Today’s second letter-to-the-editor appears in The Province of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s titled I’ll take Christianity over atheism any day of the week.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But there’s no need to be discreet in this case. The letter-writer is Bruce Milne, formerly Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
He starts out referring to an earlier letter which suggests, in the rev’s words, that “children ought not be taught Christianity, a rehash of the well critiqued views of Richard Dawkins.” We’ll get to that later. Then the rev says:
If a basic aim of any responsible educational curriculum is to enable students to develop awareness of the factors that shaped their cultural world, Christianity necessarily claims a significant place.
That’s a rather limited view of education. The rev is really describing Sunday school, not genuine education. Anyway, he’s just getting started. Then he tells us.
To cite the findings of Illinois College sociologist Alvin Schmidt: “Not only countless individual lives, but civilization itself was transformed by Jesus Christ. In the ancient world, his teachings elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities and relief organizations, created hospitals, established orphanages and founded schools.“
Jesus did all that? We didn’t know. The rev continues to quote the sociologist:
“In medieval times Christianity almost single-handedly kept classical culture alive … moderating warfare through truce days, and providing dispute arbitration … In the modern era, Christian teaching, properly expressed, advanced science, instilled concepts of political, social and economic freedom, fostered justice and provided the greatest single source of inspiration for the magnificent achievements in art, architecture, music and literature that we treasure to the present day. No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement — whatever — has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.”
Wow — science, political freedom, economic freedom — Jesus did everything! Let’s read on:
Not teach that to our children? How could we, how dare we, withhold it?
Yeah, how dare we? Here’s the last paragraph:
With [this earlier letter’s] alternative syllabus — atheism — what do we find? Atheist Stalin’s 20 million deaths, the murder of 70 million people by Mao’s atheist regime or atheist Hitler’s regime responsible for nine million deaths, six million of them Jews. The Brave New World of atheism! God help us!
Well! The rev leaves us no choice. We’re convinced. All schools should be Sunday schools, all the time. Why bother with anything else?
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