Let them work it out for themselves

Here’s a bit of free advice: if you have any children in school, don’t send them to the one where Erfana Bora teaches.

I have taught secondary-level science to pupils in both state and faith schools. I am careful to teach my kids all the science they are required to know for their age group…

In my current teaching post at an Islamic faith school, pupils are concurrently taught in Islamic theology lessons that the universe and its contents originate from an omnipotent creator – and the mechanisms for this creative feat are described in some detail in the Qur’an…

Pupils with a faith background will learn the lesson content in a state school while holding their own viewpoints – and will then attempt to integrate two worldviews – inevitably reaching differing points of “belief equilibrium”, as it were. Pupils in faith schools do exactly the same.

All pupils will attempt to “integrate” what they have learned in science classes with the creation myths they have heard in school or church or mosque, inevitably doing it differently so that all pupils have some unknowable jumble of Stuff in their heads, thus demonstrating that Dawkins is quite wrong to think that “faith” does any harm to their cognitive faculties. And this arrangement is a good thing because

it is important that children are made aware of the limitations of scientific endeavour lest they be corralled into a realm wherein nothing is worth knowing unless it has been determined by empirical scientific discovery.

If they were encouraged towards that worldview alone, I believe they would be receiving an education devoid of further enrichment from a faith-based narrative…

As a teacher, I’d be doing my pupils a grave disservice if I insisted that the answers that science can give us should be the limit of our understanding of the world. Kids are bright and don’t need liberating from religion, especially if the alternative is limited to giving credence to atheistic secularism alone.

All kids “are bright” so it’s perfectly fine to teach them two incompatible sets of truth claims about the world and then leave them to figure out how to reconcile them. Let a thousand Venus flytraps bloom.

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