Tagged: religion

Teaching the new RE syllabus in a Suffolk primary school

The new RE syllabus for Suffolk schools was introduced in September 2007. It includes Humanism and secular world views. The idea is that children should learn about religion and its alternatives, not to be religious, though the many church schools in the county do things differently. We’ll be visited by a teacher from a local county primary school, who’ll tell us about her approach.

I visited this school a couple of years ago to do an assembly and talk to the older children afterwards. They were very lively and open-minded.

Keep Murphy O’Connor out of the Lords

O'ConnorFrom today’s NSS Newsline:

Murphy O’Connor must not be given a peerage

The Times reports today that the Government is considering offering a peerage to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who is soon to retire as leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. This will be the first time a Catholic cleric has sat in Parliament since the reformation.
The Times says that “The prospect of offering Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor a life peerage is understood to have been discussed during Gordon Brown’s meeting with the Pope at the Holy See last week.”

Murphy O’Connor will bring the Vatican’s reactionary, homophobic, misogynistic and manipulative agenda right into the heart of our parliament.

But worse than that, Murphy O’Connor appears to be being rewarded when he should be on the grill being asked to explain his activities in relation to the foul child abusing priest ‘Father’ Michael Hill.

No prayers here

Durer prayer handsIn response to letters in today’s East Anglian Daily Times (File Attachment: EADT prayer letters.jpg (185 KB) about the nurse facing disciplinary action for praying for a patient, I’ve sent the following reply:

As an old age pensioner I’ve been around far too long to believe you can change the minds of the god deluded. The sheer implausibility of the supernatural can only be accepted by working it out for yourself, as recalled by the young David Attenborough, now in his eighties, who recently said, “I remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever … and thinking, he can’t really believe all that, can he? How incredible.”

Climate Change, “why religious faith matters even if you’re an atheist”!

We’ve been invited to an event in Ipswich this weekend. Various local groups with an interest in the environment, including Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Ipswich Society, will be there. No idea why religious faith matters even if you’re an atheist. If you want to find out, let us know how it goes.

We are having an Energy Day this coming Saturday at St Margaret’s Church Hall in Bolton Lane Ipswich and I have attached a poster about the event. Please will you display it in some appropriate place.

File Attachment: Energy Day poster.pdf (673 KB)

Half of Britons don’t believe in evolution

The results of the Rescuing Darwin survey, published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth by the Theos think tank, make depressing reading. A staggering proportion of the UK population are woefully ignorant about evolution. I’d like to say it surprised me, but it didn’t.

Sarah Palin – remember her?

Palin prizeMs Palin is the winner of the 2008 Bad Faith Award, nominated for “Being an election and a heart attack away from controlling the world’s largest thermonuclear arsenal while simultaneously believing that the End Times may arrive during her lifetime.”

An inclusive presidency?

ObamaBarackEncouragingly, US President Barrack Obama’s inaugural speech included the words, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.” The IHEU reports, “This is believed to be a first for a United States President.”

What time’s Xmas?

Leap secondThe seasons are determined by the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun – just over 365 days – and the way the Earth tilts on its axis. The Summer Solstice is the longest day (Midsummer Day in June), and the two equinoxes (Spring and Autumn) are when night and day are the same length. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day (tomorrow, 21st December 2008), when the North Pole is furthest from the Sun because of the Earth’s orbit and its tilt.

The Spring Solstice has been celebrated through the ages as a festival of new life. The Church introduced a religious festival called Easter (a name derived from an Anglo-Saxon goddess’s name) at about the time of the Spring Equinox; the date isn’t fixed in the ecclesiastical calendar, as Christmas is. The date that Christmas Day falls on has changed because the calendar has been changed. The most commonly used calendar today is the Gregorian Calendar, decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in February 1582. It replaced Julius Caesar’s Julian Calendar, which was introduced in 46 BC, and that replaced a series of Roman calendars that were essentially lunar. The Greeks had other calendars.

Consequently, the year began and ended at different times in different eras, and the midwinter festival that had previously been based on the solstice was claimed as a Christian festival and fixed at 25th December in 237 AD. That’s 25th December in the Gregorian Calendar. In the Julian Calendar it falls on 7th January; Christmas is still celebrated in January by some Orthodox Christians.

Secularists should be afraid, very afraid – Terry Sanderson

This is from Terry Sanderson’s editorial on the NSS’s Newsline, the weekly e-news from the National Secular Society. To read more, go to the NSS website. To get Newsline in your inbox, sign up on the NSS site.

Terry_sanderson_140x140Every person in Britain who values the secular nature of our society will be alarmed and, indeed, frightened, by a publication this week from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR). Entitled Faith in the Nation, it is a collection of essays by “senior faith leaders” which begins with a foreword by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Brown, like most of the other contributors, invokes the census figures as his starting point, which enables him to assert: “One message comes across clearly and consistently: that religious belief will continue to be an important component of our shared British identity as it evolves, and that British society can and does draw strength from its diverse faith communities.” This is the first of many lies and dissemblings in this book.