Teaching atheism

Religious education is a required class for English students, unless parents request otherwise. But it’s got too darned much religion in it. So new curriculum guidelines will call for teaching about atheism too.

Non-religious beliefs such as humanism, agnosticism and atheism would be covered alongside major faiths such as Christianity or Islam under draft guidelines being prepared by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which regulates what is taught in schools in England.

A report will call for the class to be “renamed religious, philosophical and moral education and children encouraged to debate such ethical issues as whether it is permissible to express racist views.”

Although the nation has an established church, only 7 percent of Britons attend a weekly service.

When my brother lived in Amsterdam, he made friends with an American missionary who ran a Christian bookstore in the neighborhood. The missionary had planned to work in Eastern Europe but decided the Dutch needed the word even more. Having an established church had sapped the Dutch of religious feeling, he thought.

Via Jeff Jarvis.

About Joanne


  1. Oh, that’s terrible! What kind of lousy mindset are they going to teach our kids? Which government flunky is going to be tapped to define what politically correct definitions can be taught in the classroom? How are they going to teach about atheism without defining what atheists don’t believe in? Which they’re not allowed to do under existing laws?

    I am so appalled. And I’m an atheist, too. But I do believe in freedom of thought. And I do believe that governments befoul everything they can reach.

  2. It’s just another piece of the religion pie: the “I’ll take none, thank you” piece. As for governments always muddling things, I’d rather my religion of choice be mentioned according to government policy than ignored according to government policy. Sure, it’ll probably be described in ways that make me cringe. But government hasn’t yet made sex unpopular, so I think atheism will survive this.

  3. I went to a private, Catholic liberal arts college for my Bachelor’s, and I remember my “Comparative Religion” class as one of the best I ever took.

    You see, this particular liberal arts college had the widest range of viewpoints and affiliations of any college that I have ever seen. We also had about 25% international students, and representatives of nearly all the world’s major religions besides Christianity: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Native Americans, a few Wickans, and one lone Hare Krishna (so he said, but I had some doubts). Some examples of the professors:

    -A very conservative, Irish-Catholic professor of philosophy, who taught Logic and Metaphysics. Our class metaphysics project was to investigate a haunted house. (Nothing more than strange temperature variations and sudden drafts, but it was COOL!) He also had his own weekly TV show, and you could earn extra points for being in the studio audience. He was classically educated, and had a very dry and very intellectual sense of humor, such that my friend and I were often the only ones who could even tell that he was making a joke. We’d bust up laughing and the rest of the class must have thought we were idiots.

    -A sociology professor who was an ex-priest and who was married to an ex-nun. (Catholic college, remember?)

    -A chemistry professor who had a PhD in mathematics, and who took a mathematical approach to physical chemistry rather than a historical approach. (Won’t mean much except to fellow chemists.) He was a social conservative and a fiscal liberal, a contradiction of the usual position.

    -A nun who was leader of a local action group agitating the Catholic church to allow nuns to become priests. She was arrested several times while staging sit-ins in front of the Archbishop’s residence. She also taught religious interpretive dance in the arts department.

    -And the usual mix of ultra-liberal, moderately liberal, middle-of-the-road educations types, along with the Catholic and several non-Catholic Christian professors that were moderately or ultra-conservative.

    The advantages of a small, private college over a public institution with the ponderous bureaucracy of government oversight….


  1. zanaflex says: