Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fantasy School

I'm reading a book about Jerusalem at the moment, because all the baking in a onesie and watching documentaries about Chinese artefacts on iPlayer just weren't making me cool enough. It's a really interesting biography of the city of Jerusalem, very much focusing on the fate of the city rather than looking at it solely from one religion's perspective. At the moment though, I'm covering the time period concerned with Herod and Jesus and the birth of Christianity via Paul etc.

It's a really fascinating read; learning what's been supported through archaeological evidence and looking at the Bible through the corroborations available from Roman historians and other documents. What I've been realising though, as I read, is how betrayed I feel by my schooling that it's mostly all new to me.

I went to a C of E Primary School where Christianity and the Bible were taught to me as facts. I remained a practising Christian until I was 18 when I realised that, whilst I have no problem with the basic idea of loving everybody, I don't believe in a God and I don't agree with organised religion. I'm kind of angry and disappointed in the education system that I was literally just taught popular lies and it is deemed ok by a progressive, forward thinking country.

Isn't that weird?

Just for clarity, I'm not talking here about whether the miracles etc happened or whether God is real or not. I'm talking about facts from the stories that it's been possible to discern whether or not they happened. For example, Mary and Joseph did not travel to Bethlehem for a census because there wasn't one around that time. Herod did not kill the first born of every family; there's no evidence at all to support that. Jesus had brothers and sisters.

I don't think it's right that you can teach religion as fact to children of such a suggestive age. There is no place for it in modern society. If you want to teach religion, you need to teach it with the facts as they are and then have faith in your God that that is enough to convince the next generation. Or, you do it somewhere that isn't a school, where children aren't told to trust and believe their teachers without question. I don't believe you can pick and choose the bits you want to teach to support your cause. That's not an education; it's brainwashing.

I realise it's not the worst thing that's ever happened in a school, and it's not done me much long term harm, but I find it frustrating and baffling that we still go along with these archaic lies so as not to offend. I'm no millitant atheist; I have every respect for the love religion can bring into the world, it's the practise of concealing religious doctrine in supposedly factual education that seems immoral to me.

Like teaching someone in science that jelly babies are full of iron because you happen to like jelly babies and want your class to like them too. So you tell them about a scientist who did exist, in the past, who studied nutrition and published papers, you prove to your class that this person existed, and then you claim they discovered jelly babies are full of iron and you show your class no proof for this but ask that they believe you because you showed them the other stuff. It doesn't make any sense.


  1. My. Thoughts. Exactly. I totally disagree with religion being taught in school. Any culture should be taught within humanities subjects such as History and Geography and any stories should be discussed in English lessons. A large chunk of time is being wasted on an entire lesson that might aswell be called "Witchcraft and Wizardry" (I think of religions as stories that got out of hand, chinese whispers style, over the years - and in 1,000 years people could be worshipping Dumbledore and being scared of going to Azkaban when they die). I seriously think that life skills would be a much better and more important subject to introduce to the curriculum at an early age... teach budgeting, household management, caring for others, basic DIY, how the law works, etc, to people who come out of school completely clueless about how to *actually* do anything with their lives. Good post!

  2. The thing that gets to me is that they don't teach you about lots of religions. I mean, sure-teach kids about religion, but explain that christianity isn't the only one. I was lucky in that I'd travelled a lot as a kid so got to take part in Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu ceremonies as well as catholic and c of e but when I went to school, it was like none other existed. Went to a supposedly non denominational high school but even so, every assembly ended in a christian prayer! Mental.