They confidently claim that the Loch Ness monster disproves Darwinism and that there is clear proof of creationism. But that has not stopped a set of controversial Christian qualifications – used by dozens of British private schools – being described as comparable to international O and A levels.
The International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) has been rubber-stamped by a government agency, even though it is based on a curriculum that says the Bible is the “final authority” on scientific matters. It has prompted outrage from secular campaigners, while schools following the curriculum have come to its defence, saying that it is “academically very sound”.
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As you’ll see from yesterday’s comments on our blog post from last year about the Scout Association’s promise to “love God”, the issue is still topical here in the UK. Today there’s news from Australia that the Girl Guides there will no longer have to promise allegiance to God and the Queen, though Australian Scouts have yet to catch up.
The BBC reports:
Girl Guides in Australia will no longer have to pledge allegiance to the Queen and God and will instead promise to serve the community and Australia.
They will also pledge “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.
Leaders said the move, which follows a two-year survey of members, was designed to make Guiding more modern and relevant and boost membership.
We recently reported on how Sanal Edamaruku, President of The Indian Rationalist Association, is facing arrest for offending Catholics by proving that the source of “holy water” from a crucifix was, in fact, a leaky pipe. They had been drinking the filthy stuff.
New Humanist magazine reports that, yesterday, Delhi police officers went to Sanal’s house to arrest him, but he wasn’t there. When he returns, he’s likely to be arrested. If you haven’t already signed the petition calling on the Catholics to drop the complaints, please click on the above link to sign it.
In the latest New Humanist magazine, philosopher Julian Baggini says that one of religion’s attractions to the religious is that it offers hope, and asks if living without religion means living without it.
Most atheists accept that “Hope is essential to life,” as AC Grayling put it to me, “a beautiful, central thing in all our lives.” Philosopher Nigel Warburton, recalling the inscription “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” at the entrance of Dante’s Hell, told me, “Hell is not having hope.” But both reject the claim that hope requires religion. “It’s not that atheists don’t have hopes,” says Warburton, “they just have different hopes.” Among these Grayling lists hopes “for the improvement of mankind, for greater justice in society, for more people to love more other people”.
Maybe one of the problems with religion is that it offers hope based on totally unrealistic expectations?
Well worth listening to for the history of secularism in the UK. Click here to listen on BBC iPlayer.
As so many people are away in August, there won’t be a meeting at the university as usual. We will be having a pub lunch at the end of the month though – see calendar.
Ever wondered what happens to your money when you put it in a vending machine? Find out!
The latest issue of The Pink Humanist, the only LGBT magazine for Atheists, Humanists, Sceptics and Freethinkers, is out now. This issue has a strongly international flavour, with articles on Christianity and Fascism in the Ukraine, The Exemption of Gays in Turkey from Military Service, and Religious Law, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa – the last by the courageous Nigerian Humanist Leo Igwe.