Saturday, October 08, 2005

Are we Christian by Default?

A recent poll shows something like 7% of theUK populous attends church. Are we to infer from this that only 7% of the population believe in God? I would say not. We can assume that some people who do believe in the Xian god (or some god, anyway) don't actually attend church, but it's highly unlikely that this represents the remaining 93% of people.

A much larger cross-section of our population is *forced* to worship a god that they (or their parents) may or may not believe in on a daily basis! This goes on without our consent because it's written into the education act and schools that don't follow it are criticised by Ofsted. In fact the act itself describes the prayers and hymns as "a daily act of worship" a phrase which I find sickening.

The education act also contains a rider that parents may remove their children from religious instruction as was pointed out in a recent NSS Newsline piece:

"Parents are entitled under Section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (as in earlier Education Acts) to withdraw their children from religious assemblies and RE lessons. Many parents are unaware of this right..."

This has an adverse affect on the few children who are removed from as they feel isolated from their peers and are often treat as "weirdos".

This requirement to worship *must* to be removed urgently; not only to foster amity in our multi-cultural society but also to fairly treat the majority of parents and pupils alike. God is an idea for most and it's not needed for a moral existence.

The idea that Xianity is the default religion is so entrenched in British culture that computer programmers naturally assume that people are "C of E" as a default with RC coming a close second and even then, many parents who don't actually believe in God baptise their children because it's the done thing (and it's good bestow the rank of god parent on a close relative or friend). My son was baptised for this reason - against my express wishes.

How many people even know the meaning of secular? Look up the definition of secular on the web and you're battered not by secularists rather by adverts from Xian organisations who are working a "sweep" strategy. (A sweep is a tactic from doorstep selling whereby a customer is offered a second chance to buy the product [typically double-glazing] by a senior representative who can offer a lower price). It's a measure of the desperate lengths that Xians are exploring to rescue their fading congregation. The Alpha course is another and it's just as cynical.

Similarly, how many of us truly know what a Humanist believes in? It's an uncomfortable term for me, but it's been coined to reflect one who has the interest of (fellow) humans at heart. It recognises that we're something special, but not that this was divine intervention, merely that's the way it is...

Unless of course, you're a Muslim Humanist, or a Jewish Humanist... and so on...

I mention this because as a secular humanist (there's a mouthful) I don't like being bundled with the faithful minority.

I would also question why more people aren't aware what secularism (or more accurately, secular humanism) means and I imagine its because our government is overrun with Christians and the religious still - even in the 21st Century - occupy unelected positions of power that they no longer deserve.