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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 11. August 1, 1957

More on Doors

More on Doors

G.A W . was not telling us anything new when he wrote m his article "Closed Doors" that the real strength of an organisation comes from discussion and interchange of ideas. No society wants to ban that. But a society does want to ensure that its discussions do not become arguments G.A.W. is surely aware of the fact that it is very difficult for people to reason correctly about religion without their passions and prejudges being involved. Unfortunately this state of affairs is not confined to the man on the street. It applies equally well to "intellectuals" in a University. These prejudices and passions which "atheists and reactionaries" would naturally bring with them into religious society if they were granted membership would mar rather than promote worth-while discussion, Inevitably discussions would develop into endless arguments and harangues. If a reactionary or atheist is genuinely interested in a society by all means he should be allowed to join that society and if his interest is genuine he will probably add to the efficacy of the society, in all walks of life a person is barred from a society if his ideas are diametrically opposed to the aims and ideals of that society. If a person's sole aim is to be destructive rather than constructive I cannot see how he can add to the health of a society.

I am convinced that if religious societies opened their doors to all and sundry' there would be people who are ruled by prejudice and passion entering the society for destructive purposes only. To take a very extreme view of the matter what is to stop several atheists walking into a society and voting it out of existence? And that is not as facetious as it sounds. It has happened several times in the past that the wrong people have packed themselves on to an organisation and forced legislation completely at variance with the aims of the organisation. That is precisely what had happened to our watersiders' union prior to 1951. Communists gained control of the union and caused perhaps the worst and certainly the most unjust strike of our history. Our religious societies could suffer similar things if there was no check on membership.

G.A.W.'s opinion seems to be based on the assertion that truth is relative. He says "Everything true is only relatively so." What does he mean by relativity of truth? If he means that there is nothing which of itself is true—nothing which really conforms to reality but only our thinking makes it so. then surely his very statement contradicts his belief. if truth is relative, no one has the right to make that or any other statement.