See, the SACRE Link. 67% of the country do not want Faith or Church Schools and 82% think that religion does more harm than good. "They preferred the ancient light of divinely blessed authority to the distant glimmer of democracy. "God saith, ‘Touch not mine anointed’ ", wrote a Cavalier knight as he reluctantly girded on his sword for the battle". Sir Winston Churchill. Ref, Guardian/ICM Poll Dec 2006. Mr Evans the head of MI5 said on the latest security threat to the UK, "In order to gather recruits, Mr Evans said, extremists were methodically and intentionally targeting vulnerable young people and children".
Of course, to have adults subjected to (questionable) moralistically or (questionable) truths i.e. for most of the adults in our country and in our modern world, varying quantities of multiple faiths and beliefs is one thing, but to have our little children subjected to cultism outside the statutory core subjects of RE and the Assembly situation is quite another matter. It has been made by our authorities quite unpractical and very unjust to remove a child from Assembly or RE for obvious reasons. Even, if it were easily possible, it would be a very questionable thing to have happening at any school! It is not recommended by the British Humanist Association – as yet. Most parents seem to be quite happy to go along with the ‘good bits’ in religion, but are becoming more intolerant to the unnecessary exposure of their children to the greater ‘spiritual’ amounts of indoctrination by way of the current expanded learning about all the major (and minor) religions in class.
There is another matter which is quite beyond that of any particular belief or faith, and well beyond the realm of a ‘strength of conviction’ (unreliable measurement) concerning some of the latest theoretical research into the deeper psychological make up of children, which is, so very obviously and very different from an adults perceptions. Irrational beliefs are at the core of emotional disturbance, so that : sowing the seeds of any singular seriously held ‘truth’ at a young age by ‘great strength’ (despicable and in its own right to children or the vulnerable, with the obvious negative reactionary consequences in some at a later date) of an overbearing, and overwhelmingly powerful Authority, in an intellectually claustrophobic atmosphere that is in an Assembly, or a ‘singular’ religion RE class; will magnify and catalyse a distinct process in the ‘vulnerable’ or developing young mind. The persuasiveness (doctrine and dogma : combining of spiritual development and moral development together) in the latest SACRE for all schools advice, I feel, could put some (vulnerable) children at risk and leading on to society as a whole later on. Maybe, it has already done this (unwittingly) by promoting, and thus, going beyond most of our ‘normal boundaries’ in the post-enlightenment age, with dualism, totemism, animism, celebrity worship, unnecessary restrictive environmentalism, unnatural hesitation, hysteria and ‘seizure’ of thought patterns that are fear related or the result of scaring children or the vulnerable i.e., the above Authority. (The Great Global Warming Swindle, Channel 4 TV). If the Government, being really serious; they would remove VAT on renovating properties, insulating products, and give everyone many other incentives. The above leads children and young adults open wide to charlatanism (cults) of one form or another. Parents have to deal with this particular and very insidiously difficult problem; trying to unscramble what (nonsense) the children have learnt at school.
I think that under the latest current trends in the law – Equality Act – I would be very hesitant to enforce the particular requirements of SACRE that I have so far seen. Imposing tradition on the greater mass of population by force of law, and separately, in the most admirable attempt to make men virtuous by muddled, complicated, if not unfathomable propositions, is at its best a waste of time, at its worst, a usurpation; and so very especially, when any of our children and the ‘vulnerable’ are concerned. Educational bureaucratic behaviourism and our children not knowing the real and specific facts of the pointless evolution of our species; so long as they feel good about themselves and develop "toleration for cultural diversity" is causing havoc with every student’s level of achievement. Desensitization and inducing acceptance of alternative values by psychological means rather than the rational means of most parents by an institution is not (easily) acceptable.
A simple solution : if there is to be religious education, secularists consider pupils should be told that, "some people believe this and others believe that and yet others believe none of these things". Ref, http://www.secularism.org.uk/religioninschools.html .
It seems today 10/9/2007 that the Government is set on creating more Faith/Church Schools against all practical advice, excepting that advice coming from the Faith/Church sector, obviously. Can the Religions be fully trusted to be inclusive? I would advise parents of children who attend Faith/Church Schools to be fully aware of "what" really can go on (secretly behind closed doors). A form year teacher (I was not going to mention this, but a couple of years has passed and the teacher has left the School) said to all the children of their class, "That anyone who does not believe in God (Christian God) is not a member of my class". The 6 year old children were scared out of their wits!
My thinking is that : becoming human is a process and not some event. The above impositions will only add to confusion and the problems around us; if this all has not already done so. Ref, self-harming. How to handle freedom and not conformity, including – discernment, should be the priority taught in our Schools and fully contained within our School Ethos-es. Without any discernment we have more than MAD-ness = Mutually Assured Destruction, ineffective (personal martyrdom or mass ideological suicide) the Trident Missile capability and the end of all our human civilization as we know it ! Ref, F.A. Hayek ‘The Road to Serfdom’ – Totalitarianism; the road fraught with terrifying dangers, which some of us will so very blindly and willingly support, also, and especially, if the going gets tough and herding occurs. Mass public disconnection from government, (hysterical) irrational behaviour – REBT, and Totalitarianism; an interesting combination, warranting some further study. http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/02/18/the-economist-or-the-statist/ The Economist or The Statist?
It would be a shame to have our schools becoming the hotbeds of ethical power struggles, sometimes, and unfortunately, connected to business interests by a noisy minority (see, above poll). Private Schools being particularly susceptible to some fringe funding interests and very easily manipulated or infiltrated by the ‘strength of conviction’ of (a singular/particular or minority/extreme) faith or belief. With great sadness (I am 55 years old) I find that my 7 year old daughter at her School (nameless) has a ‘repetitive recital’ of The Lords Prayer at every Assembly, she believes, on questioning that "God may or may not of made the world" and at lunchtime she has two Graces presumably with the same type of repetition. In practice, she has no idea who are Allah or Mohamed and only has heard about the ‘Jesus God’. She has also not been told that she may, or may not, (freely) believe in some God i.e. as she wishes. Ref, Arthur Koestler (proudly boasts that his books were publicly burnt under Hitler and Stalin) ‘Bricks To Babel’ Chapter 4 Jerusalem Sadness. This would greatly delay the modern positive progress that we are making to a better future for our children and our society by the way of gaining exciting input from all of us, with the kind, caring, and very advanced philosophy of multiculturalism, and an inclusion of all of us as multiple intelligences. Ref, Howard Gardner www.infed.org/thinkers/gardener.htm and ‘Thinking in Education’ ‘Socrates for six year olds’ www.sapere.org.uk
"Freedom is a word rather like time, everyone thinks that they know what it means, but cannot define it. The foundation of freedom is knowledge and without knowledge no man can be free. That is why religious and secular dictators throughout history have burned and censored books, closed universities, and imprisoned professors, and do so in some parts of the world today. Freedom is the ability to choose courses of action and to make decisions that are based on an objective knowledge of the world. Without such knowledge primitive subjective feelings, values, and goals, remain the primary determinants of human action. Knowing this the unscrupulous manipulate the credulous." Ref, The Proper Structuralised View of the World. "In the fourth century (BC) ! Highly educated men had ceased to believe in the existence of supernatural persons called Zeus, Athena, Apollo, etc., with their mythical attributes and adventures. Myths were not dogma, and no one was required to profess a belief in them". Cornford – The Republic Of Plato. I suspect my children, are expected, in 2007, to express verbally (out loud and to others) their belief in ‘them’ and to partake in some form of transcendentalism, transcendental-analytic or (supposedly) therapeutic (piecemeal) analytic philosophy at the expense of ‘logical empiricism’ and ‘deductivism’. One child told me today, "That they cannot get a certain ‘major’ prayer out of their head, it keeps on repeating itself", due to its persistent and constant repetition at Assembly. Thereby, overriding or forfeiting a large part of our children’s inherent, ‘general’ and ‘natural’ discernment. Ref, JSTOR: International Review of Educational Philosophy Western World.
All religion in our schools, unless : strictly comparative and just as fully inclusive of the ‘Great British Tradition’ of Humanism is against the real interpretation of ‘The Charter For Human Rights’ and the ‘Charter For Children’s Rights’. www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/equality/religion/
"The UK is rated in the bottom third of the table for educational well-being" and at the bottom (or near) of the table for (most) children who engage in ‘self-harming’ in the western industrialised nations.
On the humorous side, a Humanist psychologist said, "Whilst the Government, Church, and worrying parents, wanting to improve children are around; we are kept in business, they both have the ability to create guilt". George Bernard Shaw said, "That to pass exams you had to write as if it was twenty years ago; most professors were at least twenty years behind the times". I have the feeling that our children’s brains and our society to survive will have to adjust to the modern world in having a good knowledge of Neuro-Liguistic Programming (NLP) and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) in coping with a booming Virtual World. Memes, Memetics, and our human evolution, as put forward by the famous biologist Professor Richard Dawkins FRS, combined with the profoundly heart satisfying subjects of History, Evolution, and Cosmology (HEC). To survive as a species we will need other ‘guiding lights’, who are now, mostly, in the modern world, beyond any elements of ‘superstition’. http://www.actionbioscience.org/education/lerner.html
The links I will put here and in Links.
Equality Act (as regards) Schools. Now Enforceable By Law! http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/equality/religion/
SACRE, Dorset, www.dorsetforyou.com/index.jsp?articleid=328106
www.selfharm.org.uk/Article.aspa?PageId=255&NodeId=259 Friday 9th February 2007 research article.
See, Faith in the System – in Links.