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.