God and the German School

109 posts in this topic

OK, if you thought that the last thread would alleviate all anxieties I have, you have been surly wrong.

 

Yesterday we took our son to a reading at the local library. The children pick up books, and the volunteer reads it with them. One kids picked a book about penguins and God (yes, I know, weird). One of the kids asked what God is, the volunteer opened that up for discussion. One child said "God is a butterfly" (something that has to do with the book, nevermind), and another girl said quite aggressively that it is wrong, that God is such-and-such, that His Son died for our sins, etc. The volunteer did not bother to calm the tiny Swaggart or to tell her that there are many opinions, that Christianity is just a belief, that there are people who don't believe at all that there is a God, let alone that it is a being capable of having a "Son" etc. (not to mention to tell her not to aggressively dismiss other kids' opinions only because she has been taught otherwise by her parents). Now, this is a library volunteer who may not have enough training to deal with these issues, so obviously I shouldn't draw too much on "Ze GERMANS" from it, but still,we're in Berlin, not the sticks of Bavaria (sorry guys...), a place that is supposed to be tolerant of all beliefs and non-beliefs.

 

Bottom line is, that I prefer to teach my children about religion/God/gods in my own time and when they will be ready to understand such complex issues as believe/hope. I don't mind kids celebrating holidays, because I think it is a cultural thing; but since I am not a believer myself, I think that letting children in a non-religious setting talk about "The Son of God" without indoctrinating diversity and saying this is only one opinion/belief, is wrong.

 

How much of a problem is it going to be at a non-sectarian school? Is this occurrence something that I would have to deal with increasingly as the kids grow up? Are there safe havens for heathens?

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Yes, they should have gathered all the little kiddy-winks around and gone through an in depth analysis of all major & minor religions with a parallel discussion covering concepts such as atheism, agnosticism and the fucking flying spaghetti monster.

 

You should probably relax just a little. Kids get their influences from all over. Not just one little blokey in a library reading session.

 

Well, my parenthood style is usually hysterical. And don't dismiss the holy Spaghetti Monster. No religion tastes so good.

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You should probably relax just a little.

Yeah man.

 

Just go with the flow. The christian stuff if not really indoctrination for young kids, it is mostly just nice little morality tales. Little more.

 

Go with it, and provide whatever supplementary information you want later. Kids ain't big on philosophical debate though. If I start teaching my kids MY beliefs too young, then they are going to have a seriously hard time in christian school Germany.

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I guess you don't need to worry. From what I hear they don't even learn basic "christian" values. ;)

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my position:

 

If one religion talks about "Son of God", let them hear it. Just don't push it.

If another religion talks about "karma, buddah and nirvana", let them hear it. Just don't push it.

...

In the end, the "real" religion/God(s) will win, because he/she/it is real. All others are man-made.

 

If there is a real God, then He is powerful enough to make that come true without human intervention. ( or else he/she/it is not God).

 

Warheit.

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If I start teaching my kids MY beliefs too young, then they are going to have a seriously hard time in christian school Germany.

 

I do think it would be amusing to see little don_riinas telling their teachers how their language and country and food are all absolute rubbish.

 

 

If there is a real God, then He is powerful enough to make that come true without human intervention. ( or else he/she/it is not God).

 

Assuming it is benevolent, it could just like to watch us dance and kill each other like a kid pulling the legs off ants.

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God isn't a butterfly? Well. shiiit.

 

Here's my stereotype, and I base this on a local news scandal in Bumfuck, Texas, about a yard statue of David, but maybe run with me here. Liberal people get worked up when someone tries to teach their young kid about God, conservatives get riled up when you acknowledge kids' questions about sex and that we have genitals.

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Bottom line is, that I prefer to teach my children about religion/God/gods in my own time and when they will be ready to understand such complex issues as believe/hope.

Same here, we're agnostic and we had no trouble at the elementary school my kids attended even though religious instruction is part of the curriculum (I don't know if this is true for all states). Here the kids were divided into Katholisch and Evangelisch and my kids did the Evangelisch class even though we're officially 'Konfessionslos' because I thought it was important from a cultural point of view. The Turkish children or those of a differnt religion could choose not to take part and they scheduled the religion classes as the last lesson of the day so the kids who didn't participate could just go home an hour early.

 

Hearing all the 'God talk' never had much effect on my kids, it was mostly colouring worksheets and reading stories, and both of them were always more interested in contrasting and comparing world religions at home than being brainwashed into a certain faith.

 

After the age a of 14 a child is free to decide if he/she wants to participate in religious instruction. The secondary schools in our state offer either religious instruction or something called Werte und Normen (Ethics).

 

Religionsunterricht in Deutschland

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@donno

 

I resent being called surly. There are plenty of surly people here but I don't like to think of myself as one of them.

 

I'm getting the impression that one of your next questions is 'Where can I find free-range gender-neutral vegetables in Berlin?'

 

Relax. Why are you not complaining about the kid who insisted that God is a butterfly? If you're already feeling allergic to 'mouthy kids' German schools are not likely to be for you and yours - mouthiness counts towards school grades here.

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talk about "The Son of God" without indoctrinating diversity and saying this is only one opinion/belief, is wrong.

 

"Indoctrinating" sounds quite authoritarian, wouldn't it be better to let children experience diversity, even if this consists in talking about different beliefs (besides absence of belief)? I think in the context of schools in Berlin, it is likely that children come into contact with classmates with other religious beliefs on a regular basis, and it's beneficial to learn to exchange views. That this particular child sounded a bit aggressive could be an age thing (know-it-all phase, in German "altklug").

 

With regard to the position of religion as a school subject, Berlin falls under the Bremer Klausel, i.e. religion is not part of the regular curriculum. Instead, "Ethics" is mandatory in secondary schools.

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I admit to having to shake my head a little at this. You are in a library with lots of children. Who knows what backgrounds these children are coming from and so, one child has this opinion on what god is, another child has a different.

 

Do you seriously expect this poor unfortunate volunteer to get into a discussion with the children about the meaning of life and who/what god is? Will s/he have the right answer? Will s/he be able to say something that pleases those who have (many) different interpretations on what god is.

 

You say in one breath:

 

 

Bottom line is, that I prefer to teach my children about religion/God/gods in my own time and when they will be ready to understand such complex issues as believe/hope.

Yet in the next (or previous) breath you complain say:

 

 

The volunteer did not bother to calm the tiny Swaggart or to tell her that there are many opinions, that Christianity is just a belief, that there are people who don't believe at all that there is a God, let alone that it is a being capable of having a "Son" etc.

It sounds like a contradiction to me.

 

Are you pissed off with the "Swaggart" for saying what many are taught here or the volunteer for?

 

 

(not to mention to tell her not to aggressively dismiss other kids' opinions only because she has been taught otherwise by her parents).

If a volunteer working with children had to police and tut tut each time a child has a different opinion from another, it would leave little else time to do other constructive work - because that is what children do.

 

Let the child go home and say: " I learned today that god is not a butterfly but ... " and leave it up to the parent or whoever to instruct it on who/what god really :huh: is.

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I do think it would be amusing to see little don_riinas telling their teachers how their language and country and food are all absolute rubbish.

I've already done enough damage man. My 3 year old nicked a beer from some bloke in the biergarten, angrily claiming that it was "daddy's beer". He also says shit like "yeah man", and is annoyed that his mum won't let him grow his hair long and get ear piercings.

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Same here, we're agnostic and we had no trouble at the elementary school my kids attended even though religious instruction is part of the curriculum (I don't know if this is true for all states). Here the kids were divided into Katholisch and Evangelisch and my kids did the Evangelisch class even though we're officially 'Konfessionslos' because I thought it was important from a cultural point of view. The Turkish children or those of a differnt religion could choose not to take part and they scheduled the religion classes as the last lesson of the day so the kids who didn't participate could just go home an hour early.

 

Having been brought up Catholic and seeing the influence of the church in Ireland, it may not come as a surprise when I say that I abhor the (Catholic) church. In Sarah's school they had ethics, which solved the problem of where to send her.

 

One staunch Catholic mother did have a kind of Bible study at lunchtime on short days. Sarah joined it because her best friends went there. I had no problem with this, it was her choice. The only bad after taste came when Sarah decided that she no longer wanted to go, the mother disclosed to me, that Sarah's greatest wish was to make her First Holy Communion.

This left me somewhat baffled and when I asked Sarah about it she told me that the mother had been egging her on, saying wouldn't it be great... Sarah told me: "I didn't want to burst her bubble by saying "no it wouldn't be great"". I still seethe at that mother for overstepping her boundaries.

 

I did however marry into a Catholic family. Unlike many other Catholics (see above) my mother-in-law never impinged. If there were any questions on religion that we could not answer, I would send Sarah to Oma to be "informed".

 

One wee regret I have: As religion had an important role in life, I did notice that when Sarah was studying history of art, she had a big gap in her knowledge of the Bible. She missed these "stories" as a result of taking ethics. Knowing this, I think, if I were deciding all over again, I would send her to Protestant religion classes. Although Sarah says she does/did not feel it is or was any disadvantage.

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I resent being called surly. There are plenty of surly people here but I don't like to think of myself as one of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgp6oaIPIJw

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Having been brought up Catholic and seeing the influence of the church in Ireland, it may not come as a surprise when I say that I abhor the (Catholic) church.

I was raised as a catholic in an Irish community in London - and like you, it gave me a burning dislike of the church. My kids now go to the local KG here, and it is linked to a catholic church. Does not seem to be too much religious stuff going on though, and quite honestly, probably half the kids that go there are muslims.

 

My wife was raised in catholic schooling in Germany, but unlike my memories of vicious nuns caning people and generally being evil bitches, her memories are just about the pretty little bible stories.

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Yes, they should have gathered all the little kiddy-winks around and gone through an in depth analysis of all major & minor religions with a parallel discussion covering concepts such as atheism, agnosticism and the fucking flying spaghetti monster.

 

You should probably relax just a little. Kids get their influences from all over. Not just one little blokey in a library reading session.

 

I love your post Keydeck! It's so true. Parents often find it hard to relax, but doing so sets a good example to their children and they will quickly learn to decide for themselves who to take seriously, and just calmly ignore the others.

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god and religion are ubiquitous in the school system here and make an appearance at nausiatingly regular intervals, it's just something one learns to deal with.

 

The best way I have found in dealing with it is through education, so when my son comes home and says the've been teaching christian stories, then I try and tell him about a comparible event from other beliefs to let him compare. We just told our son that it's ok if other people believe in a god, or an allah, or an invisible pink unicorn for that matter,but he doesnt have to if he doesnt want to. This has worked quite well and he's grown into an extremely tolerant wee lad.

 

The same, unfortunately cant be said in the opposite direction, and he does get some stick from other parents and kids for openly stating that he doesn't believe in their god or jesus to the extent that last week he came home and told us that he "pretends to believe in god so they leave him alone, but he doesn't really, he just say he does otherwise they pick on him".

 

Any kids who dont have christian parents ( muslim, jewish, JW's, wiccans and atheists like me), go to ethik class ( because of course if you dont believe in the right god, or no god at all, you have to have your moral compass installed ) where they seem to listen to stories a lot and do colouring in and not an awful lot more.

 

The best advice I can give is just go with the flow and teach the kids not to believe anything without evidence.

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