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BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK

Gedpipes 20 Feb 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,LTS pretending to work 20 Feb 08 - 12:33 PM
PoppaGator 20 Feb 08 - 12:35 PM
Sooz 20 Feb 08 - 12:37 PM
Emma B 20 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,PMB 20 Feb 08 - 12:44 PM
Emma B 20 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM
Jean(eanjay) 20 Feb 08 - 01:22 PM
paula t 20 Feb 08 - 04:42 PM
skipy 20 Feb 08 - 05:07 PM
Wesley S 20 Feb 08 - 05:08 PM
theleveller 21 Feb 08 - 03:30 AM
Liz the Squeak 21 Feb 08 - 03:35 AM
Jeanie 21 Feb 08 - 04:28 AM
Teribus 21 Feb 08 - 06:59 AM
theleveller 21 Feb 08 - 08:20 AM
Keith A of Hertford 21 Feb 08 - 08:24 AM
MBSLynne 21 Feb 08 - 08:29 AM
Wesley S 21 Feb 08 - 09:17 AM
Teribus 21 Feb 08 - 09:57 AM
wysiwyg 21 Feb 08 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,PMB 21 Feb 08 - 10:13 AM
Wesley S 21 Feb 08 - 10:15 AM
JulieF 21 Feb 08 - 10:43 AM
Teribus 21 Feb 08 - 10:57 AM
Mrrzy 22 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 08 - 10:39 AM
theleveller 22 Feb 08 - 11:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Feb 08 - 01:15 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 08 - 05:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Feb 08 - 04:27 AM
Liz the Squeak 23 Feb 08 - 04:33 AM
Doug Chadwick 23 Feb 08 - 07:09 AM
Backwoodsman 23 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM
Little Hawk 23 Feb 08 - 11:59 AM
MBSLynne 23 Feb 08 - 03:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 08 - 05:55 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 23 Feb 08 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM
Doug Chadwick 23 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM
Doug Chadwick 23 Feb 08 - 07:22 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 23 Feb 08 - 08:38 PM
Gedpipes 25 Feb 08 - 04:07 AM
Mo the caller 25 Feb 08 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,PMB 25 Feb 08 - 09:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 08 - 02:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 08 - 05:29 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 08 - 01:37 AM
The Villan 26 Feb 08 - 03:23 AM
Backwoodsman 26 Feb 08 - 06:09 AM
The Villan 26 Feb 08 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,PMB 26 Feb 08 - 06:42 AM
The Villan 26 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM
Liz the Squeak 26 Feb 08 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,PMB 26 Feb 08 - 08:03 AM
theleveller 26 Feb 08 - 08:09 AM
Teribus 26 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM
Wesley S 26 Feb 08 - 11:58 AM
Emma B 26 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM
Wesley S 26 Feb 08 - 01:46 PM
Emma B 26 Feb 08 - 02:37 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 08 - 04:41 PM
Liz the Squeak 26 Feb 08 - 05:53 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 08 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,LTS pretending to work 27 Feb 08 - 03:11 AM
theleveller 27 Feb 08 - 03:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 27 Feb 08 - 01:21 PM
Rowan 27 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 08 - 05:07 AM
The Villan 28 Feb 08 - 05:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 08 - 05:56 AM
The Villan 28 Feb 08 - 06:59 AM
goatfell 28 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 08 - 01:27 PM
The Villan 28 Feb 08 - 02:35 PM
Bonzo3legs 28 Feb 08 - 04:45 PM
Les in Chorlton 28 Feb 08 - 06:45 PM
Emma B 28 Feb 08 - 06:53 PM
Rowan 28 Feb 08 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,PMB 29 Feb 08 - 03:32 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Feb 08 - 07:33 AM
Liz the Squeak 01 Mar 08 - 04:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Mar 08 - 05:25 AM

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Subject: BS: compulsory religion in secondary school UK
From: Gedpipes
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:27 PM

Helping my son choose his options for GCSEs I note that religion is compulsory as a subject. In the state sector and in a secular country. Can this be correct?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:33 PM

Depsite attempts to change the status, Britain is still considered a Christian country and not secular. Another thing to consider is whether your sons' school is a C of E or other church school.

The only way we can learn to live with people of other religions is to discover more about them.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:35 PM

I'm surprised, and anxious to read more.

Here in the US we have our backward-looking fundamentalists trying very hard to influence public education, creating a lot of bad publicity worldwide. Could it possibly be that the supposedly civilized UK is doing a worse job than we are on the separation-of-church-and-state front?

I would hope that the requirement is some sort of comparative-religion course, and not a dose of compulsory establishment Protestantism.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Sooz
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:37 PM

Until the National Curriculum was introduced, Religious Education was the only compulsory subject!


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Emma B
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM

'Headteacher is told establishing non-religious education would be 'politically impossible'

- Observer education article Sunday September 23 2007

A headteacher who tried to reduce the influence of religion inside the classroom by creating the country's first secular state school had his plans blocked by senior government officials

Jim Knight, the Schools Minister ,

'All schools, faith and non-faith alike, must teach religious education as part of the basic curriculum. In maintained schools without a religious character, this will focus on learning about different religions and the role they play in today's world, not religious instruction.'

In reply a spokesman for the Church of England said: 'If he is arguing for a way for individual schools to opt out of those bits of the act he does not like that is not something we would support. Either overtly or by default, this country is still a Christian one.'

Full article here


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:44 PM

This is a prime example of the way religions (all of them, not just Christian) will never willingly relinquish any little scrap of power they have. It is obscene that the tiny minority Church of England should have guaranteed, unelected, seats in the legislature, can dictate the dates of our holidays and school terms, and can insist that their religious agenda be inflicted on all children without choice.

The American way- a constitutional separation of church and state- is the only one that can guarantee freedom of conscience for all, and that includes religious people.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Emma B
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM

The 1944 Education Act promised lessons for children up to the age of 15, created grammar, technical and secondary modern schools - and also placed worship at the heart of school life.

The 1988 Education Reform Act strengthened the legislation, further defining worship in schools as wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.

'It would be idiotic to leave out faith in God in a school when that's part of our society and when it's part of the Christian foundation of this country'

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan

But the new law also offered schools greater flexibility, and it meant worship was no longer confined to the morning assembly.

Instead children can pray in smaller groups, during class tutorial time, or indeed at any time during the day.

From a BBC news article in 2005 here


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 01:22 PM

The National Curriculum dictates what is taught in schools in the UK. Religious education can be included as part of other subjects for years 10 and 11 (GCSE), e.g. PSRE (Personal, Social and Religious Education). They don't teach a religion to pupils. In the religious education part of PSRE pupils take a look at the different religions of the world, discussing the different customs, beliefs and celebrations that occur at different times of the year in each religion. Pupils gain a greater understanding of the numerous cultures and customs of different people that live in our multi-cultural country and throughout the world. In non-religious schools the Church of England is not inflicting its religious agenda on all pupils without choice, far from it. Assemblies have changed and the religious education taught is different from what it was when I was at school. If people choose a religious school then they are also choosing that religion and that is their choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: paula t
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 04:42 PM

I am not at all religious, but I believe that religious education is extremely important.( Not convinced it should be compulsory by year 10 and 11 though). We live in a society which has many religions.Ignorance of other religions is at the root of many problems ,causing misunderstanding and unnecessary fear - which leads to prejudice.
At primary school, we investigate the religions of Islam, Judaism ,Sikhism and Hinduism alongside christianity.(Children are fascinated to see the connections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam).In class discussions they have come up with some interesting points and very measured responses to news stories and the way they are reported.They are less likely to jump on the bandwagon of labelling all muslims as terrorists.I wish many adults were as mature in their responses.

.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: skipy
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 05:07 PM

Might as well teach them astology & how to read chicken bones or teabags, has the same value & as much truth.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Wesley S
Date: 20 Feb 08 - 05:08 PM

Our constitution provides for a seperation of church and state. Does the UK provide anything like that? If not then you need to. Afterall y'all have a Queen. Doesn't a Queen consider that her authority is given to her by God? And how much does a Queen cost you guys every year?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 03:30 AM

My son got a B in RE GCSE - it was the easiest subject he took so an easy way to add another pass to the list. He actually had no interest in it whatsoever. Mt daughter goes to a C of E junior school - it's the only one in the area. They do teach religion in a very balanced way - celebrating the festivals of other faiths etc. Although I believe that evangelism of any kind is the worst sort of arrogance, I've no probem with the way my children are being educated in relation to religious subjects.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 03:35 AM

As the Church of England was "formed" by a distant ancestor of the present monarch and she retains the title 'Fidei Defensor' (look on any UK coin - it's there as F.D. or Fid. Def), which means Defender of the Faith, I suspect we're not going to be dividing Church and State for some time yet.

OK so the title was originally granted to Henry VIII before he formed the Church of England, defending Catholicism against the new Protestant faith that was gaining favour across Europe, but it still stands.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Jeanie
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 04:28 AM

I think the teaching of RE has improved greatly in recent years and, as Paula T and others have said, a more balanced and broad approach is followed, with the children being encouraged to think for themselves - including very young children.

I wish it had been like that when I was at school. I can still remember to this day the disappointment when, aged about 7, I had spent ages drawing a very colourful and (to my eyes) beautiful picture of Jesus, showed it to my teacher who asked me who was in the picture. "Oh no, that can't possibly be Jesus, because he always wore white !"....How could she possibly know ?? In our General Knowledge lessons, we were asked a regular set of questions round the class. One of them was: "Where is God's house ?" Once (and once only) I eagerly answered "In Heaven" - and was told, "Oh no. God's house is the church." That was the only acceptable answer.

There is a very telling comment in the BBC news article in Emma B's link:
"Headteacher Ellis Griffiths said it was impossible to fit the entire school into the hall for a daily assembly."

Apart from any religious/moral/PSHE content, I think the greatest importance of the daily whole school assembly was that it reinforced the community feel of a school, giving staff and pupils alike a sense of belonging and of mutual responsibility. With all the classes assembled together, it gave the pupils a sense of their past and future progression through the school.

My feeling is that when a school has become too big for all the pupils to meet in the assembly hall every day, the all-important community feel is far more difficult to foster, leading to the many behavioural problems now faced by teachers and pupils in so many schools. It is a sad fact that for many children and young people, school is the only place where they have a chance to feel that they belong and that they are part of something which has permanence and continuity.

Some comprehensive schools are now dividing themselves up into two smaller schools-within-schools, covering all ages from 11 to 16(or 18). I do hope that will mean that the whole school daily assembly (whether with religious/moral content or not) will be reinstated.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 06:59 AM

To answer some of Wesley S's questions (Very much tongue in cheek):

1. Our (US) constitution provides for a seperation of church and state. Does the UK provide anything like that? If not then you need to.

Answer: Yes it does. The monarchy in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been a "constitutional monarchy" for over 300 years (i.e. for more than 100 years before the US became a country).

Your much vaunted "Constitution" was based on the principles of that "constitutional monarchy" and upon two other pieces of paper that originated in England - The Magna Carta and Thomas Paynes "Rights of Man". As to that last sentence of yours quoted above - Keep your impudent and unsought advice to yourself.

2. Doesn't a Queen consider that her authority is given to her by God?

Answer: No she doesn't, the last reigning British Monarch to think that way ended up beheaded by his own subjects in 1649.

3. And how much does a Queen cost you guys every year?

Answer: £37.3 million in 2006-07. In the year 2006-07 The Queen cost the taxpayer just 62 pence per person for the year (Average UK earnings per year public sector = £25,896 and Private Sector = £22,828), so Her Majesty does not really cost us a great deal.

Head of State expenditure is the official expenditure relating to The Queen's duties as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth.

Head of State expenditure is met from public funds in exchange for the surrender by The Queen of the revenue from the Crown Estate. In the financial year to 31 March 2006 the revenue surplus from the Crown Estate paid to the Treasury amounted to £190.8 million.

So if we did away with our Queen, we'd still have to pay for whatever new Head of State we decided upon and we would lose one hell of a lot in revenue as the Revenue surplus of the Crown Estate would become taxed and instead of getting all the income we'd only get 50% of it. Either way the Queen and the Royal Family would be a damn sight better off financially.

Now £37.3 million is a damn sight less than your President/Vice-President plus Administration and Ex-Presidents/Vice-Presidents cost you lot.

We also have the added bonus of seeing on display at any state occasion a Head of State that represents an unbroken line that stretches back through over 1000 years of our history as a nation.

What you see is someone that you habitually call, "Cheat", "Liar", "Failure" and who, by some accounts, large numbers of people want to see impeached and thrown out of office.

Don't know about you Wes, but I'm rather proud of our Head of State, are you proud of yours?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 08:20 AM

"the last reigning British Monarch to think that way ended up beheaded by his own subjects in 1649."

And England, if not the whole of Britain, had its one great chance at establishing a truly democratic society. Unfortunately, one tyrant was replaced by another and we end up with the same old pack of useless drones and parasites that we call a royal family, backed up by an equally useless pack of hereditary aristocrats.

At least, in the US, they can vote out their cheats, liars and failures. Maybe we should be sharpening the axe again.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 08:24 AM

RE as taught in UK state schools is about all religeons.
I suggest that to have some knowledge of other people's beliefs is more important than ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: MBSLynne
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 08:29 AM

My son did his GCSEs last year and initially we were not happy about the fact that RE is compulsory. You can actually remove your child from RE lessons on religious grounds and to start with we did contemplate it, not being Christian, but on reflection we decide not to. What Liz says is true...it's a good idea to learn about other world religions. Unfortunately there seemed to be very little of this at GCSE level..it was almost all Christianity.

My own feeling on this is that it's good to teach religion in schools probably up to about year nine, but it should be "Comparative religion" where they look at all the world's religions. I don't think they should be making kids in year 10 and 11 study it. They have far more important things to study by that stage.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 09:17 AM

"Don't know about you Wes{ley}, but I'm rather proud of our Head of State, are you proud of yours?"

Actually I'm not. But then again I've never voted for him either as President or Governor. So we're in the same boat. You've never voted for the Queen either.

"As to that last sentence of yours quoted above - Keep your impudent and unsought advice to yourself."

Sorry mate - this is an open forum. I thought I was allowed to say what I wanted. If you have a problem with that take it up with the moderators.

If you're happy with having Church of England members as voting members of Parliment {I believe they have voting rights - correct?} then it's fine with me. Each of our countries have different ways of doing things. And we celibrate that fact every Forth of July.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 09:57 AM

Wesley - If you go back and read my post you will note the (VERY MUCH TONGUE IN CHEEK) bit.

No I have never voted for the Queen, sworn allegiance to her and that I did gladly but never voted for her.

"If you're happy with having Church of England members as voting members of Parliment {I believe they have voting rights - correct?} "

No, not correct at all Wesley, so why don't you find out about what you are opinionating about before you start offering advice on how to "correct" things in someone else's country - put your own house in order first chum.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:06 AM

Trust the young people's ability to think for themselves, whether the curriculum teaches it or not. How else do we think Mudcatters got to be the free-thinking people we are?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:13 AM

What, Teribus, no bishops voting in the Lords? When did the Lords Spirituous lose their vote?

I can see the argument for teaching about other people's beliefs, which might be no bad thing if done from a neutral point of view, which unfortunately is highly unlikely. But it's utterly wrong to give children the impression that religion has a monopoly of morality and other non- material (with a small m) considerations, and the simple fact is that in England at least, the Christian religion has a legal position which other beliefs do not. This is purely as a result of history rather than any intrinsic value of Christianity.

There's no doubt that public opinion would back Christianity in opposition to Islam or Hinduism. But that's because of the "soft" racism of the majority, coupled with the probability of a foaming display from the tabloids.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:15 AM

So what are they doing there O Wise One?

And yes - I am working to get my house in order. As I'm sure you are too. You you finished yet? Is England exactly how you'd like it to be?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: JulieF
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:43 AM

You are entitled to remove your child from RE.   The RE that was taught to my daughter was almost completely christianity based and she spent much of her time arguing with the teacher about what was fact and what was not.   This was not at a religious school. So we just took her out of the class and at that point she did her violin lesson and helped the music teacher in class.

Anoyingly for her - it had to be our decision and not hers.

We did not opt out of asemblies which we also entitled to do as that would have separated her from the class too much and at least some school info was given amoung the hyms and prayers.

J


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Feb 08 - 10:57 AM

The House of Lords, it has been a very, very long time since they ever directed the course of anything of any substance in British politics. They serve only as a moderating chamber for the House of Commons, where the real work of our Parliament is done (Although to be strictly correct it is in the committees of the House of Commons that the real work is done).

The Parliament Act of 1911 effectively abolished the power of the House of Lords to reject legislation passed up to it from the Commons, or to amend it in a way unacceptable to the House of Commons, so as you can see the House of Lords has little real power.

Oh, and being pedantic like Folkiedave:

"Church of England members as voting members of Parliment"

1. I would venture to guess that some of our elected Members of Parliament are also members of the Church of England, so Wesley's statement is correct. But they are voting members of Parliament because they have been elected not because of their religious beliefs or affiliation with the Church of England.

2. Just because you are member of the the Church of England does not entitle you to vote in Parliament, so strictly speaking we do not have ""Church of England members as voting members of Parliment".

3. I believe that there can be no more than 26 Lords Spiritual allowed to sit in the House of Lords. They must include the five most ancient dioceses of the Church: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Durham, and the Bishop of Winchester. Membership of the House of Lords also extends to the 21 longest-serving other diocesan bishops of the Church of England. In the House of Lords there are 738 Lords both Spiritual and Temporal so at 26 in number the Lords Spiritual pack very little clout, being less than 4% of the Membership.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 10:20 AM

Religion should be taught. In philosophy class, though, or history, or something that isn't science. Except now they are going to investgate faith scientifically... finally!


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 10:39 AM

Hey, skipy, I knew someone who could read tea leaves spectacularly well.... ;-) She really could. I know this from direct experience. It was quite uncanny. I realize that this may shake the foundations of your world to its core (since there is no scientific explanation of her accurate readings), so feel free to just ignore my post and you can rest easy tonight. (grin)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 11:06 AM

"we celibrate that fact"

I thought that was only Roman Catholic priests


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 01:15 PM

I used to enjoy RE when I was a kid. Perhaps it should be available to people who enjoy it, at least.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 08 - 05:41 PM

I got my schooling in Canada and the USA, and I never got any RE!!!

Now I feel deprived. ;-(


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 04:27 AM

I don't think GCSE Religion is compulsory in non-faith schools. As many have pointed out, some element of RE is taught in PSRE which, I think, is a compulsory non-exam subject. GCSE Religion may be compulsory in some faith schools.

As a militant atheist, who enjoys nothing more than re-reading "The God Delusion" by the mighty Dawkins, I am happy that all cherubs get a chance to study a range of faiths. One problem is that the cherubs don't like it much. The other is it is often taught by fairly committed christians.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 04:33 AM

"At least, in the US, they can vote out their cheats, liars and failures"

And vote them right back in again too.... didn't they!

LTS (grinning and running away!)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 07:09 AM

At our local secondary school, they introduced RE as a compulsory examination subject, first as a half GCSE for the upper band pupils, then as a full GCSE. By the time my youngest got to Year 11, a half GCSE was compulsory in the lower bands. As a half GCSE in anything is neither use nor ornament, I objected to my daughter's time being taken up swotting for an exam in RE when it could be better spent improving her grades in English, Maths and other core subjects.

When I voiced my objections to the school, I was told that, although it was not a legal requirement, the Principal wanted all pupils to take the exam. I pointed out that, in matters of religion, it wasn't the Principal's principles that counted. I was quite prepared to let her attend RE lessons, just not have the stress of one more exam which seemed to have little value. However, I was prepared to remove her from RE classes altogether, if that was what was required, in which case the school would have to make alternative arrangements for her supervision during the lesson times. That seemed to bring them round to my way of thinking.

Originally, she had been placed in the lower set for RE and didn't seem to be achieving much. In the end, as she was no longer going to be a notch on the school's exam target, she was moved from the lower set to the upper set because it balanced the class sizes more evenly. Ironically, the marks she got in class after that were such that she probably would have achieved a good grade had she taken the exam.


DC


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 09:54 AM

"Ignorance of other religions is at the root of many problems ,causing misunderstanding and unnecessary fear - which leads to prejudice."

It's not religions I fear, mine or others', it's the nutters who use religion as an excuse to inflict suffering on others.

Most (if not all) of the religions of the world are peaceful, pacifist even, so why is so much violence committed in their names?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 11:59 AM

I'm more worried about capitalists, frankly. ;-) They are much more prevalent and far more dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: MBSLynne
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 03:03 PM

Our local upper school is a state school but GCSE RE is compulsory and forms half a GCSE. I had assumed that this was a government thing, not ruled by the school. They also had to do PE as half a GCSE too. I find all these totally stupid and pointless.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 05:55 PM

I think Gedpipes, intentionally or not, summed up the case for religious education in that first post: "The only way we can learn to live with people of other religions is to discover more about them."


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 06:22 PM

Definition:

Assembly - a hymn, a prayer and a bollocking.

Meanwhile, in the geography department, someone is quietly teaching about the fossil record...


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM

Mistake of mine. That quote I used didn't come from Gedpipes, but from the second post by LTS.
..............................

Vulgar Boatman seems to suggesting there's some kind of disparity between RE in schools and teaching about evolution. That's more or less an only-in-America thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM

McG of H,

It was Liz's post which summed up the case for RE. The main point of Gedpipe's initial post, as I see it, was to question RE as a compulsory GCSE subject.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 07:22 PM

Cross-posted with you Kevin.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 23 Feb 08 - 08:38 PM

In the very funny, but uncomfortably close to the truth, TV series "Yes Prime Minister", the PPS to the PM, Sir Humphrey Appleby, explained that the Church of England of the late twentieth century, was mainly a social organisation which tried not to involve God overmuch in its activities.

When the PM asked about the Queen, Sir Humphrey said "It would be quite impossible to separate the Queen from the Church. God on the other hand is an optional extra". I sort of warmed to that idea.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Gedpipes
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 04:07 AM

Just to clarify my position on the teaching of religion as a subject (if indeed it is).
I'd like all young people to be given the opportunity to discover the ways in which religion(s) shape the social and political environment in which we live. It might make for a more tolerant world. What I don't like is the way in which it can be taught from a specific perspective, potentially as a form of indoctrination. I have first hand experience of this.
I'd actually prefer to have philosophy as a compulsory subject.
Blue skies
Ged


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Mo the caller
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:35 AM

But religion can only be taught from the viewpoint of the teacher.
In fact any subject can only be taught convincingly by someone who is convinced of it's value.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:06 AM

teaching about the fossil record..

That's a good point. What was on the flipside of the fossil record?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 02:03 PM

B-side for yourselves...


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 05:29 PM

'In fact any subject can only be taught convincingly by someone who is convinced of it's value.'


I just did a guitar class. I think I was convincing. I thought they would be better off doing car maintenance. I wasn't convinced of its value.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:37 AM

While there is constitutional separation of church and state in the US, but the UK has the Head of State as the Head of the Established Church, it seems interesting (to this outsider) that public discourse in the US invokes enormously more god-bothering than seems to be the case in the UK.
On another point,
But religion can only be taught from the viewpoint of the teacher.
In fact any subject can only be taught convincingly by someone who is convinced of it's value.


This is both a strength and a weakness. I'd prefer my offspring to be taught science by someone who'd had actual experience of being a proper scientist (ditto for maths, music etc), rather than someone who'd only done a degree in Science Education. If I were forced to have them taught religious principles/philosophy (in Oz it's not compulsory in govt-run schools) I'd prefer them to be so taught by people with a detached and rational perspective rather than a passionate or committed one.

And where could one find support, in the UK RE system, for the "proper" teaching of atheism (surely categorisable as a "religion"), let alone by passionately committed atheists?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 03:23 AM

My children are not baptised. We decided that it was up to them what religion if any they choose to follow.

I happen to think that religion should be scrapped and replaced by a non religious approch to morality. The problem today is that morals appear to be going out the door.

I am happy to say that my children are well behaved, do not go around swearing or being cheeky or voilent to anybody, whoever they are. Thats becuase we as parents have taught them morality. Howveer we have never taught religion

I also second BWM's comments about the nutters.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:09 AM

"I happen to think that religion should be scrapped and replaced by a non religious approch to morality. The problem today is that morals appear to be going out the door."

Agree with your second sentence Villan, but not the first. Religion's not the cause of the decline in moral standards, people are. If everyone adhered to the morality laid down by the major religions, the world would be a wonderful place.

I've found that the events of the past two-and-a-half years in my life, and the knowledge of other peoples' faith and their prayers for me, have had a profound effect on me and on my own beliefs. Who'd have ever thought it?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:21 AM

What I meant by that BWM is that I don't consider morality needs religion to work. However religion leads the way in terms of promoting morality.
Our family is not religious, but our beleifs in morality are very high.
I am quite happy to let people go about there own business (religion) as long as they don't pester me. If they want to promote morality whichever religion, then they get my support for that.

I understand where you are coming from BWM :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:42 AM

If only there were some agreement about what constitutes "the morality laid down by the major religions". There's scarcely a practice, or a human relationship, whether loving or abusive, that hasn't been permitted if not compulsory for one or more of the major religions at some time in the last 2500 years. Religions don't teach a single morality; I suspect that "real" morality to most people means "what grandma used to tell us to do". They proclaim do as you would be done by, while practicing do unto others as you suspect they want to do to you, so do it first.

That's the trouble with "morality"- everybody thinks they know what they mean by it, and that it means the same for everyone else, and that "good" and "evil" are self- evident eternal truths.

Can we think of a single universal?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM

Well we taught our children

To respect other people and be helpful
To be well mannered
Not to go round swearing even if they hear it all day at school

They do not hang around on street corners making a nuisance of themselves

Surely these things have nothing to do with religion. They are common sense, and to me is very much about trying to live peacefully with other people and respect them the same way as you would expect to be treated.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:49 AM

Just a question from an interested party.... has anyone here read religious texts like the Koran, the Book of Mormon or Malleus Maleficarum?

I have no argument with anyone over religion, I mostly refuse to discuss it, but I'm interested to know if anyone has read the major text of a religion other than the one they follow?

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 08:03 AM

I've read bits of the Koran (as boring as the Bible) and bits of the Book of Mormon. That's a right laugh, and severely tries one's attempts to have respect for the beliefs of others. I also used to read a lot about Buddhism when I was younger, especially Zen.


I've read the King James Bible (well the less boring bits) and likewise bits of the Book of Common Prayr- does that count as another religion's text for someone whose parents were Catholic?

My conclusion from all that is that people will go to the greatest lengths to avoid saying dunno.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 08:09 AM

Yes, I've read large parts of Malleus Maleficarum but I'd hardly call it a major text of religion. It was written by two German inquisitors, Kramer and Sprenge, and really just reinforces their views on witchcraft. It was this and other similar texts that Reginal Scot ridiculed in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, although that is probably az better guide to the actual practices. If you want to know more, read E M Butler's Ritual Magic.

Er, what exactly was the point of the enquiry?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Teribus
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 10:59 AM

"While there is constitutional separation of church and state in the US, but the UK has the Head of State as the Head of the Established Church, it seems interesting (to this outsider) that public discourse in the US invokes enormously more god-bothering than seems to be the case in the UK." - Rowan

The separation of church and state in the US had to be specifically mentioned to protect the integrity of the State and its founding principles. The Head of State in the US is the Head Executive a very "hands-on" role. In the US this extremely hands-on Head of state can change every 4 years. In the 1770's with the bulk of the colonists in what was to become the fledgling United States of America, there was an excellent understanding and appreciation of the need to keep church and State separate.

The UK on the other hand has had a "Constitutional Monarchy" for over 320 years. The Head of State is exactly that, a figurehead with little or no real power. The fact that the Head of State of the UK is also Head of the State Church (i.e. Church of England) comes from expediency as Henry VIII had to secure a male heir to the throne to ensure Tudor succession and the Head of the Roman Catholic Church would not grant him a divorce. Various laws were passed in England to prevent any Roman Catholic succeeding to the throne mainly because the Head of Sate would then be subject to the Pope and not subject to the will of Parliament.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 11:58 AM

I understand that the Queen has a veto power over bills coming out of Parliment. How difficult is it to override that veto?


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Emma B
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM

Wesley, the royal 'veto' was last exercised in 1707 or 1708 by Queen Anne with the Scottish Militia Bill 1708.

Sovereignty in the UK no longer rests with the monarch, since the English Bill of Rights in 1689, which established the principle of Parliamentary Soverignity.

Despite this the Monarch remains Head of State, akin to a President in European (but not American) political tradition, and could still act as a final check on executive power as she/he is considered free from party politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:46 PM

Someone in my office - from Yorkshire - had said that the Queen had vetoed a bill a few years back. Something about treason - and it was later overturned.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Emma B
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 02:37 PM

Treason Felony Act

'In 2003, The Guardian newspaper mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to the Act in the House of Lords, alleging that the act "...makes it a criminal offence, punishable by life imprisonment, to advocate abolition of the monarchy in print, even by peaceful means..."[1] However in a unanimous judgement Lord Steyn decided that "the part of section 3 of the 1848 Act which appears to criminalise the advocacy of republicanism is a relic of a bygone age and does not fit into the fabric of our modern legal system. The idea that section 3 could survive scrutiny under the Human Rights Act is unreal." '

'Although the attorney general has won this appeal, we are delighted that the House of Lords' ruling unanimously vindicates the Guardian's position: that this anachronistic law is incompatible with the Human Rights Act and should be repealed by parliament

This judgment makes clear that advocating a republic can no longer be considered a treasonable act. The government should now scrap this law' - The Guardian 2003

.....only challenge to the law on treason I know of in recent years Wesley

For further interest read about The Sydney Twelve


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 04:41 PM

Thanks Teribus, for the history, although I am reasonably familiar with both what you presented and what subsequent posters have added; the 1708 Scottish Militia Bill was new to me, however. As an aside, in Oz, we've retained much of the British notion of a constitutional monarchy, without an established church but with an elected Senate similar to that of the US.

I thought my real point of the US/UK comparison was relevant in a thread discussing the role of teaching in state schools and religion in public discourse; here 'tis again. Admittedly, I'm viewing both the US and the UK from south of the equator but our news services have progressed beyond the 'six months at sea" stage.

In the US (where religion -in the form of "Church") is formally separated from the State leaders are constantly avowing their adherence to beliefs in something they regard as Christianity. Or they're being pilloried for alleged failures in their beliefs.

In the UK (where the State has an Established "Church", with the Head of both is the same person, so one might expect most leaders to be constantly referencing religion in their public discourse) there seems to be precious little of such referencing.

I have some notions of 'possible reasons' but they're not really relevant to the central part of the thread, which is specifically dealing with events and attitudes in the UK.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:53 PM

The point of the enquiry was to ascertain whether people commenting on religion had actually read the teachings put down in various other texts.

And I know what the MM is, I just put that in because it's one we happen to have a copy of.. I could just as easily said 'The Golden Bough' or one of many other books of different religions and variations on religion that we have.

I notice though that we have no Bhuddist texts... perhaps I should rectify that next time I'm at the bookshop.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 06:10 PM

Well, Liz, apart from the usual things you're exposed to when brought up in a god-fearing household (eg Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" and Norman Vincent Peale's "The power of positive thinking") I've read the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and isolated bits (also in translation) of the "Talmud" and the "Koran" but, like you (I suspect) I 'got vaccinated' which meant later efforts at establishing religions (eg the "Book of Mormon" and anything by SciFi dorks) passed me by.

I did read the abridged version of "The Golden Bough" (the original's nine volumes was a bit much for me) but I preferred Robert Graves' take on Frazer's atheistic analysis of the origins of religion; I did get through "The White Goddess" (although the first half was like reading the first half of White's "Voss") and found Graves' comments about Rowan (and Liz, actually) most interesting.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:11 AM

Rowan - try to get hold of a copy of the Tyndale Bible - it's got rude notes about the Pope in the margins!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 03:19 AM

Rowan, iteresting you should mention The White Goddess - that's exactly what I was going to say. It's a difficult book but merits re-reading from time to time. Could be why my daughter's called Holly Rowena.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:21 PM

Many people if faith don't read their own book. Although I would like to point out that The bible and such like books are just mine as anybody elses.

For an excellent read about religion and it's books you can't beat "The god delusion" by the mighty Dawkins. Well researched, well written, funny, to the point, worth re-reading. Buy one today.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM

Many people of faith don't read their own book.

Very true, Les, although I can plead otherwise in my case. It has led to some observations I find interesting.

When teaching at a Victorian (jurisdiction, not era) govt-run high school, I met many adolescents who, as you might expect, were very 'black and white' in their judgements and forceful with their expressions. The fundamentalists among them could tell, by the language (choice of vocabulary and construction) whether or not particular teachers were "Christian" (in their sense). If you didn't display those characteristics they regarded as Christian, it meant, in their terms, you must be ignorant. Being "good Christians" they usually felt obliged to bring "the good news" to us ignorant teachers.

Because I was teaching biology I was specifically targeted about the implications of Genesis; being Biblical, it was the only creation story they would accept. They were most surprised that I knew it better than they did (I was an "unbeliever" and thus "ignorant" after all) and were not a little confused about the influence of the Epic of Gilgamesh in the Genesis story. They were even more confused about why the equivalent passages in the Talmud should not be identical; the same passages in the Koran they (in those days, without much Muslim presence in that community) could dismiss with little thought.

As a state employee I was content to insist that they could believe what they liked but that the formal curriculum required them to understand the data, the logic of the chain of inferences and implications for investigation withing the discipline, but I also accepted that, outside the classroom and in the community they and I still had to respect each other and I, as a role model, had to support their social, intellectual and emotional growth. So we discussed the extramural aspects out of class. What really bothered them though, was my challenge to them that, as "Christians" they ought pay more attention to the fact that the "Old" testament/covenant, according to the rest of their beliefs, was replaced by the "New", implying that the opening passages of writings atttributed to the disciple John replace those in Genesis.

I guess there's a few millstones awaiting me in perdition. Away from the teaching context I have very little disagreement with Dawkins but it was immersion in traditional music, song, lore (full of memes that have metamorphosed over the last few millenia) that brought me to such a view.

The other general observation about the lack of familiarity with biblical texts is that many cultural references us oldies take for granted (because we got exposed to them early on) are now 'isolated' and, without context, are likely to lose meaning.

"The Damoclean sword" is uninterpretable and meaningless to someone ignorant of the story behind it. Perhaps that may yet be a good thing but, in these days of coming to terms with the effects of our behaviour on climate change I rather think there is some worth in the meme. Perhaps that's why the UK govt requires students to study religion.

Somehow I don't think so.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:07 AM

The essential problem for most "people of books" is that they don't read all their books and they pick and choose from within the books.

I feel sure we can construct a simple test for people who say their book has it all and that geology or evolution are wrong. Ask them the way to somewhere and offer them their book or a road map as a help.

But just to make things, clear most religious books do not describe the origins of the planet, life or much else. People who teach otherwise are telling lies to children. This is never going to be a good idea.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:34 AM

Sorry but I find it very difficult to accept some of the things that are supposed to have happened in the name of God.

Mary was a Virgin and had a baby boy.
Jesus rose from the dead
He walked on water
5 loaves and 2 fishes amongst 5000

A bit like saying the martians landed last night.

As to the inapropriate behaviour of leaders of religion, it leaves a lot to be desired.

I will stick to my Morality without Religion thankyou. Teaching goodness and respect for one another does not need the inclusion of religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 05:56 AM

Me too Villain. The interesting gang are those that have stoppod believing in the literal view of books but want the general "god is up there , does things and listens to me" view of life.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:59 AM

Each to their own eh Les :-)

>>A bit like saying the martians landed last night.
<<

Made a mistake there

A bit like saying the martians landed last night or that Market Rasen is the centre of all earthquakes :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: goatfell
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM

well I thought that Britian is a Christian country and will remain so until Government chages that veiw


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 01:27 PM

Sorry you two have lost me


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 02:35 PM

and me :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 04:45 PM

I didn't know that they still taught Scripture in schools. If anyone went to QE Boys Barnet in the 1960s, they will remember Poker Pearce!!


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:45 PM

Go on, go, go on, go on,somebody must!


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 06:53 PM

When I was in secondary school (more years ago than I care to confess) not only was RI - Religious INSTRUCTION compulsory but it was a necessary examination 'pass' if you wished to be considered for teacher training.

The teacher that took us for the examination year had his faith severely tested when I passed the exam! :)


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Feb 08 - 08:11 PM

Emma B's Uk experience thus contrasts with the Oz one, where the following two Sections of the Constitution are relevant.

116 Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

109 Inconsistency of laws
When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

Apart from that, "God" gets only a passing reference in the preamble ("humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God") and the "SO HELP ME GOD!" of the Oath of allegiance in the Schedule; nonbelievers can make an Affirmation.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 03:32 AM

We were given the full Catholic works, grace and hell fire, Mass and Benediction, carefully selected Bible stories and tales of saints. It was after hearing of the cruelties inflicted on the Forty English Martyrs that my older brother went out, full of holy zeal, and threw stones through the windows of the local Congregational church.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 07:33 AM

Dangerous tales PMB, I bet the armed wing of the Congregationalists, known locally as the Congos are still looking for your brother.


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 04:34 AM

Which just goes to prove the point I made in my very first post to this thread, that the only way we can learn to live with people of other religions, is to learn about that religion.

Or we could turn into Ned Flanders - who "tried to obey all the rules, even the ones that contradict each other" and "kept kosher just to be on the safe side"....

There's a book out in the UK at the moment called 'The Year of living Biblically' where the author sets out to live his life as close as possible to the teachings of the Bible. Read a bit here...
I suspect I will end up buying it, because what I read in the bookshop was fascinating.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: teaching religion in secondary school UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 05:25 AM

Liz, Liz sing us a song or play us a tune instead. These men give bad advice

Cheers

Les - off to fit a carpet


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