Richard Lucas’s skills of argument are letting him down when he resorts to ad hominem (and feminam) diatribes against Alistair McBay and myself for daring to disagree with him.
I will pass rapidly over his reference to “genetic fallacy” as I’m not sure what he means by it here. I am not “keen” to disagree with him or anyone else – if that were the case I’d have remained in the cut and thrust world of “human resource management”.
What I and Alistair McBay object to is Mr Lucas’s view that anything other than his “take” on Christianity, with its attendant violent imagery of human sacrifice and scapegoating, is incorrect.
In a post-modern, and post-Christian world, even significant theologians like Reverend Matthew Fox would challenge the view that Christianity is the “top” religion – it clearly has to get along with many other equally valid religious belief systems. In effect, there are many wells, but the water all comes from the same river. The other aspect of Richard Lucas’s belief system that I take issue with is that it’s apparently OK for him and his colleagues to insult other people’s beliefs with impunity – as evidenced by his claim that Halloween is a nasty and scary festival.
My point remains that this insults people for whom Samhain – which was celebrated in these parts long before they were Christianised – is a serious and significant event. Any marketing “tat” which has attached itself to Halloween also attaches to Christmas/Yule.
It will no doubt cheer Mr Lucas that I would also have much to argue about with Mr McBay, as I am a religious believer and he clearly isn’t. However, I am confident that the latter’s sense of humour and proportion would ensure a positive and amusing exchange of views.
(Dr) Mary Brown
Richard Lucas is right that the National Secular Society seeks to remove religious privilege from the public sphere, but appears to equate this with the view that religious people should be allowed to state the case for their faith without any challenge whatsoever.
However, religious views do have to be questioned, particularly when, as happened in Paisley this week, the non-denominational Williamsborough primary school cancelled Halloween celebrations because some parents might object to it on the grounds of their religious beliefs. In cases such as this, it is absolutely right that these beliefs are subject to scrutiny and question, since their exercise impacts adversely and unfairly on the rights and freedoms of others.
As to my alleged misunderstanding of the Trinity, as a former Christian myself I have read extensively on the subject of whether Jesus was God Incarnate and the view Richard Lucas expresses is by no means universally accepted.
There is a vast quantity of literature on the subject, as theologists and apologists have disagreed and argued back and forth for centuries. He is entitled to his opinion, and I to mine.
National Secular Society