The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929
Free Discussion Club
Free Discussion Club.
At the first meeting since last "Spike" was printed, Mr. Miller read a paper to a big meeting on "A Case for Dogmatic Religion." He argued (1) against those who accept Christianity but reject creeds; that creeds were simply a fence to protect certain received facts, the fact of the Incarnation. It was not until philosophical Christians began to page 66 explain away the facts that the Church defined its doctrines. Between the extremes of Eastern absolutism and Western humanism it preserved the original faith in the Incarnate God. (2) Against those who say that they will not believe anything that they cannot prove, he argued that proof always rests on large assumptions. Many people thought that in the physical sciences you had proof exempt from this condition, but this he denied. Causality, the existence of the external world, the existence of "matter," were given as examples of scientific assumption. In the long run science and the Christian religion were in the same boat—depending for their existence on certain assumptions as to the rationality of things in general. This was followed by a lively discussion, in which Mr. Miller refused to be led into an argument on any particular dogma. The danger of making faith a virtue was brought up, but Mr. Miller denied that the Church had ever taught that.
The second discussion, on military training, was led by Mr. Miles, who gave his experiences as an officer training both Cadets and Territorials. He considered the present arrangements unsuitable, and that its results were not of much value. He was in favour of a short period in camp every year. Professor Hunter objected to the system of conscripting the able-bodied and leaving the weaklings at home to make war profits. In his opinion if we offered the last man and the last shilling we should allow the last man to take the last shilling. Most of the speakers were against any system of compulsory training.
On 13th September Dr. Pettit addressed a packed room on "Genesis and Science." He made a very ingenious attempt to work in the first book of Genesis with modern' science by taking the days as geological periods. He considered that Man and the different species of animals were all specially created. In answer to a question he considered the first book to deal with the Creation and the second account to be dealing with Man, and hence it was not in chronological order. He considered the Bible as verbally inspired, but the translations were not. Professor Hunter brought up the problem of the "round earth standing fixed," but this, with a number of other questions, was unanswered when the meeting closed at 10.30.
On September 20, Mr. R. Griffin spoke on his experiences during three months he spent in Soviet Russia. He spoke of the factories and conditions of work, of creches with trained nurses, and of free theatre tickets for the workers. The officers of the Red Army were not people apart from the privates, but were only distinguished from them by a small badge on the collar. He told of a prison in which the inmates had self-government. The description of self-government in the factories and trial by one's fellow workers was too much for one of the audience, who did not see that our own jury system was based on it. A heated discussion followed, particularly upon the Russian debts.