Religion’s role

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Rev Robert Anderson (Letters, 21 Jan) attacks secularism and says: “Christianity should be a necessary part of the solution to the present problem of Islam in this country.”

He forgets that in 1988 it was Christian militants linked to the far-right group Front National and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who were blamed on an attack on a Paris cinema while it was showing The Last Temptation of Christ.

The film showed Jesus imagining he was engaged in sexual activities. The Christian militants threw Molotov cocktails into St Michel theatre in Paris while it showed the film.

Thirteen people were injured, four of whom were severely burned. Nine were arrested and it took three years to rebuild the theatre.

The Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, said: “One doesn’t have the right to shock the sensibilities of millions of people for whom Jesus is more important than their father or mother.”

The leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a self-
described Christian group that had promised to stop the film from being shown, said: “We will not hesitate to go to prison if it is necessary.”

Garry Otton

Scottish Secular Society

Edinburgh

I think I understand what Rev Anderson is trying to say but – and I write this as a Christian – I believe he is wrong.

Many (though not all) people of faith are taught that they must treat their own religion as the only true religion.

I used to be a member of fundamentalist Christian church, where we were told that we were not proper Christians if we did not try to convert other people – of other religions or none – to our way of thinking.

I have since moved to a more tolerant church but I know there will always be people with the aforementioned strong views across all religions.

For them, the idea of finding common ground with other religions and secular society seems impossible.

Mark Wentworth

Chamberlain Road

Edinburgh

According to the Reverend Robert Anderson, Christianity is an essential part of the solution “to the present problem of Islam in this country”, and suggests that combating the power of this global ideology requires the greater power of a global 
redeeming faith.

I think we could interpret that proclamation as just another faith-based ideology wishing to engage in a sectarian battle for minds and bodies. The Reverend blames secularism for Christianity’s demise, but in reality it has failed to win the argument in the market place for ideas, for which it can only blame itself.

We are indeed trying to find a solution to the present crisis which we are told by politicians is in fact nothing to do with Islam. I would like to see concrete proposals from the Reverend as to how this magical transformation in humanity’s wellbeing is to be achieved by a competing faith flexing its 
moribund muscles against the religion of peace.

I do hope he is not planning a new crusade.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Edinburgh