Parish Practice

Stand up and be counted

10 July 2014 | by Nicholas Henshall

Parish Practice

I have had two run-ins with secular humanists over the last decade. Neither has been pretty. The first was live on the Sunday Breakfast show on BBC Radio Derby six years ago. The second was more recently in Harrogate Council Chamber, where I had agreed to defend Christianity in debate. Both encounters had a family likeness. In each context, the secular humanist argument had a predictable familiarity: the absurdist caricature of various forms of traditional religion, without any context or investigation; assertion in place of argument; outrageous overstatement and misrepresentation. Here a profoundly learned and thoughtful Presbyterian minister was literally shouted down by the humanist speaker for suggesting a historical link between atheism and totalitarianism. And the humanist speaker m

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