Skip to content

10 000 non-believers in Blackburn, Lancashire

March 29, 2011
A Day in the Life Cover

I know the title doesn’t scan properly but I couldn’t resist it when I saw an article on the Lancashire Telegraph website about changes to the Religious Education (RE) curriculum in Blackburn.  It seems that in response to the stated religious preferences of the people of Blackburn and the surrounding area (in the 2001 census) the study of non-belief is to be added to RE studies alongside the big 6 religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.  Well, good.

A few things caught my eye in the article.  The first and most trivial is the category error of equating humanism with atheism.  Humanism does not involve belief in a God or Gods but not all atheists are humanists and not all humanists are atheists.  As I said this is a trivial thing but it is representative of the way journalists sometimes portray those things they don’t fully understand or think their readers won’t understand.

Rev Kevin Logan, who has a column in the Lancashire Telegraph, had this to say:

“It is quite a change but it is completely right to recognise atheism and humanism.  They are religions like any others. It is just that people worship man instead of a god.  I am certainly not worried about Christianity. It can stand against any belief and come out in a good light.”

Rev Logan is right when he agrees that atheism and humanism should be recognised but wrong to say that they are religions that worship man.  Atheists and humanists do not worship anything as such.  Atheism and humanism celebrate reason and human experience, but this is not worship in the religious sense.  I also believe Rev Logan should not be so sanguine about Christianity.  It may well be able to stand against any belief, but it is beginning to waver in the face of reason, facts and evidence.

The biggest point for me in the article was this quote from Salim Mulla, chair of Lancashire Council of Mosques (my emphasis):

“We believe it is important to have faith values whether that is Christian, Islamic or any other religion.  The values are very, very important. I don’t think the non-God aspect should be introduced into the curriculum.  I don’t think it is right. People are born into faiths and are brought up in that faith and that’s how it should stay.  The non-faith beliefs send a wrong message to the children and confuse them.

That is a lot of bullshit in such a short quote.  Distilled down, the first part says, ‘Faith values are important.  Well, actually faith is important.  The values don’t matter as long as you believe in something.  Anything.’  He also doesn’t think that the ‘religious’ stance of 10 000 people in the area is right.  Fair enough I suppose, I don’t think he or his religion is right.  Just a matter of opinion right?

The real meat of his statement is in the last 2 sentences.  ‘People are born into faiths and are brought up in that faith and that’s how it should stay.’ – not only does this show a distinct lack of understanding of how his own religion has spread over the years, it is the worst kind of brainwashing drivel.  He is saying that people don’t have the right to examine the world they live in, to question it, to seek answers.  He is labelling people, children, at birth and confining them to a box for their whole lives.  Unbelievable.

‘The non-faith beliefs send a wrong message to the children and confuse them.’ – where do you start with this level of head-in-the-sand idiocy?  How can you have a non-faith belief?  The terms faith and belief are essentially interchangeable.  He goes on to say that atheism and humanism send a wrong message to children.  Opinion again.  He concludes with the gem that this ‘wrong’ message will confuse children.  The only response to this is a quote:

If you’re not confused, you’re misinformed.

Salim Mulla, you’re misinformed.  I’m just glad that the children of Blackburn won’t be in future.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 19:55

    Faith is the denial of observation that belief can be maintained.

    Darn those pesky kids and their awkward questions.

    As Carl Sagan said, children don’t know enough to not ask the awkward questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: