I read with some dismay the letter by T. J. Foster of Lexington Park published in the Nov. 1 edition of the Maryland Independent, “Theologian, apologist Norman Geisler set me on a path to atheism.”

Evidently writing the letter was prompted by the news of the death of Christian author, educator and theologian Dr. Norman Geisler this past July. But this is no eulogy. Foster comes not to praise Geisler but to bury him under a mountain of invective and opprobrium.

Foster refers to Geisler’s “stupendous idiocy” and calls him “a sadist,” “a fool who promoted lies and misinformation,” a man who he claims — although Foster had never met or interacted directly with Geisler and could know nothing of his personality — possessed “this unbearable air of smug superiority.” These are harsh charges and not lightly pressed. It seems that some of Foster’s negative views came from watching an internet video made by fellow atheist Steve Shives criticizing one of Geisler’s books. Foster is particularly censorious of Geisler’s teachings on the doctrine of hell.

Foster has a right to disagree with Geisler, but why choose the occasion of the man’s death to pile up insults, or dance with neither class nor good taste upon the man’s grave? The concluding paragraph is pointlessly nasty; he taunts a man who, according to Foster’s stated disbelief in life after death, cannot be conscious of his hatred.

Perhaps writing the letter provided some catharsis. Maybe it made Foster feel better to get these thoughts off his chest in public.

Expressing them certainly does no harm to Norman Geisler, whatever his current state. However, the co-author of the Geisler book Foster impugns still lives and can interact with objectors. Foster would do well to contact Frank Turek, if for no other reason than to make sure he really understands Geisler’s teachings before finally rejecting them. Intellectual honesty demands this much. If we are to speak of fools, we may affirm that fools resist correction but the wise welcome discipline and love to learn.

Regular readers of the Maryland Independent may recall that Foster had another letter published recently in which he criticized the inclusion of teaching in the humanities as part of standard school curricula.

Given that the arts and literature contain an accumulated abundance of wealth in what is good, true and beautiful in this life, I wonder what his objections to them really are, or why he is concerned to limit their dissemination among our young citizenry. Perhaps he fears they testify with power to a greater, deeper reality than he is now willing to accept.

K. L. Abbott, Dunkirk