2 February 2014 (Sunday) - Religions, Schools
I had something of a lonely breakfast this morning. I've got used to handing the crusts of my toast to my dog. This morning when I came downstairs he was snoring on the sofa and wasn't interested in eating half my brekkie. In fact he only stirred himself five minutes before I had to set off to work.
I'd left home with a few minutes to spare today, and I stopped a few times on my journey to look at the floods. Places and paths I've walked through and along only a few months ago are now under large swathes of water. It's no secret that I get very over-excited by floods, but even I have had enough of them now.
I can't help but wonder where all this water has come from? Perhaps someone should be digging enormous underground reservoirs to hold all this water; we will have hosepipe bans and droughts in just a few short months.
Being Sunday the morning's radio was of an ecumenical persuasion. There was an interesting discussion on a current phenomenon in ecclesiastical circles; namely the formation of new churches. Apparently a lot of new churches are springing up; many are evangelical splinter sects with somewhat bizarre beliefs. Few have much in the way of resources and many are renting out existing church premises in which to have their services.
There was a London vicar being interviewed who was saying that her church and associated premises were being used by three other religious groups as well as her own congregation. This woman went on to say that she gets contacted at least once a week by leaders of various sects asking if they can use her church, and she's having to turn people away.
This vicar then brought up an interesting point. Schools are subject to all sorts of inspections and regulations, as are care homes and hospitals. There is absolutely no control over religion in our country. Any crackpot can start up their own church and preach whatever nonsense they like to all and sundry. And it would seem that this is what is happening more and more.
I wish I could remember the exact words used on the radio show; the vicar's implication was that many of the people who go to church are rather gullible and are inclined to believe any old nonsense that is spouted loudly and confidently. And it would seem that these new churches that are springing up appeal to the very gullible and easily led; far more so than do established churches. This is a worry for society because (apparently) it is very important to ensure that the general populace are only exposed to the correct and acceptable forms of patent nonsense. The vicar was most insistent that only some invisible friends are real and that only certain superstitions have any merit (!)
The concern was then expressed that there are some unscrupulous people taking advantage of this loop-hole in the law to prey on the elderly and the vulnerable. It was implied that the more nonsensical a belief, the more effective it might be as a "get rich quick" scheme. I thought organised religion had been playing this scam for years, but what do I know?
There was then a discussion on the need for control of the entire area of religion, and on how one might become a "state registered cleric"; which isn't quite such a daft idea as it might sound.
And then the Sunday service was broadcast live from Leeds Cathedral. I've mentioned before that when working on a Sunday I like listening to the Sunday service. It can be uplifting and invigorating. Today's was soporific.
I like choral singing; a friend sings in a very good choir. Today's singers weren't singing; they were howling. The preacher wasn't imparting sage wisdom; he was blathering platitudes.
And they wonder why the Church of England struggles whilst religious crackpotism is on the up-and-up.
The morning news made me smile. One in three secondary school teachers are scared to try to instil any form of discipline into their charges. Many head teachers are against any form of punishment against bad children for fear of being sued for infringing children's rights to be obnoxious little sh*ts.
The Education Secretary is now advocating a return to the good old days in which unruly children were punished for their bad behaviour rather than being rewarded for it. So far he's only going as far with punishments as litter patrols, tidying up and one hundred lines. But it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully it won't be long before the slipper and the cane are brought back.
Don't get me wrong... I'm not advocating wholesale thrashings; just the threat of it. Back in the halcyon days at the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses if a foot was put wrong one got caned. One boy would have a sore arse for a day; one thousand boys would then behave themselves and get on with their lessons for two years. After two years people would have forgotten the example of the previous caning and would get restless. One lad would go too far; an example would be made. Another sore arse, two more years of getting on with schoolwork for fear of the consequences of not doing so.
And every year that school would send dozens of undergraduates to every university in the country including half a dozen to Oxford and Cambridge. Compare that to the output of today's schools. Had the teachers at Swadelands school punished bad behaviour rather than rewarded it maybe "Daddies Little Angel TM" would have graduated four years ago rather than this coming summer.
Or just look at the Facebook posts of anyone aged under thirty. Or the entire Twitter phenomenon which is designed for those who cannot be bothered to use the English language correctly.
Spelling, grammar.... perhaps we might get those back again.
Sometimes I can be rather opinionated, can't I...