If you’re looking to improve your child's chanting skills or enhance their moon dancing, Lincolnshire may soon be the place to go – as the county decided this week to let individual schools decide on the teaching of pagan doctrine. At present, some six world religions are studied in that County’s schools. According to the …
What about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
Will they also include the Pastafarians?
"modern pagans, unlike ancient druids, are more concerned with focussing personal energies through ritual than human sacrifice"
The custom of the Druids
Was to drink fermented fluids
And run naked through the woo-ids
And that's good enough for me
From an old BBC radio series "Poems and Pints"...
The old druids who ruled over Anglesea
Did things that were dubious in taste.
They sacrificed virgins for breakfast.
... and think of the waste!
It was good enough for Dagon
A conservative old pagan
Who still votes for Ronald Reagan
And he's good enough for me.
Re: Filk alert!
So we'll dance round the stone menhir ring
Till the flames of the fire have died down
We'll emote, slit a goat's throat and sing
Then get dressed and drive back into town
Dec 21 Goddess ritual
I assume this has something to do with Nigella's Christmas timetable?
"It was determined this [paganism] covered a broad range of beliefs and practices,"
Damn right. Paganism isn't a single religion, even though many people who claim to be pagans say it is.
"Damn right. Paganism isn't a single religion, even though many people who claim to be pagans say it is"
Ahhh, Wiccans - bless them (or blessed be them). The Spanish Inquisition of Paganism :o)
Anonymous just in case...
six world religions
This is 2010 no? They should be putting a stop to the state sponsored teaching of superstition, not adding more rubbish to the heap.
There are benefits to this
I, for one, welcome the RE project where the little dears of year 6 build a wicker man and invite the Education Secretary to inspect thier handywork.
...this'll be the second time the UK has recognized druidry. I believe it was very well recognized before a certain middle-Eastern religion came along.
But didn't that certain Middle Eastern religion come along not only before the united kingdom, but before there was anything approximating Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland...?
I'm pretty sure...
...that those druids were comprehensively exterminated by the Romans, in the first century AD.
Their practices and traditions died with them. Modern druids are just crackpots in robes pretending to be something that doesn't exist any more.
I could call myself a velociraptor, but it wouldn't make them any less extinct.
And 'druids' here, feel free to flame away, I couldn't care less about the opinions of the deluded.
"Their practices and traditions died with them. Modern druids are just crackpots in robes pretending to be something that doesn't exist any more."
Indeed there is very little evidence of what druidism actually involved, so current "druids" are effectively making it up as they go along. Especially that idiot who claims to be King Arthur. Depending on which version of the whole King Arthur legend you believe it's pretty clear that Arthur was not around until after druidism was killed off, so it's more or less nailled on that the real King Arthur (if there was one) wasn't a druid anyway.
I really hope the practical work involves constructing a wicker man in woodwork classes.
Will there be naked dancing?
Like in "The Wicker Man" (1973)?
Re: Will there be naked dancing?
You know that wasn't actually Ekland's arse</movie bore>
Dear Conservative govt
As part of your cost-cutting measures, may I suggest reducing the amount of time spent to a more useful one hour per term, thus reducing each religion to a brief five- minute overview where the individual students can then go away and follow what ever belief suits them best.
This will avoid the need for expensive committees deciding which religions should and shouldn't be taught at schools and will align the importance of religion in schools with it's place in modern day life.
I accept that there may be some jobs lost as a result of this decision, but, as part of the "big society" these people can do missionary work on the various estates around the UK to help the at need youth learn the value of religion in modern society unless they would prefer to find alternative employment.
re: Dear Conservative govt
There was a time when I would have agreed with you.
However, I think there is a place in schools for "cultural studies" and a very big part of some cultures is their religion. Knowing about religions can be of use when making friends and interacting with colleagues, for example. Or, if you want an extreme example (which I'll admit is a little tenuous and silly), if you happen to visit an Islamic country* you will at least know that drinking, eating pig meat, public displays of affection or nudity and calling teddy bears "Mohammed" is likely to be frowned upon.
I should point out that I don't think children should be taught to believe in any particular religion (even by their parents but that's another matter), but I think knowledge of religions, even if it's just for historical reasons, has a valid place on the curriculum.
For the record I'm an atheist.
*easy example, I'm sure people can think of ones for bible-belt US and similar.
waste of time?
I agree. Teaching kids about other cultures/religions is quite important.
But supposedly there isn't enough time in the curriculum to teach the important stuff that will actually help them find a job.
So - maybe once they have sorted that out, then get onto the cultural stuff?
eliminate the "eating pork meat" and the rest of your frowned upon list would work (except possibly a plumber's vertical smile :) )
"Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education"
SACRE? You mean they couldn't come up with a "D-word" to tag on the end of that, or at least take the first *two* letters of "Education" into the acronym?
and whatever other silly woo they feel like exposing kids to. Seriously, haven't we evolved beyond irrational beliefs in cosmic hyper-wizards yet?
"Standing Advisory Council on Religious Enforcement of Doctrine"
"haven't we evolved beyond irrational beliefs in cosmic hyper-wizards yet"
Well, no, just as a basic matter of sheer numbers, as a species we haven't. I don't believe in it either, but that doesn't mean I can just disregard the fact that other people do, or that it matters to them. You aren't obliged to believe yourself, it's just good manners to understand what other people think. Like learning at least a few words of some other country's language when you go to visit. You don't lecture them about how dumb they are for not speaking English like you do.
As sensible as the next religion
Though they should clarify whether they mean new age paganism, neo-celtic paganism or neo-norse paganism (or indeed a variety of other 'pagan' doctrines). You could argue that they're all the same but then turning that round on the Abrahamic religions might get you stoned/burned/blown up before you'd finished your argument.
The worship of things that actually do exist
What about P.A.G.A.N.?
"People Against Goodness And Normalcy", that is?
darn good film. And Alexandra Paul is always excellent.
SACRE is a huge waste of public money. It should be first in line for the big cut knife.
Oh, and paganism definately isn't a religion. It's just an English word used to label any religion that isn't Judeo-Christian. Hinduism, for instance, can legitimately be called a pagan religion. Yes, it's a pretty stupid label to use in this modern age. Makes you question why these people getting paid to study religions don't even have a basic grasp of the subject they are being paid to write endless drivelly papers about.
If these people were able to absorb cluons
they'd have a proper job.
A very small concession
So they're leaving it up to the schools to decide?
That's not necessarily a good thing. I would be unsurprised if no reader could think of a teacher who, had they been given the chance, could get cranky on religion.
Anyway, isn't RE about the only subject schools have to teach where there aren't targets? (Unless you count Saint Sebastian...)
Christianity == Paganism?
Can someone help me, I'm not sure if Christianity is a pagan religion. I've seen a few of their chanting / singing / brain-washing sessions, but I'm not sure whether it counts as Pagan or Cult.
Anon because I don't need more brain-washing.
it is a...
Cult, at least by the original definition of cult (ie any religion). It is not pagan, simply because pagan means any non-Abrahamic religion and/or any polytheistic religion (depending on the definition you choose).
Pagan means an indigenous religion, so in the country it was spawned Christianity is indeed Pagan.
As for a cult, a cult (cult = work as in culture) is an organisation. The distinction being that a cult is an organisation while a religion is a thought. Thus, the Church of Scotland is a cult while Christianity is a religion.
No, no, no...
A cult is a religion with no political power... to quote Tom Wolfe.
"new age paganism, neo-celtic paganism or neo-norse paganism "
I think that's how they managed to prove that they were a genuine religion.
Of course it was a bit tricky when they couldn't demonstrate they had bombed anyone else over a difference in interpretation .
I think comparative theology is a perfectly fine subject for schools, and this includes the modern druid sects we refer to as pagans. However, with the rise of single faith schools no one could be trusted to teach this impartially, so it should be scrapped. Education? Indoctrination more like.
As I think Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman pointed out, the English don't go to church. But the church they don't go to is the Church of England, not one of those strange foreign inventions.
Nuke the lot of them. Religion has no place in schools and little place in a civilised society.
The first person I came across using this particular rationalization was, I think, Douglas Adams. "The god I don't believe in is a church of England god.". And I don't suppose he was the first to say something along those lines.
About time too
This is a pagan country and has been since Celtic times. We don't need no middle-eastern imported abrahamic religions around here.
Where are lessons in being a Jedi ?
After all , the last census showed there were more than 10 000 of us
Or are they afraid of the kids turning to the dark side?
Bring on the hate *yawn*
"Religion has no place in schools"
"Let's take religion out of politics"
Er, no, let's not. Seriously. Atheism is a belief system held by only a very few people in the world. There are lots of agnostics, lots of people who disregard religion because they want to do things many religions disapprove of (usually, sex is the issue), but that is not the same as saying there is no God. Even Dawkins can only come up with "there is no God... probably."
To remove religion (which by definition forms the basis someone's actions) from public life by decree and banning topics for discussion in an educational context is insulting to almost everyone. It makes the secularists guilty of hypocritical authoritarianism. At least traditional religions in the UK do not have the power to *impose* their will over the populace. Such a desire is illiberal and anti-democratic and should be strenuously resisted.
What we need is a serious comparative study of belief systems, looking at their origins, development and following their theology, logic and philosophy to see where it leads and what the implications are for how followers might behave. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism/Paganism/ancestor worship and Atheism seem like reasonable basis for discussion.
I'm not suggesting that any belief system is taught as the "one-true way", merely that we educate our children as to the facts and implications of the belief systems of most of the people in the world. Saying "let them decide for themselves" and then banning discussion is ridiculous. Banning topics for discussion in schools and calling it "freedom" or "diversity" is crass hypocrisy. It's merely the march of authoritarian conformism.
One would hope that education has not degenerated into making children memorise a list of all the things which are true and all the things that are false, even if the adults know the answer beforehand. It is about providing children with tools to evaluate truth and falsehood and providing an arena for them to practise and develop these skills. It is about taking evidence and evaluating it for yourself.
Stop this "I know I'm right therefore no further discussion is needed," attitude. Blind faith is an attitude we want to instil in our children.
Re: Bring on the hate *yawn*
Atheism isn't a belief system.
Go on admit it Sarah - you saw a really long post and only read the first line didn't you :o)
Re: No title...
Just had to point that out. It's obnoxious, I know. I don't always read all the comments in their entirety cos I don't have time... especially not today, it's bonkers in here.
banning discussion ?
Who wants to BAN discussion ? Most of us are simply advocating that it isn't school's place to bring the subject up or to pay people to decide which myths that haven't died yet should be discussed and which shouldn't. Schools SHOULD teach children tools to evaluate truth and falsehood. That's why science lessons should teach the scientific method itself.
Also, since when did secularism become a dirty word to anyone with a religion ? Unless you are in the majority religion and wish to exploit that situation to force your views on others then secularism should be the natural choice of all theists as well as atheists.
Atheism is not a belief system
"Atheism is a belief system..."
Of course it isn't a belief system! While we're at it, I am atheist; I am not "an atheist". I don't believe in god, or for that matter, that that universe was created by a chocolate space fairy, a divine league of multi-dimensional donkeys or any one of an unbounded set of things that are so improbable that I needn't spare any doubt by taking an agnostic view.
God is just one of many things that I don't believe in, but religious apologists try to elevate it to some special status by claiming that atheists "believe that god doesn't exist". God is on a par with the purple people that live under the carpet. It isn't my fault that much of the world has been taken-in by a two-thousand-year-old marketing scam. I recognise that these believers exist and will teach my children about them myself, thankyou.
"One would hope that education has not degenerated into making children memorise a list of all the things which are true and all the things that are false"
Oh you naive optimist! What on earth do you think SATs, GCSEs (and, increasingly, A-levels) are all about?
"It is about providing children with tools to evaluate truth and falsehood and providing an arena for them to practise and develop these skills"
I couldn't agree more; unfortunately, you won't find such an approach in more than a small minority of schools (if any). It's the antithesis of the modern school system.
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