Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nazir-Ali to Gove: “Restore the teaching of Christianity to schools”

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has called on Education Secretary Michael Gove to restore the teaching of Christianity in Britain’s schools. The Pakistan-born bishop, who (sadly) resigned as head of the Diocese of Rochester to focus on the plight of persecuted Christians (as though being an Anglican bishop were something of an impediment to such ministry), has written in Standpoint Magazine (£) that teaching ‘the vital role played by reformers in the struggle for human freedom’ would lead to ‘the rediscovery of our spiritual and moral identity’.

By ‘reformers’, he specifies those who abolished the slave trade, introduced universal education, improved working conditions and who cared for the sick.

As if there were no reformers before the eighteenth century to whom we owe our liberties.

But that quibble aside, the Bishop welcomed the statement made by Mr Gove to end what the Secretary of State calls Britain's ‘collective amnesia’ about its Christian heritage. Bishop Michael said Christianity was the most significant link in our long island story and that education should look at the vital role played by Christians and Christianity in the forging of our traditions and liberties which are now, he says, are under threat.

And so he wants to see schools teach children about the link between Britain today and its foundations in the Judaeo-Christian traditions of the Bible, particularly the role of Christians in.

"It is ironic indeed,” he says, “that nurses cannot now pray at work, under threat of dismissal, when their ward duties often began with prayer right up to the middle years of the twentieth century."

"So many of the precious freedoms that we value today, the fair treatment of workers and the care of those in need, arise from values given to us by the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

"I am glad that the Minister is setting out to remove our collective amnesia — and to enable us to see our history as a connected whole. This will also have to mean the rediscovery of our spiritual and moral identity.

"The question now, of course, with parliamentary reform hovering in the wings, is how the Judaeo-Christian tradition can continue to be called on, especially when proposed legislation raises important moral issues for the individual and for society."

Jolly good stuff.

Three cheers for Bishop Michael!

The only problem is that schools are already required by Statute of Parliament to do all this, and have been since 1944.

But they don’t.

And moves to dilute, devolve and deregulate the National Curriculum are unlikely to lead to a strengthening of the provision: school governors, heads and teachers will simply invoke the liberties granted by the Academies Bill to base their educational ethos on the magic breathing philosophy of Goldie Hawn, on the Islamic principles of sharia, or on Dawkins’ extremist atheism.

It is strange indeed, not to say something of a contradiction, that the academy or ‘free school’ movement, which proposes to permit local groups of parents and teachers the autonomy to develop their own curricula and forge a distinct educational ethos, should simultaneously have imposed upon it a standardised national history syllabus which is to be written by Niall Ferguson.

Mr Ferguson has his views and his version of history. But an awful lot of academic historians, history teachers, and teaching organisations disagree with him. How does that equate with less prescription, yet an imposed centralised curriculum?

And what is applicable for History must a fortiori be applicable to Religious Studies.

It seems that the Academies Bill suggests the implied repeal of the 1944 Education Act and every education act since which either strengthens or reiterates the provision of the state’s Christian foundation: we therefore see the eradication of the statutory requirement to hold a daily act of collective worship which is ‘broadly Christian’ and the teaching of Religious Studies which gives pre-eminence to the predominant Christian faith of the nation.

Mr Gove cannot have it both ways.

Either one trusts parents and teachers or one does not.

Either one is prescriptively imposing a centralised national curriculum or one is not.

And if this Secretary of State is permitted by Act of Parliament to demand that academies teach a ‘Right-wing’ or ‘Empire’ view of history, or prioritise the Christian traditions and foundations of the nation, or propagate a sceptical view of man-made global warming, then his successors will be endowed with that very same authority to ensure the teaching of whatever leftist, globalist, multi-faith, multi-cultural or ‘environmentalist’ creed he or she requires.

With the advantage that the teaching unions are far more disposed to such a worldview.

So when Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali lauds Michael Gove for placing an emphasis ‘on the rigorous study of traditional subjects rather than wasting time on what he calls “pseudo-subjects”’, he forgets that Goldie Hawn’s school will be free to prioritise the technique of breathing over sentence structure.

And when Mr Gove encourages a focus on the teaching of language and literature, his ‘greats’ are not everyone’s: even the Bishop wants the list expanded to include Herbert, Donne, Newman, Hopkins, Eliot, Chesterton, Greene and Belloc.

And so with history: the Bishop advocates ‘a connected narrative’ and a ‘golden chain of harmony’. And this ‘has to do with a world-view that underlies the emergence of characteristically British institutions and values, such as the Constitution itself (“the Queen in Parliament under God”); a concern for the poor; a social security net, based on the parish church, which goes back to the sixteenth century, and personal liberties as enshrined in Magna Carta’.

He is of the view that ‘the world-view that made possible the emergence of these fundamental building-blocks in our national life is, of course, the Judaeo-Christian tradition of the Bible’.

But what if an Islamic free school apportions such fundamentals to Mohammed and the Qur’an?

Will they be free to teach an Islamocentric narrative of history?

Or of marriage, family, justice or equality?

The bishop observes:

It was not only in the area of law, but virtually every other kind of knowledge was mediated either by the Church or by Christians in their respective fields. It is often claimed that there was much knowledge in this country until fairly recent times of the classical literature, art and philosophy of the Greeks and the Romans. This is certainly the case but, as Pope Benedict has pointed out, this was often a knowledge ‘purified’ of the cruelty, promiscuity, inequality and idolatry of paganism. The encounter of Christian faith with Greek Philosophy, for example, was providential, as the Pope has put it, for the intellectual history of Europe but we must be clear that it was Jerusalem and not Athens that provided the fundamental orientation for the flowering of a Christian humanism at the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation. As Western Europe regained Hellenistic learning from the Islamic world (which had itself gained it largely from oriental Christian clergy), it also critiqued it from the point of view of Christian belief. Basic teachings, derived from Hellenism, on the eternity of the world, the denial of personal immortality and the resurrection of the dead and the primacy of philosophy over revelation were rejected because they were contrary to the Word of God.
While the Church’s Holy Days have become our national holidays, free schools will be at liberty to grant whatever holidays they wish and to organise their school year as they wish.

And where those liberties are not granted, the state will turn a blind eye, as it does already, for fear of being accused of racism and of breaching equality legislation.

For if the Christians may have Christmas and Easter, why may the Muslims not have Eid ul-Fitr or the Hindus and Sikhs Diwali?

Did not David Cameron promise them such?

It is good and noble that Bishop Michael has drawn our attention to the fons et origo of the precious freedoms that we value today which have arisen from values bequeathed to us by the Judaeo-Christian tradition. And he is right to point out that these values are grounded in the moral and spiritual vision of this tradition. And he is even more right to warn that it cannot, by any means, be taken for granted that they would survive for long if the tradition itself is jettisoned.

But it will not be the Academy movement which will eradicate our collective amnesia, or ensure the rediscovery of our spiritual and moral identity.

It will not be Michael Gove who restores the primacy of the Judaeo-Christian tradition to provide the connecting link to ‘our island story’.

It will be for autonomous groups of parents and teachers to grasp that without the appreciation of that tradition, ‘it is impossible to understand the language, the literature, the art or even the science of our civilisation. It provides the grand themes in art and literature, of virtue and vice, atonement and repentance, immortality and resurrection. It has inspired the best and most accessible architecture and it undergirds and safe-guards our constitutional and legal tradition’.

But who will educate the parents and teachers?


Anonymous Francesca said...

I do see that you're arguing that Mr Gove cannot have it both ways, but I'm unclear whether you are arguing that he should understand and respect these local rights or bring them to an end?

26 October 2010 at 09:34  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I went to what was, at the time, a well known boys' grammar school. We weren't taught religion as such, although we did have a short prayer and a hymn every morning at assembly. What was more important, I believe, was that the school gave us a good moral upbringing which in many respects was common to the teachings of most religions.
Nowadays, morals must not be discussed by teachers as this is considered to be "judgemental"; children must be allowed to make up their own minds about such matters.
I feel that this is where things have gone wrong rather than just the decline in religious education. although whether you can teach morals without religion is a point open to argument.

26 October 2010 at 10:04  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Welcome back Bishop. You were right last time:

26 October 2010 at 10:12  
Blogger Jomo said...

Mr Gove is just another politician with a silly idea.

He thinks by reorganising the schools and removing them from Local Government control he can produce academic excellence overnight.

His plans are likely to end in chaos. Doubtless they will be reversed when he goes or a new government takes over (egg the grant maintained schools set up by his conservative predecessors.

For all their intelligence, our new masters do not seem to realise that intensive academic study is an elitist activity. It’s not everyone's choice, as the failures of the National Curriculum demonstrate.

The Secretary of State would be better employed ensuring that no child enters secondary education without the ability to read and write than shifting the deckchairs around in the mess the educational establishment has created.

I fear the good Bishop is missing the point. It is no longer possible to impose religious uniformity on multikulti Britain.

Perhaps it’s time to re-visit the 1944 Act and set up a system that
meets the diverse needs of every child within a nationally funded and managed state system. The costs of most bureaucratic reorganisations generally exceed the benefits derived from the exercise.

Maybe if parents were expected to take responsibility for the spiritual and moral education of their children, the schools could get on with providing the children with the education, training and skills they need, and have the ability and motivation to access.

26 October 2010 at 10:49  
Anonymous Trencherbone said...

The education system with soon be dominated by the Islamic agenda.

26 October 2010 at 11:08  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Wow the dinosaurs are out in strength today! The world has moved on, this is not the 1950’s although many here don’t seem to have noticed.

Most parents today are totally indifferent to the sentiments expressed here, not because they are amoral barbarians but because your so called Judaeo-Christian tradition is dependant on belief in a supernatural God and they just don’t buy it. They don’t want your archaic beliefs to play any part in the education of their children and teachers recognise this and so ignore acts of worship and all the other supernatural nonsense.

Christianity forms part of English and world history and so should be part of the history curriculum. Let our children learn about the myths and fantasies of the various religions but never never let them be told that these are facts.

Cranmer goes on about the rediscovery of our spiritual and moral identity and assumes that the primacy of the Judaeo-Christian tradition to provide the connecting link to ‘our island story’ is essential to the personal, moral and social development of our children. He continues It provides the grand themes in art and literature, of virtue and vice, atonement and repentance, immortality and resurrection. Well parents don’t see immortality and resurrection as anything other than myth and fantasy, they want education for their children that is grounded in humanity and reason, not superstition and that is why your aspirations are doomed to failure.

And just listen to this final piece of arrogance But who will educate the parents and teachers? Well not you Crannie.

26 October 2010 at 11:25  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Who will educate the parents and teachers?

Why, you will Your Grace.

With you and Bishop Michael arguing the point, who can intellectually prevail?

All we need is our politicians to give the right structures and assist in recalibrating the zeitgeist.

Whilst I am not much enamoured with Cass Sustein's ideas on "nudging" there is not a lot more that one actually needs to do, as I am sure there are large swathes of society who would happily support a return to better religious and moral teachings in the schools. They just don't happen to populate the Lalaland culture of the chattering classes.

26 October 2010 at 11:26  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 October 2010 at 11:48  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

I’m all for restoring the primacy of the Judæo-Christian tradition as the connecting link to our island story but the most rapidly growing section of our population sees both Judaism and Christianity as profoundly misguided. If and when Islam becomes the dominant religion in Britain, what chance then for the Judæo-Christian tradition?

As we are a liberal democracy, I gather that we are expected to shrug our shoulders, accept the inevitability of a Muslim Britain, and manage the decline of Christianity in as good-natured a manner as possible.

Given the (I would argue) malign influence that Islam has had on those countries afflicted with it, shouldn’t we be considering how best to counter it in this country? It may involve paying Muslims to leave. Have we got the will to implement such a policy?

26 October 2010 at 11:50  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace, is it possible that we are about to see a great reversal? For every action there is a reaction and just as Marxism has failed in Eastern Europe leading to a renaissance in the Orthodox Church, so it may be that Christianity will be re-discovered by a new generation in Western Europe. It is no longer possible to paint Marxism as a set of beliefs that offers salvation for human society when it empirically does not. It may now be that the combined nihilism of the Atheists and the Islamists will trigger a great spiritual revulsion in the West. Church attendances are rising, evidence of renewed interest. Mr Graham Davis may well rage against the fading of his personal light, but to no avail. To answer the question, who will educate the parents and teachers, the answer maybe that they will educate themselves online, and in church-houses in places where the established churches have not been included in the planned developments of the inner cities.

26 October 2010 at 11:53  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


As Christianity withers Islam won’t take its place because religion in all of its guises is really only of interest at the fringes of UK society. Two of the three party leaders are atheists and I don’t see much that is “born again” in DC. Politicians quite like Christianity as they see it (wrongly) as a form of social Prozac.

As regards Islam the number of Muslims in the UK is relatively small (though still too large) but as they continue to assert themselves then surely the backlash will come, it may take another terrorist atrocity but at some stage we will have to confront Islam.

26 October 2010 at 12:22  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

The fact that "religion in all of its guises is really only of interest at the fringes of UK society" is part of the problem. People don't realize that they will be targets.

Islam believes that all should be Muslims. It has been estimated that Islam will be the dominant religion in this country in two generations owing to their high birth rate which is ten times higher than others. Consider the impact on our schools with all the additional costs involved.

That Islam encourages deception increases the level of ignorance of what it is about. People need to wake up while they have a choice, otherwise they will have none. Islam doesn't permit it.

26 October 2010 at 12:45  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

Despite the fact that the Christian faith has shaped the legal system and has been the prime cause of many benefits which we enjoy today, it is realistic to say that this is not a Christian country. I think even Mr Davis agrees with me on this! I would also share his reservations about the former Bishop's desire to see the teaching of Christianity in schools. Neither should Islam, Buddhism and any other religion be taught; this should categorically be a level playing field.
Let the Christian faith fight its own corner on its own terms - not with some State-directed mandate. There's nothing more off-putting than imposed Christian teaching - especially if it's imparted by teachers who do so out of legal obligation rather than conviction.

26 October 2010 at 13:24  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Caedmon’s Cat said

Despite the fact that the Christian faith has shaped the legal system and has been the prime cause of many benefits which we enjoy today, it is realistic to say that this is not a Christian country. I think even Mr Davis agrees with me on this!

Yes I do agree that Christianity has helped to shape the country that we live in today for better and for worse.

We live in a nominally secular society in that our laws are made by a parliament in which religion may inform some member’s opinions but has no legal authority despite the fact that the queen occupies the twin roles of Head of State and Supreme Governor of the CofE, one of those curious anomalies for which our constitution is famed.

The secular society will protect your absolute right to pursue your religious beliefs so long as they are subordinate to the rule of law and so long as you do not try to impose them on others. It does not regard Christianity as deserving preferential treatment over other faiths despite its longer historical association with this nation.

This is the crux of the “problem” as most here think that Christianity deserves a special place along with special privileges. In a modern, progressive society this is an unrealistic ambition.

The scourge of Islam can only be dealt with by secular judicial and political means and not by hoping that somehow Christianity will make a comeback and throw out its old adversary. Islam is not filling a religious void vacated by Christianity it is attempting to invade on the back of unregulated immigration and this we are probably all agreed has to stop.

26 October 2010 at 14:27  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

Mr Davis -

I suspected that there might be some common ground between us on this issue! However, I'm rather intrigued by your phrase 'the rule of law.' Would this 'law' be your categorical imperative? (That's a theological question in its own right!) If so - on what basis? Would it be framed on an objective moral standard? Hmmm.... yet again the theology pops its head out to sniff the air..

26 October 2010 at 15:33  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Caedmon’s Cat

We have evolved a sense of natural justice that is reflected in most laws. Is there an objective moral standard, I’m not sure but as long as it is free of bias it satisfies me, if it requires “moral” absolutes (as many religions demand) then it does not?

As there is a large overlap in the Christian and Humanist attitudes toward morality I don’t have any problem with acknowledging that a particular law or a certain attitude may have a Christian origin or may have been introduced by a legislator driven by Christian ideals. What I object to is the idea expressed by many here (but not you) that morality is only authentic if it originates from Christian teaching. That is when I become an “aggressive” atheist. Most of the time I am really quite a mellow fellow!

26 October 2010 at 16:30  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

One of the strangest phrases that I keep reading on this blog is "Judæo-Christian". Can some explain to me the rationale for linking these two religions given that they are in irrevocable disagreement over the most fundamental element of both faiths, i.e. whether Jesus was the messiah, the Son of God, or not.
Given this level of disagreement, it would seem that the only reason for linking the two religions into one phrase is because of their common heritage, but if so, you might be better advised to use the term Judæo-Islamo-Christian as all three share a common heritage up to a certain point in history.

Just curious!

26 October 2010 at 17:20  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Hi Your Grace.

Brilliant analysis. I am just going to pray. My hard drive has ceased to function this morning and a fresh installation of windows has taken place this afternoon. My stress levels are way up there - so I commend you and wish your communicants a good discussion on this very important topic.

26 October 2010 at 17:47  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


You have managed to install Windows on a hard drive that has ceased to function, that sir is a miracle!

26 October 2010 at 17:54  
Blogger oldmaid said...

We are a Christian country. Our history and heritage prove it so. Not matter how they try to:

- eradicate these facts from the curriculum
- try to dilute our society with migrants whose culture is in direct conflict with ours to achieve divide and rule and ultimate control
- simply bury their heads in the sand that they are using to divide and rule also have their own agenda...

Perhaps our politicians ought to take this on board if they are determined to continue along this route, then if those who want our homeland for a different purpose achieve majority population, then it is highly likely all the politicians of today will be surplus to requirement in the future.

And will no doubt dealt with in the same way as the rest of us 'infidels'...

26 October 2010 at 18:34  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr P Burgess, the term Judaeo-Christian is not unique to these blog comments, but is a frequently used expression in much exposition and discussion of ethics and history.

Whilst it is true that the identification of Jesus as Messiah is a crucial point of distinction, it is nevertheless the case that Christianity is thought by its adherents to be the fulfilment and climax of Judaism. There may be differences between Christians as to the precise nature of that fulfilment, as, for instance, discussed in the recent fuss about so-called replacement theology which seems to get some people in a great stew. But basically Christians regard Jesus as the final revelation of God, which substantially began with the Abrahamic covenant.

Christians regard the Hebrew scriptures as part of Christian scripture. There is a continuum of ethical content from Judaism to Christianity, though Jesus went further than Moses. Affirming the Torah's commands to love God and to love one's neighbour, Jesus added the imperative of enemy love.

About twenty percent of the New Testament consists of quotations and allusions to the Old Testament.

All the original Christians, and, of course, Jesus himself, were Jews.

It is therefore both natural and accurate to describe the features held in common between Judaism and Christianity as Judaeo-Christian.

(I am never sure why this should lead Mr D Singh to speak of individuals as Judaeo-Christians, since an individual is either a Jew or a Christian (or neither)).

The position of Islam vis-a-vis the Judaeo-Christian tradition is quite otherwise. It is not part of a continuum, but, rather, a reaction. In ethical matters it is a parody. It has monotheism in common, and claims to revere some Jewish and Christian figures, but that's about it.

I hope that helps.

P.S. How did you type that dinky little joined-together ae?

26 October 2010 at 18:45  
Anonymous Anthro said...

@Graham Davis
I enjoy your posts here, but somewhere in the above you make a not altogether valid conflation of 'religion' with mythology - religion to be discounted upon grounds of its being 'myth and fantasy'.
This isn't a fair, or indeed scientific, assumption. Mythic structures are a common feature of all (historically) human collectives. This stands the test of practically all anthropological data ever collected. Whether one ascribes some transcendent or spiritual 'truth' to mythology is not entirely relevant. From an ethnological point of view what matters is the psychological fact of it's existence within a society. Indeed, in Darwinian terms, mythology can be seen to have played a crucial role in the survival and development of humankind.
It may be that you regard science as having today supplanted the role of mythology ie. that we unite behind the axioms of science rather than a shared mythology. But insofar as mythology and fantasy arise from the mind (side stepping the transcendent for now), it would be wrong to discount their role, not least in scientific process. (Wolfgang Pauli makes an interesting study)

Surely evolution requires no advocacy. The irrelevant, by it's very nature will recede and be lost. Religion, like mythology, will be neither bolstered nor destroyed through advocacy. To say otherwise is to posit evolution as a process requiring all the machinations of rhetoric and politics. Mammals didn't win the argument, they won the reality. If 'dinosuars' still roam the earth, then surely that is testament to their success.

26 October 2010 at 19:22  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Graham Davis @ 12.22 ...what a refreshing change to concur with all you say! I just hope that we are both right!

26 October 2010 at 19:26  
Anonymous Oswin said...

If it takes an Indian to remind us 'how to be British' then so be it!

26 October 2010 at 19:31  
Anonymous len said...

There will come a time when,if people continually reject God that God will reject them.
I believe that process has already started happening in our Society;

' C.S. Lewis was writing in his book, The Problem of Pain and he wrote this, “The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded and are therefore self-enslaved.” God will abandon sinners to their own choices and the consequences of those choices. And just what is this abandoning act on God’s part, it is the removal of restraining grace. It is when God lets go and turns a society over to its own sinful freedoms and the results of those freedoms. No scripture more directly confronts this abandonment and its consequences than Romans 1 does. Here is the most graphic and the most comprehensive discussion of what it means to be abandoned by God and it is the best passage that I know of to explain the moral chaos and the confusion that we experience in our own nation at this very time. God’s wrath is already at work in our culture. We’re not waiting for it, we are currently experiencing it'.
(John Macarthur, When God Abandons A Nation )

I believe that this , and this alone will awaken people to the reality of the situation.People will only learn (so it seems ) by direct experience however painful that might be.

26 October 2010 at 19:38  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Len ....I am quite sure that God has not abandoned Britain, he's just waiting for us to wake-up, is all. He's exceedingly patient; although I suspect he might well have the odd moment where he considers booting us up the arse!

Britain will win through!

26 October 2010 at 19:46  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@ Graham Davis, passim
My dearest Sir, many thanks for your views here, variously.
No, I don't subscribe to them all, and if I'd lived in the last century with compulsory religion thrust at you from all quarter, I daresay I'd have ended up a militant atheist like my grandfather.
However, I don;t know that the secular state is strong enough to withstand the onslaught of militant islamist supremecists. I cannot bring myself to aware the word a capital I) They have, after all, taken over Tower Hamlets pretty well. Today, Tower Hamlets, and tomorrow the UK.
There are plenty of moderate moslems, but, alas there is no such thing as moderate islam.
I'd suggest that islam is currently far more of a threat to an atheistc lifestyle at present than Christianity in any of its guises.
Finger crossed for the future (personally, though, I don't believe that white people have one here. Give it 20 years and Allah will be in no.10.

26 October 2010 at 20:34  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Anabaptist (18:45)—How did you type that dinky little joined-together ae?

On my keyboard, I hold down the Option key and hit the apostrophe key for æ. Holding down Option and hitting q gives œ.

26 October 2010 at 21:47  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Sorry, off topic, but I am pleased I am not the only one that couldn't get onto Jared Gaite's website - although I do understand that there is 'pages of it' (before it chucked me out!)

PS- Michael Gove, I am sure he is actually an Asgard - see my own post.

PPS- Anabaptist- Good summary

best all. Lavendon.

26 October 2010 at 22:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Do any other countries fail to teach the historical importance of their own Civil War or is that a purely English phenomenon ?

That is the basis of the constitutional and religious settlement that spawned not only Britain but the United States

26 October 2010 at 22:21  
Blogger Owl said...

Mr. Davies,
One of the aims of the Marxist/Socialist behaviour engineers is to to keep a nation off balance. This induces fear which in turn allows manipulation.
A good natural catastrophe (or even the fear of one) or a terrorist attack are good for this purpose. A series of such happenings, real or imagined, is better.
Fear of losing our national identity through massive immigration of people with a culture and religion foreign to our own is also excellent to keep us off balance and has the added value in that we now turn our anger on the foreign group who we now consider to be to blame for our distress. The knee jerk reactions occur as planned and our anger and fear is nicely channelled away from the real destroyers of our society.
The backlash against this minority group will, of course, happen but it won't solve the problem.
A bigger backlash is also underway as too many people are now aware of the manipulations going on. The biggest enemy of the Marxist/Socialist agenda is Christianity with it's emphasis on individuality and withstanding "Group Think" which is why it is, seemingly, under attack from all sides and from within.
I think, Sir, that you underestimate Christians and Christianity almost as much as you fail to understand them.

26 October 2010 at 22:50  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your wisdom is an inspiration, Owl. Agreed.

26 October 2010 at 23:36  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The reactions to what seems a perfectly reasonable request , link very well with some of my own thoughts on how RE has changed as well as assembly and general foundations at schools .
Mr Gove has a great deal to do not only does he have brainwashed liberal elite teaching profession/union to convice , but alas some belief from his hon friends never mind the hon members just on point scoring duties .

I have tried to find the socialist sucess story , the school where despite an athiest approach the kids are somehow super beings , not only cock sure but having all the fruits of lefty teaching making each day for them better and better as they no longer have to deal with the possible interventions of an onipotent supreme being . I have been dissapointed , yes there are many schools which focus on free thinking (although not free enough to follow anything from god) , or see helping the disadvantaged with pop arts and drama ,in a sort of urban culture tour .

But then we get to the parents who all want the good parents evening the annoiting of little elles briliance , seeking some alievment of peir competition in the discussions . You would be hard pressed to find a parent proud that time is put aside to read the bible or that little elle can repeat the lords prayer for she is more likely to know about Colleens troubles and how much an envious wardrobe costs or the world of looks and payment .

The one thing a christian moral based school benefitted was the need for manners and respect , it perhaps should come as no surprise that we have a group of parents who are "liberated" and think that pop culture has made them better and liberal , there own lives becoming a sort of hippy chaos of correct consumer purchases and holday photoshoots .
Parents may have wanted their children to be freer than the home discipline of there own youth , that is what they have been led to believe will be good without problem.
And yet as these children inhabit positions in life they gradually become upset that drugs are being delt in there street , the police are crime support liason teams and mps maintain lured lives whilst putting out spin .

In the end they wonder where the good stock , built up over centuries of having a highly valued moral/christian ethic , out which window in time did it depart , and then they remember what an easy ride school was and how they could have anything they wanted except a different mind to the one they were given by the socialists sops .

27 October 2010 at 01:11  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Sunday schools are the proper place where Christianity is taught to children.

27 October 2010 at 03:53  
Blogger ZAROVE said...

Mr. Davies, I’ve told you before, Religion is not on the decline, nor can it ever be. Even the Shallow Humanism you espouse is itself a Religion. Religion is not belief in Supernatural Powers, and is not Theism. You have a certain set of beefs, and a clearly defined language that speaks of your beliefs, such as the endless praise of Reason, and specific definitions of such terms, such as equating Reason with your own conclusions, that is no different from Religion. Why call it something else? Its really just a smokescreen that acts as if Religion is a force of ignorance, that requires belief in Fairy Tales, but at last we are waking up to the Truth and are abandoning delusion for reason. it’s a way to frame the discussion in order to make your own beliefs look better by contrast, but its also an intrinsic lie.

You can’t get rid of Religion, you can only replace it with another Religion. Its rather like Matter and Energy, it cannot be created nor destroyed, merely converted.

That said, its also foolish of you to buy into the Propaganda. Britain is more Secular today, this is True, but its not because a growing number of people think for themselves, have been educated with facts, and have thus rejected Religion In all its guises as Obviously False, any moreso than its true that the Conclusions they now hold to are fully independently derived and are merely the result of reason. Rather, what you see before us is the product of people taking to the streets and trying to convert society to their Religion. it’s the same Religion you hold to. They simply don’t call it Religion. Academics, Lawmakers, and various other higher ups in society became enamoured with the Humanist Philosophy, and as with you were told it’s the Antithesis of Religion, and that all Rational people abandon Religion for it. Over time, Sensationalism, evangelism, and the acceptance of the idea by a few radicals lead to books being written to convey these ideas, and students beginning to accept them. Some of those Students became Teachers, and taught it, furthering its reach. Now, most Universities teach specifically this Philosophy, and others have been won to it via the same methods used by Religion to win its converts. Its no different, except in your mind.

Today’s Britain is not Secular because people are using reason and abandoning Fairy Tales, today’s Britain is more Secular because Secularism is hammered into their heads form when they are young, and peer pressure in society has created a climate in which one is made to feel as if the only way to be rational, tolerant, and well balanced is to be Irreligious, and to be Irreligious is defined as being a Humanist and accepting a Humanist ethical and moral code, and a Humanist outlook on life. If Christians did this, then by golly you’d throw a hissy fit, and you’d declare that its not because people came to this conclusion on their own, they were being Brainwashed by the Media and Schools, and the Government made Laws conducive to Christianity, not to other Faiths.

But as the trend favours your own beliefs, and your beliefs also preach the Secularisation Thesis, that as a Society becomes more wealthy, advanced, and prosperous, that Religion dies on its own in light of Reason and Knowledge. You never question this assumption, or even the assumption that Religion is the Antithesis of Reason, and your beliefs the only possible ones that can be held rationally. You never allow yourself to see that your beliefs are Religious, nor that Religious people can have Rational Cause for their own beliefs. To you, its Religion or Reason, and this is a Dogma to you, unquestioned and unquestionable.

27 October 2010 at 06:29  
Blogger ZAROVE said...

But in the end, if the Schools did teach Christianity, if the Media stopped churning out attacks on Christians and began depicting them in a positive light, and if the Government enforced Christianity as profitable rather than attacking it at every turn, society would change. Your Faith in the Secularisation Thesis is simply unjustified, for the Secularisation Thesis is not True.

Your Secularism grows only by forcing everyone else to shut up and demanding to be the only voice around. It grows by bullying everyone else into submission and demonising its rivals. In a fair and open placing field, it would shrivel up and die.

Also, it should be noted that, despite your thinking, this is not the only time “Religion” has gone Into decline. Atheists may pretend it is, and think that Christianity has held sway till about the middle of the 20th Century then went Into percent decline due to Science and Reason and whatnot, but Christianity has always faced periods in which its fallen into disfavour, and began to die. In the 18th Century people said it would be dead soon, and it returned with a bang at revivals. Revivals have a tendency to come along as much as declines do.

Why should I think Christianity will continue to die, along with “All Religion” and your Religion-that’s-not-a-Religion will be all that’s left in the end, when History shows this is not so?

Also, do drop the whole idea that Politicians only give Lip Service to being Faithful. I don’t care that Two of the Three Party Heads in the UK are Atheists, the UK’s Government is in Shambles, with DC being much better urn and it even in Chaos. Also, in DC most, though not all, Politicians do profess to be Christian or some other Faith. Why do Atheists try to rationalise this by pretending they really aren’t?

Do you have evidence hey view it only as a Prozaic? Or does that rest entirely on you Idea that all really intelligent people are Atheists and people in power use Religion to control the masses? If so, your just spouting your own Religious Dogma.

27 October 2010 at 06:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

You ask a critical question:

‘But who will educate the parents and teachers?’

Indeed even if the State were to compel the teaching of Christianity and given that our teachers’ minds are the products of the teaching of twenty years ago – we would only succeed in making teachers hypocrites and their pupils cynics.

The practical thing to do is to pray for the conversion of one’s neighbour.

27 October 2010 at 08:03  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Owl at 22.50

‘Our author [GB Sandhurst ‘How Heathen is Britain? (1946)] has also shown that the ignorance and incredulity of the pupils are very often removable – their roots far shallower than we had feared… For one thing, I not think we will be allowed to [teach Christianity in a secular education system]. It is unlikely that in the next forty years England will have a government which would encourage or even tolerate any radically Christian elements in its State system of education. Where the tide flows towards increasing State control, Christianity with its claims in one way personal and ion the other way ecumenical and both ways antithetical to omnicompetent government, must always in fact (although not for a long time yet in words) be treated as an enemy.’

Prof. CS Lewis 1946

27 October 2010 at 08:23  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


You say Surely evolution requires no advocacy. The irrelevant, by it's very nature will recede and be lost. Religion, like mythology, will be neither bolstered nor destroyed through advocacy. To say otherwise is to posit evolution as a process requiring all the machinations of rhetoric and politics.

Brilliant comments and it appears that you are far better qualified to talk about anthropology than me but I have never let ignorance stop me from expressing an opinion!

Surely religion/myth evolved as a way of satisfying our desire for explanations. We want to know the reason why stuff happens (our experience suggests that there must be a reason) and before the advent of science there was no alternative but to make it up. It soon became apparent that those who offered these explanations attained power and influence and that is the origin of religion.

Today we live in a world where knowledge has replaced mere speculation at least for those of us in the developed world, so these myths/religious explanations are now obsolete.

27 October 2010 at 12:01  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Don’t be defeatist Old Grumpy

There will be a tipping point at which time the powers that be will realise that Islam is a threat to our way of life. It behoves all of us to keep banging on about it until politicians get the message.

27 October 2010 at 12:06  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Zarove said

Religion is not on the decline, nor can it ever be For the majority it certainly is.

Britain is more Secular because Secularism is hammered into their heads form when they are young I beg to differ, I doubt that one in a hundred youngsters have any idea what secularism is.

Science and reason are incompatible with religious belief because that very word belief is antithetical to both, as religion relies on faith not evidence.

27 October 2010 at 12:19  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


Do you seriously think that we are under the control of the Marxist/Socialist behaviour engineers?

27 October 2010 at 12:25  
Anonymous len said...

G D , Yes.

27 October 2010 at 20:15  
Blogger ZAROVE said...

Graham, your so caught up in your Rhetoric that you really aren’t reading what I’m saying. The Irony is that your so caught up in your Rhetoric that you also can’t see how laughably absurd your comments are. Science and Reason and incompatible with belief? Do you know how asinine and utterly untenable this statement is?

Belief is simply a thought you hold to be True. IE, I believe that I am sitting on a Chair when I type this. The fact that I have evidence, I can see and feel the chair and know I am on it, doesn’t make the thought that I am on the Chair any less a belief.

Belief is something that, like Religion, everyone has.

Worse still, your relying on the definition of Faith I hear from too many mindless Atheist, that Faith is belief in the nascence of evidence. However, that’s not what Faith actually means. Faith isn’t belief without evidence, Faith is simply another word for Trust or Confidence, and quiet often rests in and is based upon Evidence. You also said that Religion is on the decline for the Vast Majority of people. Even if your right about people becoming more Secular, that still doesn’t make them less Religious. My entire point is that everyone is Religious regardless. Religion is simply a set of beliefs about the nature of our existence, and surly everyone has this, even you. Your talk of Science and Reason being superior to Religion and superstitious Myth is part of the evidence that you have a Religion, as Ironic as that is. You have a specific view of the world, that f a Materialist who holds to a Humanist Ethical System, that determines how you understand the world around you. And just like any other Religion it comes complete with a set of Phrases and words with specialised meaning. You talk of Science and Reason in the same way Christians talk of Salvation and Redemption, it’s a recurrent theme in your speech that has the same basis, it’s a repeated refrain that ties your thinking to core concepts. However, they are specialised because the words are defined against a self enforcing Ideology. Reason and Science to you must always support the Conclusions you already have, such as Materialism and Humanism, and you merely apply the term “Reason” and the term “Science” to those conclusions, acting as if anyone who is Rational and Scientific must hold to the same beliefs.

You aren’t someone who lacks Religion, your someone whose Religion teaches him to hate the word Religion and to apply it selectively s as to create a false distinction. You aren’t someone who has no beliefs, your someone who doesn’t like the word beliefs. There is no objective, material difference between your “Rational Thought” and beliefs, just as there is no distinction between your Humanism and Religion.

Its all just words, not reality.

Even if you are right and all “Supernatural” and “Theistic” beliefs die out, and everyone becomes like you, the world will still actually have Religion, because you still actually have Religion.

Just because you hate the word doesn’t mean that the reality the word describes changes to suit you.

That said, you still ignored my other point. What about Revivals? Why so fast to assume that your Secularisation Thesis will be in fact the Future? And why ignore the fact that your Secular Ideals and Beliefs are taught, in the same Fashion that those Religious beliefs you despise so much are? People wouldn’t’ be as they are today if not Taught to be, and it into that they have learned reason and Science and facts, its that they have been taught how to think like Secularists.

It also doesn’t mater if they know what the word “Secular” means, again, this is the Reality, not the words we use to describe it.

27 October 2010 at 20:19  
Blogger ZAROVE said...

Also, Mr. Davies,

“Surely religion/myth evolved as a way of satisfying our desire for explanations. We want to know the reason why stuff happens (our experience suggests that there must be a reason) and before the advent of science there was no alternative but to make it up. It soon became apparent that those who offered these explanations attained power and influence and that is the origin of religion.”

This is simply more Trite fluff, and common Atheist banter. It proves my earlier point, that your beliefs (And this is what the above is, a belief) are simply the repetition of what you are taught. You didn’t come up with the argument that Religion exists to explain things we dint understand, before the advent of Science which will replace it, you picked this argument up from elsewhere and keep to it as it strikes your fancy. it’s a learned argument, and as such a leaned perspective on the world.

Its also a nice highlight into what I’ve said because if it were True, you’ve just made Science and Religion the same thing. Yes I know, the difference is that Religion just made stuff up and Science gives us real answers, however, the essence of your comment is that Humans have a desire to know about the world they live in, and both Science and Religion give us those Answers. Even if your simplistic assessment was right ( And it’s not) your basically saying that Science is simply a more advanced form of Religion. Science is Religion. The reason you are saying this is because you give Science and Religion the same task, and it doesn’t matter which one is right, they both fill the same purpose.

That said, your claim is also thoroughly wrong. Religious beliefs are actually complex, they aren’t just “Superstition and made up mythology” that you prattle about, they include real History too, and moral Values, and teachings of Sages. Even T.H. Huxley recognised this, and advocated the teaching of Bible Stories in Schools to help instill Morals in Children from a Young Age.

No one denies that Jesus or Buddha lived except fringe lunatics. No one denies that they taught great Wisdom and, while some say that wisdom was modified and enhanced after their deaths, no one denies that what we have passed onto us in written form is superb.

Indeed, when Paul wrote his Letters to the various Churches, he was often confronted with real issues and had to find real solutions. When he wrote back to them, In what we now have as the Pauline Letters, his advice worked. This is because Paul understood Human Nature and knew how to address those problems. He had to find a Rational, functional, pragmatic solution to real problems facing real people.

Indeed, most of the Wisdom Literature that you read is based upon observed and known Truths about the Human Condition, r the Natural World, and to dismiss it as “Made up mythology and Superstition” only shows the incredible Bias you have towards “Religion”.

Even f I were an Atheist ( and I know many Atheists who share this perspective) I would argue that Religion did not emerge as people just made stuff up, they had to base it on something, and quiet often that something is what they personally knew of the Human Condition, what they observed, and what they felt. Religious beliefs did not emerge in a vacuum, and did not simply see Thunderstorms and claim gods did it. They had to address real problems, and had to work when expressed in action, or else they would never have serviced.

Religion would thus be better described as the collective Wisdom and experience of Humanity. While you can reject some things, such as God’s existence, you shouldn’t dismiss the experiences and morals and vales people held to so readily as if nothing underpinned them at all, as if all of its made up nonsense, for that only proves how weak your own arguments really are, especially since the same can and certainly will be said of your own beliefs at some point in the Future.

27 October 2010 at 20:37  
Anonymous anthro said...

Thanks for the reply GD
'Today we live in a world where knowledge has replaced mere speculation at least for those of us in the developed world, so these myths/religious explanations are now obsolete.'
(Interestingly though GD this is a position that many scientists are finding hard to sustain today.)
Science apart! - I think there's a distinction here that you miss. That religious institutions can fall prey to the distortions of power I don't doubt for one minute. But the argument I make with respect to mythology needn't be tied to this. The developed world is awash with mythology. It still quickens our culture - be it the trashy blockbuster, X Factor or the latest RSC; it live amongst us, (even in our science labs - Re. Bruno Latour). As yet the blind watchmaker has demured from removing this vestige from our minds. Far from becoming a primitive bygone, mythology abounds.
I ask in purely scientific terms: Why? (ie to what purpose) and from where? It isn't enough to say that myths are 'made up' in order to seize power. Nazism is the most terrible example. Hitler's mythology was never of his own making, he was neither that clever nor that imaginative. It was a sleeping horror that lay ready to be woken. And it's cradle, sadly, was the human mind. (Of countless thousands). We deny mythology at our peril. And it's ground is the human mind.
Jung once described religion as 'the observation of facts'. No more, no less. And the fact to which I refer is that of 'mind'; and its endless propensity to speculate, to fantasise and to build myth.
I claim no transcendent background or spiritual source for mythology. (Nor do I deny it - what would be the point?). But where mythology exists ie. as a fact of our shared or personal existence, I can't ignore its presence. I can't help but ask why our minds are so directed by nature, not just to reason, but to imagine too.

27 October 2010 at 21:52  

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