/ Religious Education

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mypyrex - on 09 Jun 2014
I've only vaguely been following the controversy about alleged Islamist infiltration of some schools in Birmingham but I wonder if the way to solve the problem is to completely remove religion from school curricula.

Surely the time and place for the teaching of religion is in an appropriate place of worship.

Over to you.
highclimber - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

There's being taught about religion (not always bad) and being indoctrinated in to religion(always bad). I think ALL schools should be secular but the education about religion (and other beliefs like psychics, healing, psudoscience) should be part of the curriculum.
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

Indeed. How do you define what is "extremest" religious behaviour and teaching, as opposed to "normal". The line has to be arbitrary, and therefore every individual in the system will have different perceptions as to what is normal, and what is extreme.

The only non-arbitrary line is one of zero tolerance towards any religion having any influence over the curriculum, teaching methods or school environment.

The only place for religion in schools is in history and sociology classes.

If you are genuinely a believer of one of the dominant faiths, you could easily justify to yourself all sorts of behaviour based on the belief that you are saving the original from original sin or whatever sick afterlife you think they're going to for not sharing your specific beliefs.

Not a single penny of taxpayers money, or charitable tax relief, to any school with any aspect of religion in its operations or curriculum. That's what I want. Where we are now is a long, long way from where I want to be. Then again look at the beliefs of those in senior government - sewage runs downhill.
dissonance - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

As other say there is a big difference between religious education and religious instruction. The problem is primarily with the latter although I would fold the first into general anthropology rather than something in its own right.
mypyrex - on 09 Jun 2014
The trouble is, I think, that the "line" between education and indoctrination is becoming very thin and indistinct and the removal of RE would eliminate any doubt.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

You need to teach a little bit about religion to teach history. The crusades wouldn't make any sense at all without understanding the importance of Jerusalem to the different religions. Neither would Catholic/Protestant persecution in the UK, or anything about the formation of Israel and ensuing violence and ill-feeling.

Teaching about religion or teaching of religion, its a fine line.
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

> The trouble is, I think, that the "line" between education and indoctrination is becoming very thin and indistinct and the removal of RE would eliminate any doubt.

As long as you teach, as fact, a faith based subject, there is no line.

As far as I am concerned, teaching anything faith based, as fact, is child abuse.

mypyrex - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> You need to teach a little bit about religion to teach history. The crusades wouldn't make any sense at all without understanding the importance of Jerusalem to the different religions. Neither would Catholic/Protestant persecution in the UK, or anything about the formation of Israel and ensuing violence and ill-feeling.

> Teaching about religion or teaching of religion, its a fine line.

Then maybe "about" is the way to go
highclimber - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:



> Not a single penny of taxpayers money, or charitable tax relief, to any school with any aspect of religion in its operations or curriculum. That's what I want. Where we are now is a long, long way from where I want to be. Then again look at the beliefs of those in senior government - sewage runs downhill.

We can all dream...
IainRUK - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> There's being taught about religion (not always bad) and being indoctrinated in to religion(always bad). I think ALL schools should be secular but the education about religion (and other beliefs like psychics, healing, psudoscience) should be part of the curriculum.

I'm not that all school sshould be secular but there's a time and a place..

To not teach about religious beliefs and cultures would be horrific. But that's for non-science classes.

I'm 100% opposed of any 'alternative' to evolution in science curricula.

Mypyrex may I ask what your actual experience of current RE is? Actually in lessons? Talking with teachers?
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:
But how do you do it? Economics education is always going to be slightly biased towards the teacher's fiscal politics, as is teaching about political history.

Religious education is the same. And I'm sure nobody here is suggesting we ban Muslim teachers "just in case". My RE teacher was an atheist but that in itself had an effect on the way it was taught.

Edit: In fact I would say it is pretty important to have some state-overlooked teaching about religion to provide an alternative view to that which is taught at religious institutions.
Post edited at 18:30
toad - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

I'm fairly surely sure you don't do twitter, but it's worth following Ben Goldacres discussions on this atm.

for eg: "I could not work in an NHS service that excluded people of different faiths. Why do teachers support exclusive faith schools? Interested."
IainRUK - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> As long as you teach, as fact, a faith based subject, there is no line.

> As far as I am concerned, teaching anything faith based, as fact, is child abuse.

This is just so ignorant it is just horrific. Of course there are facts about religion.. where they occur, what their core beliefs are, cultural differences, historic divisions..

You'd lose a huge huge chunk of our history and ability to understand geographical history (and politics) by removing religion.

That's not to say I'd support teaching jesus walked on water as fact.. or that the biblical flood is fact..

I just find it incredible how supposedly liberal people can be so restrictive.

How do ou teach tolerance and understanding without educating on beliefs; the obvious being a secular school with kids of mixed faith, which people on this thread seem to want… so your kid invites his mates, how do you know who eats what? And why?

For such schools to work you need to understand each others faiths or lack.. I went to a secular school with a high % of muslim kids and so we were taught about the fasts and other celebrations in the year.. that's very different to indoctrination or teaching of unsubstantiated facts.
mypyrex - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
Well, my own thought is that, beyond teaching ABOUT religion within the contexts of other subjects such as history, the place for religion is in the church, synagogue, temple or mosque.

Within my limited intellect let me put an over-simplified analogy on it let me use the example of the Crusades.
A school following a strict Christian indoctrinal ethos will be bound to teach the belief that the Crusades were a force of good fighting evil muslims who were persecuting law abiding Christian and vice versa.
Post edited at 18:44
IainRUK - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to toad:

> I'm fairly surely sure you don't do twitter, but it's worth following Ben Goldacres discussions on this atm.

> for eg: "I could not work in an NHS service that excluded people of different faiths. Why do teachers support exclusive faith schools? Interested."

He has a job.. the old economic realities kick in.. plus the argument is as long as the education system as a whole caters for all.. I'm torn on faith schools. I think they should be allowed and some central funding but would want my kids in a school with as much diversity as possible.
IainRUK - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

> Well, my own thought is that, beyond teaching ABOUT religion within the contexts of other subjects such as history, the place for religion is in the church, synagogue, temple or mosque.

What about sex education? Various humanities? There's lots which people argue should go back to the home.. I'd favour a rounded education in the school or we get more ignorance.
toad - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

Also interesting to see what @zoewilliams has been saying, but that pins my Guardianista leanings to the mast.
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> This is just so ignorant it is just horrific. Of course there are facts about religion.. where they occur, what their core beliefs are, cultural differences, historic divisions..

Or is that your reading ability that is horrific? To quote myself, "As far as I am concerned, teaching anything faith based, as fact, is child abuse." Teaching about the history of religion is fact based teaching, in so far as history is fact. I object to allowing people who believe something based purely on faith into any structured environment where they can abuse their position of authority to teach, as fact, that article of faith.

> You'd lose a huge huge chunk of our history and ability to understand geographical history (and politics) by removing religion.

To also quote myself from earlier "The only place for religion in schools is in history and sociology classes." So we seem to be in agreement here.

So, let me spell it out. Teaching any faith based article as fact, e.g. Jesus Christ was the son of god, or that he was a prophet of Allah, or that you go to heaven when you die is, as far as I am concerned, child abuse.

Teaching children about religion - that is different - there are historical and present day facts, and I would love to see the curriculum teach about how we have all these fundamentally incompatible beliefs that different people in different parts of the world live by, and how it makes some people think they'll go to hell for eating pork, and how it makes others think that they'll go to hell just for being born with original sin, etc. I would love to see the logic of children applied to such a conversation, it would be more illuminating and intellectually honest than most adults, I suspect.
Post edited at 18:58
Ben Sharp - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:
> The only place for religion in schools is in history and sociology classes.

Agree with that in state schools, although it should definitely be on the curriculum. I'm not religious myself but I'm glad I live in a country where people are free to worship more or less whatever they wish. I think most religious people are aware of that and happy to coexist in a secular society and grant others the same freedom of worship that they enjoy. Not sure how I feel about religious schooling, in theory I don't have a problem with it and I don't like the idea of the state forcing parents to bring their children up with British (i.e. Christianity based) values if they don't want to. In practice I would probably have a problem with it when it comes to, for example, teaching children about gender equality...or not.

I expected something ridiculous from Gove and I wasn't disappointed when he used this as an excuse to push "British values" into schools...of all the ludicrous things to take from this. To me the whole thing just highlights to me what schools are about, education, they're about educating children not indoctrinating them with your values. It's interesting that Christian values are still taught as factual, that children are still expected to sing hymns and told they'll go to hell if they don't pray...I take it Michael Gove only has a problem with Islamic indoctrination then, that's nice for him.
Post edited at 18:51
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> I expected something ridiculous from Gove and I wasn't disappointed

Indeed - this was probably a once in a political generation opportunity to have a grown up talk about religion, schools, and modern Britain, and Captain 1950s just sees it as a route back to an alternate history where he's PM. :(
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Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

I definitely agree that there should not be state funded faith-based schools. But I don't think we can stop teaching about religion.

In my mind, schools aren't just there to teach facts, they're supposed to help children learn a bit about life. Teaching about different religions, both the good (charities, moral compasses, etc) and the bad (intolerance mainly, sexism, xenophobism, etc) means that children can start to question their parents' religion and make their own decisions. Maybe I'm naive. =]
Ben Sharp - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
> In my mind, schools aren't just there to teach facts, they're supposed to help children learn a bit about life.

The problem with learning about life in a non-factual way is it's all subjective, do you want Britain, Gove and anyone who wants to be a teacher to teach your kids about life? If I was a parent I'd rather they kept the f*ck out, taught them something useful instead. I remember PSE, SVS, PES, modern studies, citizenship classes or whatever the f*ck they're calling it these days, they were all an utter waste of time. Why do we sacrifice fact based education so readily? Of all the cool stuff in the world you could have learned about instead.

If you really have to teach kids about life then at least teach them something factual instead of opinions based on someone's subjective view of how British kids should behave.
Post edited at 19:07
I like climbing - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

> Well, my own thought is that, beyond teaching ABOUT religion within the contexts of other subjects such as history, the place for religion is in the church, synagogue, temple or mosque.

> Within my limited intellect let me put an over-simplified analogy on it let me use the example of the Crusades.

> A school following a strict Christian indoctrinal ethos will be bound to teach the belief that the Crusades were a force of good fighting evil muslims who were persecuting law abiding Christian and vice versa.

I agree with you.

I like climbing - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

You've made some great points. I would also begin the process of winding down Faith based schools and make them illegal as soon as it's practical to do so.
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to I like climbing:
> I would also begin the process of winding down Faith based schools and make them illegal as soon as it's practical to do so

Tough one though, because parents are legally entitled to home educate. Now if parent's are not happy with the faith component of schools available to them, they can pull their kids out of school and home educate them. There are two driving reasons for changing the law, one is concern for the the child and the other is concern for the future of society. Out right banning faith schools leading to increased home education does not make a good trade off between those two.

I'd be happy to see a law passed that forbids any religious ethos, any religious discrimination in admissions, and any teaching of faith as fact in any institution that receives either state funding or state tax relief. For schools that exist on private funding, it may be pragmatic to not go so far, you don't want to push extremism underground.
Post edited at 20:38
wbo - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:
Where precisely are people going to learn about any religion apart from the one they, or there parents practice?

I am pretty sure a mosque is a less than ideal place to learn about judaism , buddhism et al but that's what you're advocating
girlymonkey - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

I think school don't teach kids to think enough, they teach them to repeat what they have been taught. Surely RE IS a great conversation starter to get kids discussing and thinking independently, certainly plenty of people on here love discussing religion for hours. Maybe there should be more guidance on how it is taught, but it should definitely be taught and thinking encouraged.
I like climbing - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Tough one though, because parents are legally entitled to home educate. Now if parent's are not happy with the faith component of schools available to them, they can pull their kids out of school and home educate them. There are two driving reasons for changing the law, one is concern for the the child and the other is concern for the future of society. Out right banning faith schools leading to increased home education does not make a good trade off between those two.

> I'd be happy to see a law passed that forbids any religious ethos, any religious discrimination in admissions, and any teaching of faith as fact in any institution that receives either state funding or state tax relief. For schools that exist on private funding, it may be pragmatic to not go so far, you don't want to push extremism underground.

I agree it's a really difficult balance to achieve. I wonder how many families home educate their children? I imagine it is quite difficult to do but I have no idea of the detail.

Your second point is really interesting. Maybe lectures by people from other faiths including non believers in private education might work as a counter balance ? Just a thought.
IainRUK - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

If religious belief was stable I'd agree that kids can be influenced.. in the UK religious attendance is crashing and the average age of church goers shoot up. The simple fact is the faith Schools do give a very good education and there is little actual credible evidence that the kids are deluded..

I think people think it is the southern states and the biblical flood is taught as part of geology or something.. even in faith schools religion is taught in RE.. science in Science.. kids are taught about evolution, as in the blind watchmaker…. after all even the catholic church has accepted this…

the NC curriculum is taught and church attendance suggests the kids can think for themselves.. if you think home schooling is a better alternative for those kids then fair enough…
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:
> the NC curriculum is taught and church attendance suggests the kids can think for themselves.. if you think home schooling is a better alternative for those kids then fair enough…

No; I am saying that some parents think that and opt for home schooling. It's more of a trend in the USA but I could see it coming here.

As you say, church attendance is on the wane, but other religions are on the rise, and we are giving them the keys to the kingdom by allowing and encouraging their environment in the state school system. Religious rise and fall, and every time change comes there are many battlegrounds. Our school system should be above that.

I am well aware that, in most schools (there are exceptions from both Christianity and Islam) religion is kept to assembly and RE only. As long as some schools treat RE as an opportunity to teach, as fact, a chosen faith, we are pushing damaged thinking onto children. You could legally mandate that RE is careful to teach faith as faith, and is based around a comparison of belief systems, but I feel it is better broken up and slotted into the regular curriculum where appropriate.
Post edited at 21:25
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Ben Sharp:

I understand your concerns, but, at risk of offending parents around here, if you can't convince your kids of the value of your morals and lifestyle you might be doing something wrong. And there are children out there who get no life guiding from their parents. School is what forms their world view. When you develop an education system you need to take that into account as well.

I am not involved in education but I have friends whose parents were absentee who were "parented" by luckily mostly excellent teachers and the parents of friends. I also know a few people who teach at schools with high numbers of children with parents in prison, with alcohol and drug problems, etc. who lack the positive life lessons my parents gave me growing up. They say it is hard to see, and if they don't try to teach these children about life they aren't equipped to go out into the world, ending up homeless and/or with the same problems their parents had.

Children shouldn't need to be taught how to live by schools, but schools need to provide that service for the children who need it.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> I don't like the idea of the state forcing parents to bring their children up with British
> (i.e. Christianity based) values if they don't want to.

Well hold on, very few British values have much at all to do with Christianity.

Where, for example, does the Bible talk about democracy, habeus corpus, trial by peers, an independent judiciary, freedom of religion, free speech, abolition of slavery, human rights ... et cetera?
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> Teaching about different religions, both the good (charities, moral compasses, etc)

Do you have evidence that religious people are more charitable or that religious approaches to a moral compass are better than non-religious ones?
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> The simple fact is the faith Schools do give a very good education

All the evidence is that, where "faith schools" produce good exam results, it is because they get to pick their intake. Correcting for that there is no evidence that faith schools provide a better education than average.
marsbar - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

As far as I can make out the RE curriculum is not the issue.

Poor treatment of girls and female staff, banning the teaching of music, telling students they shouldn't talk to the opposite sex, stopping primary school kids from swimming in mixed groups and other such nonsense is the issue.

None of which is anything to do with actual religion and everything to do using religion as an excuse to control.

marsbar - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Exactly.
marsbar - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think he was referring to citizenship pse or whatever you call it not RE.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to marsbar:

> None of which is anything to do with actual religion and everything to do using religion as an excuse to control.

As usual, "actual religion" gets absolved of all blame, and blame is instead attached to those "using" religion.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

No, but there are religious charities and religions provide a moral framework. Religious people aren't the only intolerant people in the world either. Note the "etc", those were just a couple of examples that came to mind.

You don't need to nitpick or attack religion. The idea is to show both sides of the story to children and give them the tools to decide for themselves what they think. I am atheist, having previously been a christian. I made that decision myself. However if other people choose to believe in a god/gods that is their right. The goal is that each person makes an informed choice.
wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to marsbar:

> As far as I can make out the RE curriculum is not the issue.

> Poor treatment of girls and female staff, banning the teaching of music, telling students they shouldn't talk to the opposite sex, stopping primary school kids from swimming in mixed groups and other such nonsense is the issue.

> None of which is anything to do with actual religion and everything to do using religion as an excuse to control.

It's presumably what the teachers themselves were taught, as fact, in school when they were children. Now they're grown ups and perhaps they truly believe that everything they are doing is for the genuine good of the school children.

And so the shit continues to flow downhill, perpetuating a system that does nothing but fail our children and, by extension, tomorrows children.
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Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> No, but there are religious charities ...

Yes, there are religious charities and non-religious charities. And the religious tend to wave a big banner when doing charity saying: "I'm doing this because I'm religious, look at me". But is there actually good evidence that there is more charity around because of religion?

There was a study recently that seemed to show that people in the most religious US states gave more money to charity than the less religious states. But it turned out that this merely meant they gave more to support their church. When one measured giving to actually charitable causes, the more religious states gave less overall.

> ... and religions provide a moral framework.

And is that a good thing or a bad thing? Are religious moral frameworks better or worse than non-religious ones? If the moral framework tells you not to use contraception, and to regard being gay as deviant, and to threaten children with hell, and lots of similar things, why is that a good thing?

winhill - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> The simple fact is the faith Schools do give a very good education and there is little actual credible evidence that the kids are deluded..

I think it depends on the faith school, I take it you've not seen the news about the Death to Teh Gayz headmaster at the (Private) Muslim Faith School?
marsbar - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm not a fan of religion in general. I don't mind other people having it as long as they leave other people alone and don't try the kind of stuff we have seen here.

Most religious people ( of whatever flavour) are nowhere near as ridiculous and so should be left alone to get on with it IMHO.

Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:
See marsbar's response.

To add:
You're worrying about a few nutty people. They would be nutty with or without religion. There are real problems in the world, the existence of religion itself is not one of them.

Edit: the existence of the belief in gods is not one of them.
Post edited at 22:06
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> You're worrying about a few nutty people. They would be nutty with or without religion.

Well no, I think the wider influence of religion is harmful. For example, most of the nation want laws allowing assisted dying, yet it is being blocked primarily by religious influence. This is just one of a number of ways in which religion tends to hold back moral advances. The move to equality for gays is one, though they now seem to gave lost that one.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm not sure that's a great example. I have concerns about assisted dying, for lots of reasons, but mainly because I can't see how you can frame things such that vulnerable people aren't subject to pressure, explicitly or implicitly.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You think nobody would oppose assisted suicide or gay rights without religion?

You're deluded mate.

Organised religions are powerful and sometimes exert their power in ways that are destructive. People who believe there is a god are just people. Focus your energies fighting actual organisations that do harm, not people who believe in fairies.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> You think nobody would oppose assisted suicide or gay rights without religion?

I didn't say "nobody", I said that it was being blocked *primarily* by religious interests.

People who simply want safeguards against undue pressure (quite rightly) are usually persuaded by the evidence that it works ok in places like The Netherlands and Oregon.

> Focus your energies fighting actual organisations that do harm, not people who believe in fairies.

The organisations have influence because of the support of people.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Ok, how about this:
You can't ban religion. The only way to minimise the power of religions to cause harm is through education. If you teach from an atheist-superior perspective you're no better than the bigots who you are opposing, so if you want to maintain the moral high-ground you need to teach religions FAIRLY (remember that in the past, and even in the present, religious organisations have held up the cause of the common man when governments were trying to crush them) and let people figure it out for themselves. While this education is ongoing, you should also call out religious organisations for specific harmful actions and try to convince followers that, while their belief in a god is not an issue, supporting those harmful actions is.
These supporters will make it clear that such actions are not allowed, and the people who abuse their power will find another way, and you will have the same enemy to fight under a new name. Then I'll have to come along again and tell you that the guise isn't the problem, it is the people in power. And you'll probably ignore me.
dissonance - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I'm not sure that's a great example. I have concerns about assisted dying, for lots of reasons, but mainly because I can't see how you can frame things such that vulnerable people aren't subject to pressure, explicitly or implicitly.

That position assumes it doesnt happen at the moment to some degree eg the 90 plus cases in the past four years which the CPS have declined to prosecute.
Having a clear law would both help remove the stress from those people who helped and also allow for better protection of those vulnerable people by giving clear steps which are needed before approval.
Enty - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

Slightly off topic but a few weeks ago someone was asking on another thread for examples of how being PC has actually had a negative impact anywhere.
The answer is right there in Birmingham. People scared to speak up.

E
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> You can't ban religion.

Did anyone suggest this? Why is it that if one criticises either the Lsbour party or the Tories no-one ever replies "well you can't ban them", but if you criticise religion someone soon or later always reacts as though you'd suggested banning it?

> If you teach from an atheist-superior perspective you're no better than the bigots who you are opposing, ...

Did anyone suggest this?

> (remember that in the past, and even in the present, religious organisations have held up
> the cause of the common man when governments were trying to crush them)

And just as often the religions have been part of the oppression.

> and let people figure it out for themselves.

Why is it that whenever one criticises the Labour Party or the Tories no-one ever replies: "let people figure it out for themselves", but when anyone criticises religion someone always reacts as though you're trying to outlaw people having their own opinion?

Jim C - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

....Focus your energies fighting actual organisations that do harm, not people who believe in fairies....

But do any of these people at the head of these religions ( who often do, do harm) really believe in fairies Bob?

Is it not the thing that is most important to them, that they can persuade the masses to believe in fairies.
(And of course it must be their Top fairy that ' exists' and not the other lot's Top Fairy)



Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Did anyone suggest this? Why is it that if one criticises either the Lsbour party or the Tories no-one ever replies "well you can't ban them", but if you criticise religion someone soon or later always reacts as though you'd suggested banning it?

> Did anyone suggest this?

I've suggested banning political parties in the past. Off topic though. I was working through possible ways to dis-empower religious organisations rather than suggesting you support a ban.

> And just as often the religions have been part of the oppression.

Yes, but examples of both should be taught.

> Why is it that whenever one criticises the Labour Party or the Tories no-one ever replies: "let people figure it out for themselves", but when anyone criticises religion someone always reacts as though you're trying to outlaw people having their own opinion?

I oppose people who spin their arguments to support their agenda. If their opinion has merit its merits should be supported while its problems are acknowledged. Be it religion or politics or anything else.

You aren't solving any of the problems caused by these groups if you refuse to accept that they have any value. following a moderate path is how you achieve real results.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

I'm glad you agree that the belief is not the problem, but rather the people in power.

The way to solve the problem is to educate people about all the different religious beliefs, and show that regardless of whether a particular god exists or not, there are people who are using these gods for their own ends. People are the problem and the solution.
highclimber - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Doing this requires an unbiased input: something that a religious teacher cannot deliver.
Jim C - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> I'm glad you agree that the belief is not the problem, but rather the people in power.

> The way to solve the problem is to educate people about all the different religious beliefs, and show that regardless of whether a particular god exists or not, there are people who are using these gods for their own ends. People are the problem and the solution.

My old dad' s conclusion from his own life experience was To believe in good, not god.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

An atheist is no less biased than a theist.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

I agree with your old dad. Religious people are as capable of doing good as anyone else.

Because we are atheists does not mean theists are our enemy.
Because we strive to be good people, bad people are our enemy.
highclimber - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

On the topic of English maybe, not religion though.

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wintertree - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
> An atheist is no less biased than a theist.

What a pile of unmitigated codswallop.

Yes, some atheists are more pushy of atheism than some theists are of their particular beliefs. I would suggest that anyone teaching about religion should be constrained by both a curriculum and selection/peer review to ensure that they do not bias the teaching of issues around religion.

However, I've yet to hear an atheist proclaim that a theist is going to suffer an eternity of torment and torture for not sharing their beliefs, and I have yet to hear of disbelief in god(s) being used as a call to arms and slaughter.

Many religions make promises about fate beyond this world which are a far more powerful biasing force than the simple atheist belief that what is, is. An atheist has little to gain from converting a theist, but a theist may believe they are saving an immortal soul, or securing their place in their afterlife. Who is going to be more strongly motivated and biased in their teachings?

Someone who chooses to believe in evidence instead of faith is, pretty much by definition, less biased, as they follow empirical evidence instead of handed-down faith that sometimes flies in the face of the evidence.
Post edited at 00:07
Jim C - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> Doing this requires an unbiased input: something that a religious teacher cannot deliver.

I guess someone can have an interests in the study of religions, in the same way as someone may be interested in studying mind altering drugs, without actually being 'addicted' to either.
highclimber - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

> I agree with your old dad. Religious people are as capable of doing good as anyone else.
Nobody is suggesting they aren't. The point of this thread is to discuss the place of religion in our education system - not that religious apologists are evil and insidious. Some are but as as someone pointed out, they'd be that way without god!
> Because we are atheists does not mean theists are our enemy.
No, but religion isn't known for breeding tolerance and understanding of other cultures so in the case of education, it (religion) is.
highclimber - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

A better analogy is politics - would you expect a card carrying Tory to give an unbiased education on British politics? Bare in mind this is a very loaded question!
Bob_the_Builder - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree/highclimber:

I think this thread and many others on the forum have shown that atheists have a similar opinion about the value of religion as theists have about atheism. =]

My point was that if we need to teach about religious beliefs (including atheism) in a balanced way there is no unbiased way to do it. All we can do is strive to a high standard of teaching where the teacher sets aside their bias. I believe I said that earlier in the thread.

wintertree - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Can I amend you sentence?

> I think this thread and many others on the forum have shown that atheists have a similar opinion about the value of religion as theists have about atheism and all other beliefs .

Whilst the opinion may be similar, it is arrived at in a very different way - by following evidence, not by following belief.

> My point was that if we need to teach about religious beliefs (including atheism) in a balanced way there is no unbiased way to do it. All we can do is strive to a high standard of teaching where the teacher sets aside their bias.

Atheism is not a religious belief. Otherwise, I agree entirely. We should not just strive however, we should legislate against teaching, as fact, articles of faith.
Bob_the_Builder - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

Belief that there is no god (belief based on evidence is still belief) is belief concerning religion, therefore religious belief. Atheism is not, of course, a religion.

Teaching about various religious beliefs is not teaching articles of faith. I am not advocating teaching that Jesus walked on water. I am saying that it important to teach that Christians believe Jesus walked on water, and repercussions of that belief.
Bob_the_Builder - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> A better analogy is politics - would you expect a card carrying Tory to give an unbiased education on British politics?

To quote myself from earlier: "But how do you do it? Economics education is always going to be slightly biased towards the teacher's fiscal politics, as is teaching about political history.

Religious education is the same."

What are you trying to get from this? Everyone is biased. Should we also not teach about politics?
highclimber - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Atheism isnt a belief system.

> My point was that if we need to teach about religious beliefs (including atheism)

The advancement of science, reason and critical thinking within school is the only way to get kids thinking for themselves about topics deemed taboo by most religious teachings. To say one is happy with the status quo when our kids are being forced to sing and pray to a sky god and are too frightened to get things wrong/make mistakes because of repercussions misses the point of what education should be about.
highclimber - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Belief based on evidence is a fact until further evidence discredits it.
> Belief that there is no god (belief based on evidence is still belief) is belief concerning religion, therefore religious belief. Atheism is not, of course, a religion.

> Teaching about various religious beliefs is not teaching articles of faith. I am not advocating teaching that Jesus walked on water. I am saying that it important to teach that Christians believe Jesus walked on water, and repercussions of that belief.

icnoble on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex: I started my secondary education in 1966 and one of the core subjects was scripture which concentrated on Christianity and this was up to o level. I was always fascinated by the life of Christ and the history of that time. When I took my A levels I studied general divinity as another O level and I learnt a lot about other faiths which I felt was a good thing. I am a Roman Catholic and I believe that other faiths are as true to those people as my faith is to me. Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, they venerate the Virgin Mary and believe in the virgin birth. Many of my work colleagues are Muslims and I have many fascinating conversations about religion with then.

Bob_the_Builder - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

You seem to have very strong feelings about this. You also seem unwilling to concede the point that learning about religion is important for learning about history. You seem to be ignoring that point to have a bit of a rant about people brainwashing kids to follow their religion. I don't disagree that this is wrong, though I think you may be suggesting it is much more widespread than it actually is.

Do you think that learning about religions is important for understanding British and world history?
If not, how to you suggest we teach about major historical events such as the Catholic/Protestant persecution throughout British history, or things like why the formation of Israel has had such a profound effect on Middle Eastern politics?
If yes, do you agree that despite the bias, somebody has to do it?
Jim C - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> A better analogy is politics - would you expect a card carrying Tory to give an unbiased education on British politics? Bare in mind this is a very loaded question!

Either analogy is apt, the point being that in an a non faith school the people teaching religion, should teach all religions equally, without personal favour , ideally ( in my view) they would have an interest in 'religion' but not be overtly 'religious' or favouring a particular faith over another.

I have no faith myself, but I have found various projects that my own 3 children were given when they were at school( non denominational) very interesting, and various visits to the museum of religious life and art( Glasgow) a very informative and enjoyable experience.

I can see how some people could be without any faith, and still be qualified to teach religion( in fact it would be my preference) but as long as a teacher can educate pupils about all religions and their beliefs evenhandedly I have no problems.
Certainly they should not be leading prayers in classes in my view.

Jim Fraser - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

Religious education is a blight on society.

The French have got it right. No religion in schools.


We should have waded into Northern Ireland in 1969 not just with airmen and soldiers on the streets but by chucking religion out of schools. No instant fix but it might have saved a decade or two of suffering in the end.

But no, we couldn't do that because of the vested interests operating elsewhere. Because of the constitutional position of the Anglican church in England and the Church of Scotland Act 1921 in Scotland.
Doug on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim Fraser:


> The French have got it right. No religion in schools.

If only...

Its a myth that there are no religous schools in France, there are many private religous schools with partial state funding.

From Wikipedia

"Despite France's status as a secular state, private schools (including religious ones) receive a significant amount of public funding. Private primary and secondary schools receive 77 percent of their budgets from public subsidies, with central government paying for teaching staff and local government for support staff. 95 percent of private schools in France are Catholic."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_France#Religion
IainRUK - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> Religious education is a blight on society.

> The French have got it right. No religion in schools.

> We should have waded into Northern Ireland in 1969 not just with airmen and soldiers on the streets but by chucking religion out of schools. No instant fix but it might have saved a decade or two of suffering in the end.


I'm amazed you've just said that… as a Scotsman.. you are supporting the rUK rading another country to suppress their religion… which is a huge part of the culture?
Jim Fraser - on 11 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> I'm amazed you've just said that… as a Scotsman.. you are supporting the rUK rading another country to suppress their religion… which is a huge part of the culture?

As a Highlander who has lived amongst the sectarian barbarians of West Lothian and witnessed Northern Irelands suffering in the 70s and the 90s, I claim special expertise in the pursuit of peace and human rights.


We, the British, the people on this island called Britain, and particularly the Scots, DID THIS TO NORTHERN IRELAND. That's part of why we continue to pay for undoing it. It's always helpful when you are paying for something if you are paying for a version that might work.
IainRUK - on 11 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim Fraser:

suppressing religion would not work… it would be barbaric.. akin to preventing the languages being spoken.

Coel Hellier - on 11 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> suppressing religion would not work… it would be barbaric.. akin to preventing the languages being spoken.

All he suggested was that schools should be secular -- not with a "faith" ethos, not imposing a religious viewpoint on the kids, not treating kids from one religious background as better than other kids, but just treating all kids equally and fairly and staying neutral on matters of religious opinion.

That is hardly "barbaric".
Jim Fraser - on 11 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It is right for education and the regulation of it to be part of the responsibilities of a nation state. Amongst its purposes we should certainly expect skills of communication and numeracy. Also much beyond that including expanding our understanding of the world around us and helping us to work together in society.

To turn education into a method for amplifying society's religious differences when history tells us that this is the route to disharmony and hatred and murder and war, is outrageous beyond words. Yet this happend every day in the UK and is getting worse. And we cannot even plead that history's disharmony and hatred and murder and war are only from some far off place with other values because in every corner of these home countries we have a history of religious war, some of which is not distant history. If today is a statistically typical day then between 40 and 60 people will be violently attacked because of religious hatred in the UK.
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IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Wow.. did you actually see what I replied to..

We wade into another country and change their society.. aye bound to work well..
baron - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:
You'll struggle to teach any subject that deals with the 'real' world if you cannot mention religion.
For many,if not most, people in the world religion is at least part of their lives and many of the world's issues are driven by people's faith.
While i understand that this is an internet forum and that we all love a good discussion the level of intolerance of people's faiths is a little concerning.

Pmc
doz generale - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> Atheism isnt a belief system.

> The advancement of science, reason and critical thinking within school is the only way to get kids thinking for themselves about topics deemed taboo by most religious teachings. To say one is happy with the status quo when our kids are being forced to sing and pray to a sky god and are too frightened to get things wrong/make mistakes because of repercussions misses the point of what education should be about.


I went to a faith school (catholic) and the teaching was as you describe above. My experience was the school was run with a catholic ethos but it didnt get in the way of other things. For example we studied a full science syllabus which was the same as any state school. Our RE lessons were basically a study of the history of cathiolisism as a world religion, rather then hard indoctination. Most people seem to think that faith schools are there to indoctinate and in my experience that is far from the truth.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to baron:

Not teaching something and being intolerant of it are not the same thing you know. Nor are "teaching religion" and "teaching about religions".
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:
> Most people seem to think that faith schools are there to indoctinate and in my experience that is far from the truth.

There are always people posting with these n=1 examples of enlightened RE classes at their school.

Great, but it doesn't chance the fact that a) that is not universally the case and b) the law does not do enough to prevent biased teaching of religion from happening c) religion being pushed in mandatory sessions outside of RE, e.g. in assambly, and d) state faith schools use taxpayer money to descriminate against children.
Post edited at 08:51
doz generale - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> There are always people posting with these n=1 examples of enlightened RE classes at their school.

What does that tell you then? so there are always people posting that their experience of faith school was not indoctrination. Are there equal numbers of people posting personal experiences of faith schools being centers of religious brainwashing?

> Great, but it doesn't chance the fact that a) that is not universally the case
Other then what's happening now with these schools in the midlands please tell me where this religious indoctrination and bais in teaching is happening? Do you have any evidence or is it just your opinion? I dont think that haveing to say the odd prayer, having a crucifix on the classroom wall and having to attend the occasional church service qualifies as brainwashing.


Sir Chasm - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale: It possibly isn't very surprising that people don't post to say they've been brainwashed or indoctrinated.

wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:
> Other then what's happening now with these schools in the midlands please tell me where this religious indoctrination and bais in teaching is happening?

Other than where something is happening, where is it happening? Classic. I think it's reasonable to assume that there are other schools where it this has crossed some fuzzy, ill-defined line, and is as yet unreported.

Or we could just glance at this weeks news - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27681560 - one of 50 schools abusing a child's trust by teaching a fundamentalist Christian curriculum within the UK. At least these ones are only getting tax relief at my expense and not funding.

> Do you have any evidence or is it just your opinion?

I know several people with different experiences of different schools teaching, as fact, articles of religious faith. I was not going to generalise that to evidence however (I'll leave that to you), but simply note that there are reported cases of it occurring, and that the law does not do enough to prevent this.

> I dont think that haveing to say the odd prayer, having a crucifix on the classroom wall and having to attend the occasional church service qualifies as brainwashing.

Well then you're probably brainwashed into thinking that. Any of those items counts as "authority figures" legitimising or factualising a specific religion to young children with impressionable minds who are under the (mistaken) impression that they can trust and believe those authority figures to be a source of objective truth. This is both to the exclusion of rational thinking and other religions. One of those is abuse of the child's trust and the other is fostering division between different religions, both of which are detrimental to a future, better, society.
Post edited at 09:46
Gordon Stainforth - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Not teaching something and being intolerant of it are not the same thing you know. Nor are "teaching religion" and "teaching about religions".

When I was at school we had a weekly lesson called 'divinity', which was very much 'about religion' and not any kind of indoctrination at all. It also involved examining other religions like hinduism and buddhism, and discussing atheism (this was probably only once one got in the sixth form). It was mostly about morals and values, and as far as I can remember, had no theological content whatever (but my memory may be wrong). There was a lot of interesting discussion about parables, and the beatitudes etc. It didn't affect my religious beliefs at all, because I didn't really have any beyond a vague hunch that there might be a god. I was an agnostic when I arrived and an agnostic when I left. I think I was probably typical of a majority of students.
dissonance - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to baron:

> While i understand that this is an internet forum and that we all love a good discussion the level of intolerance of people's faiths is a little concerning.

I know its disgraceful. Suggesting that the parents faith should be taught in the church/mosque etc rather than using school time for it. With that sort of intolerance what will be next?

wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
A course like that sounds fantastic, and it is a shame that this is not the standard to which all schools are held.

It matches my views - by all means equip children with the means to understand faith and its role in life, and let them use these tools to make informed, educated choices about their beliefs.

It is telling how many "christian" people in the UK seem deeply concerned at the prospect of having children learn to think for themselves and analyse and compare many different faiths before making a choice.
Post edited at 09:39
cap'nChino - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

It should be taught as a History module.
Gordon Stainforth - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to cap'nChino:

> It should be taught as a History module.

Well, maybe. But I think the discussion of values should be an important part of education (particularly at sixth form level) and is best done in lesson that's separate from all others. What it amounts is elementary moral philosophy. This would include discussions of rights, duties, justice, fairness, utilitarianism, virtues, vices etc etc. And nowadays should probably involve environmental issues too.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> Wow.. did you actually see what I replied to..
> We wade into another country and change their society.. aye bound to work well..

Yes, what you replied to was a suggestion that we should have imposed a secular non-religiously-segregated education system on Northern Ireland long ago. And I agree.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Most people seem to think that faith schools are there to indoctinate and in my experience that is far from the truth.

The CofE have openly stated that one of the main reasons they are asking to expand the number of CofE schools is the opportunity to proselytise to the children. They take the attitude that since most parents don't take their kids to church these days, they have to find other ways of imposing it on them.

By the way, did your schooling involve Catholic worship every morning?

MG - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Well, maybe. But I think the discussion of values should be an important part of education

Like this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal,_Social_and_Health_Education
jethro kiernan - on 13 Jun 2014
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Do you have any evidence or is it just your opinion? I dont think that haveing to say the odd prayer,
> having a crucifix on the classroom wall and having to attend the occasional church service qualifies as brainwashing.

"Brainwashing" is your word and is of course overstating the matter. But ask yourself, why are the religious so keen for there to be a compulsory act of religious worship each day in schools? Why do they fight so hard whenever anyone suggests that this should be opt-in optional?

Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to baron:

> You'll struggle to teach any subject that deals with the 'real' world if you cannot mention religion.

Has anyone suggested that schools be forbidden from mentioning religion? This sort of diversion tactic is just an excuse to avoid dealing with the arguments for secularism.

> ... the level of intolerance of people's faiths is a little concerning.

Saying that faiths should not be entwined with government and have lots of special privileges is not "intolerant". Again, note the diversionary tactic.
doz generale - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Other than where something is happening, where is it happening? Classic. I think it's reasonable to assume that there are other schools where it this has crossed some fuzzy, ill-defined line, and is as yet unreported.

Reason I said other then these schools is that they are not faith schools and what has been happening here is broadly aknowledged as being wrong. This is a separate issue to people thinking that faith shcools routinely brainwash people.

> Or we could just glance at this weeks news - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27681560 - one of 50 schools abusing a child's trust by teaching a fundamentalist Christian curriculum within the UK. At least these ones are only getting tax relief at my expense and not funding.

Not a state funded school so has no bearing on this arguement

> I know several people with different experiences of different schools teaching, as fact, articles of religious faith. I was not going to generalise that to evidence however (I'll leave that to you), but simply note that there are reported cases of it occurring, and that the law does not do enough to prevent this.

Have you got any reported evidence of blatant indoctrination is state funded faith schools?

> Well then you're probably brainwashed into thinking that. Any of those items counts as "authority figures" legitimising or factualising a specific religion to young children with impressionable minds who are under the (mistaken) impression that they can trust and believe those authority figures to be a source of objective truth. This is both to the exclusion of rational thinking and other religions. One of those is abuse of the child's trust and the other is fostering division between different religions, both of which are detrimental to a future, better, society.

This is just not true in my case. Firstly I'm an athiest despite attending mainly faith schools. One of the themes of the catholic teachings i was subjected to was that all faiths were essentially the same and worshiped the same god. I can remember vistis to our school by muslim jewish and even hindi preachers. I can honestly say that at no point was i instructed that other religions were wrong or incorrect.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Have you got any reported evidence of blatant indoctrination is state funded faith schools?

Um, yes: the holding of religious assemblies including religious worship every school day. The whole point of having these is to try to indoctrinate the children! Why else do you think the churches like them?
doz generale - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Um, yes: the holding of religious assemblies including religious worship every school day. The whole point of having these is to try to indoctrinate the children! Why else do you think the churches like them?

Well in my opinion having to mumble through the lords prayer once a day and having to sit through a church service once a week cant be classed as indoctrination. In fact it's this sort of mindless prayer mumbling that turns people away from the church. I suppose you would class the primary school nativity play as a blatent display of christian extremism?
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Have you got any reported evidence of blatant indoctrination is state funded faith schools?

Yes. I know of several schools where prayers are led in assembly in front of children of all ages. One suspects that this happens in most CofE state schools in the UK. Religion presented to the children as compulsory, by authority figures who are supposed to be sources of objective truth.

jethro kiernan - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

Its still indicrination just in a inoffensive C of E kind of way, it does leave the door open to abuse if times were to change and 100% secular state schools should be the way forward, I personally would like to see no religion taught in any school stae or other wise until the age of consent, let it be an extra curicular activity.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Well in my opinion having to mumble through the lords prayer once a day and having to sit through a church service once a week cant be classed as indoctrination

Well, the child is legally unable to excuse themselves from "having to mumble through the lords prayer" (nice n=1 example there, again.)

Being legally compelled to listen to authority figures present, as fact, their faith sounds like a pretty clear cut case of indoctrination to me. The child has no legal right to opt out of the religious components of their schooling. Your argument appears to be that "it didn't work on me so everyone else is okay as well." That's pretty naive.



Is it so wrong to wish the law to be improved to protect the young and innocent? Apparently it is.
Cú Chullain - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

My $0.02

My father and brothers had the shite kicked out of him while attending a Christian Brothers school in 1950s Limerick, when he left for England to find work as a teenager he also saw it as an opportunity to turn his back on the Catholic church which endorsed this physical abuse. Back then, and until quite recently, Ireland could be described as a theocracy, the police, politicians, doctors and education were in thrall to the church, with regards to the latter, schools were directly controlled by the church. No ifs, or buts, the existence of god was a fact, you were christened Catholic, you did have your holy communion aged 7, you were expected to go to mass every Sunday, get married in a church and generally live your life via moral compass that the church impressed upon you. How the f*ck are you supposed to ‘make up your own mind’ in that kind of environment?

I have only recently started to chat to my father about his thoughts on religion, and he impressed upon me that he did not want me growing up in that fearful and oppressive environment, we had a religion free household. That said, I went to the local village primary school which was notionally CoE, but even that ‘soft’ adherence to Christianity left its mark on me, we sung a few hymns in the morning assembly, said prayers before lunch and attended RE classes. Of course back then RE, or specifically Christianity was taught as fact by the local village vicar, I think Judaism got a token mention, mostly in negative light, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism never got a look in despite members of those religions were well represented in the larger town down the road. As an 8 year old I thought heaven and hell were real, and in that simple reasoning that a child possesses scared myself shitless as I thought I was going to the latter when I died because I had not tidied up my lego, had made my sister cry, had nicked some apples from a farmer’s field, use some ‘rude’ words. I eventually in my teens shook off the shackles of that ‘soft’ indoctrination and then felt very angry that I had such nonsense foisted upon me at a very impressionable age.

By all means teach kids about religion in the context of outlining the various belief systems that exist and social and cultural impact throughout history of said systems but keep the indoctrination well out of it.
winhill - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to baron:

> You'll struggle to teach any subject that deals with the 'real' world if you cannot mention religion.

And yet countries that don't teach religion regularly beat the UK in the standards tables, how could that be?


> While i understand that this is an internet forum and that we all love a good discussion the level of intolerance of people's faiths is a little concerning.

Why is it intolerance to say ideas are stupid?

Beyond that, of course, people's 'faith' is just a cypher for a petty special interest group, just as we might think The Masons are a special interest group. Restricting discussion to only being critical of particular special interest groups is a bit totalitarian.

winhill - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Have you got any reported evidence of blatant indoctrination is state funded faith schools?

Coel's already linked to the Johnny Scaramanga stuff.

Have you seen the news about the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham? (It went into special measures and the governing body was disbanded but they revolted and hired private security guards to keep the LEA out)

That's a State Funded Faith School and they promise to turn out obedient little muslims. They are proud of the fact that Islam permeates every lesson and every part of the school day.
suilven - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim C:

As a teacher of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies in a non denominational school in Scotland I see it as my job to teach ABOUT religion as a system, helping pupils to explore a variety of different religious and secular approaches to life.

The key aim, apart from educating children about the world around them (which is overwhelmingly inhabited by people following a religious faith whether you agree/like it or not!)is to help them to establish critical thinking skills and thereby be able to THINK FOR THEMSELVES!

I've never met an RE/RMPS teacher, even those who have a faith, who has not been objective in their approach to this.

My job does not involve leading prayer / worship / thought for the day - it is an entirely academic approach, not a faith based one.

It is sad that so many people seem to think that being an RE teacher means you set about belting kids over the head with a Bible - most conversations I have with parents reveal that this was their experience of RE at school - but times have changed and RE has moved on people!!

Faith based schools are a whole other thing - my wife has taught in the denominational sector in the West of Scotland where leading prayers and attending mass is obligatory - and not something she is particularly keen on. However, parents of children in faith based schools overwhelmingly choose to send their kids there and in doing so are buying in to that philosophy of education and instruction.

I personally believe that religious 'instruction' is for the church/mosque/synagogue/mandir/gurduwara/temple and not in a school, but I respect the views of others who wish to send their kids to a school where this is an aspect of their education.

Who pays for it (state or parents) is another debate!!
mbh - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

I would much prefer all schools to be secular and for all religions to lose entirely whatever protections and privileges they have within schools and in wider society. We need to learn about them because of their historical and continuing impact on the human world, but certainly not to practise them or foist them on others.

I accept that this is not axiomatic, and is as value driven as any position taken by religious advocates of any shade, but a framework that is inclusive, rational and evidenced based is far more likely to lead to a prosperous, just and stable world, I think.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to suilven:

Your job and course sound great.

> I personally believe that religious 'instruction' is for the church/mosque/synagogue/mandir/gurduwara/temple and not in a school, but I respect the views of others who wish to send their kids to a school where this is an aspect of their education.

The problem is that, more often than not, they are sending their kids to the local CofE school because the discriminatory admissions policies of the school favour specific social classes, which in turn leads to a better classroom environment and therefore better exam results etc.

Also, at no point, does it respect the views of the child. I can understand the rational for imposing most aspects of education on to a child, but when it comes to something purely objective and non-rational, they should have the legal right to disengage themselves. Their subjective mind should not be a chattel of the state or their parents.

This often (not always) has F-A to do with the parent's religious views.

So the problem here boils down to the inability of the state to deliver a sound education for every child in the UK, and the fact "faith" exception from discrimination legislation allows specific schools to favour children by what is almost random chance, from the view of the child.

Decouple this disgraceful abuse of tax payer funding from the issue of religion and education, and a lot of people would be a lot happier.
Post edited at 11:46
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to doz generale:

> Well in my opinion having to mumble through the lords prayer once a day and having to sit through a church service once a week cant be classed as indoctrination.

The intent of the laws requiring this is to attempt to indoctrinate the kids. You may be right that in many cases it is done so badly or perfunctorily as to be useless or counterproductive, but that doesn't excuse the intent.

> I suppose you would class the primary school nativity play as a blatent display of christian extremism?

No I wouldn't.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

" it is because they get to pick their intake"

And how do they do this? Oh yes, that's right...you have to turn up to church twice a month (CoE school) Is that picking the brightest students? Nope.

So here we have a school that gets the best results in the local area that does not select students on ability. So is it the teaching or the parents? Because they are not selecting the brightest kids. Parents realise that to get their children into this school (the one that appears to give the best education according to all the results) , one of them has to give up 2 hours on a sunday morning or and hour on a tuesday morning, or an hour on a wednesday evening (once a fortnight) and sit through a service of which they can completely ignore/disbelieve in. And plenty do this. Parents that are willing to invest time to get the best opportunity for their kids.

But far more are too lazy, hungover, (or principled athiests ;-) or just couldn't give a fck where their kids go to school. And guess what, in general their kids go to the schools which get worse results (not always of course).

It's not rocket science and it's not really unfair. Most people are just too thick and uncaring of the kids they have brought into this world to get it.

Now if you are going to argue that this selection system is unfair that's another argument (although the fact it's open to everyone of any faith and costs nothing seems pretty fair to me). But how do you explain the good results when the selection is not based on ability? That's right, it's parents that take a huge interest in their childrens education and will do whatever it takes to get into the best schools,




Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to suilven:

> ... but I respect the views of others who wish to send their kids to a school where this is an aspect of their education.

We should also respect the children, and their right to an education along the lines that you provide, rather than the faith-based one. After all, the school is primarily there for the children, not for the parents.

wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> It's not rocket science and it's not really unfair. Most people are just too thick and uncaring of the kids they have brought into this world to get it.

This argument is as close as idiotic statements on the internet ever get to making me angry. The sentiments it embodies are negative in so many ways.

Ignoring the appalling labelling you apply to parents who may not be able to wedge their tongue up the vicars a--e often enough to get their child into the school over someone else's, you would seem to consider it fair that the children of the less capable parents are excluded from the better state funded schools to make way for those of the parents who are willing to sacrifice their morals. Everybody looses except the CofE who continue to "prove" that they are intrinsically capable of running better schools. Specifically the kids with least parental support end up lumped together further compounding their problem and widening social division.

> That's right, it's parents that take a huge interest in their childrens education and will do whatever it takes to get into the best schools,

If that was the case they would earn enough to send them to a better private school. What you meant to say is "being seen to go to church twice a month is a lazy parents way of caring just enough to get them into a better school that is conveniently close to home".
Post edited at 11:58
The New NickB - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I'm shocked! Are you telling me that children with motivated and supported parent tend to get the best educational outcomes. Who would have thought it!
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> And how do they do this? Oh yes, that's right...you have to turn up to church twice a month (CoE school) Is that picking the brightest students? Nope.

You're right, it is not picking the brightest students. But it is picking the students with supportive parents who really care about their children's education to the extent that they are willing to go through the hoops and give up their Sundays. And that makes a big difference to the overall intake. It is much easier to teach those kids than to have to take all kids regardless.

> It's not rocket science and it's not really unfair.

Of f*cking course it is unfair. Why should the churches get the privilege of all this extra attendance and influence and opportunities for proselytizing? Why the f*ck should your "principled atheists" or those who want to go climbing on a Sunday be treated less well when they have to pay the same taxes?

> That's right, it's parents that take a huge interest in their childrens education ...

Yes. We do know that. That is exactly what we have been saying for decades. It is *not* the "faith ethos" and the god-worshipping that does it, it is the social selection.
Cú Chullain - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Nothing to do with the religious selection criteria tending to be heavily weighted in favour of middle-class families who are happy to play the system (or lie about their faith) then?

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/mar/05/church-schools-shun-poorest-pupils?guni=Article:in%...

Can't possibly have those poor deprived kids from the local estate with all their disruptive social baggage that that socio-economic group brings messing up the system for those kids from stable supportive homes that engender a learning environment and place value on education?
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

I used to think exactly like you when I was younger.

Then I had children
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

I know! It appears I'm a wanker for doing the same for my kids. Who would have thought it?

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Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Of f*cking course it is unfair. Why should the churches get the privilege of all this extra attendance and influence and opportunities for proselytizing? Why the f*ck should your "principled atheists" or those who want to go climbing on a Sunday be treated less well when they have to pay the same taxes?

Because life is not fair and sometimes we have to make sacrifices?

In reply to Cú Chullain:

Oddly I went to CofE primary and middle schools - they were just the local schools. We sang hymns in assembly and said prayers IIRC. The vicar definitely did one assembly a month or something like that. I don't remember any of RE being other than 'the study of religions', and we covered all of them. My family isn't even CofE, but I don't remember any sort of attempt to suggest we should be Anglicans.

I was pretty much an atheist by the time I left school, despite having gone to church and Sunday School as a kid with my family. It will be interesting to see if RE and schools more generally are more religious than I remember when I start teaching practice in the autumn.
In reply to winhill:

> Coel's already linked to the Johnny Scaramanga stuff.

And apropos to nothing, doesn't he have the coolest name?
mbh - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I've had children and I kept them well away from anything that was faith based, whether in health or in education.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to mbh:

Good for you!
mbh - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

The point is, what difference does it make if you have children? If you think something is nonsense, why would you lie your way to sending your kids towards it once you have had them and they are old enough?
dissonance - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You're right, it is not picking the brightest students.

Which is the main problem. Whilst there are arguments for and against selection if we are going to do it then it should be done properly.
Not on the basis of which parents are willing to prop up the local church so it isnt just populated by OAPs.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Because life is not fair and sometimes we have to make sacrifices?

No-one is criticising you for playing the system to the advantage of your kids.

We are criticising you for DEFENDING THE SYSTEM.
winhill - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> That's right, it's parents that take a huge interest in their childrens education and will do whatever it takes to get into the best schools,

Not this malodorous excrement again.

A parent who takes even a reasonable interest in their child's education knows that there are better ways to achieve results than lazily sub-contracting it to the school or in your case, the church and the church school.

It's a wilful dereliction of duty.

My daughter went to schools she could walk to, in deprived areas of a deprived city, including on that was once ranked the third worst in the country in an LEA that was once ranked second worst in the country.

She's just graduated from Cambridge University with a 2:1, would she have got a First if I'd spent years kissing some god-botherer's ring? I doubt it.

If, as a parent, you can't inculcate a love of knowledge and a love of learning why would you expect a stranger to be able to?
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

OK, fair enough. Although to play the system whilst shouting about how unfair it is would seem ungracious ;-)

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to winhill:

Congratulations to your daughter! Good effort by both of you.

Pls don't assume that our parenting stops at the school gates.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> I used to think exactly like you when I was younger.

> Then I had children

Exploiting an immoral system is one thing.


Supporting it because you were able to exploit it is another.
Post edited at 12:55
winhill - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to suilven:

> As a teacher of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies

This is part of the mission creep that RE has undertaken, failed numbers for long and short courses meant that it has been rebranded to make it seem something it's not and to make it more attractive. It's a marketing con not an educational imperative (academically, theology and philosophy are almost entirely non-over-lapping).

It does mean though that what most people think that RE achieves (as further up this thread) is just no longer accurate, especially vis a vis the specifics of world religions and the cultural basis they think it provides.

> but I respect the views of others who wish to send their kids to a school where this is an aspect of their education.

What do you think is respectable about this view? It seems to run counter to any idea of the freedom of the child or academic freedom.

It's frequently driven by bigoted religious imperatives and racist identity politics.

It's a right wing, socially conservative, small minded approach to political power.

winhill - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Congratulations to your daughter! Good effort by both of you.

> Pls don't assume that our parenting stops at the school gates.

I'm not, I'm assuming you shuttle between the church gate and school gate.
neilh - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

I am interested in this assumption that CfE schools get better funding than state schools. From what I understand form our area, they do no get better funding, and often complain that they do not get the same as State schools.

Anybody know the facts, or does it vary from area to area.

Also this assumption that you have to cravenly go to church. Yes in some areas. Round where we are - no you do not have to go.

I know Catholic schools are different.

This view that CfE schools rams RE down your throats, I have never seen or observed that. The odd thing like Christmas, but that is hardly religious indoctrination
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to neilh:

> I am interested in this assumption that CfE schools get better funding than state schools.

No-one has assumed that.

> This view that CfE schools rams RE down your throats, ...

Again, no-one has said that either.

> The odd thing like Christmas, but that is hardly religious indoctrination

Don't most CofE schools hold daily religious-worship assemblies at which attendance is compulsory? It's hardly a once-a-year at Christmas thing.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to winhill: "
I'm not, I'm assuming you shuttle between the church gate and school gate."

I was willing to take you on face value but now view your original response as a priggish diatribe from having a nerve twanged.
IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No-one has assumed that.

> Again, no-one has said that either.

> Don't most CofE schools hold daily religious-worship assemblies at which attendance is compulsory? It's hardly a once-a-year at Christmas thing.

I didn't think this was the case. I went to a CofE primary School, as a catholic, so no block on attending, and apart from hymns, it was all evangelical bollox, but certainly not daily assemblies. There's just not time for that.

I'm quite surprised after all your rants that you don't actually know what is involved… I think we had weekly assemblies, and at various festivals the vicar would come in to give the assemblies.

As I've said the proof is in the pudding.. church attendance is plummeting.. you say the intent is there, as someone who went through a church primary school, with very non-religious mates, quite a few different races, I was probably agnostic, there was no pressure. I just did not experience any intent to convert. I remember when we arrived, we were introduced at assembly and they made a point about us being catholics..

In our School I'd say very few were actually from religious families.. of my close friends I think only my parents were regular church attenders.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> I'm quite surprised after all your rants that you don't actually know what is involved…

Well every school does things a bit differently!! How could I possibly know "what is involved" at every one of several thousand different schools? I'm amazed at the number of people who think that what happened in *their* school must be the practise everywhere.

Note, by the way, that the *law* of the land *requires* a daily assembly including god worshipping. Thus any school not doing that is breaking the law. Note also that it is the law that I am opposing primarily.

IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Well the law of the land contains many laws which are redundant; weekly archery training… shooting welshman across the dee etc…

You see you are just not looking at the facts. The facts are church attendance is plummeting.. so its fair to assume that most state religious schools are similarly laxed in their 'indoctrination'.. most kids leave agnostic at worst..
Post edited at 14:45
neilh - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

No most Cof E schools do not hold daily religious services they do not have time for that.

Maybe 1 a month.
The New NickB - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> I know! It appears I'm a wanker for doing the same for my kids. Who would have thought it?

My issue is the suggestion that this isn't academic selection.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> Well the law of the land contains many laws which are redundant; weekly archery training… shooting welshman across the dee etc…

The law was quite deliberately renewed as recently as 1998, in the teeth of opposition by secular campaigners. It is not an old forgotten law. In 2006 campaigners managed to get an exemption from compulsory worship for sixth formers, but not for all. Again, the churches were fighting to retain their privileges and retain the compulsory worship.

> You see you are just not looking at the facts. The facts are church attendance is plummeting..

What's that got to do with it? It only reinforces the point that the laws should be repealed and there should be no new faith schools. But both the last Labour government and this one were and are actively promoting new faith schools.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> although the fact it's open to everyone of any faith and costs nothing seems pretty fair to me.

This is the problem. It is not fair, in any way. Also it does cost time, effort and integrity, if not money, to climb your way up the points ladder with the local church.

The entire concept is creating a two-tier education system between the children of parents who are willing and able to exploit this system, and the children whose parent are not willing and able.

How is this in any way fair on the children who end up in the less good schools? Note that I said how is it fair on the children?

It isn't. We are failing them. In terms of social mobility and poverty, some of the failed are those who are most in need. Here we see a total failure of the charitable side of the CofE.

I don't give a monkeys arse if you think it is easy for parents to suck up to the CofE to better their children - in any area with limited CofE places, that comes at the expense of other children whose parents have got less points in the church attendance game.

Of course it will suit some parents that there is a mechanism that they can and will exploit, at the expense of morals towards wider society, that conveniently creates an apartheid where their children are prevented from mixing with those from other social strata.

Honestly, if there was a system where by people going to church regularly were getting priority access to hospitals with better staff to patient ratios, and fewer "undesirable" patients, would you support that as a use of tax payers money?
Post edited at 15:38
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to neilh:

> No most Cof E schools do not hold daily religious services they do not have time for that. Maybe 1 a month.

And how do you know that?

Statistics from Ofsted say that currently about a third of schools "mostly" comply with the law. Now, about a third of schools are "faith" schools. Thus one would guess that most "faith" schools do have a daily act of worship or close-to-daily and most normal schools do not.

No doubt someone will quote their experience in their school and use that sample of one to tell me that I'm wrong. I am open to being told I'm wrong, but it needs genuine statistics to show it.

Anyhow, if no-one obeys this law any more, can we repeal it? It was as recently as 1998 that the churches fought hard to retain it.
IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Yeah, what happens in Ofstead inspections is the norm…

What we are saying is that of all the people who went to a faith school on here, not one has said they had daily prayer assemblies..

You now say a daily act of or worship, a quick prayer at the desk maybe?

Genuine statistics?? I gave you them.. google UK church attendance.. it is declining constantly.. so although kids may be exposed to religion they are done so mildly and with freedom to decide if they want to follow that faith...
captain paranoia - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But both the last Labour government and this one were and are actively promoting new faith schools.

Ever wondered if Governments think religion is a good way for keeping the proles in check/in their place, and that the decline of religious observance is thus worrying for Governments? Might that be why they're so keen to promote faith schools? Or is it just that the recent Governments we've elected have strong religious belief?

It's a pretty condescending view of 'the proles' to think that they need religion to help them behave, considering surveys have shown that 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' would be the most popular choice for a 'modern ten commandments'.
IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You say you want to live in a democracy.. well the MORI poll I saw said it was basically 40% didn't give a toss, 30% for 30% against..
MG - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Statistics from Ofsted say that currently about a third of schools "mostly" comply with the law.

You do seem have a bee in your bonnet about this. That statement to me reads as if the law is at best paid lip service to, and probably largely ignored. Would you, as a headmaster, be more comfortable telling Ofsted you were blatantly breaking the law, or that you were "mostly complying", perhaps by relying on the odd mention of god in a an assembly here and there? It's a bad law and should be repealed but in terms of significance I would judge almost irrelevant.
Post edited at 15:44
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> What we are saying is that of all the people who went to a faith school on here, not one has said they had daily prayer assemblies..

Well, just to put it out there, my CofE primary had assemblies, with prayer and hymn, 3 times a week. I wasn't going to mention it because n=1 is a total and utter waste of everyones time. It was a pretty average school and in average part of the country. Shocking I know, but different places are different.

Now going off the examples given here, about 12.5% of schools in the UK have at least thrice weekly prayer and hymn.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> You now say a daily act of or worship, ...

It is required by law. Can we repeal the law? It was renewed in 1998 with the churches adamant in defending it.

> Genuine statistics?? I gave you them.. google UK church attendance..

I'm aware of that (though immigration from Poland is boosting it a bit in places). But we're discussing compulsory religious worship in schools.

Why can't you just say: "Yes, the law requiring compulsory worship is outdated and should be repealed. And schools should be brought within the compass of the 2010 Equality Act".

Either say that or come up with *good* reasons for defending religious privilege.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> You say you want to live in a democracy.. well the MORI poll I saw said it was basically 40% didn't give a toss, 30% for 30% against..

Against what?
IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Pigs being allowed to drive cars.. at a f*cking guess faith schools...
IainRUK - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I just think its such a minimal thing to waste time on.. we have such failing schools, a huge variability in the standard of education.. whether a kid says a prayer at 9 am is basically not an issue to me.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to MG:

> You do seem have a bee in your bonnet about this. That statement to me reads as if the law is at best paid lip service to, and probably largely ignored.

Even if it is only 20% of schools complying with the law, that is still a million kids. Even if it is only once a week in many schools that is still millions of kids.

> It's a bad law and should be repealed but in terms of significance I would judge almost irrelevant.

I accept that the law allowing religious discrimination in admissions is probably the bigger issue, but there's nothing to stop people arguing against both.

A basic point of Human Rights declarations is "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion". Why do we think it acceptable to have a law telling people that they have to worship the Christian god?
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> I just think its such a minimal thing to waste time on..

So next time school law is updated, and the secularists argue hard for a repeal, the churches will just shrug and say "ok, fine with us" will they? It takes two sides to make something an issue.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> Pigs being allowed to drive cars.. at a f*cking guess faith schools...

In that case recent polls show 45% against, 32% for government funding of faith schools.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:
"Honestly, if there was a system where by people going to church regularly were getting priority access to hospitals with better staff to patient ratios, and fewer "undesirable" patients, would you support that as a use of tax payers money?"

Nope. I already told you that I used to think like you do now.

Now let me ask you something, and answer honestly and not just to win an internet argument

If you lived in my house and had children, would you send them to the local state schools where the ofsteds are satisfactory/special measures,the exam results are awful, there are problem parents who regularly cause issues at school, truencies are very high etc. Or would you send them to the outstanding ofsted school, with great facilities, fantastic PTA and proven track record of good results and getting good further education places.But you had to go to church 2 hours a month.

What would YOU do?
Post edited at 16:05
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:
> I just think its such a minimal thing to waste time on.. we have such failing schools, a huge variability in the standard of education.. whether a kid says a prayer at 9 am is basically not an issue to me.

Do you not think that perhaps the "faith apartheid" system created and furthered by the toxic presence of state funded faith schools is fundamentally a part of the "failing schools" problem, quite aside from the actual role of faith within the day to day operation of the schools themselves?

Thought experiment: Take 100 children. Take the 50 whose parents are willing and able to sacrifice Sunday mornings every other week and put their children in school A. Take the other 50 and put them in school B.

Oh look, one school is failing and one isn't. Throw in a couple of decades of positive feedback by staff retention and parental choice via league tables and you have sewn the seeds of division. This is why I say "toxic" - it is not in societies interests.

If you have an education system that promotes privilege (religious privilege) you are, pretty much by definition as well as by cause and effect, going to create unprivileged. If you have a system fundamentally built on discrimination, people will be discriminated against. I genuinely do not think it is possible to separate the issues of failing state funded schools and state funded schools that are legally allowed to discriminate in admissions.
Post edited at 16:11
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to The New NickB:
How do you make the case that it is selection based on academic qualities?
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wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> If you lived in my house and had children, would you send them to the local state schools where the ofsteds are satisfactory/special measures,the exam results are awful, there are problem parents who regularly cause issues at school, truencies are very high etc. Or would you send them to the outstanding ofsted school, with great facilities, fantastic PTA and proven track record of good results and getting good further education places.But you had to go to church 2 hours a month.

> What would YOU do?

Until I walk in shoes like yours, I can't answer that, can I? On the other hand, to quote your previous message in our thread:

> although the fact it's open to everyone of any faith and costs nothing seems pretty fair to me.

I can tell you now with as much certainty as I possibly can, that even if I walked in your shoes, and even if I decided to do as you did, I would not make that statement. I would still regard the system I had exploited as fundamentally unfair, and that - by several different means - my actions are contributing to the failure of the special measures school.

I sure as shit would not argue that it is a good system and should not be changed. The point is not that faith schools should be brought low. They should just stand on their own feet financially, and the failing non-faith state schools should be dragged kicking and screaming up to the point where they are fit for purpose.
The New NickB - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Profiling!
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

"Thought experiment: Take 100 children. Take the 50 whose parents are willing and able to sacrifice Sunday mornings every other week and put their children in school A. Take the other 50 and put them in school B."

All you have highlighted is that there will always be parents who take less interest in their childrens education than others. Hardly a eureka moment. Its probably been like that since Adam and Eve ( I learnt about them at Church LOL ;-)
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

I get it, your an angry man. A club that allows anyone from anywhere of any colour,religion,background free entry doesn't seem to selective to me. Ho hum.

What can I say? Hope you never have to walk in my shoes. Have a nice weekend i'm outta here.
wintertree - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> All you have highlighted is that there will always be parents who take less interest in their childrens education than others. Hardly a eureka moment. Its probably been like that since Adam and Eve ( I learnt about them at Church LOL ;-)

Are you being intentionally naive to play devils advocate? I have also hilighted that the state supports those lucky children more than the unlucky children. I have repeatedly stated this and you continue to ignore it. What about the children who are unlucky? They are being discriminated against on the basis of something over which they have no choice.

> I get it, your an angry man. A club that allows anyone from anywhere of any colour,religion,background free entry doesn't seem to selective to me. Ho hum.

That's because you are still apparently playing at selective listening. The club allows limited entry based on its capacity. It allows that limited entry to members based not on their merit, but that of their parents. You still seem utterly unable to conceive of others less fortunate than yourself who are unable to exploit the system as you have.

I am not angry. I am horrified that some people are apparently so blasé and happy that the state actively discriminates against children less lucky and privileged than their children.

That is a morally disgusting attitude.

Yes, lucky you, you are able to do well by your children and in doing so further a system that fails other children. I am not criticising you for this, and have never been. It is the system that is failing other children that appals me, hence my challenging your defence of this. You have some half-baked arguments about why it's acceptable (basically "it worked for me" and "anyone can go to church on a sunday").

> What can I say? Hope you never have to walk in my shoes. Have

And I hope that if I do, or even walk in worse shoes - as many do - that I am still able to see a shit system that discriminates and fails other peoples children for what it is, and that I do not feel a need to defend it, even if I did help my children benefit from it.
Post edited at 16:37
Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> What can I say? Hope you never have to walk in my shoes

What you should do is really quite straightforward:

1) Do what you judge best for your own children, which is your duty as a parent.

2) Protest against the system and say it is morally wrong in the way it disadvantages many children, rather than supporting the system.
Carolyn - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Well, just to put it out there, my CofE primary had assemblies, with prayer and hymn, 3 times a week. I wasn't going to mention it because n=1 is a total and utter waste of everyones time. It was a pretty average school and in average part of the country. Shocking I know, but different places are different.

So did my primary school, and that wasn't a church school. Although there's very little evidence of it at my kids school (only local primary that isn't a faith school) - they have "collective worship" once a week, but the few I've been to had no evidence of "worship", simply a message about poverty in developing countries, or global warming. The faith schools do seem to do more by way of hymns/songs with a bible theme, and often have the vicar in for assemblies.
ChrisBrooke - on 13 Jun 2014
In reply to IainRUK:

> What we are saying is that of all the people who went to a faith school on here, not one has said they had daily prayer assemblies..

I did. First week at the school we were given a nice blue hymn book which should last us for the rest of our time at the school. Every day we were in assembly we sung hymns, bowed our heads in prayer and listened to an address, usually of a Christian nature.
It was a state school with a Christian ethos, a great school with great pupil outcomes, to which people travelled (in the north-eastern suburbs of London) from a very wide area. I got the bus to school and passed, I think, five schools on the way there.
winhill - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to mypyrex:

Faith schools, not so popular:

Labour is calling for cross-party talks on how religious education is conducted and monitored in the state sector as a special poll for the Observer shows widespread concerns about the use of taxpayers' money to fund faith schools in a multicultural Britain.

The survey by Opinium shows that 58% of voters now believe faith schools, which can give priority to applications from pupils of their faith and are free to teach only about their own religion, should not be funded by the state or should be abolished.

Of those with concerns, 70% said the taxpayer should not be funding the promotion of religion in schools, 60% said such schools promoted division and segregation, and 41% said they were contrary to the promotion of a multicultural society. Fewer than one in three (30%) said they had no objections to faith schools being funded by the state.


http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/14/taxpayers-should-not-fund-faith-schools

BTW the article mentions 4,600 CofE faith schools but 95% of these are primary schools, frequently only school in the village type schools, where the pressure to conform is minimal.

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