Dawkins: faith schools should teach all religion

Richard Dawkins

Atheist Richard Dawkins also says he would pretend to find God to get his child into a good faith school

BY Eliot Sefton LAST UPDATED AT 12:28 ON Wed 18 Aug 2010

The outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins has said faith schools should be forced to teach other religions besides their own - as required in ordinary state schools.

"Faith schools should not be allowed to opt out of religious education," he told the Times. "Yet they are given this free pass to do religious education in their own way, which is not inspected by Ofsted."

Religious education, when taught according to the national curriculum, currently introduces children to Christianity plus two other "principal religions". Children must also be introduced to a "secular world view", such as Humanism. Faith schools, on the other hand, tend to only teach children about the religion or sect to which they are affiliated.

Dawkins is currently promoting his polemic documentary /Faith Schools Menace?/, in which he argues for the abolition of faith schools. In the film, he calls such establishments socially divisive and anti-educational.

Dawkins - who has already caused one storm this summer by referring to burkas as "bin-liner things" - believes forcing faith schools to teach RE according to the national curriculum would be the first step towards ending the "wicked"
practice of brainwashing children with religious belief.

On the widespread practice of pretending to find God - which many parents do every year in order to secure their child a place in faith schools, which are often educationally outstanding - Dawkins, the author of books on evolution, such as The Selfish Gene and Climbing Mount Improbable, showed an unsurprisingly evolutionarily adaptive attitude.

"I don't want to cast any blame on them," he said. "It's hypocrisy that is imposed on them by a ridiculous and unjust system."

Dawkins even said that if he were in the same situation, he might do the same. "Since I have absolutely no belief at all, I wouldn't be betraying anything." · 

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