I was agnostic by 10. Hadn’t heard of David Hume and didn’t need to. Religion just looked like racism or sexism to me – you were a jerk to believe it,mainly because it elevated you and put down others. Dad gave me a note to get me out of RE. They still made me sit the exams – a mistake they didn’t repeat when I came second in my year on the diet of not attending classes. Sadly, I was not able to repeat this across all subjects.
I grew up with most people around me not sure about god. We didn’t worry about our vicar who was a nice chap and good opening batter. He and his wife were a good influence. Religion was not forced down throats and I didn’t care about denominations and quickly realised other religions were as bad as the one I was born into. Kids I played with at religious schools were little different, and hospitality in their houses was the same. I thought religion would just die out and we would laugh at sacred cows (Numbers 31 whatever) like the Goons. I rather respect the spiritual life and fellowship – but don’t confuse them with vicious religion that insists one believes twaddle.
I’m quite sure we should ban faith schools, but also sure the ‘discipline’ often associated with religion is needed – organic solidarity is important. I am as sure faith schools are factional nonsense as I am that the kind of stuff priests,vicars and others can do in society can have value. Our kids should go to the same schools.
The obvious problem is that anyone thinking like me is seeking to interfere in the lives of others. This, of course, is because I feel they are interfering in the society I have to live in. This should be the start of what we do, not some impasse. I am suggesting a greater value, that our peace and eventual freedom is under threat. We should stop this now.
Yet beyond this lies sympathy squared – something about fellowship. These issues are never easy, but we are clearly being swamped by what we don’t want. Dawkins starts on his old trip next week – http://www.channel4.com/programmes/faith-school-menace/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1 – but he can’t see this really isn’t about argument – it’s the lack of democracy. ZPFNulabour have done such a bad job our politics may well split on ‘white’ v ethnic lines to stop any further medieval-Muslim nonsense. This will be a tragedy. I feel forced to give up my usual tolerance because this has already gone to far and there is little reciprocity. Freedom is structured, not a given and give and take seems to have collapsed. I can hardly remember being unable to do something because Xtians, Jews or Hindus said I could not – rather the opposite – but my life has been substantially affected by hostile Islamic stuff I have no time for, including racist attacks and sexist abuse against some of my students in the past.
We should not think there is an argument to establish here. Under pure authority we would have no problems – but to assume humans capable of this is a farce. Hence we do our own things and respect others rights to their own – yet this is not enough once the private is either criminal (or terrorist) or forces itself into the public. This is not the end because we then find the very tolerance we want is a value that has to be kept in place against those who would make their beliefs total. We end up, in part,at ‘when in Rome’.
I’d like a vote on faith schools and public schools – but then I’m deluded. I don’t live in a democracy that is interested in the majority or minority. There is a tragedy on this matter in Oldham. The one in NI is not over. And we are prepared to foster a new one through faith schools? Dumb, dumb, dumber … they couldn’t even dare to discuss this in our election,yet we need the action now.