"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

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The end of the morning assembly?

When I was at school each day started without fail with a morning assembly, where the masters would lead us in an act of prayer, bible readings and hymn singing as mandated by the law. The gap between the end of this session and the commencement of more secular notices was punctuated by the shuffling in of the minority of pupils who were not of the assumed Christian pursuasion and who had withdrawn at the behest of their parents.

In the news today is this story in which a BBC survey found that a majority of schools were not fulfilling their legal obligation to provide a daily act of collective worship. Interestingly 60% of the parents polled had no problem with this.
Unsurprisingly, in this multicultural and largely (in practice) secular country imposing a requirement on schools to spend time in religious observance seems silly and from my point of view sends a wrong headed message to pupils. The time would be much better spent in giving community and civic instruction; religion should be left at home where it belongs.
Predictably religious voices are taking the opportunity to equate faith with morality
A spokesman for the Church of England said the law stated schools provide collective worship and the church supported that.
He said: "It provides an important chance for the school to focus on promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils.
Which as I have pointed out previously is a specious proposition and not born out by reality.
This spokesperson also goes on to say
"Collective worship is when pupils of all faiths and none come together to reflect - it should not be confused with corporate worship when everyone is of the same belief."
Which is just inane. What exactly is a person of no faith supposed to worship?
It is perfectly possible and I would say preferable to teach a school as a community; morals, ethics and civic responsibility without recourse to religion. Perhaps since the majority of parents don’t want this archaic display of superstition it is time to abandon it.

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