Letters: Voice of reason

THE letter from Dr Mary Brown (10 April) alludes to the vast difference between those in power in organised religious hierarchies and the ordinary folk in the pews – or does it?

Organised religion is about cardinals and bishops holding on to the power and privilege they have secured for themselves over time, and everyone else doing as they are told.

Indeed, the Pope’s Easter message contained an exercise in telling his troops not to think for themselves but to obey his orders.

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It is precisely this attitude that resulted in the cover-up of a global epidemic of priestly child abuse down the centuries, and which accounts in part for the continued emptying of pews.

On the other hand, the former Archbishop of York, David Jenkins, said in his autobiography The Calling of a Cuckoo that the one thing that pushed him closest to becoming an atheist was the behaviour of the Christians he came into daily contact with as a result of his ministry.

People are entitled to believe what they want about the supernatural. However, when it comes to government and the functional elements of society, reason and rationalism should be deployed every time, in preference to superstition, myth and, on some occasions, what amounts to nothing other than primitive tribal hatreds.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent

Edinburgh

Sandy Gunn (Letters, 10 April) should note the word “carpenter” in the King James Bible is a translation of the Greek word “tekton”, which means “craftsman” or “builder” and appears in English as “architect” (chief-builder).

In 1611, the translators well knew that, but translated it as their equivalent. In England at that time, it was carpenters who built (mainly timber-framed) houses. If Jesus had been a carpenter, his sayings would be littered with references to carpentry. Instead they are littered with references to buildings and construction processes.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan

Edinburgh