Jim Coyne of Why Evolution is True writes about the NSW (New South Wales) policy of teaching Christianity in schools. Apparently until recently students who did not want to go to the religion class were prohibited from doing any other educational work. Recently they introduced an alternative course on Ethics for students who does not want to listen to the brain washing by the priests. Below is a sample of the Ethics class
From the description and the video it looks like a very creative way of encouraging students to think for themselves and to learn that it is ok to dissent. Of course the church is all offended by this. One pastor says, “it creates competition” to telling (translation – indoctrinate) students about Jesus. It appears that over 50% of the students are now opting the Ethics class to the religion class.
For a very long time, I thought that India was so backward when it comes to adherence to religion compared to the developed countries. But, it appears that, Indian secular roots is much stronger than anywhere else, especially compared to many of the developed countries. I have studied in government and christian missionary schools, and there were absolutely no teaching of religion. Many of my teachers in highschool where nuns, but they seldom brought faith and religion into the classroom. Well, in a few times when they tried to bring it up, I and a few other atheist students could effectively question it and stop it from being repeated. While that put me slightly in the not-so-liked group, there never was any adverse reaction from the teachers.
It is good to have brought up in a secular country. Though the larger society in India is still mired in religious factions and superstitions, the educational institutions and the state are very clearly separated from it albeit efforts, mainly by the religions fundamentalist parties (Bharatiya Janata Party, Muslim League, some Christian political organizations etc.) to dilute this separation.
(Most of my experience here is from Kerala, which might not be representational of the rest of India, but I don’t think anyone will try to introduce creationism or young earth theory into the curriculum)
Even though I am not particularly a nationalist, secularism of India is something to be proud of.