Education and Religion: the Eternal Argument

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.

Education secretary, Michael Gove, has vowed to send out a copy (with a foreword from himself) to hundreds of state schools all around the UK. Gove described the 1611 translation of the bible as “a thing of beauty, and it’s also an incredibly important historical artefact. It has helped shape and define the English language and is one of the keystones of our shared culture. And it is a work that has had international significance.”

The National Secular Society have urged to send out copies of The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin instead, claiming that bibles are much easier to come by for schools than that of Darwin’s writings.

The Department for Education estimates the scheme will cost anything around £375,000.

There is always an argument about religion and education – how much of it goes hand in hand and how much of it should be kept separate. Would we ever have had education as we know it without religion, and vice versa? Can they be kept as separate, as some would wish, or are they irrevocably connected? Gove seems to think so – his argument for doing this rests partly on the fact that the King James Bible was a great feat of language, and that it’s a bible is almost a sideline. After all, in 1611, how many books were actually widely read enough to justify such a translation?

One of my friends on Facebook announced: ‘20,000 schools in the Uk will be getting a free copy of the Bible from the government… What a waste, and what of the other religions? I for one want every school to have “The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”.’

What do you think of sending bibles to schools? Is it good to educate children on Christianity, or is it risking dividing religions and beliefs? And, do you think that it will even affect any of the children at all? What about the theory of evolution – or is that irrelevant to the argument?

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1 Comment

Filed under Booky things

One response to “Education and Religion: the Eternal Argument

  1. I guess I think that the religious training should come from the parents. Also too, won’t it open the whole separation of church and state question? Does the U.K. even have a separation of church and state? Then there is the question not only of Bible vs. Darwin’s books but also the Koran, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita. I think that the gentleman intentions are sincere by possible misguided. Thanks.

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