Education Letters Newspaper/Magazine Articles Politics

The Battle Rages – Article and Letter in The Herald, article on CT and in P and J

The Herald today carries the following piece and also a letter by yours truly. It is important that we get the message out that this is not about American style creation/culture wars but more about the attempt by atheists to use secularism and the bogeyman of creationism to achieve their goal of getting Christianity out of the education system. The Press and Journal also have an article headlined ‘Minister in row with atheists’…The Scotsman have a letter attacking our position, and just for good measure Christian Today have an article attacking me for being ‘unkind’ and not nice to Steve Chalke from Martin Saunders (the thought crosses my mind whether he thinks he is being kind and nice in accusing me of being unkind and not nice – but more of that later!)…

The Herald Article

Free Kirk Leader attacks ‘Militant Atheists’ over Creationism Ban

CAMPAIGNERS bidding to ban schools from teaching creationism in science lessons are “militant atheists” who want to impose their own views on youngsters and discourage questioning, a church leader has claimed.
Reverend David Robertson, who will become the next Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland in May, accused the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) of using the issue of creationism in schools to “undermine and attack Christianity in pursuit of their sectarian and bigoted antireligious beliefs”.
The SSS has put forward a petition calling on Education Secretary Mike Russell to issue guidance to publicly funded schools and colleges to “prevent the teaching of creationism and related doctrines as viable alternatives to established science”.

Creationism is the belief that the universe and living beings originate “from specific acts of divine creation”, with the SSS saying last year that teaching of this “and the denial of evolution has been found in three separate Scottish schools in a very short period of time”. This, it argued, raises concerns that “such views and excesses may be endemic in the system”. The SSS – whose proposal would allow creationism to be discussed in religious education classes – will make its case to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee next week.

Ahead of that, Rev Robertson claimed the group was seeking to “impose an atheistic philosophy on children”.
The Dundee-based preacher said: “Since when was science determined by MSPs? Once we have politicians telling science teachers what to teach, on the advice of one particular faith belief, then we are in real trouble.
“Could we not have a more tolerant and Christian view of science? And could we not encourage children to think about the issues for themselves, rather than just tell them what to think?”
The St Peter’s Free Church minister continued: “The secularist faith tells them that there can be no intelligent design, because of course they do not want to believe even in the possibility of a designer.
“However in this they are not being scientific – they are just seeking to impose their religious view upon the whole of society.”
“It is desperately disappointing that secularists believe the key danger in 21st-century Scotland is apparently creationism, not the 20 per cent of Scottish children who live in poverty, nor the many thousands who have faced the ravages of sexual abuse and drug addiction.”

Both SSS chairman Spencer Fildes and Professor Paul Braterman, the group’s scientific adviser, are due to appear before the committee on Tuesday.
In a submission to MSPs, Mr Fildes argued that nothing in the petition would prevent the discussion of creationism in its “proper place as part of the study of ideas”. He also claimed that it did not “infringe on individual freedom of belief”.
The SSS said at the moment, the Scottish curriculum does not specifically make clear that “teaching creationism as an alternative to the overwhelming scientific consensus on the origins of the universe, or in any context as a viable alternative to accepted science, is unacceptable”.
But it stated: “This is not the case in England and Wales, where the Department for Education has stated that ‘We do not expect creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas to be taught as valid scientific theories in any statefunded school’.”

And the Letter:

The Privilege of the Humanists

HOW ironic that the letter from Iain Stuart, asserting that Humanists do not think their principles should be the only ones allowed in Scotland, is accompanied by one from his fellow Humanist Prof Norman Bonney, asking that the study of theology be removed from Scotland’s universities (Letters, November 7). This is the secular humanist idea of tolerance.
Of course I challenge the integrity and purpose of “research” which is paid for by the Humanist Society and is conducted by one of its members who states that his methodology will be to scour documents for evidence of religious privilege. We all know what the results of this research will be – a result which has already been purchased and pre-determined.
My primary concern, however, is with the privilege that the tiny minority of secular humanists have in Scottish society. In a pluralistic society their views should be one of many. But it appears as though they regard their beliefs as so selfevidently right, that the whole of society should be governed by them, whether we want it or not.

David Robertson, St Peters Free Church,


    1. And thus speaks the tolerant atheist who thinks his irrational system should be the basis of all education….thus speaks the historically ignorant atheist who is apparently not aware that all of the main Western educational institutions developed from Christianity…thus speaks the theologically ignorant atheist who does not know what a cult is and has no basis for evil….yep this is the kind of ignorance atheist education produces!

      1. It’s not “my” belief David, any more than your are Scottish is “my” belief.
        If you don’t think I, a Progressive American, steeped in a PC, multi-culturist ethos doesn’t understand tolerance for the sake of tolerance is a Good, and not some mandate from some totalitarian dictator in the sky, or an ancient Palestinian culture, than you misunderstand me at your peril.
        The Modern, Secularist position is that you have a seat at the table of ideas. Legally, I would have it no other way, but that’s not enough for you.
        You want society as a whole, to ignore the substantial difference between Reason-based Ethics and the Ethics of your CHOSEN belief structure (Christianity) derived from the claims of ancient, average men.
        Plurality means we get to take the best of Christianity, and reject the bad.
        But you wouldn’t have us do that, would you David? You wouldn’t have it that we stop at only the good parts. You want us to conform to YOUR subjective idea of Ethics. One based on YOUR “proper” interpretation of one book.
        Gay marriage. Christianity is simply on the wrong side. It’s not as perfect book. Jesus does not represent the perfect Man. God did not walk the Earth.
        It’s up to ALL of us to discover The Good.
        We are still learning as a species, but you’ll have us stagnate. To freeze human progress at 2000 CE and pretend our ignorance is not that we really don’t have all the most important lessons, but that we must return to a Authoritarian, ancient, patriarcical, monotheistic, superstitious, faith-based system. That’s evil.
        I have the freedom to take the good of the bible and reject the bad. Everyone does. Teaching Creationism elevates not the claims of the philosophy of Christian thought, but it elevates irrational, non-scientific thought.
        Christians aren’t the only ones with a Creation myth.
        In the end, Creationism is taught in school, in Mythology. Where it belongs.
        If Christianity relies on Creationism to have its ideas of Philosophy and Ethics (that is, if it is actually the final word from god and represents perfect ethics), then it is simply another Mythology.
        Which is what it is.
        Why do we need to consider ANY Mythology anything butMythology?
        Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Science – which intertwine to create school curricula, and politics and other useful endeavors – has no “Creation Myth” as much as Superstitionists would have some believe, it simply has a model of the Universe it thinks is a best guess, but that we need to learn more.
        These are two vastly different ideas for human flourishing.
        Our survival, and our species survival depends on us getting it right. There are no second chances.
        God has no command against our mutual destruction, but threatens us with it. Reason, and Reason alone tells us why our mutual destruction is not Good. An ethics, political, educational, etc system can ONLy be rational if derived FROM Reason, not some mythologist’s idea of what God wants.
        Creationism points us a way out from the bondage of a flawed ethical system.
        Come with us, David, you are welcome to Reason with us, but don’t confuse where you sit in the hierarchy of human potential and Thought.

      2. The Good is ‘that which one would call good if one were a perfect, objective observer, such as what a “Good God” would do, or what would be objectively seen as The Good thing to do in a certain situation, and also as judged for eternity.
        The Good is a concept. It’s the opposite of The Bad, and can’t be either.
        I know there is “The Good” and you do too. You know, for example, that you have had a sense of “goodness” as opposed to “The Bad”.
        What it is, specifically, is open to discussion. That’s the conversation we could be having, not that you KNOW the Good and you’re gonna learn it into me with your Bible.
        Name something and we can discuss why something might be more closely considered something “Good”.
        Whether it is absolutely Good, we both can’t know, but we could choose a life in which we act one way or another than makes us better neighbors – whatever a “Good Neighbor” means.

      3. And here Brent I agree with you – “The Good is ‘that which one would call good if one were a perfect, objective observer, such as what a “Good God” would do, or what would be objectively seen as The Good thing to do in a certain situation, and also as judged for eternity.” And therein you have provided the proof for God. No human being is the perfect objective observer, therefore we can only know the good through the perfect objective observer – God!

      4. Jeez, David, it’s proof of God if you believe God is a concept….

        No human being is a perfect observer, true, and there is no “prefect song” or Perfect Art – there is humanity that assesses which is “better”, and, if there is any concept of better than maps to reality, than it is towards “The Good”.

        What you don’t see it that you are starting to agree that “The Good” is conceptual, and that it only exists in the context of thinking, moral beings. Us.

        A brainless mind, floating in Heaven is not what we are talking about.

  1. The point is Secularism is superior. It absorbs the good of human thought, and rejects the bad. It is superior because it is incomplete. Any system that thinks it is complete is obviously dangerous to human flourishing- unless it was actually from superior beings.
    The writers of the Bible weren’t superior.
    You may think they were, but they weren’t. They didn’t speak for God anymore than I do. They weren’t even our greatest thinkers. We don’t need to pretend they were.
    Come on, David, you can take the Good and reject the Bad in the Bible. Stop making yourself or others feel bad that rejecting the misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, abusive and fear-mongering is wrong.
    Good on ya that you found Religion, David, but it’s not something to crow about.

  2. To drive the point. AS I said, Secularism is superior. Humanism is superior. It is a better system and deserves to overshadow any other. Humanism is privileged because it is better. Christianity is an archaic and outmoded Philosophical and Ethical system. It has served us well – Thanks, Jesus – but it’s time to move on.
    Even Jesus wouldn’t be a Christian today.

    1. Brent, you don’t attempt to back up any of your assertions (“humanism is superior…”) and that’s prudent.
      The atheist philosophies among which humanism must be classed have had a bare century or so to show what they’re made of, and the results have been terrifying.
      Even Roman Catholicism (which btw would have been recognisable neither to Jesus nor to his Apostles as Christianity) took centuries to notch up a fraction of the body-count of Communism.

      1. I did back up my assertions. I also said we can simply borrow any good idea from other religions and reject the bad ideas – just like Christianity did to Judaism.

      2. But you didn’t say who ‘we’ are and how ‘we’ discern what is ‘good’ and ‘bad….you just keep going round in circles. Thats what happens when you hold to such an irrational faith!

      3. BTW, Humanists would regularly reject the policies of Stalin and Mao.
        How would you think that a Philosophy called “HUMANism” would think it’s great to kill lots of Humans?
        What do you know about Humanism? Have you read the Humanist Manifesto?

        One part of it reads: “Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.”

        That has nothing to do with what Stalin and Mao thought.

        Humanism is a work in progress towards “The Good”. It’s simply is better.

      4. (You keep talking about “my faith” – is faith a bad thing to you? What is your end game, there?)

        Humanism exists in the context of all religions and philosophies – that’s why it is superior. It can take the good and reject the bad.

        You are still trying to explain slavery, pedophilia and women’s rights in the Christian context, not to mention how eternal torture is loving.

  3. Brent, I’ve read the humanist manifesto, in fact more than one, and in particular that sweet early one wherein no bones are made about the fact that humanism is a religion.
    It’s a religion that might be all very well if it didn’t have to be applied by and to humans.
    Sadly though it has to be included in with communism and all the other atheist philosophies. You think it’s better than them, because humanists don’t agree with mass killing. Bully for you – as the man said: you’re all against poverty, war and injustice, unlike the rest of the squares 🙂
    No Pol Pot or Stalin is going to be interested in your high-minded distinctives though – why should they? When you told them there was no God, you told them all they wanted to know.

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