Monday, 28 December 2015

Religion in Schools. A dialogue

Turpidius: But my dear Criticulous, surely this argument can apply to other belief systems? Why, they even had a piece on Sky News about paganism

Criticulous: As far as I am concerned, you could put Satanism in the curriculum. If they looked at the various versions in the USA, it might provide some gentle comic relief to the subject. 

Turpidius: Yet does not your open ended definition remove something of the role of religious education - the teaching of virtue?

Criticulous: It has been pointed out that religion is not the only locus of moral teaching. But, and there must be exceptions, schools lack the ontology to be effect in moral education. 

Turpidius: For sooth, sire, start not upon ontology again. For its gives me the mightiest of headaches when you try to display your limited understanding of the topic.

Criticulous: My friend, are you merely that headache or the combination of circumstances that express that headache?

Turpidius: Seriously, stop it.

Criticulous: You force me to be brief. I shall merely say that 'a school' is merely the apparatus of the state whereby the young are indoctrinated into the cult of the nation. Its primary function is to enable the individual to enter into society.

Turpidius: But what of critical thinking? Is that not a part of the school?

Criticulous: Only if the state encourages such thinking. I would hazard that it does, in so far as it reflects a capitalist model of entrepreneurial intention.

Turpidius: Here we go again. 

Criticulous: Regardless of my own religious or theological beliefs, I think anything that emphasises school as a place of learning is positive. And given that religion is a part of culture, it ought to be approached from that angle, not as evangelism.

Turpidius: What about in religious schools, eh?

Criticulous: They can start from the assumption that their religion is true, and encourage pupils to be part of the dialogues within that religion. Look, the kids are there already, banging on about the basic facts again and again is not education. It's not even effective evangelism, if that's what they want.

Turpidius: So how does your opinion feed into the government's latest commandment?

Criticulous: It probably doesn't.


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