By putting Allan Bowers’s puerile meanderings next to the obituaries I would like to think that the Herald is making a value judgement, but I fear it is more to do with layout than reason.
Not content last week with reminding us of the appalling link to St Francis of Assisi by the most divisive British prime minister in the last century, this week we have a half-baked attack on humanism.
He asserts that humanism is the “most serious rival that Christianity is facing in our day, making the horizon which is beautiful [?] just misty”.
Quite apart from this being a statistically illiterate comment, it carefully avoids any attack on any of the other faiths which pose a bigger threat.
The fact is that most faiths have at their heart a belief that they are exclusively right, which by definition means that other faiths are wrong. Hence the capacity for conflict.
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In these days of inter-faith dialogue, it is rather unfashionable to point out to people of a religious persuasion that to be true to their faith’s central tenets they have to hold firm to the notion of exclusivity.
“Do Hindus go to your heaven?” is a question no Christian has ever satisfactorily answered to my knowledge. Among the many other wise things the humanist Bertrand Russell said was: “Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence. It will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.”
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The logic-defying rearguard action being fought by Allan Bowers and his ilk will ensure that sanity does not rule in my lifetime and indeed it may take aeons – but either mankind ultimately rejects big tooth fairy in the sky beliefs or it perishes in the certain knowledge of salvation in the next mythical world.