Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in school?

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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#21  Postby Fallible » Mar 25, 2010 12:16 pm

I have not withdrawn my child from religious worship. I have very strong views about the harmfulness of indoctrination, I really hate how they force this stuff on them, but if I look back at my own experiences, it was actually during a religious assembly that it clicked into crystal clear focus just how idiotic what I was being told was, and just how gormless all the kids with Christian parents looked as they sat there hoovering up the tall tale the teacher was spinning them. I can even remember the subject - the teacher was holding up a snowdrop which she had obviously picked that morning - I remember the stem dripping water onto the wooden floor - and explaining how God created every tiny part of it, and how clever and good he was. I was incredulous. I sat there aghast. This grown-up believes this. All these kids believe this. Why??. I was 7 years old.

I actually think that it is parents, rather than teachers, who exert more influence over their children. I went to CofE schools as well as normal schools where religion was rammed into children, but I had atheist parents. By the time the schools got hold of me, I was already operating from a non-belief base. Did I go through periods of god-belief in childhood? In my own ill-formed immature and fleeting way, yes. But that general 'this is all just a silly story' feeling never really left me. At some point I was unable to maintain this childish point of view, even with all the exposure to it I had in schools.

I can see why you want to withrdraw your child, and that if you do it, it will indeed be the right choice for her - you're her mother, you know her. But in my daughter's case, I decided that the less extra stuff she had to single her out from the others the better, and it just might give her some valuable first-hand experience of what rubbish theists are basically opening themselves up to having to accept. She gets the whole shpiel about never just accepting what people tell her, even teachers, without having a good think about it herself at home regularly. Yes, she has been through phases of God-belief in her own way, just as I did. But whatever side she lands on in the end, it won't be down to uncritical acceptance of others' beliefs. It's the kids who have apathetic parents like you describe, or theist parents, who I feel sorry for.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#22  Postby Bolero » Mar 25, 2010 11:21 pm

I can understand you not wanting your child to be singled out, and to be honest, what you're telling her at home is clearly FAR more important than that stuff - from discussions at home, she can always take back some challenging questions to the RE teacher, and make that teacher accountable for his/her superstitious beliefs. For me, the issue is when they start bringing home coloured-in comic strips of Jesus walking on water, and telling me all about how it really happened. I guess it's a good opportunity to teach critical thinking, but I'd rather it just wasn't there in the public school system at all.

Virphen - when I was at school, the non-RE kids went to the library and read books, or relaxed and chatted. There weren't many of us, and I went there some years, but mostly I asked my (atheist) parents to let me go to RE so I could be with the rest of my class. I spent RE telling the "teacher" what a load of rubbish it all was, and I like to think I undermined the propaganda sufficiently for my classmates. Maybe.

I still think religion has no place in education, except in the objective "it exists as part of our culture" sense.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#23  Postby midnightfire » Mar 28, 2010 3:45 am

Wow, I'm actually quite shocked that anything religious can legally be taught in public schools in the UK. I mean, I suppose I knew there was no separation of church and state like in the US, but geez.

But anyway...

Would the school let you attend the RE stuff to see what kinds of things they teach and the activities they do? Perhaps after seeing it for yourself, you can make a better determination of what to do. If it's pretty mild stuff that doesn't really result in indoctrination, it might be worth it to avoid singling her out - she's so young, seems like a 3-year-old would have a pretty hard time understanding. On the other hand, if there's too much indoctrination going on, might be better to avoid exposing it to her until she's old enough to think more for herself, maybe even debunk the stuff like Bolero did, or come to a "this is crap" realization like Fallible did.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#24  Postby Scarlett » Mar 28, 2010 2:06 pm

midnightfire wrote:Wow, I'm actually quite shocked that anything religious can legally be taught in public schools in the UK. I mean, I suppose I knew there was no separation of church and state like in the US, but geez.

But anyway...

Would the school let you attend the RE stuff to see what kinds of things they teach and the activities they do? Perhaps after seeing it for yourself, you can make a better determination of what to do. If it's pretty mild stuff that doesn't really result in indoctrination, it might be worth it to avoid singling her out - she's so young, seems like a 3-year-old would have a pretty hard time understanding. On the other hand, if there's too much indoctrination going on, might be better to avoid exposing it to her until she's old enough to think more for herself, maybe even debunk the stuff like Bolero did, or come to a "this is crap" realization like Fallible did.


She's not going to be going to school for a couple of years yet, but it is something me and her daddy have been discussing lately due to his son coming home with some daft ideas provided by his teacher. I know I'm well in advance but I take my childrens education really seriously and will be checking out the best options for her. There will absolutely be a discussion with teachers and head teachers before she does start school

We've started the reasoned thinking and encouraging questioning in her already, she's a smart wee cookie
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#25  Postby MattHunX » Apr 05, 2010 7:53 am

Paula1 wrote:I know we've done the stuff about preferring secular education, but due to the fact that's not what we have should a parent choose to withdraw their child from religious worship in school as is their right

I have mixed feelings, on the one hand its against everything I stand for, on the other I don't want my daughter singled out at a time when kids just want to fit in (she's only 3 at the moment so we've got time to lobby the government for a secular education ;) )

To clarify, I'm all for religious education as long as its not taught as fact, just not worship


Pull her out! From what I've heard from people about their experience with this, she'll probably thank you for it later.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#26  Postby Globe » Apr 05, 2010 10:39 pm

My answer is "Know thine enemy".
Society is, at large, built around religion. Our social structures. Our laws are built on, but have moved away from, religious laws.
Religion is part of our history, like it or not.

Just make sure that you take the discussion with her BEFORE she gets brainwashed. It's a big benefit to know WHY things are as they are, and religion is a big part in why our societies are as they are.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#27  Postby Millefleur » Apr 05, 2010 11:29 pm

I'd take mine out, 100% yes. I went to a primary and secondary with very loose Christian undertones (the secondary Head was a proud Christian). At secondary school we had assemblies once a fortnight and the Head would say a prayer then give us a talk on morals with very strong Christian messages, everyone just sat there bored fiddling with mobiles/falling asleep/whispering amongst themselves. Being pulled out of that and sitting elsewhere would have been fantastic and once everyone caught on I doubt there would have been more then a handful of the 250 kids in the year group left in the actual assembly :lol: Primary school was similar in that it was very wishy washy loosely Christian based, we had an assembly each week that started with a hymn, we sang some song about some made up bloke making the mountains etc and then heard about previous/upcoming school events and news. My thinking would be though that it would only take one religious teacher that my daughter/s looked up to being given a platform to freely spout their woo-shit and the indoctrination might begin...
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#28  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 2:52 am

My granddaughter was told that leprechauns had created a mess in her classroom - and they were led to find "evidence" in the form of little toy green footprints the teachers had planted. Since the teachers told her of these "facts" she is now completely adamant that leprechauns exist, and will NOT accept my wife or I telling her that it was just "pretend".


Why do you need to? With your influence, she'll grow up understanding this anyway. My mother has been putting out paper Easter Bunny footprints, and acting as if its wholly real, for over twenty years. We all still get a kick out of playing the game, and me and my oldest siblings are well into our twenties.

The whole family are skeptical atheists.

These are magical games like Father Christmas and fairies. Children grow out of this. Dawkins grew out of this-- he writes about it in his Unweaving the Rainbow book. Why ruin it when your granddaughter is still a young children when it will be unwoven anyway in a year or so simply out of common sense? Let young children have their games. It's part of growing up. We don't have to stamp on the magic, we just have to show children the magic in the real world, and let one kind of wonder turn naturally into another kind of wonder.

I also went to a religious school and sat through prayers and church. My parents made it clear that some people believed in God-- for a number of reasons-- but we didn't think we needed to. My brother and I sat up straight through prayers while everyone else bowed their heads. But this was the Anglican church-- it wasn't a big deal.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#29  Postby Stagman » Apr 09, 2010 6:35 pm

MattHunX wrote:
Pull her out! From what I've heard from people about their experience with this, she'll probably thank you for it later.

I'd do the same if I had a kid in the same situation. You see, I'm glad my parents pulled me out of woo class.
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Re: Should I withdraw my child from religious worship in sch

#30  Postby cursuswalker » Apr 11, 2010 12:55 pm

When I was at school I refused to do the GCE in Religious Education that was offered to my class, as it was completely Christian based. Quite a few people in the class had a go at me, but I just repeated that I was not budging on the issue.

It was agreed that I would go to the lessons and could read whatever I wanted to instead. Despite the apparent waste of lesson time I learned so much of my own choosing during that year that I have never regretted my decision.
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