Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday something to do with god blogging..

Back in the olden days (the 80s) when I was in primary school in Australia, I used to attend scripture classes every Wednesday afternoon. All the kids in my school, which was public.. (that's public in the sense that it's public not in the sense of posh private school) were sorted into groups of their respective religions and had some nice lady (or gentleman in some cases, I'm sure) come and talk to them about that religion and it's rules and how to be nice and stuff.

I was in the catholic group, with all these other catholic kids who knew what our nice lady was talking about when she mentioned names and stuff in the bible like it was common knowledge. I for the most part had no idea what she was talking about. I think I was in that group only because when my parents were given the papers to fill in they put catholic under religion in a "I guess that's what we are" sort of way, but we never went to church or mass or read the bible or paid the least bit of attention to religion. Not really a catholic, in other words.

I should say I was in that group for most of my primary school years. For about the last year I sat in a classroom with 5 other kids doing catch up work. The last I thing I remember from the catholic class was the nice lady telling us that we must decide that we're catholic and that we'll follow all the rules and go to church every week by the time we're 14 we need to decide because if we don't we'll go to hell. That's right, Hell! The memory is quite strong, and I'm pretty sure I went home and told my parents this and that's something to do with the reason I was in the no-religion group after that. That's my theory anyway.

I've thought about the old scripture classes now and then, in my grown up travels to more enlightened* parts of the world, and it occurred to me that it was somewhat archaic and backward to have religion classes in public schools, as recent as the when I was in school, at the very least.

It was this post that made me think of all this, and in fact the scripture classes are still going on. The post is about a new proposal for teaching ethics in New South Wales schools, and links to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about how it's a sneaky way for atheists to to stop religion in schools. Apart from the fact that it's a fucking no brainer that there shouldn't be these classes in schools, the article is full of so much bullshit I can't believe the SMH put it in. His main argument is about how Australia's culture has been shaped by christianity.. bla bla bla.. Judeo-Christian all that jazz.. the fucked upness of that is pointed out in the linked blog.. ie "good" and "christian" are NOT synonymous fuck you very much** so I won't go into that.

I just want to point out that he doesn't really have an argument. Let's say these ethics classes really do completely replace scripture and no religion will ever be taught in a NSW public school again. Apart from the fact that this is what should happen and should have happened a fucking long time ago according to the many people who are not really religious, it shouldn't be a problem for those who are either. Remember my story, how I was in the catholic group and was left confused most of the time? And the other kids, actual catholic kids in the class new all this stuff already? Well, you see, they have these places called "churches", and in these "churches", people go and find out all about their religion. And you can go to whatever church suits you, only that church, and not go to other churches.. and if you don't want to you don't have to go to them at all! There are also things called mosques, synagogues and temples, for those who are religous, but don't have a church. There are also books that tell you this stuff, and websites. And parents. Parents can tell you what to do, and often how to think.. all that stuff. And the good bit about all this is that kids only have to follow the shit their parents do.. not always great but at least the other kids don't.

So yeah.. after being in the catholic group, I was in the sit around and do nothing group. Perhaps the ethics classes will be something for these kids to do while the religious ones learn something.. I dunno. And another thing.. I don't really recall what all the classes were when I was a kid, I just know that most of the kids were in the catholic or church of England groups.. and there were a few other smaller classes.. but there must have been non christian religious groups amongst them.. and if not, there certainly should be now.. so the whole equating religious with ethical is bad enough.. but specifically with "christian", in a multicultural country.. is particularly fucking insulting Mr Wallace so fuck you again.

There's probably more but I've ranted enough. This was originally supposed to be a well organized, better written out post but you can't have everything.

*well some of them, in some ways, sorta.
** I don't mean that christians are not ethical I mean that it's neither exclusive nor universal to christians.


Ronald said...

Ah yes, the old, we hold the patent on "goodness" assertion. Sometimes I'm not sure if indoctrination is so powerful it overrides reason, or it's just seems that way because a lot of people are stupid! I once spoke to a girl online (who just happened to be American) who when asked why she felt the Bible was necessary, replied, "Well how else will we know how to behave?". She was serious, and though the conversation was conducted on a chat platform, I could sense she never batted an eyelid. I felt just the slightest shiver of fear as I contemplated the fate of humanity.

Michelle said...

Hmm... that's pretty typical. I assume she hadn't read a lot of the thing.. or at least I hope so.. that would be really scary if she took it all, blood and guts and gore to be some kind of fantastic morality tale.

I mean, yeah. There are nice bits, and of course in churches they tend to focus on that and tell you to live your life according to that but I mean.. "be nice to each other and stuff"... hardly something only that religion or any religion ever came up with.. and a lot of the rules are rather redundant or downright harmful.. so yeah, bullshit reasoning.