If you have read yesterday’s blog entry, you already know that we are teaching the children of our school equality and now meet weekly for talking to them about different topics. Obviously, one of these topics is atheism, or rather, showing them in how many ways religion does mistakes and is even harming us. It gives them a different point of view and while there are a lot of schools that teach religious and traditional values in many ways, I believe religion has no place in school at all. Unfortunately, there are a lot of teachers that see this differently – and even textbooks that support religious teaching!
Last year, we noticed that in several of our school’s textbooks, god was mentioned a lot of times. Especially the books of the subject ‘Moral Science’ were all about what god would approve of and what he would not like you to do. This was a reason for us to change our publisher for this year!
Now we have books which mention god only minimally – and we told the teachers to skip those chapters. There is for example a prayer in the subject Hindi and one in English. Usually children have to learn these by heart and are asked for them in their exams. One paragraph had to be cut out which mentioned that part of your day should be your prayer and worship and that good children pray to god.
I don’t know whether there are textbooks available here in India at all that don’t contain these things. I would love not having to tell the teachers to skip such things! Instead, I would be happy if there were some critical articles about godmen and their practices instead! If any of my atheist friends knows of any such textbooks for primary school, I would be very happy about the information!
I want our children to have a possibility they would never otherwise have: to learn how to think critically, to ask questions, to be open and explore without the restrictions that religion creates. I believe, over the course of time, the cloud that belief and tradition has put over their minds can be lifted and they can start thinking in different directions as well.
This includes that they have the possibility to see that god is not almighty and that you can be a good person even if you don’t pray to god every day. They will understand that moral behavior is not something reserved for religious believers! One day, these children will be able to see that they don’t depend on god’s approval for doing well in life.
I have already told you of my idea that after opening our own restaurant and supporting our school with it, we could open more restaurants linked to schools in the same way. These schools would be free – and they should as well be promoting this seed of rationalism from the very beginning.
For this to become reality, I also believe we will need rationalist teachers. Otherwise it will be difficult to explain science and logic and the lack of both in religion to children – because religious people themselves believe in that!
At the moment, our resources are limited and I cannot yet take all the steps I would like to but with time and in future, I am sure that I will even go further in teaching children not to fall for god, religion and tradition.