God goes back to school

  The federal government of Australia is giving ninety million dollars away to fund a chaplaincy program in schools, public and private.  The federal government is reviving a debate going on since Lucretius condemned religion practiced as superstition and extolled the virtues of free thinking and a benevolent spirit.

  The emales are confounded.  Next step is to start teaching creationism in science classes…  Various speakers for the federal government are crying out against the declination in values systems, in morality.   The youth are confused, they don’t know who to turn to – drugs, pre-marital sex, abortions, pornography and other forms of deviant behaviour are lurking out there, in the world, waiting for the next unsuspecting victim.  Wat we need is a central system of values they say – voluntary, of course, the chaplain isn’t compulsory.  Just in case a student doesn’t feel comfortable talking to one institution – the School – they can talk to another – the Church.  Its about Choices.

  When are we going to evolve past this wretched state of affairs?  We might as well put philosophers into schools instead of chaplains.  All the right and wrong choices are there in the values of Truth, Beauty and Love.  Its true these values are archaic and invite scorn and disbelief.  Philosophy is for pretentious wankers.  And what of the Christians?  A man died and rose again from the dead over two thousand years ago?  If I was a teenager, would I put my faith in the judgement of a man who believes the Word of God speaks from a historical document, thousands of years old?

  Chaplains, as I understand it, are well-trained in philosophy and ethics.  I met a Catholic priest once – years of theological training involved.  The faith is tested.  Chaplains may be something better than nothing.  The belief in God may be the final absurdity we allow ourselves in the rationalised neo-liberal society of high modernity.  There is a point where everyone is alone with their choices – just me and God.

  All of this is a bit unfair.  I am emale – I have no qualms with the Christians like Tony Abbot nor with the Metaphysicians such as Baudrillard, the Muslims or the B’hai.  Religion has been around since man probably climbed out of the trees.  Certainly as long as there has been emales.  Of course, back in the day, human sacrifices were acceptable; burnings, torture, stonings and so on were also acceptable practices.  They are no longer necessary – they were needed when times were hard, men and women were living on the brink of survival and a sense of community was a matter of life and death. 

  Now, in our cushy affluent Western societies, we really don’t have this problem.  We extol liberal values of personal freedom, the rights of individual.  Our schooling and education, the advances in science and in thinking are built on these values and have brought us up to a standard of living above the subsistent – are we really enjoying it? 

  Chaplains are a weak-kneed solution for a government that only thinks in terms of scarcity, in terms of what it can get away with for the majority interests.  This in itself is not a bad thing but a necessary one for a democracy, for a capitalism of votes.  But the opportunity cost afforded by having a chaplain could be used in ways that will make the nation grow: improve our education for example, raise the wages of teachers, attract more workers to those skills we suffer a shortage of – anything but the empty and metaphysical gesture of appointing a priest as guidance counsellor.  Might as well appoint a philosopher.

  I thought the Liberal party extolled a spirit of capitalism, innovation, forward-thinking.  What kind of values are we teaching the next generation when we have to put ministers of God back into schools?  that we really have no idea how to make up our minds for ourselves?  In schooling, advance australia fair – with Reverend Killjoy?  

  A Word to the wise: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s.”  The battle-lines for eternal salvation are sure to become confusing out there, chappies.  Schools are battlegrounds for the hearts and minds of whole generations.  Keep the faith.

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2 thoughts on “God goes back to school

  1. “Philosophy is for pretentious wankers.”
    And here was me thinking that blogging is what denoted being a pretentious wanker. Having said this, I probably wouldn’t pay a philosopher take that role in a school either. Either way I agree with keeping religious chaplains out of schools. Much better to spend the money on actual provision of couselling services – I went to a big high school, and we had a councellor come in one day per week, grossly insufficient for 1400 kids.

  2. Yeah, pretentious wankers don’t come much thicker than this emale… thanks for your comment. I couldn’t agree with you more – counsellors are trained directly for coming-of-age dilemmas and the chaplains seems to me to be nothing more than an extension of the neo-conservative Christian right arm in government. A friend of mine who is a psychologist pointed out to me, the mental health services recieved a financial boost in the week previous to this announcement, placating an interest group that might otherwise have raised some protest to God’s return to school. The Liberals sure know how to play the numbers game. As for the role of philosophy, the dice are already loaded…

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