The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1888. "ENQUIRER'S " ENQUIRIES.
We do not intend to enter upon polemics, discussions upon religious questions being out ot place m the leading columns oi a secular newspaper. It is not our purpose therefore to take upon ourselves to discuss such of the propositions which haye been put forth by " Enquirer " as come within the domain of theology, but m his criticism of his critics which appeared m yesterday's issue he propounded two or three questions to us m our editorial capacity to which we have no objection whatever to furnish a reply. Alluding to a footnote to his first letter " Enquirer," we are pleased to observe, expresses regret if anything he has written has caused unnecessary pain to anyone, and we congratulate him upon the excellent spirit m which he has taken our friendly rebuke on this head as to the impropriety of applying the term "diabolical to any belief "honestly held," But be at the same time asks us to explain what we mean by " honestly held," and wants to know " how any belief can be held other than honestly." Surely the answer is simple enough. The word " belief" was used as meaning a formulated belief — m one WO rd — a "creed," and there is, as " Epquirer " very well knows, a wide distinction between a creed " honestly held," (/.<f) honestly and sincerely believed m, and a' creed or belief merely professed. He, however, goes on to justify the use of the term '' diabolical " as applied to some beliefs by pojnjting out that "the Ancient Druid?, Mexicans and others held the belief that human sacrifices were necessary to appease ihe wrath of the gods.'' This is the old device of begging the question. For the matter at issue was not the ancient superstitions of antiquity nor thp preeds of the heathendom of to-day, but the trush or /alsity of what are accepted as orthodox articles of belief by the churches of Christendom, To show, therefore, tja| Jbe »djestivs wight be properly
applied m the one case is not to show! that it may be properly applied m the' other. It is true that " Enquirer " goes | on to say — and we are sorry to see it — that the doctrine of the necessity of human sacrifices to propitiate heathen ; deities held by Druids and Aztecs is less diabolical than certain of the doctrines taught to-day among Christian people, for that is clearly what the sentence must be taken to mean when read as part of the entire correspondence. That is clearly lapsing once more into the fault which we took exception to m bis first letter, viz, using language which must of necessity give pain to those who "honestly hold" doctrines from which "Enquirer" dissentF. Upon the merits of those doctrines we do not intend to enter-^---we leave that to " Enquirer " and his critics, and will content ourselves with merely pointing out that correspondence on such subjects needs to be very carefully conducted or it is certain to degenerate htto a " shocking example" of the odium theologicum.