Sunday, August 05, 2007

The only good reason to teach religion in schools

I had a secular upbringing, my Dad is Catholic and my Mum is CoE so I imagine they never tried to force either doctrine onto me or my sister for fear of it leading to marital strife. I went to several different schools as a kid, ranging from Church of England, red jumper and prayers in the morning types, to state schools in downtrodden areas of Coventry where the only God was the kid that could throw the biggest brick first. As such I've never really felt as if I missed out on a religious education and have failed to really see the need for it to be taught in schools.

Until now.

Whilst doing a pub quiz at my local, and doing quite well thanks to a round based solely on TV and film themes, I was confronted with a round entitled ''Religious Fifths'', in which several questions relating to religion were asked and at the end of which would spell out a final answer (which, in case you were wondering, was Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible from which the round got its name). Needless to say, I did not do well.

Never before has a lack of religious education impinged upon my life and now I feel cheated. I wouldn't have won if I had known some of the answers, admittedly, but I could have had a shot at getting my pound entrance fee back. I was quite pleased that I knew the answers my teammates were going to put down, Hannukah and Ramadan, were wrong, but it's the ever elusive right answers that haunt my every waking moments. Not my sleep, though, that's my time.

It's too late for me because, quite frankly, I've got better things to do than read the Bible. Building a large house of cards or counting the bumps on my living room ceiling, for example. But it's not too late for my descendants! They shall have a good knowledge of religion so that never again will the Davies family be tripped up by our lack of knowledge on religious matters, though we'll probably still be pretty hopeless on 80s one-hit wonders.

Oh, and no one else should learn about religion. It's a collection of myths and half-truths lost to time designed to control people by exploiting the wonderful capacity of humans to believe in the fantastical. But I'll be damned if I'll lose a pub quiz based on it!