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Teach Teachers Christianity as well as LGBT – Letter in the Herald

It was good to be on holiday – but I still had to do a little because of an article that appeared in The Sunday Herald – What price for a Herald? The debate over compulsory LBGTI+ education in schools  This letter was a follow up….

Dear Editor, 

As last we seem to be making some progress in what I would call Scotland’s dialogue – not ‘culture war’.  

Firstly I agree with Robert Canning of Secular Scotland when he says that children should be taught facts, and not indoctrinated. They should be taught about the various views of human sexuality and the health risks associated with sex, including the increased health risks associated with sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. 

It was also good to head Seamus Searson of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association wanting teachers to be more sensitive to the diverse needs of the pupils they teach. Teachers do have a duty to answer all questions (if that is possible), correct untruths and tackle prejudice from whatever source.  That is why I look forward to the Scottish government funding the training of teachers to help them understand the Christian faith so that they can tackle the untruths and prejudices that Christian pupils face.  I think of the teenage girl who was openly mocked in class for her Christian faith by her teacher, or the young boy who was bullied as a ‘bible basher’, or the misinformation fed to teenagers when they are told that Christians are homophobes and bigots.  Yes – it would be excellent if Scottish teachers were trained in what real Christianity is and taught how to support those who are mocked, ridiculed and bullied because they believe in Jesus Christ. 

Yours etc 

David A Robertson 

St Peters Free Church 

4 St Peter St


DD1 4 JJ


  1. “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
    There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
    for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!””

    Tormentors, mockers, seems just as you talked of with plus ca change before doesn’t it?

    What does Jesus say?

    “Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
    because of the Son of Man.
    “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”

    So – the Christian response is always to have joy. Bullies don’t know what to do with that – it messes with their heads and takes away their power. So we are to come to this with joy, with the riches of heaven.

    Sometimes the biggest rebellion is in being so free as your mere presence is an offence. We should be glad that the girl and the boy are taking the courage to not be ashamed to be identified with Christ and taking the consequences. There are a few in church driven by comfort and having things go the way they like that could learn a thing or two from that.

  2. LGBTQ should be covered in the Sex Education course which would also cover sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention.

    The only appropriate place to cover Christianity would be in a course in World Religions.

    However, tolerance and respect for persons holding different religious, political, or other viewpoints should be reinforced in all classes, but would also be introduced early in the anti-bullying curriculum.

  3. Excellent, very true to experience as well. I stopped reading and buying the Glasgow Herald some time ago because of its obvious progressive hostility to Christianity and promotion of a relative morality.

  4. Two things. The first should be clear – the bullying needs to stop, especially from teachers (do you have more info on that?).

    The second is harder – “Scottish teachers were trained in what real Christianity is”.

    What is real Christianity that is acceptable to you? Is it the Christianity that has real problems with the TIE campaign (your version) or the one that clearly sees the need to support it (Rev Kelvin Holdsworth).

    Children do need to be taught about how to balance peoples beliefs and broader, more universal, concepts like equality. Of course, if we take the view that a bigot is “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.” then we need to tease more of that out in debate and discussion. After all, where a people freely and as a group share a belief and set of values that impact on no-one else then clearly that is not bigotry. Trying to extend those beliefs onto others who freely and as a group do not share those beliefs is, I would argue, intolerant and therefore bigoted.

    1. Douglas, “trying to extend those beliefs onto others” is you would argue bigoted. Yet part of “Christian” amour against the kind of bullying that the boy and girl encountered that David has described is “good news” about Jesus. It follows therefore that all Christians who share “good news” about Jesus “to others who freely and as a group do not share those beliefs” re bigoted according to you.

      OK so then using similar argument. Some atheists take the approach of there needing to be evidence of God and have concluded that since there is none in their view that there probably is no “god” and have advertised an argument that life is best lives by not having any “worry” bout this.

      So given you argue that trying to an extend beliefs to others who freely don’t share them is intolerant and bigoted and there are others who believe in an all powerful, all benevolent loving God, do you think that this approach by some atheists is intolerant and bigoted? And if not why not?

      1. I think you misunderstand something Adam, or maybe I do. There is a world of difference between sharing the “good news” about Jesus and actively extending that news onto people if they dont want it. For example, same sex marriage. There is no problem with David saying that people in his church and faith are against it. That is fine, its a shared communal belief willingly entered into. But David did more than that, as did other faiths. They sought to deny SSM to those who did not share that position. They sought to deny SSM to those who felt that it was ok, in their a shared, communal belief willingly entered into. It is not good for good news to be forced onto people. By all means preach but the prevent is bigotry.

        Some atheists are intolerant and bigoted against those who have a faith. And they are wrong to do so. It would be wrong to tell a church what to believe or believers how to pray or tell Christians how they should follow their faith. Just as it is OK to critique atheism it is ok to critique the beliefs of a religion but to be insulting is intolerant. To deny opportunities to go to church and pray would be bigoted just as denying people SSM if they want it. I think its wrong for Christians to reach into the lives of non-believers and I think the same is true for the reverse.

    2. So there should be no problem with a humanist, or any other sort of grouping, stating they are against a concept in law specifically recognising a committed male-female relationship. But if I understand right, by what’s said above, there would be a problem if they tried to deny that to those who do find a positive purpose in such a thing, especially when its existence isn’t impinging on others rights?

      Note I do not mean that the attendant legal rights are denied, but that recognition of the concept is erased – not to mention made out to be the height of bigotry.

  5. Well written, David. Challenging times, but there is a great cloud of witnesses to how we meet them

  6. The letter was quite restrained since the LGBTI+ taught at schools is itself indoctrination rather than facts.

    1. Well, if you honestly want facts, you could look up homosexuality in Wikipedia. We cannot rely upon the Bible to give us facts, because it basically was written by men with a significant prejudice against people who have this handicap.

      1. Marvin:
        “….Well, if you honestly want facts, you could look up homosexuality in Wikipedia….”

        You’ll be telling us next that Wiki has no discernible p.o.v. of any kind

      2. My understanding is that if Wikipedia does have a bias in any article, it can be directly addressed and corrected by anyone with better information to share.

      3. I took your advice, Marvin,
        and read a substantial part of the Wikipedia article, and a few of the linked articles for good measure. I’m not surprised that it doesn’t deal with some aspects of the subject that the Bible does refer to. Wikipedia contributors have their own prejudices and there is some conflict about the extent to which homosexuality is a choice but by and large Wikipedia and the Bible are not talking about the same things.
        When the individual is all that matters, then one can ignore the fact that homosexuality divorces sex from sexual reproduction. I find that the Bible takes a view about the resulting self-destruction of humanity that romantic egalitarianism is not able to confront.

      4. I’m pretty sure that all birth control methods seek to divorce sex from reproduction. This can be a morally good thing when you consider that overpopulation can lead to species extinction. In our case, we have so many people chopping down forests and burning coal and gas that the planet is undergoing global warming. Reducing the number of people reduces most of these harms to our environment.

        “Be fruitful and multiply” would have been morally better when the survival of the nomadic Jewish people depended upon outnumbering other tribes on the battlefield and the life expectancy was probably around 30 years. But what was good advice then is most likely bad advice now.

        I would agree with you though that homosexuals do have a choice to make about what they do about their homosexual orientation which they did not have any choice about. They might do as Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson did, and marry someone of the opposite sex to raise their own children. Or, they might find a happier life with a mate of the same sex. But that is their choice to make. As long as their choice does not affect anyone else, everyone else needs to respect their right to choose the course of their own lives.

      5. Marvin,
        “….We cannot rely upon the Bible to give us facts, because it basically was written by men with a significant prejudice against people who have this handicap….”
        As I never got round to saying – this is silly. It would follow that since EVERY stated moral principle is evidence of some kind of judging process logically prior to itself, ALL should be disregarded.

  7. The letter was far too restrained as LGBT teaching is indoctrination, pure and simple. It is based on Gender Theory which is neither scientific nor factual, but pure social and political engineering that runs against the current of all previous global faith based beliefs, not just Christianity, as well as totally contrary to all major global cultures.

  8. Excellent letter. However is it not now time for all Christian parents to start writing assertively to their local Head Teachers and education authorities to demand equality treatment as outlined in the letter above. Similarly, is it not now time for Christian leaders in each locality to begin to provide active support for all Christian parents and their children in their own local schools. After all many ministers Pastors and other Christian leaders hold the position of school chaplain and as such should have the ear of the school leaders and as such ought to be up front seeking equality of treatment for Christians in their own school communities. Finally is it not time for Christian parents to start holding Christian school Chaplains to account for the input (or usually lack of effective input) in to their local schools.

    1. What is a school chaplain? And are they qualified to counsel children of other religions as well as Christianity? Or are we talking about a single-religion school, like Catholic?

    2. Ask I asked David above regarding which approach to Christianity he would want in schools, they same point could be made here. School Chaplins have very ill defined roles in places. Chaplains started giving out creationist materials in a school in South Lanarkshire in contradiction of the curriculum. Access to children in school does need to be based on something greater than mere belief.

      1. “…. Access to children in school does need to be based on something greater than mere belief..”

        then it looks as if by your lights, they may have to do without education. Show me a secular humanist with more to offer than his belief in human sufficiency, if not perfectibility?

      2. Oh. Hi. Secular Humanist here. I don’t claim to speak for all of them, but here’s how I think morality works. The basis of morality is suggested by Matthew 22:35-40. I would paraphrase it like this, “Love Good, and love good for others as you love it for yourself. All other rules serve these two.”

        We call something “good” if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. Morality seeks the best possible good and least possible harm for everyone. And this is the scale upon which all moral judgments are made. Moral judgments typically compare two rules or courses of action. It estimates the benefits and harms to people of enacting this rule (eg, outlawing slavery) rather than that one (eg, ensuring escaped slaves are returned to their owner).

      3. Your problem is that you can’t define ‘good’ or indeed even harm. Once you define good then you have a basis…can you define good without God?

      4. We call something “good” if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. This is easily seen when starting at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the physical necessities of life. We can say, for example, that it is objectively good to give the man dying of thirst in the desert a glass of water. And it is objectively bad to give the same glass of water to a man drowning in a swimming pool.

        As you move to more complex issues, what is ultimately good or bad for us may be more difficult to discern. But the fact that things are pretty clear at the bottom level, and that subsequent levels of needs are directly or indirectly based on ways to assure that we survive, thrive, and continue as a species suggests that there may be objective moral judgments possible.

  9. Well tempered, sufficiently so to provoke ire and hissings from the nest.

    But, who would teach the teachers real Christianity? And to identify Christophobia in all its subtle spectrum of colours and in its blazingly, blindingly, monochromes.

    Would that Jesus Christ was as exalted and revered in His church as Mohammed is in Islam.

    1. Thank you. I did not find an explanation of the role of chaplain, but I did find the section on “Inclusions and Equalities”, which totally satisfied my concern.

  10. 1 It is interesting to note that the online TIE petition at the time of writing this numbers 9,480 with a target of 10,000.

    2 David’s article seems to be a delayed, but specific and well judged, response (due to holidays) to Harvie’s last word about this in the Herald, and therefore does not reiterate his previous comments on the specific issues

    3 Douglas McLellan’s response of “which version of Christianity?” was easily foreseeable.

    4 The “universal concepts ” espoused (if I may use that word) by Douglas (if I may be familiar) seem to be extremely reductionist – in this context reduced to “equality,” though Harvie expands on this to include “human rights.” Except that some rights carry greater weight than others, are more equal that others. Douglas is of course no doubt aware that Christianity has a universal approach to life and humanity made in the “image of God” and rather than a “theory of everything” contends for the “reality of everything,”

    5 Bigotry: It’s good that Douglas makes definitions in a world where definitions are replaced by descriptions. But would you not have to live in a vacuum, in any walk of life, to avoid being a bigot according to this definition?

    Where is Harvie placed in the light of these words from Douglas? –
    “Trying to extend those beliefs onto others who freely and as a group do not share those beliefs is, I would argue, intolerant and therefore bigoted.” A clear example is it not of the certitude of todays intolerant tolerance?

    6 Wikki: I’m glad that good teachers do not appreciate pupils using Wikki as a reference source. Surely Mr Edwards didn’t mean to link homosexuality with “men who have this handicap.”

    1. It seems appropriate to me to call it a handicap. We call it a handicap when someone is either impaired or prevented from doing something that people are normally able to do. People are normally able to see and hear, so we consider blindness or deafness a handicap. And there are variations on the severity or quality of the handicap. For example, a person may be able to see, but be colorblind. So, when possible, we try to accommodate their handicap, like when we build ramps to provide access for people in wheelchairs.

      A homosexual orientation impairs the ability to mate normally, with someone of the opposite sex. Normally, our sense of sexual attraction compliments mating, by drawing us to someone of the opposite sex. But the homosexual is instead drawn to someone of the same sex. Now this does not always prevent normal mating. For example, Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson was up front with his wife about his attractions, but they decided to marry anyway. As a result he has two daughters. But later they decided to divorce. Despite announcing to his congregation his handicap, and that he was pursuing a same sex relationship, he was welcomed to remain their Bishop. When gay marriage became legal, he married his male partner.

      In any case, there are probably many gay men out there who never have children of their own because of this handicap. I’m not using the term to put anyone down, but rather to elicit understanding of their condition.

  11. Marvin, your fair-minded and thoughtful approach is pure refreshment, compared with that of many self-designated humanists 🙂
    But when you say
    “…We call something “good” if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species….”
    how does that help? (to qualify would-be educators).
    It’s just something you believe.

    1. The “real need” part is to distinguish actual needs from desires. The problem with formal Utilitarianism is that pleasure and pain are not always reliable guides to what is good or bad for us. Some of the most pleasurable things, like heroin, can destroy a life. And some of the best things in life, like having a child, is very painful.

      In fact, how we feel about things can be very malleable. One of the key roles of Religion is to help us to feel good about being good and doing good. That’s why we have churches, songs, lessons, discussion groups, etc. And this is important in a world where we see the selfish prosper at others expense. Doing the right thing sometimes requires a “Dare to be a Daniel” attitude.

      1. Hi Marvin – loving your posts, thank you.

        The other problem with formal utilitarianism is that human beings are constrained within time, so that we cannot with any great accuracy differentiate between short and longer-term solutions that would contribute to the overarching idea of “the greater good”. We are pathologically myopic, whether or not you would sign up for the Bible’s diagnosis of our sin nature, and that means that decisions supposedly in favour of the greater good have a tendency to be self-serving.

        Thus, if we arrive at a definition of ‘good’ on the basis of most utilitarian models, that concept of ‘good’ is wrapped up in a bundle of considerations which have more to do with circumstantial power-plays than anything else. We need a standard for ‘good’ which is outside of ourselves, in order to free us from the subjective clutter which militates against the very objective we think we prize.

      2. Hi Kevin. You raise a good point. None of us has a “God’s eye view” of the ultimate outcome of our choices. But if we each have a sound commitment to the general goal of “the best possible outcome for everyone”, we can, over time and through experience, learn the best ways to do things.

        Our imperfections lead us to democratic methods, where our elected representatives hold hearings to gather facts about an issue, and the facts draw us to similar or compatible results. However, the facts are never complete. So each of us privately estimates the benefits and harms of a given proposal, and votes our conscience. A democratic vote decides a course of action. The new law is implemented and the actual effects may be observed over time. As a result of the new information, we accept, reject, or modify the rule.

        But what makes the choice objective is not that it comes from some outside source, but rather that it is based upon facts and realistic estimates of future results. It is not just one person’s subjective opinion. But rather something that can be confirmed or denied by every objective observer.

        The problem with relying upon God to provide an objective morality is that there is no way to objectively know what that is. Consider the problem of Peter and Paul in the new church. One argued Christians must be circumcised. The other argued this was no longer required. Consider the collection of rules in OT books covering diet and which animals should be sacrificed for which sins, versus the rule in the NT that faith alone was sufficient.

  12. the problem with Utilitarianism, formal or informal, is that it’s just a belief. Isn’t it?

    1. Yes, I would classify Utilitarianism as a belief, like Christianity. What I would prefer is an objective morality. But I’m using “objective” differently. Scientific objectivity would be a morality in which we could say, “this rule is morally better than that rule, due to greater benefits and fewer harms to everyone”. The benefits and harms could, at least in theory, be listed and weighted such that all observers would agree that they saw one rule (or course of action) to be better than the other one.

      For example, if there were a rule from the OT saying we must stone to death our homosexuals would be judged to be morally inferior to a rule that said homosexuals will have the same rights to work, to live where they choose, and form formal partnerships with each other similar to heterosexual marriage.

      Under one rule people are stoned to death. Under the other rule people are not stoned to death. Which rule is morally better than the other?

      1. Marvin, to invite a comparison between them is a red herring.
        Your starting point was that MORE THAN BELIEF IS REQUIRED.
        All you’ve done so far is argue for the superiority of one belief over another.
        Where is this fabled “something more”?

      2. Sorry for any confusion. I am not a Utilitarian. They have there own set of beliefs, based, I think, in a concept of Eudaimonia (had to look that one up).

        What I’m suggesting is that morality can be based in objective fact. The simplest example is that it is objectively good to give the man dying of thirst in the desert a glass of water. And it is objectively bad to give that same glass of water to someone drowning in a swimming pool. Presuming no farfetched exceptional circumstances, these moral judgments are objectively correct.

        They are not matters of anyone’s personal opinions, but facts that a biologist or medical doctor can confirm, and that all rational people would agree with. It begins with the a priori assumption that life, until its reasonable end, is good.

  13. Marvin,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head in this whole “debate” with your words, “In fact, how we feel about things can be very malleable” – asking vulnerable youngsters to base their self selected gender on how they feel. Gender fluidity is fraught with the unknowns of social engineering.

    I think your dad has had an influence on your humanism, although your view about the writers of the bible appears to be far too unthinking and rudimentary. The bible is all about Jesus Christ, from beginning to end, not us, me. And is there a tendency for Salvationists to fall into the trap to emphasise and rely on “good works” for salvation, rather than the cross of Christ? Remove God and there is a good model for a humanist enterprise. It’s a well laid trap for us all – as others have better said, for us to base our justification on our sanctification (our Godliness, or goodliness.)

    To digress, I was once had a very brief encounter with a manager of a humanist care home in Tunbridge Wells. She said humanists believed in humanity. I, rather simplistically, and perhaps too immediately responded, “So does God – He created us”. “But we don’t believe in God,” she sharlpy retorted. End of conversation.

    1. Hi Geoff, The Salvation Army is not based on a “good works” version of salvation. It is based in a “washed in the blood of the lamb” salvation, an acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal savior salvation. I know. I knelt at the alter many times over the years that I was a preacher’s kid (and officer’s brat) in our church. And each time I felt renewed.

      General William Booth left his Methodist church because all the congregation was well-dressed, and those needing Jesus most in their lives were outside the church. So he started the Salvation Army. Rather than preach to people on an empty stomach, he fed them. The good works followed naturally upon the love of Jesus and his directions to feed the poor, heal the sick, and visit the prisoner. But salvation came with a personal relationship to Jesus. And sanctification came from years of Bible study and prayer.

      Humanism, as I understand it, is Christian values without the theology. When I rejected the idea of a God that could condemn anyone to eternal torture, I did not want to throw out the values I acquired growing up a Christian. And I believe the American Humanist Association was created by a couple of Unitarian Universalists. And were it not for the fact that my mother moved in with me after her hip replacement and was currently a Methodist, I’d still be singing in the UU choir.

  14. Hello Marvin,

    You’ve raised multiple theological points such as the relationship between the OT and NT, continuity and discontinuity, law and gospel, covenants, substitutionary atonemet, Peter and Paul without resolving them in and through Jesus Christ and as result, it is submitted, draw falacious conclusions or inferences. They are huge topics in the historical redemptive timeline, from pre-creation, creation, the fall of mankind, sin, evil (not forgetting satan), the incarnation of Jesus, to a new heaven and earth, all of which which require great consideration and teaching. And there is systematic theology, which from experience has generally has been much neglected or avoided in Methodism.

    But you seem to fall back onto utopian theorising on objectivity and a philosophy of the objectivity of science.

    As for hell you might (not) like to look at David’s next post on Hell, if you’ve not already done so.

    1. I remember looking at a book in my parents bed room titled “Dispensational Truths”. It suggested that God presented himself to man differently through time as man became more mature and ready to accept an evolving revelation. This was to account for the differences between the Old Testament and the New.

      But my philosophy is simpler now that I feel I understand the questions better. I don’t have all the answers to specific questions, but I feel I understand and can more clearly state the nature of a moral problem.

      The Bible is a rich book. And it is a history of our search for moral truth. But I am personally convinced that it was written by men. Inspired, yes. But by a vision of perfect Good, and a God evolving toward that.

      I can appreciate that professionals have rounded their corners and reconnected the structure to fit a central theme, that of Jesus. And that’s cool with me. I like Jesus. But I no longer need to force all the details into a logical structure in order to validate my old religion. I’ve moved on. And I now validate (or not) the scriptures according to a more reasoned moral judgment. Sometimes I identify with Paul, who visited a place where they had so many gods that they included a statue to “the unknown God”. And Paul suggested he could explain to them that unknown god.

  15. You are right to link overpopulation with species extinction, Marvin,
    but don’t you think that fear of causing overpopulation is a cover excuse for all sorts of selfish indulgences? Again you are right, IMO, to link global warming to human activity but it is over-simplistic to say that reducing the number of people would heal the environment. Sooner or later nations see the need to build up a falling population and some do not manage to recover without massive immigration.

    Modern/Postmodern opinion tends to see the increase of all kinds of sexual activity as being due to increased freedom but I’ve never understood how enslavement to desire is considered to be ‘freedom.’ Increased homosexual activity is a sign of some kind of societal breakdown; not necessarily overpopulation but SSM could well prove to be a major contributory factor in uncontrollable population ageing.

    In the New Testament, Paul – presumably because of an expected famine – advises unmarried Corinthian Christians not to get married. The assumption surely was that no marriage meant no children.

    Again, I’m not able to grasp why breaking a covenanted relationship with a wife in order to enter into another relationship is not considered a worse sin than the homosexual attraction that provokes the desertion. Having the right to choose is the defining liberty of our times but when that right is dependant on the total disregard for the rights of other people, it threatens our continued existence.


    1. Hi John, The Robinsons entered into divorce after counseling and prayer. Gene Robinson’s book, “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage”, can give you a better idea of how seriously he took both his marriage and his relationship with God.

      I think that it is normal to seek release from sexual tension, just like it is normal to desire food when we are hungry. How we choose to satisfy our physical needs is where questions of morality arise. A married couple ought to be able to use contraception to avoid overpopulating a family to the point of poverty. If there is going to be unmarried intercourse, then the couple ought to avoid having children until they are ready to commit to forming a family. And, of course, it is good to avoid the spread of STDs. And, of course, sometimes its best to just take care of one’s own needs oneself.

      I understand your point about overpopulation and the unintended effects of some population control programs. I think that after they implemented the One Child policy in China, many baby girls were abandoned because the son was valued more. This led to a shortage of young women to mate with and also an aging population with a smaller workforce supporting it. Last year they began easing it.

      My understanding is that in industrial nations, simply opening more careers to women led to a more natural decline in population. But I suspect this requires the availability of contraception.

      As to the good Sisters of Saint Mary (SSM Health) , I believe they were morally and ethically wrong to object to paying for employee health insurance policies that covered contraception. If their position were principled, then they would have to be running their own pharmacies as well as running their own insurance plans. Since there is no guarantee that buying a bottle of shampoo does not subsidize a pharmacy’s selling contraceptives, you have the same dilemma. It is essential that we all recognize that others have their own beliefs, and are responsible for their own choices as to whether to buy and use contraceptives or not. Their choice should not offend one’s own integrity. Only one’s own behavior can do that.

      1. The bishop and his ex-wife may well have prayed before making their wrong decision, Marvin,
        ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death’. [Proverbs 16:25]

        Moses could be speaking to us right now in Deuteronomy 30:19, ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.’


  16. Marvin,

    “… It begins with the a priori assumption that life, until its reasonable end, is good….”
    That’s what I mean.
    It begins with an assumption, which begins in someone’s brain. You feel as if you’re starting from brute facts, but not so – an “ought” can’t validly be derived from an “is”. “To human beings, life is desirable in itself” may be a fact. “…Therefore we OUGHT to maximise that desirable thing” is not.

    Unless of course you allow God into the equation.
    Then you do have a solid basis for a system of ethics.

    1. But the presumption that life is good is also your own a priori presumption as well as that of Jesus. John 10:10 “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” And I’m sure he is not speaking of overpopulation, but rather of the quality of life.

      Curlew: “Unless of course you allow God into the equation. Then you do have a solid basis for a system of ethics.”

      As a Humanist, I think I’m saying the same thing by replacing God with Good.

  17. The Supreme Court judgement on The Named Person Scheme says something very pertinent to this issue: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get to the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way.”

  18. It says it all when someone admits that they had to look eudaimonia up,
    Another one to look up is akrasia.
    Too much time spent playing computer games.
    Rather than progressing our society has forgotten much of what was previously common knowledge.

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