Alistair McBay in his reply (Letters, 9 May) did not seem to understand my argument: I did not claim that “Christianity should be the arbiter in the matter of restricting individual freedom”, but merely pointed out that many areas of contemporary moral disagreement hinge on the balance between individual freedom and responsibility to wider society. Humanists tend to give more weight to the former, and Christians to the latter.
In the secularist tradition, Mr McBay brought up the crusades, inquisition and the like, despite them being utterly irrelevant to the topic. I do not make it my business to stir up anti-atheist sentiment by tirelessly cataloguing and recounting their misdeeds. Secularism, being an entirely negative movement, must rely on demonising “religion” as though it were a single uniform entity defined by its worst manifestations.
John Munro asked which “version of Christianity” I think should determine (Letters, 10 May) how much “freedom individuals should be allowed.” Well, mine, of course.
Everyone argues from their own point of view, and there is nothing uniquely sinister when Christians do the same. That’s not to say that I want every aspect of my moral system enforcing by law, but world views express themselves in every context.
Diversity of atheist thought is often cited as evidence of the intelligent free-thinking possible when religious dogma is withdrawn, while diversity in Christian thought is cited as a reason to ignore the views of Christians.