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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

What is Secularism?

What is Secularism?

Our argument is now with the Secularists, pure and simple. They point to their work accomplished and bid us to the feast of rejoicing. We do not answer to the call, and stand ready to give the reason that is in us.

What is meant by Secularism in schools? President Grant defines it to mean the exclusion from the schools of the teaching of any religious, atheistic or pagan tenet. Evidently the President has never been a school-teacher, or has never tried to teach anything save the multiplication table to a bright, intelligent boy, brought up in a Christian family, on the plan here laid down. Commanding armies, handling a hundred thousand armed men, is child's play in comparison. God, Christ, sin, conscience, religion, heaven, hell, would meet him at every turn, and to flank them successfully, without insinuating a Christian, page 17 a pagan, or an atheistic tendency of thought, would give him more trouble than he experienced in outflanking the strongest army that ever met him on his onward marches.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, a staunch and zealous defender of Secularism, gives its explanation as follows : "Strictly speaking, a secular school should not inculcate the belief in an overruling Providence."

The teacher who honestly means to teach according to the principles of Secularism will find himself in continual embarrassment. If he but mentions the name of God, of Christ, with reverence, he leads his bright pupils to infer that such a Being exists; if he evades a question about God, he indicates doubt; if he speaks the name with a sneer on the lip, or a shrug of the shoulders, he inculcates to young, impressible minds his contempt for such a belief. Secularists must not attempt to escape the logic of their own demands. They ask, in the language of the President, the exclusion of all religious, atheistic and pagan tenets from State schools; and where this doctrine lands them, they must be pleased to stand. They scout the idea that merely excluding the Bible means Secularism. This is the vain hope of Evangelicals, and that with this concession they will be left free to make compilations from the Bible—elegant extracts—to keep up appearances. They do not comprehend the nature of the controversy. The dread of "popery" blinds them. They will not be let off without swallowing in all its bitterness this pill which they have helped prepare.