SHONA Craven seems to have presented a topical if rather jaundiced essay which contained both a problem and perhaps a solution (" The Kirk should not need to indoctrinate school children", The Herald January 2).


Three aspects jumped out at me in her writing on the subject of religion in our schools. I believe there is a naivety afoot on the subject of denomination as a school label. If Christianity was to be removed from our schools it is clear to me that there are several religions waiting in the wings to swiftly move in and fill the vacuum at any cost, financial or otherwise. If Ms Craven thinks she knows from experience something about religious indoctrination I suggest she conduct even a brief comparative study.

Secondly, it was the Education Act (Scotland) 1872 which put responsibility for early education on to school boards and away from local parishes, which meant that apart from Roman Catholic schools most of the remainder were essentially secular. However, teacher training colleges would remain separate for a long time after and clearly this would influence what emphasis any religious reference took. Ms Craven clearly did not acquire a faith in God at school and I assume that like many others she bases her moral code in life on faith in human nature. Perhaps she feels our schools should therefore spend more time on reading Machiavelli and less on the Bible.

Lastly, I often find the soft target of Christianity, singled out in such curricular arguments, to be a form of educational prejudice in itself. For example, Ms Craven informs us that " I can't pretend I remember much from the religious education I received at secondary school...". However could she not say the same about her classes in mathematics? Why does she not claim that learning abstract theorems was also an "indoctrination" ?

I recall it was GK Chesterton who reminded us that "when a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing; he believes in anything."

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,


SHONA Craven condemns the indoctrination of children (Herald - 2nd Jan), but fails to see that she is supporting precisely that.

Her utopian fantasy vision of a modern Scotland where "enlightened Scots are leading moral, purposeful lives free from religious superstition"' is exactly the kind of attitude that results in the "enlightened" seeking to indoctrinate those in darkness.

After all, if it is so obvious that the principles of secular humanism equals "The Light", then the only reason that people do not adopt them must be because they are either ignorant or evil. If the latter then they should be dealt with by the full force of the law, if the former then we need to use the schools to "educate" children out of religious 'superstition' and into the Brave New World of the Enlightened .

It is sad that our education system has so declined that this position can be put forth as a liberal and tolerant one, when it has at its heart the seeds of the most intolerant and illiberal view of society.

The reason some of us want the Christian ethos and tradition of freedom, tolerance and principled pluralism to remain the value basis of Scottish education is precisely to combat this kind of Utopian atheistic doctrine.

If atheists wish to indoctrinate children in their "enlightened" principles, let them do so. All that we are asking is that those of us who do not accept these doctrines are allowed to have our children educated according to the traditional Scottish Christian values,.

David Robertson,

Solas CPC,

Swan House,

2 Explorer Road,

Technology Park ,