Archive for October 22nd, 2006

Separated at Birth

If another movie is ever done about Steve Jobs’ life, the leading role must go to Jason Schwartzman. These two look amazingly alike even without modifying Jason’s hair or his eyebrows. Only detail where they really differ is that Jason is shorter (1.68m vs ~1.83m).

Jason Vs Steve

Regarding Stephen Hawking

As I write this we are watching a documentary on Stephen Hawking, the genius theoretical physicist. Looking at his story, and the fact that his illness has made doctors still not understanding why he is not dead yet (according to the diagnosis, he should have died in the ’60s) and his consequent success in science, it makes me believe in God (a little bit). It’s like God had a plan for him but with a twist: “I will make him important but I will take something from him — just to balance it out“.

And he just filed for a divorce (I tried to make my JBQ jealous earlier today joking that I will leave him for Hawking). ;-)

Regarding Religion Education

I was discussing with my JBQ after our Sunday lunch about the seperation of Church and State. This exists on most western countries but it’s not as a clear cut in Greece. On Greek public schools you have 3 hours per week learning about Orthodoxy for almost 12 years of public schooling. I personally find this terrible, unbalanced and useless (plus it’s stealing time from more important topics that could be taught, e.g. computer programming).

From all these 12 years, only 1 year (towards the end of high school) Greek teenagers are learning about other religions. To give you an idea, there are about 2-3 pages about Islam, another 2-3 pages about Budhism etc. Even if this sounds like a terrible non-balanced education for Greek kids, it is better than the non-existant religious education on other countries. From all my years on the Greek schools studying about “theology”, that year where we very scarcely were educated about other religions is the only one that actually stuck with me and that I found interesting.

So I thought that it would be nice if western public schools were having 1 hour per week to study religions of the world, just for “general knowledge” purposes.

JBQ argues that it’s not legally possible though to:
a. Put together a few pages per the most followed religions in a book (e.g. 10 of them) without breaking the law, because according to the law all religions are equal so you can’t just study only a few, even if these are the most followed religions.
b. You might have to team together all kinds of Christian churches under the same chapter and that might not acceptably by some organizations. If you do that then Jews, Christians and Muslims must be under the exact same chapter too because they fundamentally believe in the same God. This can create lots of problems with religious organizations because nothing is clear cut.

So yes, there are problems putting together such a book that could be taught in a public school. But on the other hand, we both recognize the need that kids must learn (from a 10,000 ft point of view) about other religions and cursory study them. Be careful, we are not talking about learning about these religions in order to endorse them, but because this is a very good way about learning about PEOPLE of the world and why they do the the things they do or why do they behave the way they do or why they wear the clothes they wear. Learning about their beliefs is about learning about people and this is very good for general knowledge and social acceptance.

But religions are still such a taboo that it’s very difficult to objectively write or teach about them. A shame really.