This is a response to the letter, “We need a religion based on empathy” [Dec. 20].

The writer’s call for empathy rings hollow when he calls religion a “superstition-based mystical belief.” He fails to take into account how many people’s lives were improved or saved by religion.

Hindus believe in karma, or doing good to beget good, as well as ahimsa, which is the idea that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy and, therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself. Buddhists believe in following the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes working for the good of others.

The third pillar of Islam says to assist the poor and weak, and followers of Islam are told to be kind to their neighbors. Jews are told in Deuteronomy 27:19: Cursed are those who withhold justice due the stranger. Christ taught to love thy neighbor.

Those who do good in the name of religion far outnumber those who do harm.

Religions give us a moral code and inner peace. They should not be dismissed because of those who sin in their name. Treating people as you wish to be treated is in religious teaching, and true followers adhere to it.

Gregg Freedner

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Ronkonkoma

Support Obama plan against Islamic State

I’m writing regarding “Hitting harder” [News, Dec. 15], in which President Barack Obama describes the U.S.-led coalition’s progress toward stopping the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

I think what the president is doing to defeat ISIS is a smart and noble plan. I agree with his strategy of airstrikes and declining to send troops to fight in Syria and Iraq.

The idea behind this seems to be to safeguard the lives of our troops, and I’m in complete agreement. I’ve spoken with others who think that Obama should send our troops to fight on the ground. However, I believe the direction the president is taking is the right one to stop the terrorist group ISIS and make the United States safe and secure once again.

Sign up for The Point

Go inside New York politics.

Daniel Vignola

Bellmore