Or: Postmodern Society Issues
This post has been a long time coming. Let me begin with that.
As a person attempting to gain a wider perspective, I obviously began with my own, new experiences, relevant to my question, and then thought on experiences exposed in snippets of conversation from family and friends, and then searched the internet with more questions.
All right, then. My question – began with thoughts on whether or not it was a clever idea to collectively not teach or perhaps better worded: decide, to collectively not teach, people about religion. As in the ‘main five’ religions/faiths. Now, don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with not being of a religion. In fact I should say the main ‘seven’ faiths(atheism and agnosticism included); because my learnt definition of a religion is that which affects a person’s morals, belief-system/main belief, what they think about the world and their place in it. That is their faith; their religion; their body(School?)-of-thought. In fact, being honest- I am Hindu, but I am also a believer of Science, of rationality, of psychology (not Scientology though)…
Back on-point: was it smart? Why would a society choose to do this? What was gained? What was lost? To me, as a person, I felt that this was dangerous and disagreed for a number of reasons. To deny a person knowledge means they can’t make informed decisions, yes? To have knowledge is not a bad thing. It is a good thing- an example being that people by nature/habit, seem to be afraid of things we know nothing/rumours about, right? Fear of the unknown, for example, was something played upon a lot in the Gothic genre, and made it quite the hit – even now, because some of those societal fears of the unknown, still are.
Another thing that happens when people are scared/unknowing, is that they feel like they can’t empathise, or sympathise; looking at it that way, tell me how that wouldn’t alienate (which has been observed in children, in adults, in workplaces, in society – historically, there was a progression something like this in England, for example: gender -women could not work, they were objects in the household, the weaker sex, seen and not heard-, age -children and the old-, race – one by one as people came over- and then sexual orientation – gay, lesbian, bisexual, and then gender identity – and none of them have completely gone away). So, can you honestly consider the merits and demerits of education -this time religious/faith-based and therefore somewhat cultural ignorance, not causing alienation or a rise in anxiety and tensions in a multi-cultural society when there are issues from a specific label elsewhere in the world?
As opposed to societies that have taught and explained these things, that can then squabble and debate and talk about what they think without everyone getting up-in-arms about it. Yes, sometimes when talking you have to be considerate and careful not to be crass, or harsh – unless the latter you mean- but that’s because you can be harmful otherwise. We can still talk about problems elsewhere and not be defensive, or break into labels-of-origin. I do not look at a problem in the news, turn to my flat mates for example and think ‘oh, that one is Made in China’ or ‘India’ or ‘Dubai’ and think I can not ask – can not bring up this issue, these questions because I will be faced with nationalism/fascism/self-righteous anger/beliefs. No, I honestly do not have these worries. Because we are a step away from these scenarios; this is our home, our people are here – and yes, the people over there are ours too, in a sense, but why be angry someone is curious, seeking out knowledge, to learn, to self-educate? This is encouraged.
Do you see why I find such an inverse of culture so horrendous? It’s potential for self harm – in the face of a world that encourages increasingly, education, how can ignorance help? Think: if this was about sex education, would you encourage that not knowing about sex would act as a deterrent for sex? Or sexual diseases? No. So why is the same reasoning applied in America (And wherever else – parts of the UK, seem to think it’s not important to teach about other religions). How can you understand other people, or feel comfortable in other countries if you have no basis for how to treat them respectfully and vice versa? In my perception, all this is achieving in (my opinion again- correct me if you know better, suggest for other ideas) attempting to fight religious extremism, is making people more susceptible to it – or vulnerable to scaremongering/hate/prejudice.
To give you an example, I had a friend whom honestly had no idea about any religion other than Christianity -she wanted to know what the others were like, because she was aware how unaware, how lacking, she was- and how unable to cope with or behave with other people, and she felt awkward. So I explained as best I could – starting with basic information on how to generally not insult anyone, and we eventually worked our way up to other aspects of other religions, because she was so fascinated. But that did not change her beliefs; it helped her understand others. How can understanding be bad?
There are so many more arguments I can make for why it makes sense to educate – or offer education on these subjects- and on how uneasy the idea makes me; I can make allusions to communism, and selective-teaching, and how this could be an attempt on socially engineering society, but I think this would go on too long as a post.
I had more thoughts and questions on this topic, but I feel this is a good place to stop. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment/share!
This wandered a little tonight. My apologies.
My initial reaction, to see where the next post will continue, was this:
“I was thinking about getting some perspective tonight, and my thoughts went over some shocking -to me- realisations I’ve had this year; that not everywhere in England -or the UK- is it required that the five ‘major’ religions/their basics be studied in R.S/R.E, so some people do not know the difference between say, a Hindu and a Muslim or Sikh.
Another was the fact that in the US, it is forbidden to teach or talk about religion during school hours at all. People have lost their jobs on it (which explains the ignorance there. And what does ignorance help? Nothing). You can of course, count on the library books available having been screened.
To a lesser extent is this not true in England? I wish places taught more like in London (I have had friends come and ask me- and I welcome anyone to ask me too, because ignorance breeds fear/hatred/arrogance etcetera).
And, so having thought about these things being just for this time period/our generation, I remembered stories my Dad had let slip or I had overheard. Experiences I have had and friends, too.
I wonder what it was like in the 80s? How much worse was it? I will ask my siblings.
I also wonder – if sexism is still a problem in the workforce, and of course racism is too- have we stopped fighting? It’s too early to let that be. Especially with growing issues that threaten peace/multi-cultural society (Which would eventually include white-majority parts of England, too), such as, ‘islamaphobia’ (a ‘new’ racism/sensationalised) and the rise in popularity with racist parties such as BNP and UKIP.”