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Atheists, stop grovelling

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#1
Ungodly

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If non-believers set up schools of their own, they'd soon knock faith primaries off their perch

Zoe Williams
Wednesday October 4, 2006
The Guardian

The Church of England has announced that at least a quarter of places in any new Anglican school will be offered to non-Christian families. This is a "proportion" rather than a "quota", which means "we'll still do, basically, what we like". The church stresses that other faiths shouldn't feel obliged to do the same, since their very existence is a "sign of inclusion and ... promotes community cohesion" - which is absolute tripe, but let's leave that for another day.

What are the motivating factors here? To stump the middle classes, apparently, who are over-represented in faith schools due to the practice widely known as "quick, darling, let's pretend we're Christians". This involves getting up unusually early every Sunday, putting in "face time" wherever a vicar might see you, and probably not drinking on a Saturday (or at least not to the degree that you might over-sing at hymn time) - a lot like being pregnant again, only this time both of you have to do it.

This charade suits the middle classes. They do tacit rules better than the rest of society; better, indeed, than they do regular rules. And while I would generally be against any system that privileged pushy middle-class people, in this instance I cannot believe how these parents are now being told that an accommodation must be made to offset their grabby natures.

These middle classes are often berated for wanting a school in their own image but not wanting to pay for it: at primary level, this means pretending to be C of E; at secondary level, it means moving into the chosen comp's catchment area - sending house prices soaring, which prices the poor out of the area and so makes the school even more middle class. I have reservations about the catchment debate, since for every family who bought its way into a good school, there are 10 who made the school good in the first place, in tiny increments, with activism or baking; and where do you draw the line? Is that yet more nefarious middle-class nest-feathering, or is it civic duty?

The faith argument is even more insulting, however - a family that is basically atheistic and busts its way into a faith school makes the following compromises. There is the getting up early and making friends with the vicar, but there is also having to see your child inculcated with nonsense as a byproduct of being competently taught to read. And yet these schools are not privately funded; an atheist pays as much towards them as a Christian does. So Mr and Mrs Agnostic make the massive concession to this belief structure that they're prepared to pay for its promotion without making a fuss, and they do so on the understanding that it would be churlish to demur, given that these schools tend to be above average. The schools' quality is not based on the message of Jesus, though - it's based on decades of sanctioned selectivity.

The mystery is, why don't atheists and agnostics stick up for themselves a bit more? Why don't unbelieving parents demand funding for schools of their own, to be run in accordance with the principles of environmentalism, or humanism? Man, they could run those C of E primaries off the league tables in a generation, in a decade, given the same resources and the same freedom to decide who is in and who is out. There seems to be a lingering embarrassment whenever atheism comes face to face with Christianity. It is assumed that the faithful command the authority, and deserve it. What kind of a group do non-believers constitute? Who would entrust them with a school budget? You might as well give it to anarchists.

Well no, not really. There's nothing childishly rebellious or intellectually slothful about agnosticism. And there is nothing inherently morally superior about getting up early on a Sunday.

zoe_williams@ntlworld.com

#2
The White Coyote

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I think maybe atheists don't stick up more for themselves and demand more secular schools and what not, is because I think most atheists are considerably more tolerant of other religions, races, and ethnic types than are most christians. Although I don't claim to be an atheist, I believe people of alternate faiths are also much more accepting of others beliefs.

#3
Jinny the Squinny

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I think all schools should be inherently agnostic places; but I also think religion and philosophy should be compulsory all the way through school. I think schools should celebrate all major festivals celebrated in Britain, secular and religious. Things like Diwali are as fun as Xmas and kids should experience that.

#4
lady

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I think maybe atheists don't stick up more for themselves and demand more secular schools and what not, is because I think most atheists are considerably more tolerant of other religions, races, and ethnic types than are most christians. Although I don't claim to be an atheist, I believe people of alternate faiths are also much more accepting of others beliefs.


Hello White Coyote,
You mention that you are not an atheist.  I am just curious to know what you are or what you do believe.  Snoopy if you wish.
From your posts and your stories I infer that you love nature..plants and animals.. and seem very family oriented.
I suppose you could call me a strong atheist.  I don't get bogged down with definitions though.  Just don't believe/think there are any kind of gods.
I do love nature too.  Like to watch it on TV  :snork_lach: or from my patio.  Here is a picture of what I see everyday in my backyard. The deer are making a mess of it but it is wonderful to be able to watch them.

Posted Image



#5
The White Coyote

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I have been called a pantheist by some folks while others can't quite figure it out. I do not believe in a big amorphous blob inna sky that cripples small children and couldn't heal a frigging common cold. I do however revere, not worship, but revere nature as a powerful force that supports and nurtures all things. My roots are based in Cherokee Indian Religion where God is looked upon as a verb rather than a noun. To me "God" is the creation, not the creator. There is no love, vengance, worship or rules except to treat nature and all living things as you would wish to be treated. I am not a greeny however and don't have much respect for those who burn down forestry buildings in the name of ecology. I do belong to a "Hoykya" (A gathering or fellowship) that consists of all faiths from Atheists to wiccans to Christians. Our commonality and only requirements for inclusion is that you have American Indian blood, a given American Indian name, and that you show absolute and full respect for all members regardless of their beliefs. I was just "promoted" to elder a few months ago. Steve (Ungodly) and I share a lot of beliefs and also share a great deal of respect for one another, even though his and my backgrounds are polar opposites. I was a warrior and worked for the government for many years while Steve was a CO during Viet Nam, we have found a commonality in our love of nature, our views on human rights and our disdain for fundys and their bullshit ways.

My "Religion" is simple yet very complex. I am a Shaman in training and have taken over the task of reading spirit guides for humans both two legged and four legged. My own spirit guide the Coyote is also my pooches guide. I am called The White Coyote by my tribe because of my anglo look (I am 3/4 Cherokee and 1/4 Welsh) and it looks like Grandpas shot got the best of me. My grandmas name was Hazel Redtomahawk though and that should pretty well dispel the doubts. As I read your posts and get to study your personality I will be able to read your spirit guide as well. It is remarkable what kind of transformation it has had on some lives.

Thank you for asking. And yes I am 1042 years old.

#6
lady

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Thank you for your reply and very interesting beliefs.  I think the more we get to know one another in forums the more we can spread peace and understanding.  I really am new to forums so it may take some courage from my part.  Every post I make takes me at least a half hour to compose in word pad first.  Then I edit and revise etc.  Then of course get up the courage to actually post it.  It is a wonder I post anything. I try to use a lot of smilies.  They are fun of course but also I hope show I am fun and not to be taken too seriously.
So I welcome a reading of my spirit guide.  Please be kind! Posted Image

I read from this site often. WILLIAMEDELEN I don't mean to say you have the same beliefs but I sense some similar thoughts.  It seems to me you are gentle but if push comes to shove...I think I know which direction you are heading.

#7
The White Coyote

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Don't be shy. We are very forgiving for grammar and spelling and if your wording isn't exactly the queens english (Watch. Steve can't resist a straight line like that.)  The most difficult part of forums is the written word doesn't always inflect sarcasm or humor and often times it's misinterpreted. But editing? I only edit after I realize I ahve made a BIG Boo Boo! :snork_blin:


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