Discrimination at School?!
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20-07-2015, 01:05 PM
Discrimination at School?!
Hi everyone,
I am a High School student in England, and as probably many of you know, here since a few years ago, RE became a compulsory subject. I don't know if it's the case at other schools, but in our school, (which is a "Catholic School") on RE lessons, you pretty much ONLY learn about Catholic things. Like, seriously... there are about 2 pages about not believing in God/supernatural things in the whole GCSE book (which is about 80-100 pages...) And the whole year, I have to sit there on lessons, and learn about the things they force you to learn about. This is seriously discriminative against MANY people including Atheists or people who has something other religion. And I am supposed to get a minimum grade C of the subject. I am forced to learn the Bible stories and "their meanings" (which are pretty much standard real life things/common sense). Is there anything to do with this? To not be forced to study RE (or at least not be forced to study a religion.) A way to somehow not be forced to learn about something nonsense... I really feel like that the UK government made it extremely difficult for all the Atheists that they HAVE TO learn about things that doesn't even exist... Like; come on... Even the full Christian nation, the Americans accepted homosexuality, and the UK can't accept not believing in something?! This is ridiculous... So basically, my question is highlighted in bold above, hope someone can advise me something.

Thanks for help is advance! Smile
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20-07-2015, 01:58 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
Welcome, TBA, to TTA!

You're in school to learn. Not everything they teach you will be true, especially on "fuzzy" subjects like theology. One of the most important tools you can develop as a student is how to screen out bullshit (bollocks, as I think you Brits say).

I recommend the Carl Sagan book on developing what he calls a "Baloney Detector" (nice way of saying bullshit), called The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Learning how to learn properly is one of the great failings of many school systems, I'm afraid. The most important thing to remember-- a lesson you seem to have already figured out, so nice job-- is that authority is not an argument. Your teacher doesn't necessarily know better! Question everything, and do your own research.

In the meantime, learn all you can about Christianity/Catholicism in your Religion class. Doesn't mean you have to incorporate it as personal belief! But you may learn many things in the Christian mythology that are fascinating, or will be fascinating to you later.

I mean c'mon! It's pretty good mythology, as fantasy stories go.

The Bible has:

Necromancy!
Talking donkies!
Talking pillars of fire and smoke!
Flaming bushes!
Cursed fig trees!
Pregnancy by incest!
Attempted angel rape!
Cities destroyed for being wicked ("wrong religion")!
Children massacred by bears for teasing Elijah!
Magical, hip-dislocating wrestling spells!
Leviathan dinos and Behemoth sea monsters!
...and many more! (As any quick Google search for "weird Bible stories" will show you)

I also enjoy http://www.evilbible.com and http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

Read there and give your instructors hell (hehe) trying to answer some of the questions you'll find just reading it.

Seriously, I always suspected J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (and especially The Silmarillion) were written as a mockery of our religious mythologies.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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20-07-2015, 02:41 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
I kind of wish our K-12 system (primary school equivalent) required a comparative religions course (not simply a course on one specific religion) so that more people were exposed to what religions say and don't say so as to better understand religious beliefs, religious systems, dogmas, and customs.It would cause a lot of people to realize the similarity between religions that they consider to be bunk outright and I think that more people would become less religious the more they learned about religion.

Not all, but some. And I would rather a comparative religions course be in a school and taught by an educator that the only exposure people have to differing religious views be from their church. At the very least, the pulpit doesn't paint a fond picture of atheists but typically not of any group that isn't them.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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20-07-2015, 03:55 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
Is your school a religious school? You said a Catholic school, and that's why I'm asking--I don't know what that means in the UK.

There are several benefits to mastering the material: first, to train your brain to take in and evaluate information, second, to understand what religious people learn and how this content drives their behavior, and third, to hone your points in the arguments you will eventually have with theists, who won't be able to say you're criticizing something you know nothing about.

All that aside, I agree that a different subject would be more worthy of your time. But as you don't have control over the curriculum, you do still have control over how you eventually use that knowledge.
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20-07-2015, 03:59 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
Why are you going to a Catholic school? Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-07-2015, 04:45 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
I can say you the next things.

1.I'm a strong Atheist and a French citizen who live in French Republic that is a secular state therefore religion isn't a problem in my daily life.

2.I wasn't schooled in any religious school.

3.You live in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I don't know what can you do because I don't know how religious schools
does functioning there. But I know that as an Atheist in a Catholic School
it is certainly better for you to say nothing if you want to avoid problems.
If religion is a compulsory subject. I think that you can't do anything to avoid it.
(I read in your profile that you was born in 1999. Don't forget that you're under legal age. You're unhappily under obligation to obay).

4.Being a hypocritical is sometime the better thing to do. You can also protest but is at your risk because you didn't reach your 18 birthday and teachers will certainly ignore you.
Don't forget that they are people that are in a situation worse than you.
Examples : Think to Atheists in the land in which you live and abroad that are from an Islamic background. They must simulate that they are Muslims to avoid rejection and theirs situations is worse than Atheists from Christian family.
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20-07-2015, 05:16 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
(20-07-2015 03:59 PM)Chas Wrote:  Why are you going to a Catholic school? Consider

Well, it's kinda complicated... I feel like, here in the UK people are actually quite discriminative. My first High School was a regular High School, where I constantly got bullied, just because I was different (because at the time I only spoke a little English). So I then decided to change school, and thought that at a Catholic School I won't get bullied. And well, now the bullying is over, but to my surprise even though the UK is such a multinational and multi-faith country, they force you to study Christian religion. So now I kinda stuck here in the Catholic school... I certainly don't want to change school again - It's only 1 year left of High School and also, I will still have to study RE... :/
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20-07-2015, 05:25 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
(20-07-2015 03:55 PM)julep Wrote:  Is your school a religious school? You said a Catholic school, and that's why I'm asking--I don't know what that means in the UK.

There are several benefits to mastering the material: first, to train your brain to take in and evaluate information, second, to understand what religious people learn and how this content drives their behavior, and third, to hone your points in the arguments you will eventually have with theists, who won't be able to say you're criticizing something you know nothing about.

All that aside, I agree that a different subject would be more worthy of your time. But as you don't have control over the curriculum, you do still have control over how you eventually use that knowledge.

Well, Big Grin
I don't really know what it means neither - I've been here for only about 3 years, but as I experienced so far, we have mass every term (3 or 4 times a year) and have to study more in depth Christianity. If I think about it, I think it's quite differing from a normal High School - we have to practice some Christian things, such as saying prayers and stuff like that... Sad
And pretty much what you said is all true... "Thanks" to the RE subject now I kinda know how to argue and give my views against Christianity more effectively. Smile
Also, as you said: it helped me to realise that not everything they tell you is true... Smile
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20-07-2015, 05:36 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
(20-07-2015 01:58 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Welcome, TBA, to TTA!

You're in school to learn. Not everything they teach you will be true, especially on "fuzzy" subjects like theology. One of the most important tools you can develop as a student is how to screen out bullshit (bollocks, as I think you Brits say).

I recommend the Carl Sagan book on developing what he calls a "Baloney Detector" (nice way of saying bullshit), called The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Learning how to learn properly is one of the great failings of many school systems, I'm afraid. The most important thing to remember-- a lesson you seem to have already figured out, so nice job-- is that authority is not an argument. Your teacher doesn't necessarily know better! Question everything, and do your own research.

In the meantime, learn all you can about Christianity/Catholicism in your Religion class. Doesn't mean you have to incorporate it as personal belief! But you may learn many things in the Christian mythology that are fascinating, or will be fascinating to you later.

I mean c'mon! It's pretty good mythology, as fantasy stories go.

The Bible has:

Necromancy!
Talking donkies!
Talking pillars of fire and smoke!
Flaming bushes!
Cursed fig trees!
Pregnancy by incest!
Attempted angel rape!
Cities destroyed for being wicked ("wrong religion")!
Children massacred by bears for teasing Elijah!
Magical, hip-dislocating wrestling spells!
Leviathan dinos and Behemoth sea monsters!
...and many more! (As any quick Google search for "weird Bible stories" will show you)

I also enjoy http://www.evilbible.com and http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

Read there and give your instructors hell (hehe) trying to answer some of the questions you'll find just reading it.

Seriously, I always suspected J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (and especially The Silmarillion) were written as a mockery of our religious mythologies.


Yes, Big Grin RE for me is good for opening up my mind, realising all the BS that they teach you and try to make you take it all in...
I also understand that these Bible stories (well, at least some of them) has a strong meaning behind them, and they pretty much exist to give a "life lesson" for those who don't know the things written in it already. But for me, the things written in the Bible aren't really new, as they are part of our everyday life. However most people at my age don't realise it, so the Bible kinda helps them to understand these things... Smile ... And also, it's full of meaningless BS... xD But it's quite a good thing to have a laugh at...
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20-07-2015, 06:22 PM
RE: Discrimination at School?!
(20-07-2015 05:16 PM)TheBritishAnonym Wrote:  
(20-07-2015 03:59 PM)Chas Wrote:  Why are you going to a Catholic school? Consider

Well, it's kinda complicated... I feel like, here in the UK people are actually quite discriminative. My first High School was a regular High School, where I constantly got bullied, just because I was different (because at the time I only spoke a little English). So I then decided to change school, and thought that at a Catholic School I won't get bullied. And well, now the bullying is over, but to my surprise even though the UK is such a multinational and multi-faith country, they force you to study Christian religion. So now I kinda stuck here in the Catholic school... I certainly don't want to change school again - It's only 1 year left of High School and also, I will still have to study RE... :/

In that case, study very hard, find all of the contradictions and absurdities, and continually point them out. Hilarity will ensue. Thumbsup

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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