Letter: A cure for the dawkins

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article on the relative merits of different religions (27 August), Andrew Brown makes some interesting points but misses the main one.

Whilst he is right to place an emphasis on the behaviour of adherents rather than on their beliefs in making value judgements between different religions, it is more important to focus on the methods used to recruit and retain those adherents. It is in this area that many religious movements offend against basic values and transgress the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Unless we suffer from chronic dawkins, most of us will defend a person's right to believe anything or nothing. However, methods used to instil and reinforce those beliefs can be measured against objective standards, and in this respect it is perfectly legitimate to describe one religious movement as better or worse than another. This point was well made in a motion on the Unification Church passed by the General Synod a few years ago, and remains valid.


The Rt Rev John Saxbee

Bishop and Archdeacon of Ludlow

Craven Arms,