Funding Private Religious Schools

Yet another press release from Scoop that has gotten my attention.
This one is about a new Christian school that is planned for KeriKeri.

“The main use will be educational, with a full primary school able to cater for 100 students and also designed for activities that go hand in hand with Christian education, like church on Sunday and afterschool programmes,” he said.

They are hoping to have the campus open in 2010 (that’s only 4 months away), however;

“The Trust has already raised the finances to purchase the land. If the Crown does not fund the construction of the campus the Trust will raise the additional two million dollars needed by other means.

“In these uncertain financial times the best investment to make is into the Kingdom of God and what better investment than into the Christian education of young Kiwis,” Mr Shaw said.

“We are confident that this vision is of God and one way or another, He will provide.”

If God will provide why do you need the support of the government?

Why should tax payer dollars be spent on a private institution? Now I am not very familiar with the NZ education funding machine, but it seems to me that if you want to set up a private school to spread your own interpretation of the truth then you should fork out your own cash to do so.

Do these religious schools have to teach the same curriculum as secular schools? Or are they allowed to teach creationism, and young earth science? Will we have a generation of Northlanders who believe that humans and dinosaurs played nicely together ~2500BC?

As is usual in these arguments, the tired excuse of ‘parental choice’ is brought up several times. If parents want to brainwash their children in the religion that their parents brainwashed them, then let them do it without my support – financial or otherwise.

I’m not sure if this is a press release or an interview as it appears to give two contrasting view points. Though only the view of Mike Shaw the chairman of The Celebration Trust is referenced.

There is another secular primary school due be opened in Kerikeri by 2012 which will have 5 times the capacity of this Christian school, and there are currently 2 secular schools in the area that are operating below capacity. So as far as I can see from an educational viewpoint there is no need to build this school.

Apparently 51% of the families in the area have “Christian religious affiliations”, but all that means to me is that 49% do not. I have “Christian religious affiliations”, as quite a few of my family members are catholic, however, I do not want my tax dollars paying to support their beliefs.

If you have any info on the funding system for private schools please let me know.

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Get Yourself Better Informed

Yes the article was more of press release than an interview. First of all the Christian School is not a new school. It is a satellite of an existing school and has been operating in Kerikeri for six years in leased facilities. It is not a private school, it is a state integrated school. Google that. 1 in 10 Kiwi kids attend a state integrated schools. Christian parents and grandparents pay tax too so don't be crying about your tax going to support your catholic family's beliefs and I'm sure thay won't be crying about their tax going to support your beliefs. (I'll come back to that) "Christian religious affiliation" refers to census questionaire meaning, "Christian" is the religious affiliation of the 51% of the population as opposed to "Hindu" or "No religion" etc options on the census.Integrated schools are legally entitled to capital assistance under some criteria to expand and build new school facilities so we are going after what we are legally entitled to and if the Government in its wisdom says, "No" we will have to find another way. State integrated schools must follow the NZ curriculm guidelines but are able to teach from the world view of their special character. So yes, there will be a percentage of Northlanders taught that they are created by God, not descended from animals. It is called religious freedom. Now here is something I really want you to think about freethinker - secular humanism is the state religion of NZ. It is a man-centred religion without a god. It involves faith, faith in Darwinism for a start. It is as much of a religion as Buddhism another belief system that does not revolve around a god. The pulpits that secular humanism is taught from are the classrooms and the universities of our nation, every day of the week, not just Sunday. You don't even have to say there is no God, just don't mention Him and then He will become increasingly irrelvant in the minds of the masses. I'm picking you have been brainwashed by this indoctrination and you probably honestly beleive that you are not relgious. Trying to get you to see it would like trying to explain water to a fish. Or to quote Morpheus, You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. I guess you swallowed the blue pill a long time ago.

Initial premise is incorrect

Freethinker has covered the points I was going to make quite well. I would like to add one additional point of interest though.

Mike: Now here is something I really want you to think about freethinker - secular humanism is the state religion of NZ

Given that this is the premise that your point is built on, and that the premise is incorrect, you may want to rethink your argument after correcting this initial point.

Then we can continue the discussion.

What is Religion?

If "religion" is defined narrowly, centred on a transcendent deity, then Secular Humanism is not a religion and you can carry on in your narrow view point. But if "religion" is defined in a way that includes non-theist worldviews like Buddhism or Confucianism, then it correctly applies to Secular Humanism.

Broaden your thinking to consider that religion is a set of beliefs, actions, and emotions, both personal and corporate, organized around the concept of an Ultimate Reality. This reality may be understood as a unity or a plurality, personal or nonpersonal, divine or not, and so forth, differing from religion to religion. Such a definiton adequately encompasses both theistic and non-theistic worldview traditions. It also excludes non-religious social realities like the ARL grand finals, (often likened to a religious experience) and political parties, neither of which makes reference to an "Ultimate Reality," normally. This definition clearly encompasses Secular Humanism.

"Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?" - Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion

The same can be said of secular state school system of NZ.

Again, your premise is incorrect.

"If "religion" is defined narrowly, centred on a transcendent deity, then Secular Humanism is not a religion and you can carry on in your narrow view point. But if "religion" is defined in a way that includes non-theist worldviews like Buddhism or Confucianism, then it correctly applies to Secular Humanism."

Incorrect.

Buddhism and Confucianism have a concept of karma in place. A concept of future reward/punishment in the next life based on actions in a previous life. They also have a set of rules to live by that, like theistic religions, resists new or contradictory evidence.

Secular Humanism doesn't promote any such WooWoo and will alter it's stance based on the most current and up to date information.

"Broaden your thinking to consider that religion is a set of beliefs, actions, and emotions, both personal and corporate, organized around the concept of an Ultimate Reality. This reality may be understood as a unity or a plurality, personal or nonpersonal, divine or not, and so forth, differing from religion to religion."

Bollocks.

Regardless of my beliefs and emotions (I exclude actions as that goes without saying) reality is as it is. My beliefs and emotions can't affect reality and reality will not bend to my will. At least not without calling upon the previously discounted "actions".

The universe is an uncaring, heartless bitch that doesn't care for me, you or anything else.

You may find that it is you yourself who are incorrect

I know very little about Buddhism but suspect that you may know even less. Consider this teaching from Gautama Buddha, "It is proper for you, Kalamas [the people of the village of Kesaputta], to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blameable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill, abandon them. "...Do not accept anything by mere tradition... Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures... Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions... But when you know for yourselves—these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness—then do you live acting accordingly."

This doesn't sound like your description of Buddhism.

Conversley, here are some quotes from the Humanist Manifesto; "the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being." Sounds sort of relgious actually, except that I would say its not really a "new faith" but has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy. You may need to alter your stance and agree that Secular Humanism is a man-centre religion. To quote your own creed "No deity will save us; we must save ourselves" Good luck on that one.

"This doesn't sound like your

"This doesn't sound like your description of Buddhism."

Yeah, and that statement sums up Buddhism in it's entirety? I don't think so.

While this may be part of their teachings, like any religion, they're ignoring what they don't like to hear. Buddhism is still very much grounded in pseudo-science. It still teaches reincarnation and progression of form through enlightenment via altruism and ethical conduct despite the overwhelming lack of evidence for any of this.

I'd never read the Humanist Manifesto until just now. I'm not seeing what you quoted within it either. It may be elsewhere on the site, but it doesn't appear to be in the Manifesto itself. Reading over the Manfesto leads me more to a conclusion that they're using the word "religion" in a very technical manner. A manner that I would go so far as to say that they are trying to own the word, in the same way that Climate Change Deniers are trying to own the word "skeptic".

They're certainly not using the word "religion" in a traditional sense.

"Ignoring what they don't want to hear?" Not the only ones!

There are several versions of the Humanist Manifesto, basically I,II and III. The one you looked at is I and I haven't read that one either until now. But I quote, "In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe..." and
"Today man's larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:" and then follow the Humanist dogmas.

I think what you are really trying to say is that they are not using the word "religion" in the narrow way that you would prefer it to mean because you are having difficulty admitting that you are an adherent to man-centred religion. You may be going through a "faith-crisis." That's ok. Historically, the early American Humanists tried to get tax exemption as a religious organisation but as they have went on the obvious problems of claiming to be scientific and non-religious and claiming tax exemption as a religous organisation at the same time became too difficult to reconcile so progressively they have toned down the religous part. But it is basicaly a man-centre religion without a belief in the supernatural. Millions of intelligent people have been duped into the thinking they are non-religious.

Read this

Hi mike,

first I would like to thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, and please stick around and comment some more, as I have some questions that you might be able to answer.

Your arguement is pretty much what would be expected from a religious person.

That science is faith based just like religion is an old arguement that has been better refuted elsewhere. I will say though that science requires no faith, it merely requires evidence. Whereas religion requires no evidence merely faith.

Have a read of this for a more in depth reply to your vapid statement.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/02/18/is-science-fai...

If you read my article again you will notice that I have one question and make one point. The question was whether these "integrated" schools have to teach the same curriculum as state schools? are we going to have a generation of northlanders who think - like you - that science is faith based and therefore any religious or faith based beliefs are just as valid as scientific research? because that is a very scary notion.

The point I made was that there are currently two secular schools in the area that are operating below capacity, and another is due to be constructed by 2012, so there is only one reason to build this integrated school and that is to indoctrinate children with certain religious beliefs that cannot be taught in a secular school. Or have I missed something here and there is going to be such huge growth in the area that a fourth school is vital?

I particularly liked your closing quote that I can believe whatever I want to believe, when the fact is that I will only take something as being true when I have seen the evidence. You on the other hand appear to believe in an omniscient omnipotent sky fairy purely because there was a book written about him thousands of years ago. Who has been taking the crazy pills?

You should also read Golds blog on this website - it might make you think for once.
http://skepticsinthepub.net.nz/blogs/gold/five-things-christians-can-do-...

I would like to point out to other skeptics that having a response from Mike shows that we are making an impact here, so lets keep it up.

Vapid Response

Hello Freethinker,

After my rant I read your other post which gives a bit of insight into your Catholic background. I too was raised a Catholic and I can empathise with much of your feelings. I rejected my religious background and chucked the baby out with the bath water so as to speak. I came to the point of believing that if there was a God in heaven he didn't care about us and was therefore irrelvant even if he did exist. As for Jesus Christ, obviously he existed as a historical figure but was probably a deluded illegitimate son of an occupying Roman soldier. His poor mother must have filled his brain with some myth and he grew up with a messianic complex and formed a cult. Eventually he was crucified as a mad man and the rest of the story became myth and legend like King Arthur and the knights of the round table. I became a hedonist. Sometime later, I discovered that I missed something buried under all the religous bullsh*t. This discovery changed my life.

With respect, my argument is not "science is faith based." Pure science is just that, pure science. My argument is that secular humanism, (which is the underlying world view of the state school curriculum), is the state religion and most Kiwis have been duped into thinkng that it is non-religious and neutral. It is a non-theistic religion like Buddhism, Taoism and Ethical Culture. In short it is a man-centred religon. The faith part comes into the belief that the universe somehow created itself. That something non-living became living. There is no scientific evidence to prove that is possible, let alone something non-living becoming living and progressing from non-thinking to thinking. It takes blind faith to believe in a self-creating universe. But trying to tell a secularist that he is religious is...well unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have so see it for yourself (Morpheus).

To come to your question; There is a document called the NZ Curriculum. Our School follows the curriculum framework and guidelines. There are certain Key Competencies and skills that must be taught however we are able to teach them from a biblical worldview instead of the secular humanistic worldview. It is fascinating in that most or our teachers were taught in state schools and trained in state teacher training institutions so if you want talk about indoctrination...the biggest issue is a sort of dualism in the mind, a separation between the so-called sacred and the secular, faith and the real world...call it what you may it is the product of the state religion. Then comes the doctrine of moral relativism.

I agree with your line of thinking. Any religious or faith based belief is not just as valid as scientific research. Not all beliefs can be true. There is no great turtle holding up the planet on its back. We come at it from this angle; science has not adequately explained the origens of the universe. We start from a position of faith which can not be scientifically proven, that God created the universe. It is a faith position based on the idea that design indicates a designer. God is the causeless, cause of all things. He is the creator. Then we used scientfic research to understand the magnificence and complexity of the creation.

What the Government is proposing in Kerikeri is the duplication of an existing provision i.e. another state school. (For the indoctrination of secular humanism). It has been proposed under the Economic Stimulus Package. It will create 300 surplus teaching spaces in Kerikeri which won't directly affect our school so much but the three existing state school providers who by the way do a very good job providing that brand of education. They will end up competing for resources, teachers and students. There is a question as to whether this school is needed. Our issue with the Government has been that we met the criteria for funding to build some classrooms which is quite crucial for us. However the Ministry of Education has put the proposed new state school into the assessment and come up with the view that we do not meet the criteria. When asked why do we need another state school in kerikeri the only rationale is "because the Government has decided." We are only seeking to increase our capacity by 25 students, which will only give us an overall "market share" of 10% of the student base.

Next time I visit I'll check out the links. You know I'll admit I don't know much about skeptics. I like this site though. I don't know what "vapid" means either. I had to look it up! But I know this, if most people are really honest and have intellectual integrity, its not some much that they don't believe in God, it is more like they don't understand him. Your basic garden variety non-believer says, "If God is real, well then how come....?" and it is usually some difficult question that they do not have a satisfactory answer to. Just because God is difficult to intellectualise doesn't mean he doesn't exist, only that he is outside your current knowledge and understanding. Doubt doesn't equate to the absence of faith. I know you are meant to be skeptic, intelligent and all that, but be honest, do you really believe that universe created itself from nothing?

The "underlying world view"

The "underlying world view" of the curriculum simply doesn't have religion of any form inserted into it, hence it is secular. No state religion doesn't make the default a religious stance.

"But I know this, if most people are really honest and have intellectual integrity, its not some much that they don't believe in God, it is more like they don't understand him. Your basic garden variety non-believer says, "If God is real, well then how come....?"

ORLY? I don't see it that way, the non-theists I know all were exposed to religion and were believers for a fair portion of their lives and definitely understand theism as they've experienced it and discarded it. It's not "if God is real, then...." for me, it's that the evidence is overwhelming for the naturalistic explanations of how the world works and correspondingly no evidence of divine intervention. Once, people used God to explain such phenomena as rainbows or to believe that our planet was the centre of the solar system, we've all heard the bible story of Noah's Ark and about how Galileo was persecuted by the Catholic Church for his threatening idea. Natural phenomena like rainbows and thunder and even light and day must have been mystifying to those experiencing it, and it's not surprising that an explanation was sought in gods who had be placated with prayers, sacrifices and offerings. Basically, anything that wasn't explicable had a supernatural explanation inserted in it (better known as the 'god of the gaps' argument). Science has explained such phenomena and now we have a rather elegant and beautiful explanation about the light spectrum and refraction and reflection through raindrops to explain rainbows and the evidence for the sun being the centre of the solar system doesn't come up for questioning. The upshot of all this is that either there isn't a god or if there is one it's a very, very, very, very small one that does nothing (because you can't prove a negative) because everything happens according to the Laws of physics and other physical phenomena and through random or directed chance.

World Views

Hi Michelle, I'd be interested in your thoughts on my definition of religion in the comment I made a few days ago "What is religion?" Thanks again for the direction towards abiogenesis. Fascinating. It seems to me that whatever our belief is about the origins of life it starts with an assumption. Do you agree?

With the origins of life, I

With the origins of life, I would say it doesn't require assumptions. The universe exists, I exist, you exist. It's more a matter of back tracking from there and asking what the physical evidence from various sources tells us (or in other words using the scientific method). To use an example, you could for example use rock strata to date fossils. The same layers of rock exist world wide and they'll have names you'd recognise like Cambrian etc. Given we know the order in which they are laid down, they are identified by fossils found in them and no mammals are found in Devonian rocks or older. There are no dinosaurs, with the exception of birds above the Cretaceous. It doesn't require assumptions to see that there is a sequence evident there, nor should scientific hypotheses be generated without the proposition being testable and it being drawn from observation. Assumptions hardly go anywhere near that level of rigour, and in fact can lead you astray because a favoured explanation may not turn out to be correct.

As for religion, I'm not sure which post you mean so you'd have to direct me to the thread and which comment so I can read and respond.

Assumptions

Hello Michelle. If you are talking about classsical science, the first unprovable assumption states that the world is real, and the human mind is capable of understanding the nature of that reality. From this assumption you come up with "the universe exists, I exist, you exist" Then as you state scientific method is applied backtracking or going forward from that point. My comment about religions is about six comments back from this on this thread. Freethinker, if you are reading this, Mr Deity was funny. I enjoyed the "Unique Gift" skit. Thank God for the Greeks!

Think you'll have to back up

Think you'll have to back up on that one, I am not assuming that the world is real and my mind is capable of understanding it. Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum - "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am" which is the simple philosophical proof that if you are wondering if you exist, that you do exist, that there is an "I". Reality exists whether I believe it or not, whether my interpretation is right or wrong. I can place an apple on my desk, get you to look at it, then close my eyes and say it doesn't exist. Undoubtedly, when I open my eyes again it will be there, ready to eat and savour it's crunchy texture. If it should vanish while my eyes are closed, I wouldn't assume that there is a supernatural explanation or that reality doesn't exist and it just vanished but that Occam's razor would apply and the simplest explanation is that another person there moved it and investigate that possibility. In addition, I could put the apple away and discuss the characteristics of the apple, it's roundness, that it has a stem and colour (provided you aren't colour blind and don't have the same experience of red and green but again that would be consistent for you). I don't need to assume much, if anything. I might extrapolate and do some other things but I'm not just saying this is my assumption and despite the evidence or lack of it things are this way because I say it is.

I'll get back to the rest of it later.

We agree on something!

Hi Michelle, we agree on something. Reality does exist. But I still put it to you that it is basically an assumption, a. that it exists and
b. that our mind is capable of understanding it.
Yes, on the basis of your same argument, it is a very rationale and reasonable assumption. Its not an assumption every one takes for granted.

You made an interesting point about closing your eyes. You can't see the apple but it still exists. I've met a lot of people who because they can't see God beleive He doesn't exist.

Test this please

Mike you can easily test the following statement that you made;

You made an interesting point about closing your eyes. You can't see the apple but it still exists. I've met a lot of people who because they can't see God beleive He doesn't exist.

The next time you see god, close your eyes and then when you open them again check if he is still there.

The difference between an apple and god is that the apple was there before you closed your eyes, god isn't there at all.

Glad you liked Mr Deity, as well as the humour do you understand the satire?

How do you know God does not exist?

Freethinker, you can't you see the apple I'm about to eat right now. You have never seen it. By your logic, it doesn't exist.

Yes I get the satire, ridicule to make a point and the point was taken. Ha!ha! When reading the Old Testament, "Mr Deity's unique gift to his chosen people," I myself, bible beleiving Christian, have said "God, you must kidding?" Many times I find I questions not answers in the Bible. Questions like "What the?!"

wrong

"You have never seen it. By your logic, it doesn't exist."

That is not my point. You have seen the apple you are eating but you have not seen the god you believe in - or have you?

By your logic if someone somewhere writes a book about something then it must be true, you do not need evidence to prove it.

Oh, and by the way philosophy will never prove or disprove god, it will generate tautological arguements till the cows come home, that is why I do not enter into philosophical discussions.

I am a scientist, show me the proof and I will believe - it's that easy.

I have experienced God in a

I have experienced God in a tangible and a real way. I have not physically seen Him. Nor can I scientifically prove He exists. But your "I can't see God therefore He doesn't exist" is a very limited view of reality. Years ago we could not see atoms. Now we know that exist.

Care to share your anecdote?

I've met many believers in the past that claim to have had an experience they say reveals their god to them without doubt. Would you be prepared to honestly share? In my experience, what seems perfectly unambiguous to the believer is often able to be explained rationally.

Basically my whole life has

Basically my whole life has been transformed from the inside out. It's an ongoing experience.

Hmmmm...

Mike - what can I really take from that answer? You've not provided me anything I can discuss with you. Are you here to discuss or argue?

cds, in terms of "hey I

cds, in terms of "hey I experienced this...and I know God is real" I really don't have many of those anecdotes. (boring I know) But we know how that discussion would go anyway. I'll submit some subjective anecdotal experiences, and you'll provide some rationalisations which you are obligued to because the spiritual doesn't fit into your world view. Some of these rational explainations may be plausible and even correct! But I will come back to you and elaborate more on my previous comment ok? And we can discuss that.

Flawed arguement

Again your argument is flawed, you are correct in saying that years ago we could not see atoms, now we know they exist.

There have been hypotheses about the existence of atoms for thousands of years, and scienctific research has led us to the point we are at today where we know that atoms exist because we have evidence to prove they exist.

Similarly there have been hypotheses about the existence of god for thousands of years longer than that, and yet there is absolutely no evidence to prove god exists.

Here are four different meanings for the word tangible, which one of these best describes how you have experienced god?
1. capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.
2. real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary: the tangible benefits of sunshine.
3. definite; not vague or elusive: no tangible grounds for suspicion.
4. (of an asset) having actual physical existence, as real estate or chattels, and therefore capable of being assigned a value in monetary terms.

I would advise you to stop making comparisons to scientific fact when you are talking about religious beliefs, unless you start providing scientific evidence for your beliefs!

Best description would be 3.

Best description would be 3. But enough about my religious beliefs for a moment. Let's talk about yours. Do you believe that the universe as self-existing and not created?

I don't have any

I don't have any religious beliefs, and I have already stated that I do not intend to enter into a philosophical discussion with you as it is in my opinion tautological.

Of the course the universe is self-existing no-one else is existing for it, and of course it was created otherwise how would we be here.

I know the question you really mean to ask is do I believe it was created by a supernatural magician or by natural forces, and of course you know my answer is the latter as there is evidence to support it, just as I know your answer is the former even though there is no evidence to support it.

Just think about this for a second, if there is a god that interacts in the world on a daily basis surely there would be some evidence of this, right? Large hands sticking out of the clouds, people floating up to the heavens etc etc. The fact is that if god is real and does effect the natural world then we would be able to measure and test that effect otherwise he/she is not actually interacting with the natural world.

I'm going to have to look up the word "tautological."

I'm going to have to look up the word "tautological." I'm not asking you if you "believe (the universe) was created by a supernatural magician or by natural forces." You have made it abundantly clear you do not believe in the supernatural. From your answer, if I understand right, you believe the universe created itself from nothing, through natural forces. I want to respect your intention not to get into a philosophical discussion but I want to figure out where you are coming from before responding to your question about evidence of a creator. Your last sentence was very interesting.

As for religion, what it

As for religion, what it seems like is that the definition is so broad and covers just about any social structure if you choose to term it a religion. Potter misses that children spend most of their time at home and grow up with their parents religious beliefs, being exposed to them every day. It's certainly not limited to church going. What religion you end up with is largely an accident of birth, if you are born in Islamic nation you end up being a Muslim and so forth. Teaching science is not teaching 'secularism'. I've been taught biology and know there is a set definition for mammals, like bearing live young and producing milk and I was taught exactly this, no more and no less. I don't grasp how this is indoctrination in any shape or form. It's just the facts about how animals are grouped. Religion is a communal abstract belief that often divides things into those seen as sacred and other things as forbidden for believers. It involves group rituals and beliefs referenced against a higher power, god or gods or some ultimate reality or truth (involving what is commonly termed 'spiritual growth' and focus on some singular principle that governs all) and focuses on making specific metaphysical and moral claims about reality that lead to a set of rules and even a set lifestyle to conform with this. Secularism in contrast isn't any of this, and doesn't proscribe that people think or behave any particular way. It a position that actually would uphold a person's right to have a set of religious beliefs because it isn't telling them they have to think or act in one set way as would be the case if we had a state religion imposed on all. Actually one of the things that marks it apart from religion is that it is open to new information, change and differing viewpoints or interpretations, something that religion tends to resist because things being the same for all of the group is one of it's hallmarks irrespective of how the world or knowledge has changed over the years.

The strict definition of faith or belief in relation to religion involves that you hold a statement to be true but it doesn't rely on logical proof or any kind of material evidence. In contrast, I'd have what you would call 'trust' instead of just another set of beliefs. If I go and turn on a light switch, I trust that someone has worked out the physics involved in generating power and that the infrastructure has been set up so that power is generated and supplied to the light socket so the light bulb lights up when I take this action. There's plenty of material evidence that this is in fact the case and that it works reliably provided I've paid my bill or there isn't some event that causes an interruption to the supply.

Do you have a link to the

Do you have a link to the article?

Were you asking me this question Gold?

The links are in freethinkers comment. What did you think about my comment on secular humanism in my comment "What is religion?" Do want to continue the discussion?

check the date

Mike if you look at the date of Gold's comment you will see it was the day after my original article. I had to go back and insert the link as I forgot it originally.