Karen Glaser reports on atheist parents who send their children to faith schools

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 - 10:14 in Psychology & Sociology

Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford's new professor for the public understanding of science, is an avowed atheist, yet he sends his two daughters to a faith school. What is more, the school in question is Jewish - and Du Sautoy is not.The mathematician, who last month took over the Oxford post from evolutionary biologist (and Britain's most famous atheist) Richard Dawkins, is married to Shani, an Israeli, and the decision to send their twins to Simon Marks Jewish primary was primarily hers: the Hackney school reminds Shani of home.Not that it has proved such a compromise, says Du Sautoy. "Although I am an atheist and believe that education and religious beliefs should be kept separate, the emphasis of the school is on celebrating the cultural side of Judaism, rather than anything strongly religious. Our girls learn Hebrew, which means they can talk to their great-grandmother in Israel, and they do a...

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