I was brought up in a Christian household and was given the usual rites of passage, Christened (don't blame me I was only 6 months old.) dragged to church and forced to go to the hated Sunday school. When I finally escaped this was when I went to secondary school, and met the best teacher in the place, an RE teacher who showed the class ALL the alternative religions and more importantly the alternatives TO religion!
Being a lover of science I read “The Origin of Species”, I studied the formation of galaxies, planets and life. I was lucky that the science department at school had fantastic teachers and as good a library, The debates in RE were most lively, and yet always student led, the teacher merely suggesting topics.
So I thought about my position, and announced that I would not be going to the arranged confirmation ser vice at the local church. Oh dear me, that row at home measured on the Richter scale, my modern and forward thinking Mum told me I was an idiot who, at 15 yrs of age did not know my own mind. Luck was on my side again as my Granddad, an engineer and long time atheist told my Mum to let me make my own decisions. (My granddad died of cancer 22 years ago on his last day he told the hospital chaplain to “Sod off, and peddle his lies to the cretins in the loony ward!” He was never very pc as you might guess.
The ironic twist to this is that my niece told the family she had decided to be confirmed into the church at the age of 12 yrs, this was met with much approval, mostly from my Mum, did I resist flagging up the notion that at 12 she knew less of her mind than I did? Did I resist mentioning that when family members fall into line and follow the religious path hen its OK? I did resist, for about 10 nanoseconds!!
So, Richard your comments in “The God Delusion” about Christian children or Muslim Children struck a chord with me, and a campaign to stop the practice of indoctrination of our children by ANY religion should be mounted, we should stop religious services in school and stop “faith” schools. But lets employ teams of modern “Mr Robinsons, my old RE teachers to give the CHILD the choice, my friend has a son his RE teacher is a pagan and she is doing exactly what my RE teacher did, putting ALL the information and facts before the students, and giving the CHOICES TO THE CHILDREN.
My best wishes to you, and keep up the good work!
Andrew Humphreys-Penlington LLB(hons)