Friday, 16 May 2008

RE lessons make rounded citizens

Parliamentary proposals that would allow under 16s to opt out of RE lessons on 'human rights' grounds are little more than another advance by the jealous central State in destroying all intermediate institutions that come between the individual and the State.

Not everything we do is driven by cold calculations of utility. When we fall in love, when we grieve, when we are overcome with wonder at the birth of a child (as we have been since we started to walk on our hind legs), when a few bars of music cause the hairs on our neck to stand up and our spines to tingle, when some completely abandon self-interest and undertake some suicidal act of bravery to save others we are not acting on the basis of rational calculation.

That we have an irrational spiritual and mystical component to our make-up is anathema to the secularist central Statists. It competes for our allegiance with the State. It must be eliminated.

Terry Gilliam's wonderfully baroque 'Adventures of Baron Munchausen' makes an impassioned plea for the place of romanticism in a dreary scientific world; the villain, the 'Right Ordinary' Horatio Jackson, played by Jonathan Pryce, to underline the besieged city's commitment to 'reason' has a soldier who has just performed an act of outstanding bravery executed, on the basis that bravery is demoralising to the other soldiers.

Christianity has sought to bring meaning to our natural spirituality, and for two millennia has provided a framework for all that is most noble and great in man as well as a framework for the base and repressive. No one can walk through the halls of the National Gallery and understand what's on the walls without an understanding of Christian thought and belief. No one can comprehend the motivation for the stunning grandeur of our cathedrals, a mediaeval realm built to the glory of God, and no one can understand the foundation of our laws in Christian theology. As these Statist parliamentarians look around them at Sir Charles Barry's gothic revival structure, would they deprive future generations of an understanding from whence and for what reasons the gothic arch was developed in western architecture?

We are not fools, even as children. It is well within the compass of human intelligence to hold two mutually opposing ideas in our heads. The teaching of Christian religion has not during the past century or so produced millions of British adults who literally believe in the Creation or who deny evolution. Indeed, we have produced the world's finest legal counsel; barristers who are able to convince themselves with utter certainty that their clients are as innocent as the driven snow. Whilst they are in court.

No, like that black rogue Rousseau these Statists would have the State take the place of God, for there is no room in their black peccant hearts for the lambent glories of human mysticism.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

When the State decrees that you must participate in religious worship and receive religious education, that is statism poking its long nose into the private life of the individual.

When the State legislates your relationship with your religion, that is statism gone made.

When the State finally admits that it has no right to force children into religious instruction, that is a small victory for personal liberty.

Only an authoritarian could not see the difference.

Raedwald said...

Some woolly thinking and woolly terminology there, anonymous. No one is proposing making either 'religious worship' or 'religious instruction' compulsory - you must not make the mistake of confusing these with religious education.

If I can paraphrase the coherent parts of your argument you'll see how silly they sound;

"When the State decrees that you must receive education in maths and English, that is statism poking its long nose into the private life of the individual.

When the State finally admits that it has no right to force children into maths and English instruction, that is a small victory for personal liberty.

Only an authoritarian could not see the difference."

I believe AS Neill held similar views to these and founded Summerhill school on the basis of them.