... I’m sure you’ve read his book “Age of reason”. If so, the quote is self explanatory. First of all, as to priests being teachers; it totally depends on what they teach, be it academic subjects or religious. Paine was aiming his quote at the latter. ... If they (anyone) want to learn about their faith, there are churches on every corner here that will oblige. Oh, and for the record, my daughter is a teacher and my son is finishing his ed. degree in science.
Good points, Cap’t J!
I forgot to mention that I was born on, and grew up on, an interesting island—Bell Island (1930-1947), Conception Bay, Newfoundland. It was then the largest iron-ore mining town in the British Empire. About 10,000 people lived there. From there, going s/e, it took three miles by ferry, and nine miles by road to get to down town St. John’s, the capital. For details about BI & the story of how enemy subs attacked it in WW 2, 1942. I still remember hearing the explosions. Check out—http://www.bellisland.net—During the battles, sixty-nine merchant seamen lost their lives when, when four iron-ore carriers were sunk.
Since the 16th Century, this first and oldest colony (1497) of England was valued for its cod fish, forests and minerals. Because of the depression, the local government went bankrupt and NL (Newfoundland-Labrador) once again became a totally dependent colony with a British governor.
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM ORIGINATED WITH THE CHURCHES
When the first colonies became large enough, the clergy who accompanied the first settlers naturally set up a denominational system of education. Eventually, each denomination—Roman Catholics, Anglicans, United Church—Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational roots—and others, with per-capita support from the governing body—had their own buildings and hired denominational teachers.
Interestingly, there was no compulsory public education at that time. With the help of older siblings, who had little formal education, I chose to attend school. Of my contemporaries, I was one of the few to graduate from the U.C. school with high enough marks to be eligible to go on to university. When, at 16 I let it be known that I planned to apply and get accepted at a university, I sought out the help of my minister who, I am happy to say, also became a mentor. He respected my sceptical questioning of the Bible and the teachings of the religions. In summary, here is what he advised: “Take a good basic B.A. around the subjects you find interesting. Even if you register as a theological student, this will give you all kinds of options and not lock you in to any career.”
I am still thankful that I accepted his advice. To get this kind of education, in 1947 I migrated to New Brunswick, Canada and attended a denominational university. However, it was open to all races and creeds, including Jews, etc., and secularists. This is what attracted me. MTA was not a seminary for clergy and teachers only. http://www.mta.ca was, and is also about the arts, especially the fine arts and music, and the sciences.
In 1949, NL, with the help NL students studying in Canada, became the tenth province of Canada. That year, I was a junior at Mount Allison university. There, also, I had the privilege of meeting our first prime minister, the Hon. Joseph R. Smallwood—his life was quite interesting—who, an avid federalist, served the province for the rest of his life. Currently by the way, the education system is a public one.
Also, BTW, I forgot to mention: Later, as a UC minister (ordained in1953) I taught a non-sectarian approach to religious studies in public schools in Canada, and as a teacher at teachers college in Toronto. Sceptics, like me, were welcome.