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Q: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

A: Your letter has merit, and that's why I printed it. Here are some other viewpoints:

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I've been in this world a little more than 14 years, and to me, the main problem is lack of forgiveness. We hold onto anger and hate, thinking it makes us who we are, but really it destroys us.

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.

Katie in Jamesville, N.Y.

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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. The bottom line? We have made evil politically correct and faith unmentionable.

Martha in Crescent City, Calif.

Universal Press Syndicate