and finally came up with, "Bad people broke the building. They made lots of people have owies, and lots of people were sad." She thoughtfully looked at the page and replied, "Bad people." Bad people, indeed. I blinked tears from my eyes, realizing that this process is just beginning. As my daughter and her peers grow older, we will have to answer that question many times, in varying depths as they are able to deal with the magnitude of terrorism. This is one copy of WORLD that I intend to keep careful track of over the years, to keep the event from becoming simply another historical event, relevant only to the test on Friday. - Brenda L. Noland, Salem, Ore.
Haven't we had enough violence against the innocent in our country? But innocent unborn children are still being killed as abortions continue. We can no longer tolerate abortion as a national policy; I believe that it prevents God's healing and protection of our land. Christians are obligated to conduct a two-front war-against international terrorism and against legalized murder. God may not bless us, no matter how much we ask, if we don't honor Him by giving those who are made in His image, no matter how small, their unalienable right to life. - Bev Cielnicky, Fountain Valley, Calif.
Former CIA director R. James Woolsey was undersecretary of the Navy in the Carter administration (Nov. 3, p. 10). - The Editors