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Religious Ed. rebellion - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

What could be more threatening to a faith than that children, instead of being indoctrinated in it, should be taught about other faiths?

Richard

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 15:52:00 UTC | #289881

Forti's Avatar Comment 2 by Forti

Amen to that, Prof.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 15:54:00 UTC | #289882

Virgil's Avatar Comment 3 by Virgil

The parents might be overreacting a bit, but it's hard to tell, because it comes down to the teacher of the classes. They might put more emphasis into one religion over the other.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 15:56:00 UTC | #289885

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 4 by rod-the-farmer

I contacted the author of the article, asking if he had more details on why parents pulled their children out. He did not, and referred me to the names mentioned in the article itself. Too bad there was no survey done on this.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:14:00 UTC | #289891

RedPen's Avatar Comment 5 by RedPen

This is insane. Action like this is not the mark of intelligent individuals.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:16:00 UTC | #289892

Pony's Avatar Comment 6 by Pony

Actually Virgil, I think the worst case scenario for these parents is if the teachers don't stress any one religion. If they treat all religions exactly the same, that's a much stronger consciousness-raiser than "Oh, that Teacher believes X instead of Y. I don't agree, so I won't listen."

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:19:00 UTC | #289893

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 7 by AmericanGodless

* forcing children to learn the content of other religions
* to better know and understand others.
* teaches values that run counter to their religion.
* a right.. to educate one's child in conformity with one's religious or philosophical convictions
* not in the 'relativistic' way...

It appears that the problem is not overemphasizing one religion over another, so much as it is teaching about a wide selection of beliefs without endorsing one as valid and the others as false. It is OK for the kids to know that some other people have strange beliefs; but to let them learn what these heathens actually believe, without the fear of hellfire, risks suggesting to the students that they might be able to question the absolute truth of their own family's religious beliefs. Can't have that. Better to go right to expulsion.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:24:00 UTC | #289894

Fizzle's Avatar Comment 8 by Fizzle

I really don't see what's wrong with learning from other cultures. It's the greatest weapon against foolish tribalism. And the tribes know it.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:28:00 UTC | #289896

SnowyDoc's Avatar Comment 9 by SnowyDoc

Now now... we wouldn't want the kiddies given enough information to make a properly informed decision about their family's own religion now, would we?

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:30:00 UTC | #289897

Eshto's Avatar Comment 10 by Eshto

is forcing children to learn the content of other religions


God forbid.

Ms. Gagne said her son remains determined despite the suspension. "He told me, 'Mom, I am still standing, and I'm going to keep standing and fight this to the end.' We're prepared to go right to expulsion."


That's right, teach your kid he's a fucking hero for not wanting to learn about the world.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:36:00 UTC | #289900

DoctorE's Avatar Comment 11 by DoctorE

Interfaith in action :)

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 16:43:00 UTC | #289903

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 12 by Chris Bell

Perhaps the parents have listened to Dan Dennett's lectures and they know that classes like this are the keystone of his plan to moderate religion.

(I also wonder if these parents yanked their kids out of English class when they covered Greek mythology.)

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:17:00 UTC | #289921

Fizzle's Avatar Comment 13 by Fizzle

And they still refuse to give up the ruse of interfaith dialogue. Really, what's the use?

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:23:00 UTC | #289922

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 14 by Cluebot

The religious instruction of parents is not being censored or repudiated, so in what way is "freedom of conscience" threatened by learning the content of other religions? It worries me that the validity of such an easily refuted non-sequitur is not directly challenged in this article.

The only thing under threat from such a course is the parents' assumed authority to suppress their own child's freedom of conscience. That's a right no parent should have, and their desire for it an admission of their profound insecurity of belief.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:33:00 UTC | #289926

SpEcImEn128's Avatar Comment 15 by SpEcImEn128

The Quebec humanist assossiation was trying to get this course removed because it do not say a word about agnostism and insist on the supposition that all religions are peaceful. The course also try to link ethics to religion...

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:39:00 UTC | #289928

Jivlain's Avatar Comment 16 by Jivlain

Teach the controversy!

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:40:00 UTC | #289929

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 17 by Cluebot

Re: Comment #304316 by SpEcImEn128

The Quebec humanist assossiation was trying to get this course removed because it do not say a word about agnostism and insist on the supposition that all religions are peaceful. The course also try to link ethics to religion...

If that's true, I claim their objection is misguided.

Strategically, raising awareness of and knowledge about other faiths is a step in the right direction. We needn't demolish all fallacies at once; it may be a lot easier to be heard when refuting "religion is peaceful" and "religion is the wellspring of ethics" once knowledge of other faiths has done its work exposing the contingent nature of faith.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:11:00 UTC | #289940

TalentedChimp's Avatar Comment 18 by TalentedChimp

Why not simply remove the teaching of religions to the history curriculum? Or call it Cultural History or something like that? Religion is (or was) so intimately bound to a culture's history that the two are (or were) nearly indistinguishable.

Putting "religion" or "religious" into the title of any course of education is likely to ring the alarm bells of indoctrination.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:13:00 UTC | #289941

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 19 by NewEnglandBob

5. Comment #304279 by RedPen:

This is insane. Action like this is not the mark of intelligent individuals


That is absolutely correct. That is why they are trying to abandon the ignorance of the parents of these children and educate them. The parents are not only not intelligent but ignorant and fearful as if they are animals fearing the dark.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:23:00 UTC | #289946

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 20 by Cluebot

Re: Comment #304310 by Fizzle

And they still refuse to give up the ruse of interfaith dialogue. Really, what's the use?

Such tactics may be uncomfortable to those who value intellectual integrity, but if concessions to articles of faith make the initial work more palatable to the faithful, this could be for the best. Eugenie Scott seems to think so, and the NCSE is getting some encouraging results.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:26:00 UTC | #289948

Gordy's Avatar Comment 21 by Gordy

I wonder how many of the parents who object to their children being taught comparative religion (i.e. a selection of the various competing ideas about the nature of the divine) simultaneously advocate teaching the alleged "controversy" about evolution?

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:42:00 UTC | #289954

Butler's Avatar Comment 22 by Butler

"All the parents are doing is claiming a right that is recognized, the right to educate one's child in conformity with one's religious or philosophical convictions," he said.

parents' right =/= school's obligation

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:48:00 UTC | #289955

Cerberus's Avatar Comment 23 by Cerberus

I wonder how many of the parents who object to their children being taught comparative religion (i.e. a selection of the various competing ideas about the nature of the divine) simultaneously advocate teaching the alleged "controversy" about evolution?


Since most of the people who object to it are catholics, they should all believe in evolution anyway. Maybe some of the evangelicals do but I barely heard anything from people objecting to the teaching of evolution ever since it was made part of the curriculum in Québec.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:52:00 UTC | #289956

Gordy's Avatar Comment 24 by Gordy

Thanks, Cerberus. Point taken, though I think your confidence in the uniformity of Catholic (and most other Christian sects') beliefs may be misplaced...

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 18:57:00 UTC | #289958

HelenB's Avatar Comment 25 by HelenB

Hello everyone,

I teach English in Japan, in fact I have just finished a week of christmas lessons. Pretty bloody hilarious actually - the homeroom teacher in one class asked the kids what they know about christmas, one boy stuck up his hand and said (in Japanese) "Santa was born in a stable on christmas day..."
Anyway, there is a kindergarten near one of my schools, and it is owned by the catholic church. It is popular with parents as it is in the centre of town and is also the only one in the area that offers English classes, courtesy of myself and a couple of other volunteers. The kids love it so I gloss over the religion bit. Tomorrow is their nativity play. Not one parent (most of whom are Buddhists) complained about their kids having to learn about Christianity. One parent from this kindergarten told me that they want their kids to know the stories, simply because it makes them more aware of the world outside the rural area in which I live. She thinks that western culture and religion are intertwined, and doesn't worry about her kids "catching Catholicism" because she wants them to be informed about the choices they will have to make. I wonder if the parents in the article realise that their own church is doing the activity they object to so much.

H.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 19:46:00 UTC | #289966

Xplodyncow's Avatar Comment 26 by Xplodyncow

The Drummondville case, scheduled to be heard in May before Superior Court, is expected to test whether the new course infringes constitutionally guaranteed rights.


Wow. I didn't know that Quebec's constitution grants people the right to remain ignorant.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 19:56:00 UTC | #289967

Ohnhai's Avatar Comment 27 by Ohnhai

Apparently as Richard points out the big complaint here is that the course breaks the strangle hold on religious information that the parents'/parents' choice of religion has on that young mind.

Naturally the best way to indoctrinate a mind into a specific way of thinking is to isolate it from all other thoughts and ideologies. So if the schools are forced by law to teach the ideas held in common or in isolation of other faiths then this can only undermine the indoctrinal aspect of religion.

You would think that if the truth claims of their religion was strong enough then what does it matter what they learn of other religions?

this class is like showing a teenager who has never known anything other than the four walls of his bedroom, beaches, cities, ruins, mountains... the child is never going to be content with his bedroom ever again. and the parents and the church know this.

expelling the child however is not a good solution as all this will do is continue their ignorance.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 20:06:00 UTC | #289968

Simonw's Avatar Comment 28 by Simonw

Why not simply remove the teaching of religions to the history curriculum?


It is hard enough teaching history, without confusing it with complex stories that people use to believe. It is bad enough that vast parts of the populations knowledge of history before the current era consists of Egyptians, Dinosaurs, some vague concept of a Big bang.

Whilst it is fair to explain some religion to explain context of historical people's actions (e.g. Crusades, English Reformation, English Civil War, Pilgrim Fathers), but that hardly is a balanced view of religion, nor necessarily a balanced view of history. Sometimes, as in the Pilgrim fathers, the story takes on more significance than the actual event (most American immigrants were probably convicts, slaves, or economic migrants).

I have some sympathy with the religious nut cases on this one. I want to retain the right to educate my child in accordance with my (lack of) religious views. Okay in this case I'd probably want my child to attend this course, but forcing comparative religion on those who don't want it isn't progressive in my view.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 20:11:00 UTC | #289969

sonnygll's Avatar Comment 29 by sonnygll

I don't like it. It's not "tomato soup vs pea soup" as they say. It's reality vs an array of fairy tails. They have atheism as one of the belief systems. It's not a belief system. It's just a silly label put on not believing in nonsense. The actual belief systems may be equal and it is ok to teach about them, but NOT from the prospective that they are equal to reality.

Unless of course what I am getting out of this is wrong and they are just teaching religion A believes this, religion B believes that and so on. In that case I'll take back what I said in paragraph one. But if what I am getting out of it is right, than it's just apologist propaganda.

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 20:14:00 UTC | #289970

Sarmatae1's Avatar Comment 30 by Sarmatae1

"Canada is a lot like an attic to Americans." I once heard a comedian say. "They usually forget it's there until they make a trip up there. Then they realize all the cool junk that's there.

Frankly, I am glad we don't have to deal with such a situation in the states. I don't think it would work.
In theory, I think what a wonderful idea it would be to have a class like that here in the states. In practice, What a nighmare it would be as a proselytizing toe hold. Too many fundamentalists here for such an endeavor, shame really. Then there would be the damage to the first amendment to be considered. For the best I suppose.

I am curious to see how it turns out with that private Loyola High School. Of course private scools must have what is termed reasonable accomodations in accordance with certain educational standards. I am not versed in the intricacies of Canadian legal and education systems, but I wonder if this type of course would fall under the commissions mandate? They may have overstepped themselves there. Any Canadians here that may enlighen us?

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 20:27:00 UTC | #289972