Wednesday, 22 November 2006

More Stroppy Christians

Croydon Mosque? (no ALT on its website)Lunchtime BBC London News announced it was going to run this item, then bottled out and postponed it until later today. I found it last night on the BBC website! Atwood Primary School in south London had organized a trip to Croydon Mosque for a class of 10-year-olds as part of their religious education, but some parents withdrew their children from this trip, because "they did not want their children exposed to a religion that was not their own." So the trip was cancelled. The school's head teacher expressed the mindless, impercipient, official UK Government propaganda on this issue: "It is important that children have a range of knowledge about cultures and religions to develop understanding and respect for each other." Take this codswallop to its logical conclusion and schools will be organizing trips to the local psychiatric hospital to learn respect for the delusions of its inmates! By all means take children to view the architecture of outstanding churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, but don't teach them the fairy tale of Creationism in any form. The UK needs scientists, not more nutters.


At 27/11/06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The media has actually distorted certain truths behind this episode.
Parents were conscious of security issues at the mosque and quite rightly so.
In addition to the fact that the children were not allowed to wear their school uniform but had to change into a more traditional form of islamic dress.
Why should a non muslim who is 9 yrs old have to wear another form of dress imposed on them when this is supposed to be an educational trip.
In this day and age of freedom of speech and tolerance there seems to be one rule for one and one rule for the other. Another faith should not have the right to impose their beleifs and codes upon other of a faith or non faith and this is the stance that has to be made.
Religious education is a very good idea. Even I had this when I was at school but I was never told I had to do something that was against my beleifs and freedom.

At 27/11/06, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Yog
Thanks for clearing up those points. I had read about parental security worries, but kept them out of my blog for the sake of brevity. I didn't know the kids were supposed to adopt some form of Islamic dress for their visit. I agree this is OTT. In fact I agree with everything you wrote, except for the need for religious education in schools. My experiences of RI in school weren't good. The one infants lesson which sticks in my mind was a shocking account of the Easter Passion. The teacher ended this lesson with a firm instruction: "Never forget that the Jews killed Christ"! I subsequently realized that she'd used that RI lesson to deliver a Fascist message of anti-Semitic hatred). I can't help wondering how many German Christians heard a similar message before Hitler began exterminating Jews. Ironically, the following year I entered an East End grammar school that was 50/50 Jewish and Christian. Readings from the Bible in assembly had to be from the Old Testament to avoid offending the Jewish half of the school. I quickly discovered I loathed the megalomaniac God of the Old Testament! So, school RI did a pretty good job of turning me into an agnostic. By the time I did a science degree I was a firm atheist. The longer I live, the more I read of pointless religious murders all over the world. I am now convinced that the only way to stop these killings is to stop teaching the root cause: religion. Okay, murders will continue and, if dictators gain power, those murders will be on a massive scale, but at least the feeble excuse that it's all God's will or Allah's will or sacrifice to the Sun God or whatever will be seen as the insane nonsense that it is. And maybe, without religion, we'll all learn a little more tolerance for the other person's point of view.

At 27/5/07, Blogger Dorothea said...

Shock News: "Hitler and Stalin, good honest slaughter. Religion not a motive."

The human impulse to "terminate with extreme prejudice" anyone in the way of one's ideal and/or greed has a whole lot of excuses other than religion.

We are not perfectible.

At 28/5/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi again, Dorothea
Are you wading through my entire blog? Thanks for the compliment.
The Nazi extermination of millions of Jews had nothing to do with religion? You're pulling my leg. Russia had its pogroms too. I once met a Jew who had managed to survive a Nazi concentration camp and a Siberian labour camp! I asked him which were the worst, the Nazis or the Russians, and he replied "They were as bad as each other."
Millions were slaughtered during the Partition of India too. Gangs of Muslims or Hindus searched out their "enemy". Cornered, a man might deny his religion. So the gangs would drop his trousers to see if he was telling the truth. (Muslims practice circumcision; Hindus don't.) If the cornered man had the wrong-shaped penis, it was cut off and he was then killed. That's religion for you.
I'm not denying that communists killed millions of people for political reasons rather than for religious ones. You hit the nail on the head when you used the word "ideal". Dominant ideologies kill, whether they be religious or secular.
If you put aside all the value judgements that society heaps upon us - e.g. religions are "good" and Fascism and Communism are "bad" - and view them all as insane ideologies, you'll see where I'm coming from. We need to teach our children to be rational human beings, not to worship imaginary gods and false ideologies.
The god Mammon is probably doing more damage to our planet than any other god at the moment. He's killing Amazonian Indians and deforesting the planet. When will Homo stupidicus ever learn?

At 29/5/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

From Dorothea (I hit the Reject button by mistake).

I chose November to start with.

You write; "If you put aside all the value judgements that society heaps upon us - e.g. religions are "good" and Fascism and Communism are "bad" - and view them all as insane ideologies, you'll see where I'm coming from."

Makes a lot of sense.


"We need to teach our children to be rational human beings, not to worship imaginary gods and false ideologies."

Perhaps this is possible for a segment of population at one end of the human bell-curve (yes, a distribution curve for any characteristic is a basic biological fact) but the majority of people are substantially less than 100% rational.

Everything has pros and cons, and a 100% rational person might well be no better than the rest of us.

Come to think of it, isn't the implication of what you say, that a 100% rational person could not be a mass murderer?

Totally agree on Mammon. He is The God now. And His name is Legion.

Why can others not see this?

At 29/5/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Dorothea

Sorry about the fumble on your last comment.

I guess agreement on two out of three points isn't bad.

I never suggested anyone could be 100% rational. It's an impossibility. Computers, yes, providing they're properly programmed by fallible humans!

A few decades ago a psychologist published a polemic called "The Primacy of Affect" which shocked many psychotherapists who thought rational discussion would "talk" their patients out of their problems. No such luck. We're driven by our emotions, and emotions aren't rational. In fact a great deal of our intelligence is wasted on trying to justify the irrational behaviours our emotions make us do. But surely we can help our children along the way by teaching them to avoid the more obvious lunacies.

Here's an example. Some Amazon tribe - I can't remember it's name - believes that vomiting banana all over their children protects them from evil spirits. Parents gorge themselves on ripe bananas and blurrrrrrrrr all over their kids. We use innoculation to protect our kids from harm. Which is best? Well, hopefully a lot more scientific research and testing has gone into out innoculations than has ever gone into banana vomit as a cure-all. So I'll go with innoculations, rather than with a myth that's been handed down for generations and has become socially accepted. But I guess that tribe would think me a lousy parent if I didn't vomit all over my kids.

Should schools teach kids that banana vomit is good for them or help them understand scientific methodology, so they can judge for themselves? My vote goes for teaching what little we understand of the truth, rather than forcing them to believe the same old garbage our parents taught us. If they're too thick to learn - many are - at least the schools tried.

You think mass murder is irrational? Some very intelligent and rational people made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That demonstration of power shortened the war by months and saved thousands of Allied and Japanese casualties. I'm not saying it was right or wrong, merely that it was a rational decision.

Of course the victors never admit to mass murder. That's what the enemy does. Back to value judgements!


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