Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

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Jonty

Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Jonty » 20 Sep 2010, 6:17pm

Kevin K wrote:
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.


I agree that parental attitudes are very important in fostering bigotry. It's also a fact that there has in the recent past been widespread prejudice against Roman Catholics. Roman Catholic emancipation in the UK only occurred in about 1829, I believe, which is relatively recent. There are all sorts of reasons for this including Roman Catholicism being associated with absolutism, "Rome-Rule", and the need to stop the religion of the people having to change ever time a monarch died and replaced by another one who supported a different brand of christianity.
There is a terrible historical baggage on all of this including the Pope supporting the conquest of Ireland by the English; the Pope giving his blessing and support to the Armada; the Pope absolving anyone who murdered Elizabeth 1; and for that matter the Pope being instrumental in starting the Crusades.
Nevertheless, I still think that it is desirable for young people not to be segregated along religious lines when receiving their education. Education IMO should be provided by state schools and those who want an education provided by a religious body should pay for it.
I find your comment about no recent history of sectarianism in England interesting. In my view that's because the English are exceptionally tolerant; much more so that the Scots or the Irish, or any other nation I'm aware of.
IMHO perhaps they're too tolerant and sleep-walking into future problems.
jonty

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Kevin K
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 6:52pm

Jonty wrote:I agree that parental attitudes are very important in fostering bigotry. It's also a fact that there has in the recent past been widespread prejudice against Roman Catholics. Roman Catholic emancipation in the UK only occurred in about 1829, I believe, which is relatively recent. There are all sorts of reasons for this including Roman Catholicism being associated with absolutism, "Rome-Rule", and the need to stop the religion of the people having to change ever time a monarch died and replaced by another one who supported a different brand of christianity.
There is a terrible historical baggage on all of this including the Pope supporting the conquest of Ireland by the English; the Pope giving his blessing and support to the Armada; the Pope absolving anyone who murdered Elizabeth 1; and for that matter the Pope being instrumental in starting the Crusades.

Yes, the relatively modern development of true religious freedom is reall blessing (if you'll forgive the pun :D) However, don't forget, it was that devout English Catholic ("Defender of the Faith") Henry VIII who really set the ball rolling! Anti-catholic sentiment in Britian dates from that time and was closely allied to politics (the two were inseperable at that time).

Jonty wrote:Nevertheless, I still think that it is desirable for young people not to be segregated along religious lines when receiving their education. Education IMO should be provided by state schools
It's a perfectly valid opinion but not one you'd expect me to agree with.

Jonty wrote:Those who want an education provided by a religious body should pay for it.
We already do, through our taxes!

Jonty wrote:I find your comment about no recent history of sectarianism in England interesting. In my view that's because the English are exceptionally tolerant; much more so that the Scots or the Irish, or any other nation I'm aware of. IMHO perhaps they're too tolerant and sleep-walking into future problems.
jonty

I think it's partly English tolerance, perhaps fostered by being a larger and therefore more diverse country than Scotland? However, it's also down to the nature of the established faith in the respective countries. In Scotland it was Presbyterian in nature - no bishops, no hierarchy, few sacraments, the Bible and lots of preaching; the exact opposite of Catholicism. Remember, in Scotland when the English King (a Scot by the way) tried to impose bishops the covenanters revolted and many were executed a result. In England, the reformed church was more Catholic in nature with the monarch at its head instead of the Pope, so the differences were, in reality. much less.
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 6:56pm

AndyB wrote: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.



spot on. there's no place for any church to run any school in a modern society.

my own 5 yr old attends the nearest (COE) school - he can cycle there rather than having to be strapped down in the oil burner, using finite resources and getting no excercise. whilst i don't approve of the teaching of jesus walking on water, being immortal, feeding 5000 & etc. at the age of 5 he takes baby jesus as well as santa and the tooth fairy on face value. i hope he'll mature out of the lot of them

but, with regards the house of lords, whilst the current system seems incongruous, i think that an elected second chamber would either just work with the government if elected at the same time, or work against it if elected 2 years later. a selected 2nd house would simply be full of politicians friends. having a mix of people in the HOL representing different groups within society seems best, so the odd bishop, a union rep, the leader from the scouts and someone elected from the CTC & etc. works for me
Last edited by hubgearfreak on 20 Sep 2010, 6:57pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 6:57pm

Jonty wrote:Those who want an education provided by a religious body should pay for it.

Kevin K wrote:We already do, through our taxes!


i don't know if you're being deliberately obtuse, or are simply daft. please address andy's points in my previous post :?

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 7:10pm

thirdcrank wrote: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've ignored it for several weeks too, but felt obliged to submit some reasoned arguments in defence of faith. I seem to be in a minority, but perhaps I'll receive my reward in heaven :lol: :lol:

thirdcrank wrote: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.

I'm a practicing Roman Catholic and proud of it. I'm also English and proud of that too. I mention my nationality becasue Catholics living in Scotland are usually assumed to be of Irish descent and their experience is very different from mine.

I have tried hard to make a general reasoned argument for faith schools within a pluralistic education system and tolerant society. Given what I've said above you'll not be surprised that most of my faith school expereince as child and parent is Catholic in nature, so many of my examples come from that.

Where specific issues have been rasied (Jonty and sectarianism) or what I see as incorrect information (Kwakers and church teaching) I've attempted to deal with them directly.

I have absolutely no wish to impose my faith on anyone (that would be travesty), but I hope through reasoned argument that others will at least appreciate my point of view.
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 7:12pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
i don't know if you're being deliberately obtuse, or are simply daft. please address andy's points in my previous post :?

Hang on a minute hubgearfreak, you only posted a few minutes ago... give me time to respond!
Kevin K. Glasgow

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 7:12pm

Kevin K wrote:I have absolutely no wish to impose my faith on anyone


you've no need. schools are doing it up and down the land for you :(

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 7:20pm

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


making cuppas in hospitals is a different kettle of fish altogether from teaching children that which there is no evidence for.

if a church ran at no cost to the taxpayer the police and judicery, and killed all practising homosexuals, would you say it's a fair saving or would you oppose it? i trust, oppose it.

those of us that are unhappy with having our children taught that that can't be shown to exist can't be purchased into happiness for a few measly quid a year, or hundreds. it's a Q. of right and wrong.
however, for me it's wronger still to deliver him miles away by motor, costing him his health, freedom and opportunities of making friends local to home

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2010, 7:46pm

Kevin K

One way or another, you have missed or avoided the point I am making about general to specific. Take, for example, kwackers point about freedom to leave. Apostasy is still viewed pretty dimly in some parts of the world and although I like to think I have my feet firmly planted, I've heard some pretty stark accounts relayed by my wife who until quite recently trained young people in Bradford. Even here in Leeds, we hear of Jewish families holding funerals for members who have married outside the faith. You point to 2000 years received teaching, but surely you don't see that as 20 centuries of unchanging belief? Even if what we might call the core has remained unchanged, the methods by which it has been imposed in all branches of Christianity have been toned down a bit - thankfully, it's a while since we had anybody burnt at the stake, for example. On a less horrific level, discrimination against women seems to be one area where a lot of religions seem to drag their feet. There are enough different strands of Christianity to say that they are not all singing from the same hymnsheet (if you will forgive a weak joke.) I lived for a while near Avignon, which apart from half-a-bridge (useless nowadays even for dancing) there is a Papal palace from the days when they had one each.

Specifically in the context of state-sponsored education, I don't see how we can say some faiths are OK but some remain beyond the pale, if we are not to be accused of religious discrimination. As I said earlier, too late now and I fear we will increasingly suffer an unnecessarily divided society.

Why is this important? If you don't catch 'em young, you often have to wait till the grave looms and they begin to worry.

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 8:07pm

AndyB wrote: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.

To take each point in turn:

1) My kids travel further to school than many neighbouring children but we've not found a signficant reduction in socialising opportunities locally. Of course, this depends how far one travels. As a child I went several miles, but I don't recall socialising locally as being aproblem. As someone who chooses to send my children to a faith school, I accept that I will be a minority I do not expect the majority to put themselves out on my account. It seems to me In a village setting the local school ought to be non-denominational.

2) Community is important, and I agree parents are often drawn into the community when kids start school, hence the reason why rural schools should largely be non-denominational.

3) Attendance at a faith school should be voluntary and only chosen by parents who wish this for their children.

4) I don't see attendance at a faith school as harmful. My children have lots of other opportunities to socialise with those of other faiths and none.

For faith schools religion is not a single thing "done" in the RE lesson and that could be delivered outside the school, it is part of the fabric, life and culture of the school.

As I have said above, I do not seek to impose this choice on anyone, but see no reason why, as an element of parental choice and where it can be provided cost-effectively, it should not be an option for those that wish.
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 8:10pm

thirdcrank wrote:Kevin K

One way or another, you have missed or avoided the point I am making about general to specific. Take, for example, kwackers point about freedom to leave. Apostasy is still viewed pretty dimly in some parts of the world and although I like to think I have my feet firmly planted, I've heard some pretty stark accounts relayed by my wife who until quite recently trained young people in Bradford. Even here in Leeds, we hear of Jewish families holding funerals for members who have married outside the faith. You point to 2000 years received teaching, but surely you don't see that as 20 centuries of unchanging belief? Even if what we might call the core has remained unchanged, the methods by which it has been imposed in all branches of Christianity have been toned down a bit - thankfully, it's a while since we had anybody burnt at the stake, for example. On a less horrific level, discrimination against women seems to be one area where a lot of religions seem to drag their feet. There are enough different strands of Christianity to say that they are not all singing from the same hymnsheet (if you will forgive a weak joke.) I lived for a while near Avignon, which apart from half-a-bridge (useless nowadays even for dancing) there is a Papal palace from the days when they had one each.

Specifically in the context of state-sponsored education, I don't see how we can say some faiths are OK but some remain beyond the pale, if we are not to be accused of religious discrimination. As I said earlier, too late now and I fear we will increasingly suffer an unnecessarily divided society.

Why is this important? If you don't catch 'em young, you often have to wait till the grave looms and they begin to worry.

Yep, sorry thirdcrank, I've obviosuly missed the point entirely. I'm not really sure what you are asking or epxect me to say....
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 8:21pm

Kevin K wrote:3) Attendance at a faith school should be voluntary and only chosen by parents who wish this for their children.

4) I don't see attendance at a faith school as harmful.


it's only voluntary for many, if they accept a long journey, or indeed can afford it. so, for those of us that don't/can't it's as good as compulsory

if your children had to attend a jewish/muslim/jedi knight school would you feel the same?

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby Kevin K » 20 Sep 2010, 8:33pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
Kevin K wrote:3) Attendance at a faith school should be voluntary and only chosen by parents who wish this for their children.

4) I don't see attendance at a faith school as harmful.


it's only voluntary for many, if they accept a long journey, or indeed can afford it. so, for those of us that don't/can't it's as good as compulsory

if your children had to attend a jewish/muslim/jedi knight school would you feel the same?

You seem to be ignoring the other element of my post which clearly states rural primary schools should be non-denominational. My last point should have been suffixed by "for those who choose this option", although I though it was obvious from the context.
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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby hubgearfreak » 20 Sep 2010, 8:39pm

so you're suggesting that faith schools should only exist where they're within a few hundred yards of a non faith school? and where there's not the numbers to warrant two schools, that there should only be non faith schools?

if so, we're agreed :D

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Re: Hawking,Dawkins V The faithful

Postby AndyB » 20 Sep 2010, 8:51pm

hubgearfreak wrote:so you're suggesting that faith schools should only exist where they're within a few hundred yards of a non faith school? and where there's not the numbers to warrant two schools, that there should only be non faith schools?

if so, we're agreed :D

I'd settle for that too.

Another interesting perspective is that of teachers. A teacher friend of mine is unable to get a job in several of the local state schools because she is not a Christian. The fact that the existence of these schools necessarily requires discrimination on religious grounds seems to me to be another factor against them. Why should Christians have better job opportunities than non-Christians, even within the state sector?