Sir, – I must congratulate The Courier on its balance.
You have always been very generous in publishing letters by secularists, atheists or humanists in response to Christians.
In one Scottish newspaper (December 22) was an article on a church-backed study that stated: “75% of us think church is good”.
That was a reprint, complete with the same picture, of an article that appeared earlier in the year.
The paper also published the Christmas message from the notorious Rev Robertson, moderator of the Free Church of Scotland who has spoken publicly that gay marriage doesn’t exist, that paganism is the greatest threat to modern civilisation, that one of the basic functions of his charity, Solas is helping atheists overcome their “ignorance” that Mormonism is a dishonest and deceitful cult” and Islam is a model of consistency and logic.
I doubt many saw Mr Robertson’s tweets congratulating Slovenia for voting against gay marriage.
I’ve always wondered why so many of a Christian bent have letters published in some newspapers. Perhaps they operate a similar policy to a Christian evangelical working for an MP who admitted shredding constituents’ letters before the MP gets a chance to read them.
Garry Otton. Secretary, Scottish SecularSociety, 58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.
March of strident fundamentalists
Sir, – John Munro (December 21) lives in a black and white world where violence is always committed by religious people and even if an atheist were to be violent it is not done to promote their atheism.
To support his fairy story he offers a list of “facts” most of which are just simply false. Among his many mistakes are the following:
In the ancient world the vast majority of the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Egyptians and Israelites were not theists. Only some of the Persians and the Israelites could be called that. The rest were either polytheists or atheists.
Less than 40% of the population in South Africa regularly attend church, thus refuting Mr Munro’s claims that the great majority are active Christians.
The statement that there were no atheist slave traders or imperialists is as risable as his claim that Mussolini was a Christian.
Mussolini, as a socialist youth, declared himself to be an atheist and railed against the Catholic Church even declaring that only idiots believed the Bible.
Mussolini was typical of the other great dictators of the 20th century, Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot.
Mr Munro dismisses all this by saying that they did none of these things because of their atheism, which then begs the question, how does Mr Munro know that religious people who do acts of violence do so because of their religion?
If atheists do nothing bad because of their atheism, then by the same token one assumes they do not build hospitals, schools and help the poor because of it?
Mr Munro’s letter is typical of the new fundamentalist atheist approach, which sadly auto-selects only those facts which confirm their own beliefs and enables them to mangle history, logic and to advance their prejudice.
David A. Robertson. St Peter’s Free Church, 4 St Peter Street, Dundee.
A step forward for Saudi Arabia
Sir, – Derek Farmer (December 17) credits me with a runaway political hobby horse. Perhaps it has been obliged to travel so fast to keep pace with Mr Farmer’s obsessive attacks on Scotland’s First Minister and her party, of which I am not a member, at every opportunity.
I have no need of any history lessons on the politics of the Middle East, having served part of my National Service in the Canal Zone.
I am well aware of how women are treated not only in Syria but in other countries in the region.
I am not in a position to speak for Nicola Sturgeon about her desire to send women negotiators to Syria but I am well aware of the roles played by Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Syria conflict, with Saudi Arabia being supplied with weapons by the UK.
What Mr Farmer seems unaware of is that in municipal elections held in Saudi Arabia, 19 Saudi women were successful in gaining office.
It is a long way from achieving equality but a step in the right direction.
Allan MacDougall. 37 Forth Park, Bridge of Allan.
Credit where credit’s due
Sir, – In response to Derek Farmer of Anstruther and his diatribes of negativity towards anything remotely connected with the Scottish Parliament, I will give him a quote from a senior politician from Monday.
It read: “There can be no denying that whether it be fox hunting, smoking in public places, the right to roam or Section 28, where the Scottish Parliament led, the UK Parliament subsequently followed.”
Now I wonder who would have made such a claim? Perhaps it was Nicola Sturgeon or John Swinney?
Not a bit of it, in fact it was David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the only surviving Conservative in Scotland.
Let’s give credit to our parliament where it is due and stop knocking something that has for most been successful and a breath of fresh air in the story of Scotland regardless of who is currently in charge.
All this constant whining about it is worse than a Church of Scotland sermon delivered by Rev I.M. Jolly.
Bryan Auchterlonie, Bluebell Cottage, Ardargie.
Deluded faith of climate change
Sir, – Your correspondent Walter Attwood, Friends of Earth Stirling (FoES), rushes to print when his climate-change religion, is challenged.
His statement that extreme weather events are caused by greenhouse gas emissions is wrong.
The IPCC has stated that there is little or no link between climate change and extreme weather events.
The world currently depends on fossil fuels to provide 87% of all its energy uses.
Oil comes in at 33%, natural gas 24% and coal at 30%.
Hydro and nuclear power are on 10%, leaving solar and wind with a paltry 3%.
Oil is needed for 1.2 billion vehicles world-wide.
Clean gas is needed for a current world population of 7.4 billion.
China, India, and developing countries will continue to burn coal to grow their economies.
China has 2,363 coal-fired electricity plants with another 1,171 planned.
India has 589 with 446 planned.
None have carbon-capture and storage so their emissions will double or even treble by 2030.
Does Mr Attwood really think that developing countries will ever listen to a green pressure group from Stirling and abandon their use of cheap fossil fuels for expensive renewable energy?
Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow.