Category: Internet

Steiner education: a parent’s testimony

More on Steiner schools (see last post), and how they might appear child-centred and cuddly, while hiding their true objectives. A comment has appeared on Alicia Hamburg’s blog from the parent of a child who attended the Leeds Steiner kindergarten. He or she wrote:

It is imperative now that the very highest education authorities intervene here, and under no uncertain terms ensure that all Steiner establishments publish full and precise disclosure of their beliefs and intentions. It is paramount that the uninformed and unsuspecting are given protection. Personally, we count ourselves among the lucky ones. The number of victims this cover-up has claimed over the past 90-odd years of Steiner schooling doesn’t bear thinking about, but in these times of the nanny-state, litigation, think-tanks and watch-dogs, it is almost inconceivable that this problem can still exist.

You should read the whole post and all the comments. If you don’t know what anthroposophy is, click here to find out what Steiner Waldorf teachers learn at college.

A new science of religion?

New ScientistAs reported by our secretary in the AGM newsletter (pdf), the 19th March issue of New Scientist was The God Issue. An editorial ends:

This is not an apologia for god. Religious claims still wither under rational scrutiny and deserve no special place in public life. But it is a call for those who aspire to a secular society to approach it rationally – which means making more effort to understand what they are dealing with. Religion is deeply etched in human nature and cannot be dismissed as a product of ignorance, indoctrination or stupidity. Until secularists recognise that, they are fighting a losing battle.

It’s a pity that the words “secularists” is used, as so often these days, as synonymous with atheists or anti-theists, which isn’t what it means. See the BBC site for a definition of secularism, which notes, correctly, 

You may be surprised to know that while most secularists are atheists, some secularists are actually believers in a faith. While they believe, they don’t think that belief is a reason for special treatment.

However, it is true that many anti-religionists, like many religionists, make no effort to understand “what they are dealing with”. Whether the contributors to this issue of New Scientist can enlighten us is debatable.

One is Justin L Barrett, author of Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Beliefs, which makes the controversial claim that children “arrive in the world with a strong, cognitively driven propensity for religious belief ‘preinstalled’.”

Delia’s jumped on the outraged Christians’ bandwagon

Delia's Lent Appeal

Had an email today (Sunday) from an East Anglian Daily Times journalist, wanting comment on Delia Smith’s claim that “we are somewhat under the cosh” on her website – does she mean Christians in general, or just Catholics? Devout secularists? What are they? Didn’t read the email until after 10pm, probably too late for the paper, but replied anyway. It gets sillier by the day.

It’s interesting that Delia, a CAFOD ambassador, should think it appropriate to use her cookery website to air her persecution complex. Perhaps she imagines that cooks don’t include atheists or secularists? And what has any of this to do with Lent? Atheists happily donate to charity all the year round; we don’t need to be reminded.

Update: 12/3/12

New Humanist magazine reports on Delia’s fighting talk too, with a reference to the story in the Daily Mail.

Ekklesia: “… equal treatment of others is not simply a legal requirement but a Christian obligation”

The liberal Christian think-tank Ekklesia reports on a claim by Christians in Parliament and the Evangelical Alliance UK that British Christians are victims of prejudice, and finds that they’re seeking to retain privileges rather than submit to equal treatment with everyone else.

Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, commented:

Initial impressions from this report are that it raises significantly more questions than it answers. For example, it seems to assume that most people who are convinced Christians automatically share, or should share, a range of prejudices – notably against LGBT people – which make them unwilling to comply with requirements to act in a non-discriminatory way in the provision of public services. This is not the case. Many Christians from all traditions believe that equal treatment of others is not simply a legal requirement but a Christian obligation.

Click here to read more.

Militants

Militant atheistFound on Facebook – source unknown.

Warsi’s speech on “militant secularism” to the Vatican

Click here to read Baroness Warsi’s speech to the Vatican today, in full. You might want to pour yourself a stiff drink first. You’ll need it.

A sample:

Europe needs to become more confident in its Christianity.

Let us be honest – 

Too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent, where signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings, where states won’t fund faith schools, and where faith is sidelined, marginalised and downgraded.

Oh dear, Christians are upset again

Two stories about churches of various sorts.

The first is a bunch of them in the US. Leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States have signed an open letter about the “serious consequences of redefining marriage”. They say these consequences will …

… arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of “marriage” does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once. By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status—such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation—will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries—including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.

Not content with confining their ideas about marriage to their own communities, the church leaders want to stop the liberalisation of marriage law and remove the legal sanctions for discrimination against homosexuals and others. This “redefinition of marriage” is being described as “a direct attack on religious freedom”. Click here to read about it.

The second story is about a “crisis of faith”, according to some religious leaders, as the idea of “de-baptism”, started as a joke by the National Secular Society, has caught on across Europe and America. The NSS’s “de-baptism certificate” has been downloaded from its website at least 100,000 times, while it’s been reported that “the church has put in place a new evangelizing strategy to more strongly encourage parents to get their children baptized”.