Monday, April 11, 2005

Religious Neglect and Misinformation

I saw this on the Daily Telegraph newspaper website just now, and thought at first it must be April Fools Day...

Quote :-
Holy Ghost too spooky for children, teachers told.
Teachers are being told not to mention that Communion bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ in case children get it in their heads that Christians are cannibals.

New guidelines for religious education teachers also want them to refer to the Holy Spirit rather than the Holy Ghost because the latter implies "a trivial and spooky concept of the third person in the Trinity".
The guidelines, drawn up by education chiefs in Norfolk and condemned by the National Union of Teachers yesterday as "modernism gone mad", also consign the term Old Testament to the dustbin because pupils may believe it means its contents are no longer relevant.
Christians are not alone in having the terms of their faith redefined. In teaching Judaism, teachers are told to refer to the "Western Wall" rather than "Wailing Wall", just in case the children believe that Jews are moaners.
Muslims should not be shown in photographs "holding swords, Kalashnikovs, etc" to avoid Islam being equated to terrorism.
Also out are pictures of Hindu holy men caked in mud because they give the impression that it is a religion for "weirdos or masochists".
As for Sikhs, the guidance says: "Do be careful when showing pupils the kachs. Without preparing pupils, they seem to some like merely voluminous underpants and can give rise to a poor response."
End Quote.

The world has gone barking mad. This is just pandering to- and actually increasing -children`s ignorance of religion, rather than teaching them facts and Truth.
It is a legal requirement for children to be taught Religious Education in school in Britain. Britain remains, nominally at least, a Christian country.
If a child is never allowed to be taught properly about religion in school, why bother teaching about religion at all ?

What chance do they have of acquiring any real religious knowledge and faith if they don`t already come from a church-going family ?

I feel strongly about this, as we were taught about Christianity in school, and that is how I personally came to faith, although I was raised in an agnostic family and learned nothing about Christian doctrine at home.

Teach RE properly, without half-truths or misinformation, or don`t bother !
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Matt said...

When I was still a Protestant and teaching Sunday School for a class of 35 3 year olds, a mother of one of my pupils said to me (and I am not making this up), "Could you not mention that God killed anyone?" My response:"It was the flood. He killed every human being on the planet, save 8. And you don't want me to mention it?"
I just couldn't believe it.

Dave Holford said...

Well, as a RE teacher, this doesn't really surprise me. The attitude toward certain things varies widely from LEA to LEA. The underlying truth is still the same: RE is less and less about Religion and more and more about diversity and inclusion. In fact at the QCA, the RE subject administration has been absorbed into the Diversity and Inclusion directorate. (To confirm what I had already seen on the QCA website, I got an email from them today related to a statistical query, and that is how they tag their contact details.)

In my department, we teach a lot about Islam (it is one of our GCSE papers), and even about Jihad, but we never mention terrorism. I don't know if you followed the flap about being required by my head of department to bless Muhammad any time he is mentioned, out of respect for Islam and Muslims. (I refused.) She's not even a Muslim - she's a non-practicing Sikh. Of course she wouldn't like it if I made all my students cross themselves (right to left and three fingers over two, of course) at every mention of the Trinity.

It's six weeks and three days until half-term.

A Voice in the Wilderness said...

Dear Elizabeth - as a former Roman Catholic (now 15 years Orthodox Christian) - the term Ghost does bother me because we are indeed asking the Sprit of God to enter us - at least here in the USA ghost definitely means by all modern terms (and also modern frightening increase in ghost-hunting, seances and the exploding presence of mediums on tv and radio) - that which is either dead and/or "floats around resltessly without a home." I absolutely can't abide the term Ghost anymore as pertaining to the Holy Spirit with all the "paranormal" activity going on that pseudo-Christians or agnostics are seeking out. He who has ears, then - let him hear!