Tim Collins, the Tory education spokesman, is saying that the Tories want to increase the number of faith schools to “perhaps thousands”. Do we really want even more such schools than we already have teaching meaningless nonsense? Do we really want to head off down the same road as schools in the United States where, in some states, teachers are obliged to teach “creation science” alongside evolution on the grounds that the latter is “only a theory”? Do we really want to teach our children that it is somehow far better to subscribe to a pre-packaged set of morals than to develop their own?
I have nothing against teaching children about religion in schools; irrational belief is, after all, part of the human condition. Where I do draw the line is teaching religion itself as a way of explaining the world, and our place in it, which is just as valid as one based on reason and solid facts. That millions of people believe something to be true does not make it true. By all means teach children that millions of people believe that, for example, Jesus was able to walk on water but don’t teach it as a fact which cannot be questioned and is somehow beyond explanation because the Man with the White Beard works in mysterious ways.
Posted 14 April 2005, 07:12 BST