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Religion, Identity and Education


9

905

On the recomendation of Tmesis I have decided to start my own thread on the thorny issue of religious teaching and education. It has been suggested that teaching children about religion at a young age is abusive. If nothing else it eliminates much of the choice a child might have in deciding about religion.

In my opinion this is no more abusive than teaching children about nationalism. In fact nationalism has largely taken the place of religion in terms of identity. Why wasn't this trend condemned as abuse?
 
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lostexpectation said:
how id different from the other thread?
:x Ask Tmesis!

Anyway this is more about nationalism perhaps (but religious discussion tolerated); shouldn't we be educating little kids rather than making citizens or economic units out of them?
 

pauriceenjack

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Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
111
Usually it went hand in hand with fundemental Catholism. The Christ like Blood sacrifice was an essential theme to both types of fanatic.

The Blood sacrafice of Pearse, who started a rebellion against the orders of his own commander, in the full knowledge supposedly of victory.

He knew bloody well that he could not win militarily, but also knew that if he could start a war, and prevoke violence on the part of the State that he could win converts to his cause.

Nationalism is and the violence it has sought to justify is one of our sacred cows. The old tainted history taught by dangerous hateful fools, that taught a people to hate another for the wrongs of their forefathers was one of the greatest abuses of children.

The education systen is highly charged with nationalist propaganda. The typical example was Yeate's Terrible Beauty. He was another old fool or a very pragmatic one who supplied the tpye of arty propaganda that had a ready market and got a cushy senate seat into the Bargain.

A terrible beauty ( laying town someone elses life in the cause of Nationalism)

He might have more aptly said " they weighed so lightly what they took" rather than gave.
 

Tmesis

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Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
157
905 said:
On the recomendation of Tmesis I have decided to start my own thread on the thorny issue of religious teaching and education. It has been suggested that teaching children about religion at a young age is abusive. If nothing else it eliminates much of the choice a child might have in deciding about religion.

In my opinion this is no more abusive than teaching children about nationalism. In fact nationalism has largely taken the place of religion in terms of identity. Why wasn't this trend condemned as abuse?
Your central issue is with nationalism. How does the "abuse" manifest itself in schools? How is nationalist indoctrination similar to religious indoctrination?
 

The Collective.

Active member
Joined
Apr 21, 2007
Messages
159
Ideally religion shouldnt be taught to kids, but were else will they get thier values from? Sex and the City? Paris Hilton? Brittney Spears? Bertie Ahern?
 

cropbeye

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
944
Re Nationalism

Does this mean all references to Nationalism that glamorizes it in any
way in any country must be thrown out.

Should this happen in Britain France or The United States?

A lot of poetry music and literature would have to be dropped
the 1812 overture anyone?

On the question of religious studies all I can say is at the end of the
day a lot of parents still want it.
 

stannis

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
198
Why wasn't this trend condemned as abuse?
Why should it be? What else would you define as 'abuse'?

How about cosmopolitanism and contempt for the land one was born in? Anti-nationalism, shall we say? If it leads one to hate their own country, that could be construed as abuse.
 

Tmesis

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Aug 23, 2007
Messages
157
The Collective. said:
Ideally religion shouldnt be taught to kids, but were else will they get thier values from? Sex and the City? Paris Hilton? Brittney Spears? Bertie Ahern?
You're a reasonably intelligent person. You must know that you're deliberately using examples of entertainment (outside of Bertie Ahern, although some might say that he's entertainment as well) to compare to religious "morality" in order to make a very cheap point, don't you?

Where do children who don't have a religous upbringing get their values from, do you think? Is there any evidence that people who weren't brought up to be religious are more morally deficient that their religious counterparts? Does the religion matter in your opinion? Do any and all types of religious upbringing beat no religious upbringing at all? Do you support the indoctrination of children no matter what the religion?

And, isn't it better to teach children good morals for the sake of being a good, respected, loved person than for a highly questionably rather tenuous belief that they get some sort of reward for it in the afterlife (or are punished if they don't)?
 
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Tmesis said:
Your central issue is with nationalism. How does the "abuse" manifest itself in schools? How is nationalist indoctrination similar to religious indoctrination?
Tmesis, I may know the name of Dawkin's book, but I can't remember off-hand the details of his 'abuse' claim. If you accept that nationalism is similar to religion then it follows naturally that what's allegedly abusive in one system is abusive the other.

I have already given examples (in the other thread) of ways in which nationalism is instilled in schoolchildren.
Were you told at any point in your education (assuming you're Irish) that you were Irish? Were you taught the national anthem; did you ever have to sing it? Were you taught about all the great heroes of the past, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell etc.?
To which I add, were you ever expected to stand around and cheer for the president, waving little flags? Teaching Irish is also a nationalist pursuit (though I don't want this turning into an Irish language thread), much like latin was back in the day.

Just as religion is first learned at home so too is nationalism. But as a child's first prolonged experience of a state-body school's are a major part of their nationalist indocrination. Why do think they call them national schools?

I would like to point out here that I have no problem with nationalist indoctrination. In using the term 'abuse', I am merely parroting poor Dawkins. I just don't believe that two similar processes (both are mainly there to instill a particular identity) should be judged differently, as Dawkins presumably does.
 

cactus flower

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
75
905 said:
Tmesis said:
Your central issue is with nationalism. How does the "abuse" manifest itself in schools? How is nationalist indoctrination similar to religious indoctrination?
Tmesis, I may know the name of Dawkin's book, but I can't remember off-hand the details of his 'abuse' claim. If you accept that nationalism is similar to religion then it follows naturally that what's allegedly abusive in one system is abusive the other.

I have already given examples (in the other thread) of ways in which nationalism is instilled in schoolchildren.
Were you told at any point in your education (assuming you're Irish) that you were Irish? Were you taught the national anthem; did you ever have to sing it? Were you taught about all the great heroes of the past, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell etc.?
To which I add, were you ever expected to stand around and cheer for the president, waving little flags? Teaching Irish is also a nationalist pursuit (though I don't want this turning into an Irish language thread), much like latin was back in the day.

Just as religion is first learned at home so too is nationalism. But as a child's first prolonged experience of a state-body school's are a major part of their nationalist indocrination. Why do think they call them national schools?

905 - without meaning to be over-literal -

According to Wikipedia, National Schools were established by the British Government in 1831 and were originally multi-denominational, with a six member board of two Catholics, two Church of Ireland, and two Presbyterians. Religious and non-religious eucation were clearly separated (teachers had to hang a sign on the wall indicating that religious education was in process, and remove all religious symbols and objects from sight when religious education finished). Parents had the right to remove their children from religious education if it conflicted with their beliefs. Schools who failed to abide by these rules or who refused admissions of different faiths would not be funded by the state.

One of the effects of National Schools seems to have been a collapse in the numbers speaking Irish - I have no idea whether than was intended or just the effect of children moving into an english speaking and writing environment. However the system had no adverse effect on Catholicism.
 

pocleary

Active member
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
203
pauriceenjack said:
Usually it went hand in hand with fundemental Catholism. The Christ like Blood sacrifice was an essential theme to both types of fanatic.

The Blood sacrafice of Pearse, who started a rebellion against the orders of his own commander, in the full knowledge supposedly of victory.

He knew bloody well that he could not win militarily, but also knew that if he could start a war, and prevoke violence on the part of the State that he could win converts to his cause.

Nationalism is and the violence it has sought to justify is one of our sacred cows. The old tainted history taught by dangerous hateful fools, that taught a people to hate another for the wrongs of their forefathers was one of the greatest abuses of children.

The education systen is highly charged with nationalist propaganda. The typical example was Yeate's Terrible Beauty. He was another old fool or a very pragmatic one who supplied the tpye of arty propaganda that had a ready market and got a cushy senate seat into the Bargain.

A terrible beauty ( laying town someone elses life in the cause of Nationalism)

He might have more aptly said " they weighed so lightly what they took" rather than gave.
anti irish bile as usual, any excuse to vent your spleen eh
 
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cactus flower said:
905 - without meaning to be over-literal -

According to Wikipedia, National Schools were established by the British Government in 1831 and were originally multi-denominational, with a six member board of two Catholics, two Church of Ireland, and two Presbyterians. Religious and non-religious eucation were clearly separated (teachers had to hang a sign on the wall indicating that religious education was in process, and remove all religious symbols and objects from sight when religious education finished). Parents had the right to remove their children from religious education if it conflicted with their beliefs. Schools who failed to abide by these rules or who refused admissions of different faiths would not be funded by the state.

One of the effects of National Schools seems to have been a collapse in the numbers speaking Irish - I have no idea whether than was intended or just the effect of children moving into an english speaking and writing environment. However the system had no adverse effect on Catholicism.
'National' schools were originally set upto instill a sense of Britishness in Irish children; making citizens rather than subjects out of them. Hence the decline in Irish. Interesting about the religious education, though I suspect it didn't last too long. The national school system was then adopted by the Free State as the perfect vehicle to instill a sense of Irishness in the children.
 

Tmesis

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Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
157
905 said:
I would like to point out here that I have no problem with nationalist indoctrination. In using the term 'abuse', I am merely parroting poor Dawkins. I just don't believe that two similar processes (both are mainly there to instill a particular identity) should be judged differently, as Dawkins presumably does.
Oh dear, I actually thought you had a problem with nationalism: I had actually answered the rest of the post before I saw this bit. I think I understand where you're coming from now.

Dawkins' main point is that labelling a child with a concept, such as Catholic, Protestant that they can't understand is abusive, and they we don't do it with other beliefs. However, being Irish is not a belief. I was born in Ireland. I am Irish. It's not a difficult concept.

Also, as you don't disagree with nationalist "indoctrination" (that's the wrong term for it), it's not a particularly good analogy that you are trying to draw, as Dawkins' lists many reasons why he disagrees with religious indoctrination.

Also, and probably most damingingly for your point, you haven't actually read Dawkins' book, and you admit to not knowing his argument. How on earth can we be expected to take your point seriously if you freely admit ignorance of something which is central to your point.

I think at this point, until you actually read Dawkins' argument, it' "thread over" time.
 

White Horse

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Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
7,064
Could we have a straw poll of the anti-God brigade on this site. Ask them how many received a religious education but were subsequently able to exercise independent thought?
 
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905

I apologise, I should have made my opinion on nationalism clear.

Labelling a child with a concept they cannot understand is common practice. I didn't fully understand the implications of being Irish when I was a child but that didn't stop people labelling me. Being Irish is a belief though, just look at the 'British' Unionists. They wouldn't agree with you that it's not a dificult concept. Incidentally, I was born in a Catholic family and a Catholic country. I am Catholic. Does that make my Catholicism any less of a belief?

As to your last point, I haven't read all of Dawkin's book, but I have read large parts of it. I knew his argument but I might disremember some of the details. That is why I sound unsure, I am merely covering my rear end.

I don't remember admitting to be igorant of his arguments. If you're referring to my use of 'presumably' in the above post, what I meant was I don't know what he thinks of nationalism. I doubt (again I can't say for sure, but I believe I'd remember it) he discusses nationalism in his book. I do remember reading his book and noting that he ignored the vast range of other identities that are potentially 'abusive', to use his own term. However I will do as you suggest and hunt down a copy of the book and make sure.
 

madura

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May 26, 2006
Messages
266
The idea that parental transmission of value systems to children could or should be effectively "policed" is laughable. End of.
 

Tmesis

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Messages
157
White Horse said:
Could we have a straw poll of the anti-God brigade on this site. Ask them how many received a religious education but were subsequently able to exercise independent thought?
Is someone claiming that religious people don't exercise independent thought?

P.S. I'm not anti-God. How could I be anti something I am pretty sure doesn't exist?
 

Tmesis

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Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
157
905 said:
I apologise, I should have made my opinion on nationalism clear.

Labelling a child with a concept they cannot understand is common practice. I didn't fully understand the implications of being Irish when I was a child but that didn't stop people labelling me.Being Irish is a belief though, just look at the 'British' Unionists.
You are from Ireland. You are Irish. It's not a belief. It's just a fact.

They wouldn't agree with you that it's not a dificult concept. Incidentally, I was born in a Catholic family and a Catholic country. I am Catholic. Does that make my Catholicism any less of a belief?
Catholicism is a belief. So whether it's a Catholic family, country etc. it all stems from a belief. You might say that being Irish is a belief, but, in my case, I have quite a lot of evidence to support my claim.

As to your last point, I haven't read all of Dawkin's book, but I have read large parts of it. I knew his argument but I might disremember some of the details. That is why I sound unsure, I am merely covering my rear end.
Apologies, and understood. I'm not trying to be awkward here, but it really seems that to equate the evils of nationalist "indoctrination" to the evils of religious indoctrination you'd want to point out the evils of nationalist "indoctrination", but you actually agree with nationalism which makes it very difficult to make your case.

I do remember reading his book and noting that he ignored the vast range of other identities that are potentially 'abusive', to use his own term. However I will do as you suggest and hunt down a copy of the book and make sure.
I'll save you the trouble. He basically mentions political ideologies, such a Labour or Tory or Marxist as analogies. It still leaves you the problem of identifying the "evils" of nationalism, and how it harms children, to draw an analogy with Dawkins' opinion on religion.
 

Tmesis

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Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
157
madura said:
The idea that parental transmission of value systems to children could or should be effectively "policed" is laughable. End of.
You're right: no-one can stop you from trying to remove the right to free choice of religion from your children. However, that doesn't mean that the state should also promote that practice.
 
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