Gaining Balance in RE
Should RE teach Christianity, or about Christianity?
Understanding Christianity and the study of religion and worldviews, is an academic study by former RE teacher Chris Selway which is recently published.
The paper argues that several changes are necessary if RE is to gain credibility with the public:
- It should be taught through an objective, critically-engaged and pluralistic approach.
- Education about religion should explore both the positive and negative consequences of religion in a balanced way.
- RE should take “more of a socio-historical or anthropological approach”, rather than one which is focused on theology.
- There should be a “major shift” in the funding and management of RE.
To see more visit the website of the National Secular Society.
A Link With Humanism
Did you know that the architect who developed the idea of the geodesic dome was R Buckminster Fuller? (1895-1983) He was named Humanist of the Year in 1969, by the American Humanist Association. He drew insights from nature with no supernatural intervention. His name has later been given to fullerenes, types of carbon molecules, which have structures resembling geodesic spheres.
Humanists UK Podcasts
Chief Executive Andrew Copson speaks to humanists in the public eye about what they believe, to understand more about their worldview and the values, convictions, and opinions they live by.
The first series ran from early June to early August 2020.
A complete list of the interviews can be found here.
The second series began on 12 November 2020 with Leo Igwe, a Nigerian human rights advocate. He campaigns against superstition and child witchcraft accusations. The above link will take you straight to Leo’s conversation with Andrew Copson.
James Croft Lecture
You can watch the James Croft lecture which was organised by Plymouth Humanists.
The lecture traces the history of ideas and institutions from Felix Adler to the present day.
You can watch it here.
(You may need to go back to the start of the lecture if it begins half way through.)
Voltaire Lecture 2019
Adam Rutherford gave the Voltaire Lecture on 24th May 2019.
His lecture was entitled,”How to Argue with a Racist”.
The lecture lasts for about 71 minutes.
With the recent murder of George Floyd in mind, you may wish to find out more.
See and hear the lecture on Youtube.
Every human being is born equal.
Humanism is about showing respect and tolerance for others, thinking for ourselves,
seeking knowledge and justice, and trying to lead and promote happy, decent lives for everyone.
Watch a one-minute video narrated by Stephen Fry here.
You can answer ten questions to see how much your views fit with Humanism.
See the questions here.
“Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker’s 2018 book “Enlightenment Now” makes the case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.
Mary suggested that I should watch a discussion of the ideas in the book on YouTube.
She also suggested adding information to our website.
The discussion between Steven Pinker and Stephen Fry lasts nearly 80 minutes.
You can find the discussion on YouTube here.
The image shows the hardback version of the book, but a similar paperback edition is available.
Christian School Assemblies
The High Court has given permission for parents Lee and Lizanne Harris, to challenge the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust.
They say that their children are being religiously indoctrinated during Christian school assemblies, and that after being withdrawn from assemblies, their children have not been provided with an experience of “equivalent educational worth”.
Humanists UK has urged the UK and Welsh Governments end compulsory worship and introduce a requirement that schools conduct inclusive assemblies, which promote the development of all pupils, regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
“We are the only sovereign state in the world to require schools to hold daily Christian worship, yet 80% of our young people and 75% of people of parental age are not Christians.”
Lee and Lizanne Harris withdrew their children from assembly at Burford Primary School after their children expressed unhappiness at watching various Bible stories, including the crucifixion, being acted out as part of collective worship. They are also concerned that, during assemblies, stories of God and Christianity are presented to pupils as ‘fact’ and ‘truth’ and that visiting church officials express harmful views to children.
The case of Lee and Lizanne Harris v Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust will be heard on 29 November 2019 and is the first case on school worship to reach the High Court. They hope to establish that schools must provide a meaningful alternative to collective worship of ‘equal educational worth’ that instead focuses on advancing the spiritual, moral, cultural, and social development of all pupils regardless of religion or belief. Read more on the Humanists UK website.
52% non-religious – British Social Attitudes Survey
52% of people surveyed were non-religious.
Should the non-religious 52% be represented in law on education, instead of the compulsory, daily, Christian worship imposed on most schools?
Cornwall Humanists do believe in fairness.
See more on the Humanists UK website.