We had a lovely Teachers Day Assembly last Monday and the Mistresses have mentioned some of the discussion in their message.
I d like to recount another conversation I ‘ve been having with various primary classes this week. In 4th class Scripture so far this year we have looked at Buddhism and Judaism, and now we were up to Christianity. We were briefly reviewing what we knew of Jesus life, death and resurrection when one of the children asked: How do we know if this is true?
It is a great question, and I suggested we broaden it out a little to ask: How do we know if anything is true?
Obviously if we are present and can see and hear and touch something we can say, from our own experience, that it is true. But if we are not there, we have to rely on the word, or writings of someone trustworthy who was.
This trustworthiness is the key. How do we know if the witness is reliable. Can we put our faith in Scientists who tell us how the universe works? Doctors who tell us what medicine to take? Politicians who recommend economic or social programs? Engineers who tell us that this building or that bridge will stay up?
If we can test some of their recommendations and predictions, and we find they are generally pretty reliable; then it is not unreasonable to give credence to things they say which we can t test. If an engineer’s buildings have a good track record of not falling down, we are acting reasonably to have faith in one he or she has just built.
And if a particular source tells you that loving your neighbor as yourself makes both you and your neighbour happy; that honouring your mother and your father builds a strong, warm and loving family; that being still lets you know the presence of God, and you find from your own experience that this is true, then it is not unreasonable to give credence to the other things this source says which are less easy to test.
A sad note: On Friday our Bursar Mrs Condos and I represented the School at the Memorial Service of Gabriele Lautscher, the German School teacher who was aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. It was a very moving event at which many of her family, including her twin sister, her friends, colleagues and students were present.