Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

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hartleymartin
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hartleymartin » 20 Sep 2010, 2:27pm

Let me pose you all a practical question: If all church and religious schools closed tomorrow, how much more would it cost the state to fund the operation of state schools to enrol and provide for the educational needs of the students? The real question is: How much is the public purse saving, by not having to pay 100% of the costs of operating those schools, but only paying a fraction of the real costs, and letting the local church community fund most of the rest? It is really quite plain to see that the whole argument against funding for church/religious schools is a political or ideological farce. I suppose none of you are opposed to the church running hospitals, welfare/employment agencies, 2nd hand clothing stores.

If the church withdrew all of the schools, hospitals, clothing shops, welfare agencies tomorrow, the country would be in crisis.
Martin Hartley from Sydney, Australia
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thirdcrank
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2010, 2:31pm

hartleymartin wrote:...If the church withdrew all of the schools, hospitals, clothing shops, welfare agencies tomorrow, the country would be in crisis.


Which country are you talking about? No matter, talk about what might be the result of something happening overnight is hardly the point. If something is desirable or preferable it may still take time to be be achieved. (It took centuries to get into the situation we are in now.)

Jonty

Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Jonty » 20 Sep 2010, 2:38pm

thirdcrank wrote:It seems to me that the separation of state and religion is pretty fundamental to religious freedom. The lack of that separation here leads to a situation where the symbolic head of state is required - by law, as I understand it - to be Cof E, and through historic accident and the brutal, utter selfishness of one of her less enlightened forebears is head of the same sub-division of Christianity. (Something so manifestly dicriminatory it is said to have prompted the next in line to declare he wants to be defender of faith rather than Defender of the Faith.) The top men of the CofE, and apart from the Queen they are all men, sit ex officio in the upper chamber of the legislature, and that's hardly rectified IMO by creating a few life barons from among the others. If we are a tolerant lot, and I don't know if we are, it's not because of the system. AFAIK, France, which had a complete clear out in the 18C, and the United States, largely established by people avoiding religious persecution / intolerance and wanting to prevent it, both pride themselves on constitutions with this separation.

We are in the silly situation in the UK that having always taken faith teaching to mean, more or less, CofE, with a bit of a nod to the others, it's now too late to have a rethink without it appearing to be discrimination. When that is combined with the tradition that education is 'charitable,' ie a jolly good tax wheeze, the education system which has divided our society on class lines now risks dividing it along religious lines. This suits politicians because they often only have to deal with the self-appointed leaders: get them onside and they bring many of their followers with them.


I couldn't agree more. The French have the right approach. If people want their kids to be educated by religious institutions then the taxpayer should not contribute financially to it.
The French curtailed the power of the religious establishment by simply chopping off a lot of their heads during the revolution.
As I understand it, Roman Catholic schools were established in the UK as a result of an expedient political deal involving the Irish Nationalists when the whole of Ireland was part of the UK and represented at Westminister. I suspect most people in the country would not have been in favour of it at the time and have doubts about it now.
I'm sure that if we were starting from a clean sheet we would stay well clear of faith schools.
By the way, as I understand it the soverign can be anything except Roman Catholic, which is another historical anachronism.
jonty

AndyB
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby AndyB » 20 Sep 2010, 2:50pm

hartleymartin wrote:Let me pose you all a practical question: If all church and religious schools closed tomorrow, how much more would it cost the state to fund the operation of state schools to enrol and provide for the educational needs of the students? The real question is: How much is the public purse saving, by not having to pay 100% of the costs of operating those schools, but only paying a fraction of the real costs, and letting the local church community fund most of the rest? It is really quite plain to see that the whole argument against funding for church/religious schools is a political or ideological farce. I suppose none of you are opposed to the church running hospitals, welfare/employment agencies, 2nd hand clothing stores.

If the church withdrew all of the schools, hospitals, clothing shops, welfare agencies tomorrow, the country would be in crisis.

You seriously believe that the government here only pays a 'fraction of the real costs' of running a state CofE school? My understanding (and I would be really interested if anyone has real figures) is that the contribution from the church is some 10% of capital costs - i.e., none of the running costs. And owning the land schools are built on is more likely to be an investment than a cost.

Of course there would be a crisis if there was such a change overnight, but not one person is suggesting an overnight change. My idea of a farce is having state schools teaching a religion as the truth. Do you have any well-reasoned arguments supporting state-funded faith-based education?

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Kevin K
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 4:17pm

AndyB wrote:Do you have any well-reasoned arguments supporting state-funded faith-based education?

I've stated clearly above my reasoning for Catholic education, which you clearly think unreasoned... :D

The current system generally provides a choice of schools (secular, faith, music academies, etc.) and seems to fit well with the tolerant nature of British society. I'd like to understand why, given that we all pay into the state finances, is it so unreasonable for the state to provide a pluralistic education system provided it is not detrimental to individuals or society at large?

If you have evidence that the current approach is detrimental to individuals or society, please provide it.
Kevin K. Glasgow

glueman
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby glueman » 20 Sep 2010, 4:35pm

hartleymartin wrote:The Catholic church doesn't ordain just anyone. There is about 6 or 7 years of training in the Seminary where you study Philosophy and Theology, psychological screening, spiritual directors, etc. It is quite an involved process. People who chose priesthood, also chose a celibate life. Unfortunately, a few rotten ones get through sometimes. Celibacy isn't the sole cause, nor is it really a cause of sexual abuse (despite popular media portrayal). It is really easy to forget that there are plenty of people out there leading perfectly happy and normal lives whom have never had sex, nor do they seek out sexual relations.


It's my misfortune to disagree with you there. There are certainly people of limited libido for whom celibacy is no particular trial, but there's no reason to believe they are represented in religious life any more than individuals with a strong sex drive. My experience of catholic clergy instinctively points to a hugely over-representative number of gay men among its numbers. There is no harm in that, indeed doctrine accepts homosexuality as a natural part of life so long as the sexual impulse is not acted upon. However in reality the occasion for 'sin' is very much greater if a predisposed individual is exposed to temptation on a daily basis. He may begin with noble intentions and the church may seem the perfect escape for someone of his propensity but 'don't ask - don't tell' is hardly the best basis for resolving such internal conflicts. And if something as obvious as a gender orientation has to be concealed, what hope for exposing those of a preditory and criminal predisposition?

AndyB
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby AndyB » 20 Sep 2010, 4:38pm

Kevin K wrote:
AndyB wrote:Do you have any well-reasoned arguments supporting state-funded faith-based education?

I've stated clearly above my reasoning for Catholic education, which you clearly think unreasoned... :D

This was aimed at hartleymartin. You have given some good reasons. I disagree about the sizes of the pros and cons on each side, hence come to a different conclusion, but I understand your reasoning.

hartleymartin wrote:It is really quite plain to see that the whole argument against funding for church/religious schools is a political or ideological farce.

This, however, is not reasoning, simply a statement of opinion.

thirdcrank
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2010, 4:43pm

hartleymartin wrote:... It is really quite plain to see that the whole argument against funding for church/religious schools is a political or ideological farce.

Nothing like a carefully reasoned argument. :lol:

AndyB
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby AndyB » 20 Sep 2010, 4:50pm

Kevin K wrote:The current system generally provides a choice of schools (secular, faith, music academies, etc.) and seems to fit well with the tolerant nature of British society. I'd like to understand why, given that we all pay into the state finances, is it so unreasonable for the state to provide a pluralistic education system provided it is not detrimental to individuals or society at large?

If you have evidence that the current approach is detrimental to individuals or society, please provide it.

So I think the disadvantages are:
1. Children who do not attend the local school because it is a faith school for a faith they do not share have to travel daily and have fewer opportunities for socialising with their school friends out of hours.
2. The local community is often focused around the school - we have certainly got much more involved with the village since our son started school, something that would have happened much more slowly, if at all, had we sent him elsewhere. I think everyone agrees that 'community' is worthwhile.
3. If the child is sent to the faith school, the parents will probably wish to explain how they disagree with what is being taught. There is potential for this to undermine faith in teachers. Perhaps this will generate a healthy scepticism of authority, but it can be confusing for children.
4. Children of parents with strong faiths are likely to be sent to schools of that faith. Such segregation is thought to be harmful, as integration leads to familiarity and reduces distrust of people with different backgrounds.

Against this, the only disadvantage for secular education that I can see from your arguments is that some aspects of the faith are likely to be underplayed (and in the context of a Christian in this country I suspect these are relatively subtle issues). Why can't this aspect of faith teaching be done by the parents, or within a church group or similar? An example of the sort of thing you're thinking of would be helpful.

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Kevin K
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 4:54pm

Jonty wrote:You can see no evidence that faith schools cause division in the "recently-sectarian" west of Scotland? The inability to see evidence does not prove absence of evidence. Perhaps you should look a little harder. jonty
I have. The roots of sectarianism in Scotland are deep and closely allied to the mass working class Irish immigration of the 19th century. Take the (now repudiated) 1923 Church of Scotland report as an example. It was entitled "The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality" which accused the Catholic population of subverting Presbyterian values and of causing drunkenness, crime and financial imprudence.

Even after WWII Catholic ex-servicemen looking for work would see notices saying "Catholics need not apply". In relatively recent times, employers would casually ask what football team you support or which school you went to to judge "which foot you kicked with".

No, bigoted children stem from bigoted parents, pure and simple.

If Catholic schools are the cause, why is there no recent history of sectarianism in England, where there have been Catholic schools since the late 19th century?

For more information on this subject I recommend "Scotland's Shame" edited by Tom Devine.
Kevin K. Glasgow

kwackers
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby kwackers » 20 Sep 2010, 5:00pm

yakdiver wrote:
Church of England has a lot going for it: excellent music, great architecture

most of your "great architecture" use to belong to the Catholic Church lets get it right

The Catholic church has use many mechanisms for extracting cash from people. Paying for salvation being one (the use of purgatory is genius in that respect). Over the eons it's accumulated massive wealth, land and privilege so it's not too surprising that the architecture is amongst the worlds finest.

All this wealth and status bothers me. The whole hierarchy of powerful people imposing their will (and it is their will) on billions of their followers and enjoying great privilege.
Contrast that to a simple carpenter who some 2000 years ago preached a simple message - I wonder what he'd think? Would he be impressed?

thirdcrank
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2010, 5:03pm

kwackers wrote:... The whole hierarchy of powerful people imposing their will (and it is their will) on billions of their followers and enjoying great privilege.
...
And very sharp elbows when it come to the dressing-up box :lol:

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Kevin K
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 5:13pm

kwackers wrote:The whole hierarchy of powerful people imposing their will (and it is their will) on billions of their followers and enjoying great privilege.
Kwakers, I'm free to join or leave the Church as I wish; no one is imposing anything on me or anyone else. "Their will" as you put it, is the received teaching of the Church over 2,000 years. Disagree by all means, but please don't misrepresent.
Kevin K. Glasgow

kwackers
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby kwackers » 20 Sep 2010, 5:21pm

Kevin K wrote:
kwackers wrote:The whole hierarchy of powerful people imposing their will (and it is their will) on billions of their followers and enjoying great privilege.
Kwakers, I'm free to join or leave the Church as I wish; no one is imposing anything on me or anyone else. "Their will" as you put it, is the received teaching of the Church over 2,000 years. Disagree by all means, but please don't misrepresent.

Are you? Not if you believe their preachings you're not, it becomes a self made 'prison' (if you'll forgive the reference). If you're not in the church then there is no salvation. Therefore you can't leave!

As for 2000 years - as I said earlier in the thread that's a big issue since once you commit your teachings to paper then they become set even if society moves on. We now live in an overpopulated world with millions suffering with AIDS yet the church refuses to budge on condoms. I don't remember reading about them in the bible... If God exists, would it be likely that this is what he would want? As I said, what would Jesus think? From the picture of him painted by the bible I doubt he'd be impressed with allowing such suffering - or perhaps I've misinterpreted his message? (I am an atheist - perhaps I'm being too objective...)

thirdcrank
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2010, 5:59pm

Kevin K

I make no secret of having no religious faith but I'd try to respect (in the sense of treat with consideration, not in the sense of admire) anybody who has. When I saw this thread my heart sank, I put a brief note on it and then ignored it (probably hoping it would go away.) In the meantime it has drifted from a discussion of faith to one about organised religion.

I'm not sure, but I get the impression from what you have said in the last couple of things I've read (to jonty about religious sectariansim and to kwackers about 2000 years received teaching) that you are taking faith in this context to mean your own faith. Bearing in mind some of what's been said about paedophile priests on the thread before I could understand that but from my own POV this is a much more general thing. The reason I query this is that in what you say, you go from what seems to be the general to the particular and then back to the general quite seamlessly. It may be that I have misunderstood what you have meant, which is why I query it.