Irish Schoolchildren to Learn about Atheism


#1

Some primary school children in Ireland soon will be legally required to have lessons on atheism, which have been designed with much input from an activist group called Atheist Ireland. The requirement will involve the 7% of Irish school children not in Catholic schools.
see www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/atheism-to-be-taught-irish-schoolchildren


#2

Wouldn’t you want them to know as much as possible about all beliefs? It seems to me that well-informed members of society are the goal of education. Or should we just ignore the existence of things we don’t agree with?


#3

Agreed. Belief systems have played a huge role in the development of the modern world. All schools should have a dispassionate course on religious beliefs, including groups that largely reject any particular Deity,


#4

I agree. Since when is exposing students to various viewpoints and ideas a bad thing? isn’t that the whole point of an education?


#5

I think it largely depends on how it’s presented. Given the increasingly secular nature and hostile stance towards religion of the Western world, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this curriculum were an underhanded move to vilify religion and paint atheism as the only reasonable choice.

I am all for open dialogue, but I sometimes feel like believers nowadays are all too willing to follow the butcher to the abbatoir in an attempt to prove that they’re “open minded.” I think it’s important to remember that, all too often, a powerful portion of that subset of atheists who are “pro-active” are seemingly more anti-religious than pro-naturalist (I hope no one has forgotten the recent “Reason Rally”, which was really not much more than an anti-religious hate festival). The most vocal and visible faces of the modern atheist movement are almost unanimously hellbent on the eradication of religion. As regards this particular development, the fact that Richard Dawkins’ book is part of the lesson plan is worrisome enough.

All that said, having not seen the curriculum, I can’t pass judgment on it, but I think it would be wise to be wary. There has been a tremendous push against the religious traditions of Ireland (namely, Catholicism) in recent years and it doesn’t take a tin foil hat to have some suspicion here as to the underlying goal of this agenda.


#6

Quite sickening.


#7

Imagining* one of my elderly relatives in a dyspeptic moment fueled by a bit of alcohol walking to the front of the classroom and thundering:

“Everything is meaningless. Your existence is a cosmic accident and a cruel joke … or would be if there WAS a God.” All this while the kids tumble backwards under the verbal assault like the kids in Peanuts.

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRg-p05MYf6re5iB0qu2pkxietkuSFCFDJPOAP8RdpFIGCXiW7Flg

But to confound the “intellectuals” and bureaucrats that made this possible - our Atheistic evangelist could pronounce a lifelong recess appropriate to the occasion:

“Why you waste another minute in this classroom while your
brief little lives are flashing by you mystifies me. I’m off to go fishing!”

Cue music: “School’s OUT fo-or EVERrrr… !”

  • Imagining it because it would never happen with my relatives. Though some of them might have the bitter outlook necessary to do this for a moment or so. :wink:

#8

No, the point of education is the pursuit of truth. However, atheism does exist, that is true, so if it plays a significant part in some subject its part should probably be discussed. E.g. in the human rights abuses committed by communist China. (I don’t know of any place where atheism has played a positive role, so if they were honest about atheism, instruction in it would not help the cause of atheism, but hurt it. But don’t expect an honest treatment of the subject from secularist schools.)


#9

To borrow a page from the atheist handbook: Are they also going to cover non-stamp collecting


#10

So? I had to learn about a lot of various religious beliefs in high school. I learned about “Big 5” (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism) in my World History class, and then about many others (everything from the Amish to Wicca) in my World Religion class.

Atheism and agnosticism are on the rise. Being able to articulate the societal reasons for the rise of non belief and the difference between atheism and agnosticism shouldn’t be controversial, it should just be a basic part of sociology, or whatever cultural awareness/social studies class they are adding this to. Part of being an educated citizen (and isn’t that what schools are trying to produce?) is understanding different beliefs and worldviews.

Not only are our citizens becoming more connected with technology, but cultures are blending due in large part to a globalized economy. Chances are that today’s high schools students will have to work with people of many different backgrounds. Understanding a person’s religious beliefs is a huge part of understanding their culture and where they’re coming from. Diversity is growing and people from many different groups are having to come together to achieve shared goals, not just in business but in life in general.


#11

Diversity is growing and people from many different groups are having to come together to achieve shared goals, not just in business but in life in general.

Can you tell me the last time a knowledge of atheism was necessary for a business deal?

“Sir, let’s launch the product 3 weeks from today”
“Wait a minute. Kevin, the new intern, is an atheist.”
“You’re right, this changes everything.”

Atheism and agnosticism are on the rise. Being able to articulate the societal reasons for the rise of non belief and the difference between atheism and agnosticism shouldn’t be controversial, it should just be a basic part of sociology, or whatever cultural awareness/social studies class they are adding this to.

The issue with this is that the teachers or curriculum are likely to push atheism on the general public. Since they are consulting with atheist activist groups, something tells me it’s not going to be merely informative.

Since when is exposing students to various viewpoints and ideas a bad thing? isn’t that the whole point of an education?

No, that’s not the whole point of an education. The point of an education can vary. If you attend a Catholic school, the point is proper faith formation, with workforce preparation thrown in. If you’re attending a law school, the point of the education is to prepare you to work as a lawyer. If you’re attending a secular school, as is the case here, we can assume teaching workforce preparedness and proper citizenship are in order.


#12

I wonder if these lessons will mention that China is an atheistic country that doesn’t allow any religious freedom and is controlled by communists which are atheistic in nature?

Oh wait…that would actually be putting Atheism in the bad light and showing that it was responsible for much blood shed…


#13

Atheism is not a belief.
It is a lack of belief.
There is something provocative about defining ones world view not in terms of what it is, but in terms of what it is not.
Atheism is not about being for something. It is only about being against religion.


#14

I don’t see the significance of teaching primary children about atheism, i.e., how would it enrich their education, and can’t this be something their parents discuss with them at home? But since it is required, what exactly will they say that wouldn’t take more than a phrase or two to define?

“Hey, children there are some people in this world who don’t believe a God exists. These people are called Atheists.”

End of lesson.


#15

Excellent Idea!

If the teachers cover Nietzsche and his idea of Übermensch, then they will be filling the pews.

Dawkins is a showcase of illogic, so that’s a good one there.

Then again, if the teachers choose to cover Sartre, he’s depressing enough they might fill the pubs instead :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

Personally I think this is stupid and I find it to be somewhat irritating to me. I mean, if you ask me, this is probably going to be like propaganda for Atheism. This is the last thing schools need! :rolleyes:


#17

Good points! :smiley:


#18

I wonder how elementary kids would take to the idea that their hell is other people(Sartre), or that the bottom line message about their lives is that they are absurd(Camus), and no sense can be made out of them?
Nietzche’s idea that the solution to God being dead leads to the need to have super humans evolving looking out for their own organic needs and that the better life involves honing their own superior gifts is an interesting belief system to teach kids. Likewise Ayn Rand could offer them lessons on the virtues of selfishness
Contrarily, Karl Marx might offer the opposite belief that the individual is nothing and the State is everything. One might hope that the history of that idea in practice is offered as well, but facts seldom stand in the way of a good story.


#19

That’s up to their parents to teach them if they so choose, NOT the government. Good God, the world is going absolutely mad.


#20

Nope. That’s the job of parents, NOT the schools.


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