The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1913
The Heretics' Club
The Heretics' Club.
"A man who never changes his opinions has probably no very important opinions to change."
Quite a respectably large audience assembled on April 25th at the first meeting of thee Heretics for the 1913 session. The Club, true to itself, departed from the usual order of thing, and in place of a lecture arranged a debate concerning an old friend, "The Bible in State Schools" question, now very much before the public.
A motion approving of the proposals advocated by The Bible in State Schools League was entrusted to the Rev. W. H. Compton, who was seconded by the Rev. Mr. Stephenson, and opposed by F. G. Hall-Jones and Miss Nicholls. Neither side adduced anything very new in the way of argument, although this was hardly to be wondered at, but in the arrangement of their case and of their evidence in support, the opposers of the motion left the movers far behind. The Rev. Mr. Compton, moreover, failed to make the best use of the time at his disposal.
In addition to the speakers already mentioned, Miss M. E. McLean supported motion, while Professor Kirk Messrs. D. S. Smith, Burbidge, Watson, Wolter, Cooke, Taylor, and Ponder opposed it. The testimony of the last-named, who has had practical experience of the working of the New South Wales system, was particularly illuminating.
Altogether the debate was, as a member of the audience subsequently observed, "Remarkably instructive."
At the second meeting, held on May 16th, Professor Laby read an address entitled "Prove All Things," originally delivered to the inaugural meeting of The Religious Discussion Society, Emmanuel College, Cambridge by the late Dr. Chawner.
After briefly tracing the changes in religious thought and in the attitude of men, both in England and on the Continent, towards theological and philosophical problems during the century just closed, the lecturer turned his attention to the society and to the problems it had set itself. Some of his remarks in this respect are so apposite that we may be pardoned for quoting verbatim.
"When you come from school to college, you make the critical passage from boyhood to manhood. You come here to prepare yourselves for your life's work. One of the most im page 80 portant parts of that equipment is the formation of a reasoned view of the world and of your relation to it. It is not enough to exhibit to you one solution and to leave you to work out for yourselves the difficulties that beset it."
"It is obvious that such a Society does not appeal to all. There are many who unhappily—of happily —for themselves feel no need of its assistance. It is only the man with some intellectual force and logical power who feels the need to co-ordinate and harmonies his beliefs."
"It is by criticism and by attacks of unbelievers that religion has been purged and developed, that it has abandoned its material elements and become a spiritual creed. The Founder of Christianity himself said that he had not come to bring peace, but a sword, and to set the members of a family one against the other; and precisely. It is a part of that truthfulness on which the whole fabric of society and civilization rests that we should as a rule openly acknowledge what we believe to be true."
A brief discussion followed the reading of the paper.