Friday, July 28, 2017

Faith in faith

The subject of "faith schools" is in the news again lately, our current Prime Minister is keen on them, being an intelligent vicar's daughter and a practising Christian she will be well aware of the benefits and  power of childhood indoctrination. Advocates of these kinds of schools nearly always trot out the same old arguments when these matters are debated, i.e. that existing faith schools out-perform non-faith schools so therefore detractors are simply jealous and should shut-up, certainly a very religiously stereotypical attitude.

The truth of the situation, as always, is slightly more complex. Most faith schools have some kind of selection process and any school that selects it's pupils will have some advantages over those that do not and will therefore create a selection pressure of their own, regardless of the particular flavour of cult they choose to indoctrinate the children with. The whole thing becomes a downward spiral of selection and division leading to absurd situations where people with resources physically move house and/or adopt the particular faith just to get their kids into a school that is perceived to be good. In addition to this it seems a matter of simple logic that separating children on the basis of the religion of their parents is inherently divisive, we wouldn't dream of doing it on the basis of politics or skin colour, so if it's not about indoctrination then what is it really about?

I would much prefer it if learning was a purely secular endeavour, I have no problem with kids learning about different religions (in fact I would insist on it) but denying children the advantages of properly experiencing and mixing with their peers and reaping the benefits of diversity seems to be bordering on the abusive and/or paranoid to me.

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