Faith Schools

An Opinion Piece from the Kenilworth Courier, August 2017

New evidence has been published about the continued decline in religious belief. The latest British Social Attitudes Survey showed that, in England, 53% of the population now describe themselves as having no religion. Forty-one per cent are Christian but Anglicans (the established church) are only 15%.

We are not a Christian country in anything other than a narrow constitutional sense.

These figures confirm that the Government, led by an avowed Christian, is going entirely against popular opinion in persisting with the policy of official support, and almost total funding, for faith schools and scandalously planning to allow them to take in only children of their own religious persuasion. It is obvious to most people that the policy is wrong on two grounds. First what is needed in our divided country is integration not segregation. This should start in schools. Second if you wish to teach moral behaviour it is no longer helpful to turn to religions which base their premise on a belief in God that no longer resonates with the majority and particularly younger people.

From a Humanist point of view we would like to see schools teaching ethical and moral behaviour which is not based on faith in a non-existent being but on human experience. Over the millennia we have learned what furthers the progress of mankind. We know that pleasure is better than pain, that cooperation is better than conflict, that kindliness is better than hostility and that all humans must be treated equally irrespective of characteristics such as gender, race, and colour. Children will respond to this with understanding. Requiring a belief in God is not helpful.

Dr Brian Nicol

Coventry and Warwickshire Humanists

2 thoughts on “Faith Schools

  1. Faith schools aren’t all bad… It very much depends on how they’re managed and lead. I worked in a faith school for five years, and we never discriminated against anyone.

    I agree that these schools will eventually die out, especially when our society is trending towards atheism/humanism, but until it become a significant minority, faith schools still serve a purpose.

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  2. I am not sure what that purpose is. Presumably what we are talking about is a general education with a religious slant? There seems to no need for this as the State provides a good education including moral behaviour. The faith schools slant on morality can put children off and many faith schools are restrictive in what they teach particularly with regard to sex education and evolution.

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