A lesson in faith

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Secularists’ letters on religion in education make me think they should all try reading Dickens’ Hard Times, for they are the modern Gradgrinds of education, humourlessly depriving children of anything other than a dry rationale of life without imaginative or spiritual nourishment.

Kids who grow up not knowing the stories of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son; who have no idea why Christmas and Easter are considered significant, who have never had the opportunity to experience worship are as much cut adrift from what is best in their inherited culture as children who are denied great poetry or plays because they take them out of their usual experience.

What do these secularists think education is for?

Alan D Jackson

Ashwood Mews

Bridge of Don, Aberdeen

I agree with Veronica Wilkman’s call (Letters, 28 October) that parents should not be coerced into accepting evangelising activities for our children. But I would challenge her to identify any school in Scotland where parents are coerced in such a fashion.

Her assertion is typical of the anti-theists’ attempt to generate the kind of hysteria that I wrote about in my original Friends of The Scotsman article.

I also agree that we want to avoid religious or any other indoctrination. The trouble is that the more militant atheists have it as an article of their faith that any religious teaching must be indoctrination, whereas they of course do not “indoctrinate”, they just teach the facts!

It is this kind of myopic fundamentalism and misrepresentation which is such a threat to Scotland’s Christian education system. Any who care for the good of Scotland’s children will resist it with all their might.

David Robertson

Solas CPC

St Peters Free Church

St Peter Street

Dundee

John Coutts (Letters, 29 October) rightly questions my clumsily made argument about church people teaching about God. They are of course expertly qualified so to do and parents can choose that for their children in church on a Sunday.

My point is that having already concluded their own answer to “the big questions” ie that God explains everything, they cannot lead a neutral philosophic discussion which allows schoolchildren to be “exposed to every viewpoint” as was Margaret Salmond’s original hope.

This is what they claim to do in religious observance, but those sort of discussions are covered in religious, moral and philosophic studies (RMPS).

Secularism has no metaphysical philosophy at all. It is not the same as atheism. It is only a principle of social order which defends religious freedom but advocates the separation of church and state.

As Mr Coutts says, a secularist would be similarly unequipped to teach philosophy class unless she also happened to be an RMPS teacher.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Saughtonhall Drive

Edinburgh

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