Beyond belief

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BOBBY Vickery’s letter (March 24) on the matter of religious freedom presents us with a false dichotomy, comparing a society free of religious influence with North Korea.

This reveals a lack of critical thinking found all too often among religious believers.

In fact, North Korea and societies dominated by religion share many essential features - a repressed and poorly educated population, authoritarian rule, arbitrary policy making and ruthless elimination of dissent.

The liberal secular society to which we should aspire guarantees freedom of religion, by guaranteeing freedom from religion.

Bobby is by all means free to worship the totem of an ancient Judaean tribe and respect the delusional fantasies contained in its scripture as much as is wished, but should not expect them to define our public policy.

That should only be determined by rational debate and democratic consent.

A more appropriate comparison would be with the Scandanavian countries, who are some way ahead of us in the marginalising of religious influence.

It is well-proven that levels of general prosperity, educational attainment, and social well-being around the world are inversely correlated with levels of religious observance.

Dr RICHARD NEVILLE

Durfold Road, Horsham