Children as young as four are to be educated in atheism.
Use your own expletives. If I type what I'm thinking I'll be arrested under the profanity laws.
Four years old. This is Spot the Dog age, Janet and John age, this is Sunday school where the other kids didn't get referred to their parents for excessive use of red paint in their depiction of the Crucifixion. My father couldn't keep a straight face and neither could my grandmother but that's another story entirely.
Apparently Satan wasn't there but come on, I was only four. All I knew was something about him getting stabbed in the side and I was confused with the pitchfork-wielding red guy. Lots of information for a little kid to assimilate and sort.
Four years old, learning atheism, and we have fourteen-year-olds who watch a new DVD every day but can't spell it. What is a four-year-old supposed to be learning? Lego, Play-Doh, rabbit-gutting, Action Man/Barbie, Bagpuss, the Flowerpot Men, butchering calves, fitting shapes into boards, basic reading and evisceration, 2+2=4 and drawing pictures of dismembered bodies. That is a normal childhood.
My first experience of school-based dedicated religious teaching was Religious Knowledge class in secondary school. By this time we were all becoming aware of the lustiness of the female form but our contemporary females had no decently lustable womanly bits yet. The RK teacher had a figure the Daily Mail would hide in bushes to photograph and hair down to her buttocks. She was there to teach us the Puritan way. Not a chance. All the desks were six inches higher whenever she entered the room. Well, apart from those with girls behind them.
She was definitely Christian and fundamentally so. We could send her into a frenzy by asking about satanism or most other religions and if we got onto the dinosaur thing her eyes would bleed and her nipples would stand out like Scania wheel-nuts. Ah, school days...
We never thought to question her on atheism. Why? Well, at that time, atheism wasn't a religion. It was the absence of religion. It was an irrelevance. Atheism meant you'd looked at religion, decided 'Nah, don't believe it' and dropped it.
It was like... well, let's try this one. In the first years of secondary school we all took Spanish class. I didn't continue to O level because I saw no need to learn Spanish beyond 'Huevos, fritos, cerveza'. I figured I could stay alive in Spain if spontaneously transported there so no need to push the envelope. I stopped learning Spanish BUT that did not make me anti-Spanish. In fact I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the bullfight I went to when I was thirteen. Great fun. The bull won, the picador got his half-armoured ass kicked, the banderillos ran like Disney cartoon characters and the toreador left on a stretcher with a big horn-hole in his shoulder. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
I didn't continue with RK past the compulsory years but that did not make me anti-religion. I used to consider myself atheist but not now. It's become a religion with meetings and all that crap and I can't be bothered with it so now I am an apathist. There might or might not be a God. I don't care.
Many people believe in God. In the quantum universe described by physics, that might actually be enough to bring a God into existence. Seriously. It could even bring a God into existence before the decision was made to believe in him. Yes, quantum physics is that weird.
Science can't prove or disprove God and it is just silly to try. Belief has nothing to do with science and vice versa. Science piddling around with religious matters - as it seems to be increasingly doing - is wasting its time. Science can neither win nor lose this argument. Just drop it.
As to how you teach four-year-olds to not-believe something, that has to be worth seeing. If only to giggle at the baffled little faces.
'Today, children, we will learn how to not believe in a thing that is not a thing or might be depending on what you believe. You will learn how to not believe in a thing that might or might not be real, but which might become real according to the laws of physics if enough of you believe in it, but you must not believe because it is not real. Or it might be.'
They plan to do this to four-year-olds. And to think, I thought Sunday School was confusing.
I didn't know I was born.