ISN'T it odd that "indoctrination" is always something that other people do to their children; never what those who use the word do to theirs?

Shona Craven ("The Kirk should not need to indoctrinate school children", The Herald, January 2) denounces the Moderatorof the General Assembly of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Chalmers for the heinous crime of "indoctrination" because he wants children to be educated with specifically Christian values ("Moderator: Religion in schools crucial in defeating extremism", The Herald December 30, but is happy enough to let them be brainwashed into the values of consumerism and individualism that dominate society today - as if this were not indoctrination.

She supports Christian values, but would not allow children to be taught who Christ was, and why he is unique. Values without a foundation do not last, and this is a recipe for diminution and decline of the very values she espouses.

Meanwhile, on the facing page there is a fulsome article on Mary Slessor, who spent 38 years in Calabar "indoctrinating" the people into Christianity, stopping sacrifices and the ritual murder of twins ("Events will mark legacy of Scottish missionary Slessor", The Herald, January 2. Like David Livingstone, she also fiercely opposed the slave trade, and "indoctrinated" people against this.

Why do we honour her for imposing her values as if these were superior to existing mores, but excoriate the Rt Rev John Chalmers and other Christians for attempting to do the very same today?

Brian M Quail,

2 Hyndland Avenue,


IN her article about the dangers of Crhistian indoctrination in schools, Shona Craven states that enlightened Scots wish to lead lives that are free from religious superstition.

I consider myself to be an enlightened Scot who is almost entirely free of any superstition. I walk under ladders, I do not touch wood, and I live next door to house number 13. I do, however, believe in God and that the He came to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ. I also believe that Jesus died on a cross, rose again two days later and lives on as the Holy Spirit. Far from being "superstitions", these beliefs are very real for me. They help me to make some sense of what is happening in a world where suffering is ever present, as a result of natural disasters, wars or famine.

I refute the suggestion, made by some atheists that I must be a "simple, gullible soul". I would say that I am, by nature, a very sceptical person. As a retired GP, I have become distrustful of so-called, medical breakthroughs or "miracle cures". I know that politicians' promises are bound to be broken and their pre-election manifestos should be filed under "works of fiction" If an old cynic like me can believe in a loving God, anyone can and should be given every opportunity so to do.

(Dr) William F. Wallace,

11 Cherry Tree Park,


ROBERT Canning advocates a deletionist approach to Christianity's dominance in school assemblies ("We must have an inclusive approach to education," Letters, January 2). May I respectfully and succinctly suggest the crowning reason for its retention? One empty tomb.

Stuart J. Mitchell,

29 Windyedge Crescent,