Monday, 28 December 2015

Religion in Schools; Let Humanism in!

The story so far

A random quote from the humanist association, and a statement by Nicky Morgan (education minister) that Britain is  a Christian country is challenged for being vague and slippery, and not any kind of foundation for decision making.

Coming Next
A spirited defence of the inclusion of humanism as a religious system.

The Humanist Association is correct: they represent a religious philosophy, and belong on the religious studies' syllabus. It is arguable, but this usually revolves around defining religion as having something to do with 'belief in God'.

Let me introduce you to the Dalai Lama.

Buddhism can be an atheistic religion. I define religion as 'a set of shared beliefs about the universe, and humanity's relationship to it, often characterised by a series of rituals'. It's necessary components are community, gathering together and a set of ideas (which are open to internal debate) that are considered worthy of discussion. 

Atheists who say that atheism is not a religion are right: a simple disbelief in God lacks these elements. Humanism,
yeah, that clears it up
however, offers rituals to replace Christian (or Buddhist) sacraments. It also has an affiliation strategy, just like Islam or Hinduism.

Whether Humanism has a critical mass of members, which would ensure its inclusion in schools, is another matter. But I don't care about that right now. I see a very clear case for Humanism as a religion.

Of course, an examination of the religion's history would identify its roots in Renaissance Christianity - Erasmus, those guys. A great essay question would be: How far can Humanism be understood as an attempt to express Christian values without God?

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