Belief systems

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Norman Bonney’s suggestion (Letters, 23 September) that pro-independence Scottish Roman Catholics should switch from the Roman Catholic Church, controlled from Rome, to the Church of Scotland, self-governing here in Scotland, shows so woeful an understanding of religious belief that I am driven to wonder whether it may not be a spoof letter sent by someone else to embarrass him.

He appears to have no idea that having a religion involves believing certain things, and that it is not possible to stop believing something just because the body that promotes those beliefs has a political structure you find uncongenial.

Beliefs are not things one chooses.

If you believe that the RC doctrine of the Mass is true, you cannot stop believing it is true just because the hierarchy does tend to centralise things in Rome.

Moreover, his letter shows no idea that different churches promulgate different beliefs. Is he aware, for instance, that the Church of Scotland holds that Roman Catholic beliefs about the Mass are false?

Paul Brownsey


Again we hear Gus Logan (Letters, 24 September) lament the “intolerance” of secularists because our championing of religious freedom does not extend to letting him run our schools.

There are many religious privileges which have “stood the test of time” but their tenacity is not a measure of their worthiness in a society where a minority of people profess a religious belief.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society

Saughtonhall Drive


Gus Logan fears that “if the Scottish secular lobby has its way, we will eventually end up in the same kind of intolerant society” that stopped Angela Merkel’s mother working as a teacher in east Germany because she was a Christian.

I know of no Scottish secular group that would support such intolerance. If Mr Logan does, would he care to name it?

He goes on to propose making no changes to the provision of religion in schools on the basis that it “has stood the test of time”.

Perhaps he does not appreciate that tests of time are not like single exams which are sat once only. As time is forever ongoing, so are its tests, and the most venerable traditions must always be assessed on their suitability for the world we live in today.

Since in today’s Scotland it should not be assumed that all schoolchildren are even religious, the Scottish Secular Society is campaigning for parents to be asked if they wish their children to be enrolled in acts of religious observance. I can reassure Mr Logan that we are certainly not trying to throw Christian teachers out of schools.

Robert Canning

Scottish Secular Society

Broughton Street