A recent report from Europe brought to mind Beatles legend John Lennon’s 1971 megahit, Imagine. You’ll recall that Lennon’s utopian song yearned for a world with “no religion,” among other things. According to the UK’s Guardian Unlimited, “[t]he Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true.” You read that correctly. Ouch. Even from this side of the Atlantic, where we see Europe rushing headlong to rid itself of a rich Christian heritage, it seems stunning. A couple more excerpts:
Creationism and ID are explicitly banned but so is proselytising even in religious education classes. The Qur’an may not be taught as if it is true even in Muslim independent schools, nor may the Bible in Christian schools. There is little doubt that combating Islamic fundamentalism is the underlying aim. . .
Granted. But last time we checked, Europe’s troubles with terrorism can be traced to a particular expression of one religion, and it’s not Christianity. I guess if you ban one you have to ban them all. But does that mean the state will function as the arbiter of truth? History screams for Europe to grasp hold of its senses on that point. What would be the purpose, then, of sending children to private schools? Apparently, for whatever societal benefits (happy, cooperative people) can be derived from such schools apart from religious dogma. Author Andrew Brown, mulling over whether Britain should adopt such a policy, notes:
Certainly this works quite well with the Church of England. Anglican schools are happy, by and large, to teach religion as if it were not true; to put it in a more flattering light, they concentrate more on the fruits of the spirit than on dogma.
What do you think? What would be the result of such a policy? Can you divorce the “fruit” from the “faith”? Christianity is foremost a set of beliefs that it claims to be true. Whether Christianity “works” is secondary and a function of its truthfulness, is it not?