Sometimes, religious problems that seem to be about atheism really aren’t.
A comment from an Islamic spokesperson recently is a good example of something which, on the face of it, seems like simple anti-atheist bias, but actually might indicate something deeper and less specific.
Some schools in Lancashire have recently decided to include humanism in their religious education syllabus. This means that, while learning about the various religious faiths that people around the world might adhere to, students will also be taught that some people find meaning and morality in the world themselves, without being inspired by belief in a higher power.
This is the sort of information which might be very useful to somebody hoping to understand the world around them and the people in it, and as such it obviously has no place whatsoever in our education system.
And Salim Mulla, the chair of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, agrees with my ridiculous satirical point. I don’t know much about this organisation, like to what extent they actually represent anybody or what influence they have (and their website’s currently down), so it might be a fuss over nothing, but the quote attributed to this possibly prominent Muslim spokesperson is quite remarkable all the same:
We believe it is important to have faith values whether that is Christian, Islamic or any other religion. The values are very, very important. I don’t think the non-God aspect should be introduced into the curriculum. I don’t think it is right. People are born into faiths and are brought up in that faith and that’s how it should stay. The non-faith beliefs send a wrong message to the children and confuse them.
Yeah. When I said fool-free, I meant I wasn’t going to be playing any tricks on anyone. I didn’t mean to imply this post would be devoid of idiocy.
So, let’s look at the things and people to which the above statement displays a profound contempt:
– Non-believers, obviously.
– People of faith, including of his own. The “faith values” that it’s important to have can apparently be provided by any religion. It doesn’t matter how wrong and crazy and downright blasphemous they might be; they provide “very, very important” values which people just can’t get any other way.
– The truth, which is apparently far less important than that you just keep believing in something because that’s the way you’ve always done it. He wants everyone to just keep blindly adhering to their own dogmas – even all those other people in their false religions, apparently. Let’s maintain these arbitrary divisions at the cost of people’s right to think for themselves.
– Children. Who don’t deserve to learn about how a substantial section of the world thinks, because it might “confuse them” to learn about a variety of ideas. Wow. Kids must be idiots. Does he think they’re just going to be sitting there scratching their heads in the classroom, squinting at the blackboard and trying to puzzle it out? I can only imagine what he really means by “confused” is that their horizons might be broadened by learning about a greater variety of viewpoints, and they might be more tempted to stray from his own preferred dogma once they learn of the alternatives that exist. Either that or he just think kids are morons.
Also, you just know there’ll be some kids in these classes who identify as Christians or Muslims. That’s certainly how Salim Mulla wants it, at any rate. So why wouldn’t there be some (I don’t know what age we’re talking about) who identify as humanist, or atheist, or at least are familiar with humanist ideas even if they don’t identify with the label? I think they might feel a little confused to find themselves being completely left out of the syllabus that’s supposed to cover these things.
So yeah, this guy and everyone who doesn’t see the irony in screaming about schools indoctrinating atheism into their Christian five-year-olds can just sit quietly while the grown-ups talk.
Also, when I was googling him (just to check his gender, actually, which I admit I couldn’t tell from the name alone), I found this. Which I’ll just leave there.
(h/t to the New Humanist)