Daughter made to write 'I believe in god' in school

(174 Posts)
chickensaladagain Mon 16-Sep-13 19:02:45

Dd was in an ethics, philosophy & religion

She had to write a number of statements then say whether they were fact opinion or belief

One of the sentences was 'I believe in god'

She objected as it wasn't true but was told to stop making a fuss

We are a family of atheists -I don't pull my dcs out of any assemblies etc because I think it's important culturally for them to understand religion but surely having to write 'I believe in god' isn't appropriate?

This is not a church school btw

alpinemeadow Tue 17-Sep-13 07:53:44

There needed to be a fourth category - incorrect statement of fact - which it was in dd's case. As others have said, i believe in god is not a belief but a fact.
I too (like a pp) can think of statements - belief, incorrect fact, opinion - that i wouldn't want to write down, even for an exercise, and dd maybe felt strongly about this one? Just Thinking, if they had been asked to write the opposite - would it have been reasonable for a dc to ask not to write that if they were a believer?

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 17-Sep-13 08:02:49

I agree alpine - what it is is an incorrect factual statement. "Fred believes in God" could be correctly labelled as Fact.

exoticfruits Tue 17-Sep-13 08:14:08

Fred believes in God isn't a fact- we have no way of knowing whether he is telling the truth.
Writing the opposite would be fine- they were statements and not about the person copying them down.

alpinemeadow Tue 17-Sep-13 08:34:30

You're right about fred, exotic! We need a 5th category - 'statement of fact which may or may not be correct'!

Would it be unreasonable for a believer to say s/he didn't want to write 'i don't believe in god' as part of an exercise - i can imagine that some might object. Would teacher be reasonable to insist they write it if they did object?

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 09:09:36

good point exotic. we only know it's a fact if we can ask fred- which we cant. does that then make 'fred believes in god' a belief because someone thinks he does without knowing or does it make it an opinion because someone thinks he does?

'I believe in god' is only a fact if the person saying it does.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 09:19:13

Facts are provable. Can you prove that you believe in god?confused.

Alpine that was discussed upthread and the consensus was that yes it would be unreasonable for a believer not to write something as part of an academic exercise.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 17-Sep-13 09:21:08

'Would it be ok for a Christian child to write 'I don't believe in Jesus' ?'

Yes, it would, if the context was the same as in this case –i.e. if the context was children being asked to write some statements and then identify them as being a fact, an opinion or a belief. The Christian child, as well as any other child in the class, would write that this was a belief.

It doesn't imply that the Christian child believes this. It implies that the Christian child knows that this is a belief.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 09:26:24

you can prove you believe in god by saying 'I believe in god'

otherwise you would be saying 'I believe that I believe in god' confused

although belief in god is not a permanent state so someone who did today, might not tomorrow so proving it with bits of paper it church attendance cant be depended on.

alpinemeadow Tue 17-Sep-13 09:32:31

Thanks dione the d, i completely missed that! Seem to have missed a page of the discussion. Interesting that as you say lots of people felt it would be ok to require a believer to write 'i don't believe in god'. I agree with posters who think teach could have had a really interesting discussion about why it might make people feel uncomfortable to write certain statements - power of written word and all that.

Sirzy Tue 17-Sep-13 09:40:14

Facts are provable. Can you prove that you believe in god?
I can prove that I believe in God, I couldn't prove that God exists.

Just like for a child (and sorry for using the Santa comparison again) it is a fact that they believe in Santa, but you can't prove that he exists.

Growlithe Tue 17-Sep-13 09:41:47

The pedants are imploding on this thread. grin

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 09:49:27

I would think that I believe in god could be belief or belief stated as fact.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 09:50:27

I know Growlithe. It's doing my head in, but I can't keep away.blush grin

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 09:52:44

so you mean when you say 'I believe in god' you are saying ' It is my belief that I believe in god'?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 10:07:45

No, I am making a statement of belief that cannot be proven. Therefore, it cannot be a fact.

I think.confused grin

Sirzy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:56:54

Someone beliving in something is fact. it is the actual existance of that thing which is down to belief.

A Christian believes that god exists - that is a fact.

God exists - is a belief.

Oscarandelliesmum Tue 17-Sep-13 11:11:51

We had a philosophy lecturer, first year uni, who made us debate whether it would be more morally justifiable to test new drugs on animals or orphans in a coma(!)
it got some of the people from the divinty department pretty angry grin. It can be tricky to seperate our beliefs from what we are debating if it us too emotive to us.

Oscarandelliesmum Tue 17-Sep-13 11:13:12

I did enjoy reading this rather than attempting the dishes...fact. dirty dishes=evidence

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 15:09:49

I agree sirzy.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 15:47:26

Ta for that Sirzy.smile

exoticfruits Tue 17-Sep-13 16:44:40

It gets away from the point that the statements were just that, statements, and had nothing to do with the person copying them down or reading them-they just had to categorise them.
You could equally write 'I am a Muslim' , 'I am an atheist'-for the exercise they do not in any way apply to you personally.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 17-Sep-13 18:13:14

Exactly, exotic.

TigerseyeMum Tue 17-Sep-13 22:01:08

Some people with OCD would have a problem with writing things they emotionally objected to.

Thinking equals doing.

Writing makes you think something.

Therefore for certain emotionally loaded beliefs writing a statement on paper can be hard.

For example, think of someone (alive) whom you love. Then, write down on paper '[Name] will die today'. Can you do it? Some can, some can't. It's just an exercise to demonstrate how emotionally loaded sons statements can be which gives an insight into how it can be for someone with OCD.

I presume though your daughter doesn't have religious-based OCD?

exoticfruits Tue 17-Sep-13 22:18:16

I am assuming that the lessons are compulsory? I would suggest that she drops them as soon as she is able as she appears to take it all so personally.

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