Atheists target UK schools

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Atheists are targeting schools in a campaign designed to challenge Christian societies, collective worship and religious education.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/5219687/Atheists-target-UK-schools.html" [Broken]

NOTE: For the sake of easier posting, I'd like to loosely re-define the term "atheist" to include human secularists, agnostics and any other belief system or philosophy that doesn't conform to doctrines taught by known religions.

Now to get to my point. This move by the AHS has validity in that in modern society I believe we can no longer exclude based on existing "monopolies" imposed by tradition. What I'm trying to say is that I fully support their argument that as long as Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) is taught at schools, then atheists should have the right to "promote" their own beliefs at these same institutions.

However, having said that, what do you think the chances are that atheism will join the ranks of known religions through promoting their beliefs in this manner? I was always under the impression that most atheists became atheists through thought and consideration of the facts in their possession. That not adhering to a particular faith was a conscious decision and that this process of analysis and choice formed the very foundations of atheism to start with.

Won't teaching atheism have a similar effect on open-minded thought to that of teaching any other religion? In short, don't you think this move by the AHS might be counter-productive? Producing yet another type of mindless drone blindly following ideas not fully grasped and regurgitating arguments not fully understood?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
misgfool
No. The concept of atheism is really simple. Just don't believe in fairy tales. How could that possibly create drones?
 
  • #3
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I love how Christians are blame that "atheist indoctrination" (= more education in rationality) is somehow indoctrination when Christians have been doing the indoctrination for thousands of years.

http://img.golivewire.net/ib/294459_f.gif
 
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  • #4
cristo
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The (compulsory) religious education classes I experienced in school were predominantly focused on promoting tolerance of the views of others. It should be noted, firstly, that Christianity takes a major part of the timetable because the UK is a Christian country. Whether one likes it or not, the Queen whilst being the ruler of the country is also the governor of the church of england. Thus, I fully appreciate why Christianity takes up a large proportion of the timetable.

However, I also had classes on Buddhism, Judaism, Islam (and probably some others I can't remember) as part of a wide curriculum aimed at instilling some cultural and religious knowledge in the students. Atheism isn't really a religion in the same sense that the main religions are, thus I don't see how it could be taught in a similar way. I guess a lesson or two could be included to gain a knowledge of peoples who do not believe in theism, but I don't know how much can be taught here that will be of any benefit. After all, isn't that what science classes are for?
 
  • #5
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I love how Christians are blame that "atheist indoctrination" (= more education in rationality) is somehow indoctrination when Christians have been doing the indoctrination for thousands of years.

http://img.golivewire.net/ib/294459_f.gif
[/URL]

A little off topic, but that graph reminds me of

pac_man_pie_chart.jpg
 
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  • #6
siddharth
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Won't teaching atheism have a similar effect on open-minded thought to that of teaching any other religion? In short, don't you think this move by the AHS might be counter-productive? Producing yet another type of mindless drone blindly following ideas not fully grasped and regurgitating arguments not fully understood?
And what are the AHS actually trying to do?

The AHS does not and would never seek to challenge religious education in the manner that article predominantly suggests. The AHS strongly believes in the importance of a balanced, impartial and full religious education and would support the introduction of a national RE curriculum to ensure standards are met.

In brief, here is a summary of the purpose of helping students found their own atheist, humanist and secularist groups:

* To teach students how to debate and create dialogue between school faith groups.
* Provide the school with fun and educational events and activities, including two student-led courses: ‘Perspectives’ in which a speaker from a faith group gives a talk followed by Q&A, and our ‘One Life’ course, which considers moral and ethical issues without god. Many events will also support the scientific curriculum.
* Encourage charity volunteering.
* Give students the experience of running a group and managing events.
* Show students that it’s ok not to believe in god and encourage critical thinking.
* Bring out issues concerning religious privilege in schools such as collective worship and incomplete or biased religious education.
http://www.ahsstudents.org.uk/press/releases/3 [Broken]


Not so bad now, eh?
 
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  • #7
mgb_phys
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The (compulsory) religious education classes I experienced in school were predominantly focused on promoting tolerance of the views of others.
I went to a catholic school in the UK in the 80s where RE was taught by Irish nuns.
I was taught that:
Jews were responsible for killing Jesus.
Indians were starving because they refused to eat cows (although starving Africans was somehow my fault if I ate sweets?)
The church of england was responsible for killing millions of catholics. We had to learn the names of 40 of them by heart - it was only years after leaving school I discovered the Thomas Moore wasn't a very nice man.

I would welcome Atheists targeting UK schools (I would also welcome apache attack helicopters targeting nuns - but's that's just a personal thing).
 
  • #8
cristo
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I went to a catholic school in the UK in the 80s where RE was taught by Irish nuns.
Well that's your fault for going to a catholic school! I doubt things are taught like that nowadays, though.
 
  • #9
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The (compulsory) religious education classes I experienced in school were predominantly focused on promoting tolerance of the views of others. It should be noted, firstly, that Christianity takes a major part of the timetable because the UK is a Christian country. Whether one likes it or not, the Queen whilst being the ruler of the country is also the governor of the church of england. Thus, I fully appreciate why Christianity takes up a large proportion of the timetable.

However, I also had classes on Buddhism, Judaism, Islam (and probably some others I can't remember) as part of a wide curriculum aimed at instilling some cultural and religious knowledge in the students. Atheism isn't really a religion in the same sense that the main religions are, thus I don't see how it could be taught in a similar way. I guess a lesson or two could be included to gain a knowledge of peoples who do not believe in theism, but I don't know how much can be taught here that will be of any benefit. After all, isn't that what science classes are for?

The rules...10 Commandments...are the basis of our laws.
http://www.allabouttruth.org/10-commandments.htm

Off the top of my head...don't kill, don't cheat on spouse, don't steal, don't lie...all things I want to teach my kids.
 
  • #10
mgb_phys
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Well that's your fault for going to a catholic school!
Yeah - they never seem to ask the kids which school they want to go to.

I doubt things are taught like that nowadays, though.
Well not now that the church is run by a bunch of multicultural ecumenical questioning liberals. And I think all the nuns died off (they don't breed well in captivity)
 
  • #11
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The rules...10 Commandments...are the basis of our laws.
http://www.allabouttruth.org/10-commandments.htm

Off the top of my head...don't kill, don't cheat on spouse, don't steal, don't lie...all things I want to teach my kids.
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
This looks very vague. It tells me to be a pacifists? and vegetarian*
 
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  • #12
mgb_phys
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This looks very vague. It tells me to be a pacifists?
No it doesn't count if they are people God doesn't like.
 
  • #13
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No it doesn't count if they are people God doesn't like.
Which religion are you referring to...it's not Christianity...or Islam, or Judaism, or anything else I can think of???
 
  • #14
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  • #15
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The rules...10 Commandments...are the basis of our laws.
http://www.allabouttruth.org/10-commandments.htm.
I don't agree that they are the basis for our laws. Only 2 of the 10, don't murder and don't steal, are laws in the US. Well 2 and a half, bearing false witness is illegal in some circumstances. We even have laws specifically allowing some commandments to be broken.

US law is actually based on English Common Law which is itself based on the various Lex Romana codes of the Germanic peoples. These were laws for people of the old Roman Empire living under various Germanic dominance. Those laws are based in turn on Roman law which goes back in time at least to Lex Julia of 90 BC.
 
  • #16
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I don't agree that they are the basis for our laws. Only 2 of the 10, don't murder and don't steal, are laws in the US. Well 2 and a half, bearing false witness is illegal in some circumstances. We even have laws specifically allowing some commandments to be broken.

US law is actually based on English Common Law which is itself based on the various Lex Romana codes of the Germanic peoples. These were laws for people of the old Roman Empire living under various Germanic dominance. Those laws are based in turn on Roman law which goes back in time at least to Lex Julia of 90 BC.
http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html


The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Presented by the Indiana University School of Law—Bloomington

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


It seems to me God had some influence...how does your interpretation differ?
 
  • #17
mgb_phys
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Which religion are you referring to...it's not Christianity...or Islam, or Judaism, or anything else I can think of???
Well obviously - none of those have ever killed anybody because God said so
 
  • #18
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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
The Declaration is not US law, the Constitution is. I said that the 10 commandments are not the basis for US law. I did not say that G-d did or did not have "some influence".
 
  • #19
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The Declaration is not US law, the Constitution is. I said that the 10 commandments are not the basis for US law. I did not say that G-d did or did not have "some influence".
It's spelled GOD.
 
  • #20
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Well obviously - none of those have ever killed anybody because God said so
None of them prescribe murder. It's the gun argument...guns don't kill people...people do. The religions don't kill people...

I'm not saying religion isn't used as an excuse.
 
  • #21
mgb_phys
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  • #22
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It's spelt הֹוָה
I decline to write it correctly, but what you have written is incorrect. Who wee, I decline to write that word correctly as a matter of respect, not as an effort to raise your blood pressure. Please allow me this conceit.
 
  • #23
Evo
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It's spelled GOD.
Most of our founding fathers were deists.

Deism is a philosophical belief in the existence of a God on the basis of reason, and observation of the natural world alone. Deists generally reject the notion of supernatural revelation as a basis of truth and religious dogma. These views contrast with the dependence on divine revelation found in many Christian,[1] Islamic and Judaic teachings.

Deists typically reject most supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God (or "The Supreme Architect") has a plan for the universe which that Architect does not alter either by intervening in the affairs of human life or suspending the natural laws of the universe. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, most deists see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

see also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism#Deism_in_the_United_States
 
  • #24
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I decline to write it correctly, but what you have written is incorrect. Who wee, I decline to write that word correctly as a matter of respect, not as an effort to raise your blood pressure. Please allow me this conceit.
As a young man told me Sunday, as I returned a shopping cart to the designated area, "knock youself out".:wink:
 

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