Religious Nutters

April 15, 2006

There’s been some interesting discussion on the Continuum Concept list lately. Someone has discovered some awful people called the Pearls (as in Mr and Mrs) who use the bible to justify their appalling treatment of their children and they’ve even written about it. It’s so bad I’m not going to reprint it here although I will freak you out by telling you that they advocate the whipping of 3 months old babies. Apart from that I’m going to refer people to some other parenting sites written by Christians who appear to have actually noticed that Jesus talks a lot about love in the bible – just so you know that such people really do really exist.

I’ll also refer you to a petition site where you can register your horror at this madness

I guess it’s the difference between fitting your life around what you read in the bible compared to fitting what you read in the bible around your life.

While we’re on the subject of screwed up religious types I want to talk about the followers of Rudolph Steiner. Before settling on homeschooling we explored the idea of giving our children a Steiner education. After reading a book about it we really liked the ideas and concepts that Steiner promoted and were keen to check out a school. That’s when it started to get weird. First of all the teacher we went to see wouldn’t let us observe a class in action and then when we talked to her after the class was finished she kept referring to Steiner the way people talk about a religious figure. “We do this because Steiner says to…” sort of thing. It was like no one had bothered to develop Steiner’s concepts any further since he died.

She also said “I feel I should tell you that I believe in reincarnation”. She didn’t say that it was a core part of the curriculum or relate it back to teaching techniques so I still don’t know why we needed to know it so badly.

It turns out on the list that a lot of people have had similar experiences. Reincarnation wasn’t universal though – one school had a huge painting of Mary and Joseph on the wall. The same school held that root vegetable were the ‘devils food’ which is pretty mad. Worse though, the idea that appeared to be central to Waldorf education – that the child only proceeds to the next level when they are ready had been turned into bizarre rules. It became that all children were ready to go to the next stage at the same time. Like when their eye-teeth were through or when the teacher had decided. It was supposed to be that the teacher looked out for signs that the child was ready to move up a level but somehow it seems to get twisted around to the teacher determining when the signs are there.

I’ve always thought that a child is often ready for new things when they ask for them but some of the people involved in Steiner education seem to have taken that idea and turned it into rules about when a child is ready. The child is ready when the teacher says so. This is a perversion of intent that the institutional church would be proud of.

As one person said; If they wanted a religious education for their child they would have taken them to a religious school. Really, all it is, is that the civilised teachers have taken their role as defenders of civilisation seriously enough to bring it into the classroom – good servants of empire that they are.

All this is not to say that there aren’t good Steiner schools out there but I doubt that it is possible to have any kind of institution without having to be constatnly on guard against this sort of thing.


One comment

  1. Have added you to a list of mostly homeschooling bloggers who object to the child beating message of the Pearls. Hope that is OK.

    Posted by: Carlotta | 04/20/2006

    That’s VERY OK by me

    Posted by: Aaron | 04/20/2006

    I think parents can get encouraging, nurturing ideas from a brief reading of Waldorf materials–but you’re right–the Steiner ideas get pretty bizarre.

    Posted by: TulipGirl | 05/04/2006

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