Up Front by Emma Hart

Read Post

Up Front: Oh, God

343 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 14 Newer→ Last

  • Nigel McNie,

    Hear, hear.

    We chose our school because it had no religious instruction. If they brought it in, I think I'd go NATO. They'd be wanting to take away 30 minutes of class time a week in order to undo all the education we're doing at home about their bodies, their choices and their morals?

    When you look at it that way around, bible in schools doesn't seem "necessary" to give parents "choice", does it.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2012 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • oga,

    I can't remember ever going to a Bible class at school (during the 70s/80s). Is this a new thing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to oga,

    I can’t remember ever going to a Bible class at school (during the 70s/80s). Is this a new thing?

    Bible class ran in my primary school in the 70s/early 80s, and wasn't new then. I had to attend, because it wasn't up to me, it was up to my mother. And besides, the three or four kids who didn't spent that time cleaning the library and scraping gum off desks. When I was ten I had a huge argument with our Bible class 'teacher' about evolution, during which he became furiously angry and screamed at me. We were both back again the next week.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And can we knock off the archaic christian-only prayer in our parliament. A well-crafted genuine karakia might be a good replacement.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Great post, Emma - thank you! Poor girl at my son's school had to sit outside (in winter) on verandah for the best part of an hour when her parents opted her out of bible class. We've formed "Science Club" as an attempt to prevent this happening again - despite the massive inconvenience to all concerned when the Bible Lady whimsically changes her timetable without notice

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Our eldest came home from school one afternoon terribly worried her parents were going to hell. It might have been funny if her emotions weren’t so seriously manipulated.
    The ‘christian teachers’ were ignorant and mildly deranged fanatics. The ‘lessons’ involved low-grade colouring in and weapons-grade fear-mongering. We ‘opted out’ which, at Chch East in 1997, was also the only option for the Somalian kids.
    Bloody oath it was out-of-line brainwashing.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    And can we knock off the archaic christian-only prayer in our parliament. A well-crafted genuine karakia might be a good replacement.

    I really don't see how invoking a different Flying Spaghetti Monster gets around that particular burden of bad faith being put on Members of Parliament who are atheists, agnostics or just think it's nobody else's damn business what, or even if, they have any religious/spiritual beliefs whatsoever. I'm a devout Catholic and Maori, but I also believe there's a time and place for everything and the beginning of Parliamentary sessions is neither where prayer is concerned.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    A traditional karakia invokes the environment, not a god of any description. Many cultures and organisations use ritualised invocations to focus a group on its purpose.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm with Craig on this one. I don't believe "ritualized invocations" of any creed are appropriate in Parliament.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    As a teacher, I'm more concerned at the "no science" being taught in schools aspect, and that's worth a conversation with those schools as to why not.

    And before this turns into a "this govt hates teachers" thread - I'm talking about useful and engaging conversations with those schools as to what their systems require to allow science to be integrated into their local school curriculum.

    Apart from merely a kick up the backside.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to tim kong,

    concerned at the "no science" being taught in schools aspect, and that's worth a conversation with those schools as to why not.

    Sorry, but I think that conversation needs to be of the form "please explain why you should not be deregistered, fired, have an external administrator run the school, and so on". The cirriculum is not something to be negotiated individually with each school like a blinking employment contract, or to the extent that it is, it should be exactly like negotiating a job contract with a government: "here's the deal, take it or we're not giving you any money".

    Religious nutbaggery when I was in primary school was not optional, and the local Brethren kids got pulled out of school while it was applied by local Christian officials. I have no recollection of the details, none of it struck me as odd because it stopped before I quit sunday school so it was just more of the same. By the time I got to secondary school it would have been somewhat dangerous to try it, because I was starting to ask genuine questions. "Duty to God" at Venturers ended with the "teacher" in tears, put it that way.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    The kids at those "no science" schools are probably not missing out on much compared with their peers elsewhere; making hokey pokey once a year seems to count as teaching science.
    As it was described to me, there are three subjects taught in NZ primary schools: English (Reading/Writing), Maths, and "Topic", where Topic is Music, Physical Education, Art, Civics, History, Geography, Social Studies, Personal Hygiene, How to Approach Dogs Without Getting Bitten, Beach Safety, Road Safety, How to Escape From Perverts, Science, Bible Class, Self Esteem, Kiwiana (or Why NZ is so Great), Te Reo, Sign Language, Information Technology, Bullies and How to Stop Them, Healthy Eating, etc. Outside experts are used to teach a lot of that and it may be time to accept that we have to do the same for science. We have loads of under-employed science graduates who could deliver something worthwhile. Children are natural scientists - they ask lots of questions and love experimenting - so there's no need for the gimmicky explosion stuff inflicted on jaded teens.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I went to one primary school - out of five - that had bible class - on Auckland's North Shore in the 70s. My mother rarely attended PTA meetings, but this made her go absolute apeshit when she found out. Most of her demeanour in those days was "stoic", but that one really riled her up.

    Outcome was the school made bible class optional for everyone, with no pressure, although still during school hours.

    As far as karakia is concerned in parliament, one that acknowledges the land and the people, preferably alternating the official languages, is fine by me. Sadly, I've heard way too much Atua, Atua, Atua in non-religious contexts more recently.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to TracyMac,

    Sadly, I’ve heard way too much Atua, Atua, Atua in non-religious contexts more recently.

    same. crap in any language

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Thanks Emma, Great post. I'm not sure Secular Education Network (http://religioninschools.co.nz/) is as hardline as you think. I think religious indoctrination is child abuse. To put BS into a child's mind is wrong. I was physically and mentally abused by catholics as a child. I look forward to a society where the use of fear and religious indoctrination as a parenting/instructional tool is outlawed.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Alistair McBride, in reply to Sacha,

    And that would be better than a Christian prayer how?

    Hamilton • Since Dec 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    I’m not sure Secular Education Network (http://religioninschools.co.nz/) is as hardline as you think. I think religious indoctrination is child abuse.

    I never said they were hard-line. I pointed out the one area where I disagree with them, which is on Bible class on school grounds outside of school time. I listened to a guy from SEN debating a guy from MinEdu on NatRad, and he was very clear that this was totally unacceptable.

    "Child abuse", however, is a pretty hard-line position. It reminds me of the people who would consider the LGBTI-friendly upbringing I've given my children to be child abuse. However, there is some evidence that being raised religious interferes with a child's Bullshit Filter.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong, in reply to Moz,

    The cirriculum is not something to be negotiated individually with each school like a blinking employment contract, or to the extent that it is, it should be exactly like negotiating a job contract with a government: "here's the deal, take it or we're not giving you any money".

    Actually it is exactly that. The New Zealand Curriculum is a national curriculum. It sets the broad guidelines that every school must work from as they develop their own curriculum.

    You might think that as madness - I think it allows schools and school communities to develop learning experiences that matter to them. There is clearly a science section in the national curriculum.

    There's plenty of resources and good folk striving and available help to foster science in every school.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to tim kong,

    The New Zealand Curriculum is a national curriculum. It sets the broad guidelines that every school must work from as they develop their own curriculum.

    So a school can quite legally say "we don't teach scince" and the government will accept that? That is deeply scary to me. A few pathetic rules around exactly how they have to perform religious indoctrination are nothing compared to letting schools decide which subjects are worth teaching at all. I can only assume you're overstating how much latitude schools get here.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    Primary-school "science" is a pretty meaningless category and I'd imagine that the survey results come down to interpretation of what constitutes teaching science. Dinosaurs, space, and Antarctica were popular topics when I was at primary school, but I don't think any of them were ever actually tagged as being "science", and I could imagine the school saying "no". Genuinely having no scientific content taught at all would be very difficult, particularly given how integrated the approach to everything is outside the English/maths pair.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    I used to enjoy our primary school religious instruction. Not because of any particular religious leanings but the nice man who did the talking (Mr. Le Vac - no idea of denomination) did the most awesome chalk blackboard illustrations of his bible stories. Remember blackboards? Like Whyteboards, but with dust...

    I'm sure my love of cartoon doodling was heavily influenced by his works (rather than His works...)

    I remain happily atheist to this day but still look back fondly on the RI as "Awesome-Illustrated-Story-Time" rather than any attempt to indoctrinate me into any particular Christian faith...

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Lindsay Vette,

    It seems my upbringing was pretty similar to yours Emma, except my church dress code involved my best pants and suede shoes. I similarly didn't get pulled into the blind faith wave of worship. Not that much of that was going on at the Methodist church I went to, unlike the loonie Mt Roskill Church of Christ New Zealand cult that a relative of mine ended up in (you can rightly infer that I have issues with that particular crowd).

    There were not any religious studies that I can recall in the late 60s and 70s at any of the schools I went to in West Auckland.

    Something I find particularly disturbing is the uneducated approach to "religious instruction" in schools where it is generally run by some fundamentalist group with no formal theological training, in much the same way that any church run by a "pastor" is almost always going to have cherry picked from the bible their stance on almost everything. The established branches of Christianity at least put their priests/ministers through tertiary theological training.

    Selective curricula that excludes subjects on the basis that they don't meet a school's religious bent should exclude it from public funding in my opinion.

    These days my religious views are more along the lines of the opening line to a Nick Cave song "I don't believe in an interventionist god". I also had a LOL at thetweetofgod for his/her recent tweet "I created the entire universe for the sake of one group of one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy."

    Tauranga • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I was very devout as a primary school child (to, I am am sure, the dismay of my atheist parents) though I suspect I viewed God more as an invisible friend than an omnipotent deity - I recall singing Him lullabies after my nightly prayers. I went to Sunday school with a friend and had no desire to opt out of religious instruction. I don't recall any threats of hell and damnation at either but there were lots of stories and crafts which were things I enjoyed a lot. My father countered the programming by teaching me rude words to Christmas carols.

    Even though my experiences were fine I am glad that my children's school doesn't do religious instruction. I believe this is an area that they need to find their own path in without being told what they should believe. I'm sure they garner some of my atheism but I do try to present it as my ideas rather than a universal truth.

    Some classes at their school do say a Karakia in the mornings and I know a few parents have questioned this. I've never felt uncomfortable with it as the Karakia we use addresses the ancestors rather than any god.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alistair McBride,

    Because it's of this place, and is not competing with any of this nation's many faiths.

    Mikaere put it well some years ago.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Mellopuffy,

    My son's school doesn't have Bible class. But it does teach this set of values, under the auspice of 'character education'.

    Dunedin, NZ • Since Feb 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 14 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.