"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Friday, 29 January 2010

Teaching faith

I have a problem with faith schools. Whilst I know they are all audited by OFSTED and are supposed to follow the national curriculum, it is inevitable that a good deal of what the children get taught will be nuanced in such a way as to reinforce particular religious prejudices.
It’s problematic enough when in a non-church school your children get exposed to the religion of individual teachers (this happened recently with my ten year old daughter) but when the school is explicitly religious what are the chances that evolution will be taught properly without the taint of Intelligent Design.
In the U.K faith based schools are on the rise. There has long been a tradition of Church of England and Catholic primary schools in this country (get ‘em young) and a growing number of Muslim schools. Now the first Hindu Primary School is just about to open.
I think if children are going to be immersed in their parents’ religion at home the least the state can do is insist they have an opportunity to get a secular worldview at school. As Dawkins says, there are no Christian, Muslim or Hindu children; only children of Christian, Muslim or Hindu parents. Allowing them to ghettoise those children in single faith schools will not serve the cause of social integration or give them access to the necessary critical thinking skills they will inevitably need.

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