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View Full Version : "Special religious instruction" (yeah right) in Victorian schools



Kevin Bonham
28-03-2011, 10:53 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/backlash-as-god-forced-into-schools-20110326-1cb7c.html

Article in SMH claims that Victorian public primary schools are being required to provide religious "education" whether they want to or not (with the word "may" in legislation being interpreted as "must" to get this result), with classes being often provided by "volunteers" and with children who wish to opt out being not allowed to do anything educationally useful in the time available.

I'd be interested in any evidence that this article is in any way sensationalist or inaccurate because as it stands this just looks dreadful and is a damning indictment on both main political parties in Victoria. This kind of stuff existed in the state schools I went to in the late 70s and early 80s but I really hoped it had been got rid of; even then the opt-out provisions were better than this.

I had suspected this was a consequence of the new Liberal government but apparently it isn't and this rubbish goes back a bit further.

http://religionsinschool.com/ - website campaigning against SRI.

Anyone have direct experience of how this system works?

Oepty
29-03-2011, 01:30 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/backlash-as-god-forced-into-schools-20110326-1cb7c.html

Article in SMH claims that Victorian public primary schools are being required to provide religious "education" whether they want to or not (with the word "may" in legislation being interpreted as "must" to get this result), with classes being often provided by "volunteers" and with children who wish to opt out being not allowed to do anything educationally useful in the time available.

I'd be interested in any evidence that this article is in any way sensationalist or inaccurate because as it stands this just looks dreadful and is a damning indictment on both main political parties in Victoria. This kind of stuff existed in the state schools I went to in the late 70s and early 80s but I really hoped it had been got rid of; even then the opt-out provisions were better than this.

I had suspected this was a consequence of the new Liberal government but apparently it isn't and this rubbish goes back a bit further.

http://religionsinschool.com/ - website campaigning against SRI.

Anyone have direct experience of how this system works?

I can not answer your question at the end, but I do remember going to this play put on by some Christian group when I was in high school. It was hopeless, it was a mimed played and I had no idea what was happening. At the end they said it about someone being punish for something they didn't do as a parallel to Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Totally pointless waste of time.

On a more general point I think that sometime during high school students should be taught what the major religions, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Budhism, Islam and maybe others are, and also what agnosticism and atheism are. They however should not be told that they should accept any one of the world views.
Scott

Rincewind
29-03-2011, 09:29 AM
On a more general point I think that sometime during high school students should be taught what the major religions, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Budhism, Islam and maybe others are, and also what agnosticism and atheism are. They however should not be told that they should accept any one of the world views.

I agree that that would be a good topic in comparative sociology course but not taught as scripture where normally supernatural claims are made as facts.

The there small point is that I would like to make is that atheism is not a world view it is simply a claim on the probably existence of a good. There are many forms of atheism with various world views and the argument can even be made that Buddhism is one form (with quite a distinct world view from naturalism, say).

Oepty
29-03-2011, 10:26 AM
I agree that that would be a good topic in comparative sociology course but not taught as scripture where normally supernatural claims are made as facts.

The there small point is that I would like to make is that atheism is not a world view it is simply a claim on the probably existence of a good. There are many forms of atheism with various world views and the argument can even be made that Buddhism is one form (with quite a distinct world view from naturalism, say).

I almost said religions then changed it to world view because I thought religion would be objected to. If atheism is a group of different world views then students should not have any of this group pushed upon them either.
Scott

Rincewind
29-03-2011, 02:58 PM
I almost said religions then changed it to world view because I thought religion would be objected to. If atheism is a group of different world views then students should not have any of this group pushed upon them either.
Scott

There are atheistic world views but atheism itself is not one in its own right. This is the point I wanted to make. Atheism is just the rejection of the existence of a god. There are many types of atheists with many conflicting worldviews. But on the subject of the thread...

I think Special Religious Instruction is too restrictive as a title as some forms of atheism are not religious. I have no problem with incorporating some religious instruction in state schools on an opt-in basis preferable or even provided there was a nondiscriminatory opt-out option. The main issue with the situation in Victoria (and probably elsewhere) is there is no alternative to sitting around basically doing nothing educational.

I think secular ethics would be a great alternative which has been trialed in some schools but usually the religious nutters are up in arms because they are worried that this will cause numbers to dwindle in the religious options due to the fact that a significant proportion of their attendees are default opt-ins with no strong objection to christian "values" and no viable alternative.

Oepty
30-03-2011, 12:19 AM
There are atheistic world views but atheism itself is not one in its own right. This is the point I wanted to make. Atheism is just the rejection of the existence of a god. There are many types of atheists with many conflicting worldviews. But on the subject of the thread...

I think Special Religious Instruction is too restrictive as a title as some forms of atheism are not religious. I have no problem with incorporating some religious instruction in state schools on an opt-in basis preferable or even provided there was a nondiscriminatory opt-out option. The main issue with the situation in Victoria (and probably elsewhere) is there is no alternative to sitting around basically doing nothing educational.

I think secular ethics would be a great alternative which has been trialed in some schools but usually the religious nutters are up in arms because they are worried that this will cause numbers to dwindle in the religious options due to the fact that a significant proportion of their attendees are default opt-ins with no strong objection to christian "values" and no viable alternative.

Again I will repeat what I was said. I deliberately avoided using religion decribe atheism. I think it is quite obvious that you are going to look at the world differently if you believe there is no god than those who believe in a god whichever god it is. And I started of my comment by saying my point was a more general point so telling me it does not fit into the Special Religious Instruction is rather obvious.
Scott

Rincewind
30-03-2011, 09:14 AM
And I started of my comment by saying my point was a more general point so telling me it does not fit into the Special Religious Instruction is rather obvious.

That's fine. My first paragraph was directed at our discussion specifically. The next two were just my general opinion and was not meant as a reply to any issue you raised.

Desmond
30-03-2011, 09:19 AM
This mandatory "Special Religious Instruction" thing is crap. The system is open to abuse, and it has been abused in Qld as I pointed out ages ago.

I would not advocate the teaching of atheism in primary schools either (whether or not it's a religion is irrelevant to the point).

Rincewind
30-03-2011, 09:32 AM
I would not advocate the teaching of atheism in primary schools either (whether or not it's a religion is irrelevant to the point).

The point I was trying to make is that there is nothing to teach. After the introductory statement "there is no god". What would you teach? Seems like a pretty lean syllabus.

Desmond
30-03-2011, 10:03 AM
The point I was trying to make is that there is nothing to teach. After the introductory statement "there is no god". What would you teach? Seems like a pretty lean syllabus.
Yes I agree. The comment is more there for those that might erronously equate evolution or other things with atheism.

Oepty
30-03-2011, 10:07 AM
The point I was trying to make is that there is nothing to teach. After the introductory statement "there is no god". What would you teach? Seems like a pretty lean syllabus.

So what? I don't care how much there is to teach it still should be taught. Also Boris I am talking about high school not primary school.
Scott

Oepty
30-03-2011, 10:08 AM
Yes I agree. The comment is more there for those that might erronously equate evolution or other things with atheism.

Perhaps it should be taught what atheism is not.
Scott

Desmond
30-03-2011, 10:11 AM
So what? I don't care how much there is to teach it still should be taught. Also Boris I am talking about high school not primary school.
Scott
In high school, as an elective, Study of Religions or similar course is fine IMO. Atheism could be one of the things covered.

Oepty
30-03-2011, 11:57 AM
In high school, as an elective, Study of Religions or similar course is fine IMO. Atheism could be one of the things covered.

I think that by 16 that all students should be able to give a basic description of what each major religion is and also atheism and agnosticism. If they have not already encountered other religions during their schooling, not likely, they will at some stage.
Scott

Ian Murray
30-03-2011, 03:39 PM
...If they have not already encountered other religions during their schooling, not likely, ...
I don't know about SA, but very likely in Queensland. Virtually all our schools have kids whose parents are from the Middle East, East/SE Asia and the sub-continent. (My granddaughter knows much more about Buddhism than I do, from her Buddhist friends at school)

antichrist
30-03-2011, 06:47 PM
The point I was trying to make is that there is nothing to teach. After the introductory statement "there is no god". What would you teach? Seems like a pretty lean syllabus.

You could elaborate how they may have been gods before WW2 but the nuke bombs split ruddy big holes in them and they all died - you cant see gods and you cant see radiation and heat blast but God certainly comes off second best.

Some of the gods are mutating coz of the radiation and are terrifying

Oepty
30-03-2011, 09:31 PM
I don't know about SA, but very likely in Queensland. Virtually all our schools have kids whose parents are from the Middle East, East/SE Asia and the sub-continent. (My granddaughter knows much more about Buddhism than I do, from her Buddhist friends at school)

Some sloppy English on my part, I meant that it is unlikely that student would go through public school without encountering different religions, but if they did some how manage it then they would almost certainly quite quickly. So I was just saying what you said just very badly written
Scott