5th November 2008

“Faith schools are not in the best interests of faith. They separate both children and parents and the net effect is that we will all become ignorant of each other. Religion should be taught at schools, of course, but the belief element should come from home.”

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain

7 Responses to “5th November 2008”

  1. Antitheist Says:

    Schools should only teach facts which can be proven, or theories which we are trying to prove, intelligently!
    Schools should NEVER teach children to believe superstition!
    Faith and religion should only be taught to people who are of age and request it of their own accord, as consenting adults! Then they would be wise enough to do the research and decide what religion they wanted to waste their time and money on. Instead of programming children when they are too young to understand the dangers. I believe the atheist population would rise exponentially if it were illegal to indoctrinate anyone under the age of 18. It’s a God Damn shame what parents allow to be done to their children! How can intelligent people be so stupid?

  2. Chris Says:

    I think what the good rabbi was saying was that we ought to teach ABOUT religion not that we ought to inculcate defensless students with ridiculous myths. I think to teach the fact that there are many religious traditions that are irreconcilable is actually a pretty strong endorsement of atheism.

    On and unrelated note…Barack Obama’s election victory tonight almost makes me believe in providence…almost!

  3. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    I don’t think I get this quote.

    What does the rabbi mean by “faith schools,” and why would such schools not be “in the best interests of faith?” How does one teach religion, but leave the “belief element” at home? One could teach all sorts of things about religion, factual and otherwise, both good and bad.

    I understand that Antitheist and others on this site seem to think religion is all bad, but that is not a “fact” that is absolutely provable. If atheism would “rise exponentially if it were illegal to indoctrinate anyone under the age of 18,” then where did faith/religion come from in the first place?

    This quote is incoherent.

  4. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Congrats to Barak Obama!!!


    In order to teach about religion, one would also have to teach the “ridiculous myths” that all religions seem to have. To be fair and objective, one would also have to teach the various interpretations of these myths, and, one would have to be “objective,” offering no judgements concerning whether or not one religion or another or none was correct. This works with science and scientific theories (mostly), but how could this work with religion? Perhaps the Bible and other religious scriptures could be (and are being) taught as literature, but even this is controversial because some think any exposure to religion is bad (like Antitheist above), some think only their religion is right (so one can only teach the Bible and no other), and some think treating what they see as sacred as mere literature is an attack upon their faith. Personally, and as always as a theist, I doubt that anything concerning religion ought to be taught in schools beyond the sheer fact of their existence, basic doctrine (sans judgement), and relative numbers. The Bible will always come up, of course, due to the simple fact that most of western literature cannot be properly understood without it. That does not mean the Bible or anything in it is (necessarily) true, only that it has been influential. But no educater ought to be able to equate ANYTHING biblical with science.

  5. chris Says:

    We are in complete agreement. I’m not suggesting anything beyond providing basic context without offering opinions on whether it’s true or not. Maybe it’s naive to think that a Muslim or Christian teacher could do this without attempting to influence the students but I like to think not. I took survey of world religion in college and there was no discernible slant toward one faith or book. I should have said, however, that I view this as appropriate for college, not elementary or high school.

  6. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Probably some Muslim and Christian teachers could remain neutral while many others do not. There have been cases of Christian teachers teaching comparative religion in high school who have included science and/or evolution in their courses as “beliefs,” and others who have included Creationism and Intelligent Design as scientific theories. Atheists could also teach comparative religion, easily, but “anti-theists” could not. You are probably right that comparative religion studies should be college level only. Where I live, the high school offers a Bible as Literature class as an elective in the senior year. I have seen some of the material. While there is nothing in it that is objectionable (to me anyway), there is nothing much in it at all. I sense that most students (not all) who do take it do so in order to fill out there credits with an easy course.

    I suppose the rabbi means schools like private, Christian schools and the like; one could probably include many home-schooled children in this category. Our church recently considered housing a Christian elementary school in our soon to be built “community center.” I spoke against this possibility because so many Christian schools have such an anti-intellectual, anti-science, and especially anti-evolution agenda. The school itself would not discuss their curriculum (sp.?) – a bad sign. I have seen too many smart kids coming out of Christian schools with stupid ideas (or as Antitheist puts it, “How can intelligent people be so stupid?”). Reason prevailed and we are no longer considering it. The vast majority agreed with my position.

    If that’s the sort of thing this quote is talking about, then I suppose I agree.

  7. Terence Meaden Says:

    “Faith schools are not in the best interests of faith. They separate both children and parents and the net effect is that we will all become ignorant of each other. . . ”

    Trouble is that is what most faith-parents want.

    What we want is for the government to exercise proper control over the school curriculum such as an independent panel of fair-minded atheists would draw up. There are still too many god-grovellors in government.