Tuesday 20 November 2012

Don't Mention Religion!

I understand that it's usually considered inadvisable to discuss religion, but on a day like this ... *

Long-standing readers will know that my respect for state education is pretty low. I've written extensively - from experience - about how poor some of its priorities appear to be. I'm not going to bore you again, just go click the education tag for back story.

But this week presented a very ugly deja vue experience, which I first described in 2010.
Arrived back home and the boy (9), who has just decided to get into football, was watching the England match. After a few minutes the crowd started singing the national anthem so I hummed along. A mad thought entered my head ...  
Did he know the words? No. 
Did he know what the tune was? No. 
Did he know it was the anthem of our country? Well, he had heard it before matches during the World Cup but ... err, that's it. 
Asking downstairs, the same responses from the girl (10). 
How fucking shit is that? 
A tip for new or prospective parents. Don't expect state education to teach your kids anything. Instead, assume the worst and do it yourself.
My point back then was that you would expect them to be taught the basics, Lord knows we pay enough for it.

I've left it mostly alone since, but - in the week following Remembrance Sunday - they have both been given homework (from two different schools) related to some guy who they instantly know as being called Siddartha Gutama.

I had a very good education, and am the go-to guy when things get a bit tough for their (pretty paltry, it has to be said) homework. But I don't know the guy.

Turns out he's an icon of the Buddhist faith.

So I asked a very simple question, you would think, of a 13 and nearly 12 year old in Britain. Do they know the words of the Lord's Prayer which was said during last Sunday's ceremony?

Blank looks.

I even gave them the first three lines.

Blank looks.

They not only didn't know the words, they had never even heard of it.

But they are both intimately knowledgeable about some guy who lived two and a half thousand years ago and is followed by just about no-one in this country.

Listen, I'm not religious in the slightest, despite Irish ancestry, but surely the Lord's Prayer should be at the forefront of religious education in a state which is supposed to be a little bit CofE? You know, having a Queen which is the head of state and the church, and all? How in buggery have they not been taught of the Lord's Prayer's existence after 8 or 9 years of state education, yet they know all about Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam and even the primary Buddha as if they're chums?

I despair sometimes, I really do.

* If you came here thinking I'd be discussing this irrelevance, then my changing the title from "Our Father, Who Art In Asia" wasn't a complete waste of time, after all.


Bill said...

Multiculturalism depends entirely on killing the underlying culture of the country being multiculturalised. One of those words may not be real but the method is kosher.
Speaking as a George Carlin follower.

nisakiman said...

You may despair DP, but you shouldn't be surprised. Your kids are being de-Britishised, just as we smokers are being denormalised. It's all part of the Common Purpose / NWO softening up process. Divide and conquer.

Bucko TheMoose said...

We had to say that prayer every day before lessons in primary school. I'm not a fan of religion but if it must be taught, the staple region of Britain should be up before the also rans.

Ben said...

My recollection of religious studies at school (about 15 years ago) was
much the same, a great deal of emphasis on Buddhism, Hinduism, various
indigenous religions and of course Islam. Pretty much no mention of
Christianity at all. Which we found a bit odd even back then, as the
teacher was a former priest.

Thankfully for me, both the examples you have mentioned were pretty well taught by the scouts, along with the Ode of Remembrance.

question is: if such basic knowledge is being missed out - what else is
being ignored, or slanted?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Quite. I've mentioned before that I've had to enlist a tutor to get their maths up to scratch in the past.

{shudders to think}

Single Acts of Tyranny said...

Yep, this is why I am foregoing the Ferrari and sending the boy to a fee paying school. Having gone to a toilet-cum-borstal in my youth I would sell both kidneys before inflicting the same on the boy.

I have to laugh however. They are doing the traditional nativity play in a couple of weeks. I pondered if Mary and Joseph (if they existed at all) would have been blonde-haired, blue-eyed light-skinned kids being Jews from the middle east?

Sackerson said...

I once supply-taught an RE class in a north Birmingham Catholic grammar school. A girl I asked didn't know the words of the Hail Mary, which I did only because my wife is RC. The work the children were doing in that lesson, allegedly RE, seemed to focus on what people wore in 1st-century Palestine.

Not surprising, because this is all political. I seem to recall a survey of how the faith was taught in England, but I can't remember whether it was under Elizabeth I or Charles II. Thanks to the vicious swings between RC and Protestant / Puritan regimes, it had become extremely dangerous to be identified with any side and there was at least one incumbent who didn't even know the words of the Lord's Prayer.

Frank J said...

You want to see what passes for history, these days. Examples, Britain in the 60's, Black America, Slavery, America since 1940, First and Second Word war, all of it as topics with no relation to previous forming events at all. It's a farce. My kids learnt more history, from the total War PC gaming series than school. 'Science' now involves anti smoking and global warming (sorry, climate change) than actual science. The 'long march' obviously had an effect.

Ben said...

No, I really don't want to see what passes for history. It's taken me 15 years and the regular application of eyes to textbook to unlearn what I was 'taught'. Science was generally pretty good - with the occasional potshot at smoking. I remember that detentions for being caught smoking involved having to read posters on how nasty it was. Funny how that didn't really seem to stop anyone - we just learned not to get caught.