Jonathan Sacks—If faith schools are so bad, why do parents love them?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is the paradox. We are living in what is possibly the most secular age since Homo sapiens first set foot on Earth, and Europe is its most secular continent. Yet faith schools are the growth industry of our time. More and more people want them, and are prepared to go to great lengths to get their children admitted. This applies to parents who are not themselves religious. What is going on?

The simple answer is that faith schools tend to have academic success above the average: so, at any rate, the league tables suggest. But why should this be so, if faith inhibits critical thought and discourages independence of mind? This is a question worth serious reflection.

My tentative suggestion is that faith schools tend to have a strong ethos that emphasises respect for authority, the virtues of hard work, discipline and a sense of duty, a commitment to high ideals, a willingness to learn, a sense of social responsibility, a preference for earned self-respect rather than unearned self-esteem, and the idea of an objective moral order that transcends subjective personal preference.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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