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Old 16th September 2011, 11:42 AM
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kimsland kimsland is offline
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Default The Unfounded Certainty of Kimsland

I am fully against religion being taught to kids in general.
The problem with kids is they'll believe just about anything you tell them, to then somehow remove these beliefs (especially the ones taught in their own school) is much more difficult.
It takes a logical rational mind to think of why the teacher got it wrong at school, children just don't have this ability at a younger age.

Since it looks as though you have comments for and against the idea of putting your children in the line of fire and being abused with such things as Fear and Death (please understand Hell is one of the favorite religious instructions to all its children). Then read on, for my true example of my children's first learning to jesus and his sheep.


One day, my children came home from school (they must have been in grade 1 or 2 at the time)
They showed me some 'homework' that was needed to be filled out. I suspect the teacher wanted the parents to see it, Big Mistake.
Anyway, it was written in a multiple choice questionnaire, and here was the first question:
Who loves you the most in your life?
  • Your pets?
  • Your friends?
  • Your parents (or guardians)?
  • Jesus?

The answer was obviously 'Your Parents' (although I understand that some parents aren't very loving). Thankfully my children answered correctly.
Further questions were simple 'friendly' type that were not of any concern.

The next day my children came home from school, and informed me (to my absolute shock!) that their answer was incorrect, and jesus was the correct answer!!! This also confirmed by other children in the classroom.
OMG! I saw red. I decided to immediately go to the school to discuss this BIG concern, you can understand I was horrified.
Here was my conversation as best as I can remember:

(Me, with utter disgust look)
  • Hi, I'd like to discuss this 'homework' that is obviously marked incorrect.

(Lady at front office, looking wide eyed and surprised)
  • Religious Education (formerly RI 'instruction') helps children to have good morals and understanding of the lord.

(Me, with confused look, and anger at all time high)
  • Jesus doesn't exist, and believe me when I tell you, I love my kids more than anyone (be them make believe or not)

(Lady, now looking shocked herself, still wide eyed with dumb look in face)
  • You can opt out of Religious education by signing this form
    • Subnote: Note I wasn't aware of this form before, and wondered why it existed in a public school to begin with?

(Me, eager to put a halt to this insanity)
  • I will sign it, since I don't want my children being lied to


Thankfully from that day forward my children were not instructed anything about religion in their school again. There were a small amount of other children of the same viewpoint, and those children and mine sat in the corridor until the religious corruption lessons were over (Do note: I explained to the school that they felt punished for being intelligent, by sitting in the corridor; the school then allowed them to go to the library, incredibly)

This is a public school !!

My children have grown to be well adjusted, they are welcomed by their peers and both state they are highly respected in their circle of friends, this shown by the many good close friends they have.
ie There has been no ill effect.

In my personal opinion, 'Religious Education' (being a contradiction in the first place) has been learned about in their history lessons and by me. They haven't missed out on anything, and in my view, are better off for not having forced abuse placed on them.

Children, in my view, should not have religion forced upon them, until they are at an age where they themselves can say no.
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Old 16th September 2011, 12:44 PM
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BlueDevil BlueDevil is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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kimsland said View Post
I am fully against religion being taught to kids in general.
I make a significant distinction between being taught about religion and being taught to be religious. I have no problem with children being given an undertanding of what religion is, different religious beliefs, and how religion impacts on society. I DO however object to them being taught to be religious.

Quote:
The problem with kids is they'll believe just about anything you tell them, to then somehow remove these beliefs (especially the ones taught in their own school) is much more difficult.
This has not been a problem with our children, despite receiving RE in school they have not become 'believers'. But I accept that this may not be the case with all children

Quote:
Since it looks as though you have comments for and against the idea of putting your children in the line of fire and being abused with such things as Fear and Death (please understand Hell is one of the favorite religious instructions to all its children). Then read on, for my true example of my children's first learning to jesus and his sheep.
The example you give is quite worrisome and such teaching tactics shouldn't occur in any school. The issue here lies with the individual teacher/school though. Fortunately my kids have never had religion pushed upon them and comparative religion has been a component of their RE. Maybe comparative religion would be best taught as a component of some other subject (social studies etc). I would have say that I could not consider what my kids have been taught at school as 'abuse'.

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Children, in my view, should not have religion forced upon them, until they are at an age where they themselves can say no.
Agreed. Children certainly have an understandable tendency to accept whatever they are taught when they are young. But I have also been careful to not force my atheistic views on them too. I have done my best to let them look at both sides of the story, although admittedly with a fair degree of 'steering them in the right direction' as they got older and able to think for themselves.
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Old 16th September 2011, 02:24 PM
Podblack Podblack is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

"I make a significant distinction between being taught about religion and being taught to be religious. I have no problem with children being given an understanding of what religion is, different religious beliefs, and how religion impacts on society. I DO however object to them being taught to be religious."

Agreed. Even Richard Dawkins has spoken (and written in 'The God Delusion') on the importance of the Bible as a cultural artifact. Try teaching Shakespeare without it!

Books on a variety of religions (and what it means to not be religious!) are useful. Nothing to stop children checking out 'What else is out there', and certainly encouraging ones on topics like Evolution (quick plug for Daniel Loxton's award winning 'Evolution'!) will help if the classes have students who might question the science.

Books on Philosophy - I have a list called 'Skeptic Reading for Children' and a series of blogposts on Skepticism for Children - will also encourage thinking about some of the big questions that religion claims to answer.

Access to documentaries: history ones are great in that regard - lots of ones out there about The Crusades, the colonisation and early history of America, the Kings and Queens of England, all of which open up to discussions as to why the USA has a secular origin, why Queen Elizabeth started the Church of England, et al. Of course, when they learn (I suggest when older children, due to the Holocaust) about the Jewish culture, it will help when they have to study WWII. I remember being fascinated by the gruesome history of the de' Medici's and Joan of Arc (which then led to finding out what was fact and what was fiction).

There's also the fun of science fiction short stories and films - they challenge us with what could be reality and pose 'What if...?' questions, which can then lead to 'Well, how do we know that there must necessarily be a God of one particular type, when we can see how reality can mean different things to different people?'

Stages of development in children where they unquestioningly accept all sorts of things is normal and religion can play a part in perpetuating some beliefs, but having a wider pool of experiences and people to talk to that are open to proposing alternatives (which won't have them condemned or feel weird for questioning) is just as influential, in my opinion. Dawkins also has his new book coming out soon, I hear, but there's always a good local library somewhere that'll have a range of texts already available.
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Old 16th September 2011, 02:30 PM
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kimsland kimsland is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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BlueDevil said View Post
I have also been careful to not force my atheistic views on them too. I have done my best to let them look at both sides of the story, ..
Are you mad?
There is no choice between the matter.
It is either Fact against Fiction, or are you suggesting that there could be some truth in religios views? If so then I have no time for ignorance (especially in adults) except to mock your stupidity and have great concern of your 'views'.

Children should be taught that we (our planet; the universe; everything) evolved, and since the opposite to this is some barbaric belief in one of the many religions (I'll assume your openness was directed at Christianity) then I feel sorry for you and your family. Why, what would Allah think of your religious unbiased viewpoints? I assume that you allowed your children to be educated and given the views of the many (many) other religions out there? Maybe the jesus one wasn't it?

There is but only one viewpoint, do you really want me to bring up all the extremely simple reasons why a 2000 year old copy of other older religions is not correct? And why it is most definitely > fiction?

I told my kids the truth, as soon as I could.
There is no single or multiple gods, the creator of everything, looking down onto us (ie people only, according to religion, only people have souls) How absurd you would allow such a thought, especially in a child's young mind.

Good god man! I should I say, jesus effing christ! We now know planets form from gases and universes collide and expand, are you suggesting that man was just blinked on this Earth? Please note that 'people' have been on Earth for an extremely insignificant time.
People on Earth = 200,000 years (Wow!)
Age of Earth = 4,500,000,000,000 years (Oh dear, and just in case I got the zeros wrong, that's 4.5 Billion years
OMG! God took his sweet time to create man in his own image

There is no choice, religion (the following of religious beliefs) is wrong
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Old 16th September 2011, 02:45 PM
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kimsland kimsland is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

I might clear this up again.

Who do you think teaches RE in schools?
What? The library? No that's not it. Books? Nope that wouldn't do. Maybe the Internet? I wish!

A pastor; Priest; Holly man of some description. Someone who is more biased that I could ever be.
These are the words they say to your children:
Jesus loves you. (there is no other explanation following, ie "If you believe in that")
Hell is for bad people (ie You MUST go to church, this is a MUST)
When you die you go to heaven! (and people wonder why teenage suicide exists)

There are millions of these one liners, all trying to insight fear and prejudice into your children. And you allow your kids into that?

I omitted one important thing from my true story above. Many of my kids friends would come around holding onto their diaries, written on those books, I saw (many times over) I love jesus. Again what about poor Allah?
Thanks to me (obviously not you) my children did not sink to such lows.

By the way, I notice that science doesn't teach evolution until the child is much much older, no one has ever questioned that? I have.
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Old 16th September 2011, 03:07 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

@ Kimsland,

I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more rabid atheist than myself.

At a casual level of conversation, I would agree with you. God's, disembodied souls, the whole kit and caboodle of religious belief is incorrect.

However, in a rigourous way, nothing can be absolutely proved or disproved [except in mathematics].

Yes, the Earth is probably 4.5 billion years old, evolution is a fact, and so on. But unless one can successfully claim omniscience, [ie absolutely prove] that god does not exist, it is better to retain a state of permanent agnostism.

It may be that god created the world, and he did it in the last 2 seconds. We have absolutely no way to disprove such a statement absolutely.

Science works by being totally free of all metaphysics [in this case, claims to absolute truth]. It is merely making models from phenomena observed, and those models are descriptive and predictive and falsifiable. Then test, retest, modify, discard [if necessary] and start again.

Why religions fail is because of this lack of fair testing. The god brigade start off with belief, and then try to prove it. For obvious reasons, this method is bollocks [confirmation bias for one].

So there is no need to prove religious fantasies wrong.
I also agree with the comments of Pod Black and others above. Studying religion helps one understand the world where religion has had an impact on history and culture.

Any even half-intelligent student that is taught comparative religious history properly will come to the logical conclusion that it is bollocks.

Making an absolute claim OF ANY TYPE is wrong, because it confuses NAIVE REALITY [what we experience] with REALITY. In the final analysis, we have no idea what total reality looks like, and so long as we remain non-omniscient [not all-knowing] we never will.

There is no scientific evidence for gods, afterlife, disembodied souls etc, and this is where we should leave it. Anything further and we mimic the woo brigade by making our arguments arguments from rather, rather than from the reason and evidence we have available to us.
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Old 16th September 2011, 03:09 PM
Podblack Podblack is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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kimsland said View Post
I might clear this up again.

Who do you think teaches RE in schools?
Hello. I teach religious education.

My website is here, called Podblack Cat. This is my podcast. I quite like wearing Wheels and Dollbaby, because it's a Perth design label, but that's just a WEIRD thing about me...

Quote:
By the way, I notice that science doesn't teach evolution until the child is much much older, no one has ever questioned that? I have.
Actually, you're wrong about that. The grounding for understanding evolution, and I quote, begins with 'fossils (and discussing ancient animals) is covered early in about year 3.'

Here's the website of a former science teacher and current education provider from the CSIRO - and author of the book Tribal Science: Brains Beliefs and Bad Ideas. His name is Michael McRae.

He talks explicitly about the elements that contribute towards understanding evolution and you can ask him a question about the current (and forthcoming national curriculum) in the comments there. He's quite friendly, but I'm a little biased towards him because we've known each other for a long time.
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Old 16th September 2011, 03:35 PM
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kimsland kimsland is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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Darwinsbulldog said View Post
@ Kimsland,

I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more rabid atheist than myself.
...
it is better to retain a state of permanent agnostism.
OMG, no comment, but maybe I should put that in my signature as the idiocy it is.
Atheist or nothing, there's a good motto. (ie nothing in between)

Quote:
Podblack said View Post
Hello. I teach religious education.
Now you are definitely the right person to ask.
What the hell do you think you are doing?
How dare you come here in defense to me saying no religion is good religion (for your benefit religious beliefs) and then you comment and state you teach (impossible) religious education? With your knowledge?

Go away you anti-atheists, I have no time to argue fact with fiction.
You are only good to make me laugh at your crazy stories.

For parents concerned (and true right!) about religious teachings in school, TELL THE SCHOOL YOU DON'T WANT IT.
I did, and all is well here, I can't say the same about others who get in the way of science.
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Old 16th September 2011, 03:40 PM
Podblack Podblack is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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kimsland said View Post
Now you are definitely the right person to ask.
What the hell do you think you are doing?
Fine, thanks. Worked for over eleven (nearly twelve?) years as an educator; you can read about it in The Guardian if you like.

Quote:
How dare you come here in defense to me saying no religion is good religion (for your benefit religious beliefs) and then you comment and state you teach (impossible) religious education? With your knowledge?
You might want to click on a few of my links that have already been provided to you, they might answer some of your questions.

I do have a question of my own though - do you think it's right for you to deny children a well-rounded education by only teaching them one view of the world - such as an exclusively atheistic one?

Quote:
Go away you anti-atheists, I have no time to argue fact with fiction.
You are only good to make me laugh at your crazy stories.
Best if you read again the forum rules about 'back up your assertions with evidence'.

Yes, best if you actually read other people's posts overall, otherwise you are just providing us forum-ites with a laugh....

Back on topic, I'm thinking of doing more in regards to a list of alternative texts to suggest to children, but it'll have to wait until the school term is over. I have still got high-schoolers to get through the exams and a pile of grading (on the topic of Philosophy of Religion, funnily enough) to complete.
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Old 16th September 2011, 03:43 PM
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kimsland kimsland is offline
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Default Re: How to answer a child's questions when they are being taught religion at school?

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Podblack said View Post
I do have a question of my own though - do you think it's right for you to deny children a well-rounded education by only teaching them one view of the world - such as an exclusively atheistic one?

>>>>>>>>>>> YES <<<<<<<<<<<



Of course. What bothers me is that you don't.
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