Atheist Ireland criticises teacher training college

By Róisín Treacy

Atheist Ireland wants teacher training college Hibernia to remove “defamatory allegations” from some of its course notes which blame atheists for some of the “worst horrors of history”, according to the Journal.ie.

Course notes provided to students in Hibernia’s religion module state: “Atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed, namely Nazism, Fascism and Marxism.”

The Journal.ie reports that in a letter sent to the Minister for Education and the Irish National Teachers Organisation, among other organisations, Atheist Ireland said that what Hibernia College Dublin was teaching students about atheism was “a disgraceful libel on modern atheists and humanists.”

The group complained that these course notes suggest that very few atheists cared about the worst atrocities history has witnessed. It also said that the college would not teach this “shocking statement” about any other group of people “simply on the basis of their beliefs about supernatural claims.”

The letter quoted the Equal Status Act 2000 which states that “discrimination shall be taken to occur where a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated, on the grounds that one has a different religious belief from the other, or that one has a religious belief and the other has not”.

The atheist group requests that the statements be removed from the course notes and examinations in Hibernia College, and that the religion module be revised so that it teaches students about religion in an “objective, critical and pluralistic manner”.  The group offered to assist in the revision of the module by providing accurate information about atheism and atheists.

The communications officer at Hibernia College was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.

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