Thursday, 21 November 2019

An Illogical Fear

Yesterday it was reported that a primary school had backed down from a court case regarding school assemblies. The school had assemblies of a Christian nature, and at least one set of parents requesting not only that their children be withdrawn on these occasions, but that the school provide suitable staffed alternative provision. Court action by the parents was backed by an organisation called Humanists UK.

What is interesting to me in this kind of case is not so much the rights aspects, nor the lament that Christians may have about the loss of religious input into schools. Those aspects go part and parcel of living in a 'post-Christian' culture that is increasingly secularised.

No - more interesting is the apparent felt need by humanists to go to court in the first place. If a humanist is also a devout atheist, then logically they have nothing to fear from people praying or even their children joining in with prayer! For surely if God is non-existent then prayer is nothing - a mere pointless and fruitless exercise. At worst it is simply misguided and perhaps irritating - but something that an atheist parent "who knows better" can easily explain to their children.

The need to go to court perhaps suggests something more: an illogical fear giving rise to the felt need to assert a 'humanist religion' in schools. Depending on how far and how vigorously that is pursued, it could of course become an 'evangelical faith' of its own, and itself end up infringing the legitimate human rights of those who do believe in God and the power of prayer.

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