Tag Archives: secular

Secular twins

secular trends Aus & NZOccasionally we get religious leaders here claiming that New Zealand is a “Christian nation.” Some even want to enshrine this claim in law and will organise demonstrations demanding this (see Destiny of Christian privilege?). These people blithely ignore the fact that only 50% of New Zealanders describe themselves as Christian, and 32% claim no religion at all (2006 Census).

Even the claim that the country is culturally or historically “Christian” purposely ignores the largely secular input into our history and culture.

However, the “Christian nation” demand does appeal to some people. It’s necessary to oppose it because the political consequences of such a demand is theocracy – with a loss of human rights and social gains since the enlightenment.

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Religious education should include secular humanism

Humanism for schoolsThe New Zealand discussion around the issue of religious eduction in school curricula suffers from the usual problem – exclusion of the non-religious life stances. The situation appears better in the UK where secular beliefs appear to be included by some schools. In fact the government recommends the study of humanism as an example of a secular philosophy.

The Humanism in Schools web site is an interesting resource provided by the British Humanist Association. It provides teaching toolkits which include teaching notes, lesson guides, worksheets and class presentations. It also provides a collection of humanist perspective documents for classes at different levels and a library of videos and class worksheets.

Now wouldn’t it be great to see a similar resource specifically for the New Zealand situation!

Related articles:
Secular believers
Secular alternatives to relgious communities
Putting the Bible in its place
Why do we believe?
Thank God or Thank Goodness?
Society’s ” Christian values”
Discrimination at school
Religion and Schools
What do we teach our children?
“Let us pray . . . “
Special rights for religion?
Christian prayer problems
Teaching religion
Should we teach creationism?

The future of religion

Two recent newspaper articles provide some hope for the future. They deal with the changing nature of religion throughout the world and in the USA.
Alan Wolfe in his Atlantic Monthly article The coming religious peace writes that although many people fear the possibility of rising religious fundamentalism and conflicts “many areas of the world are experiencing a decline in religious belief and practice.” Wolfe argues that although secularisation may not appear inevitable to many commentators the facts do indicate “that material progress is slowly eroding religious fervor.”

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