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Dec 6, 2004
I'm ready for the banter, and have no problem with it at all, but think that this article is very interesting regarding the place of RE in our schools:


It begins:

Religious education in English schools is being edged out, marginalised by exam and curriculum reforms. To some, this is a cause for celebration. In many countries, such as France and the US, it would be unthinkable to include religion in the syllabus other than incidentally. Religion, they say, is a matter of personal conscience, to be taught at the family altar if at all.
And it goes on...

One of the objections that disestablishmentarians have to RE is that it sanctions the state indoctrination of children. But many of the people who talk about this are looking back to their own dim pasts, at least in England: prior to 1988, RE in English state schools was explicitly instructional and assumed a Christian background. Contemporary RE has undergone several resurrections since then, however. It has become the study of religion, rather than a study in religion – something that still escapes many parents who fret that their child will come home brainwashed. Interestingly, as an RE teacher of 10 years’ standing, I have encountered just as many parents who are concerned that their child will come home an atheist. More worryingly, I encounter the occasional parent who openly admits that they do not want their child studying “those other religions and cultures”, their xenophobia not even masked.

Banishing the subject to purely home instruction guarantees that the child will be exposed to no other religion and culture than their own domestic catechisms. Teaching religion formally in school permits us to drag dogma into the harsh light of comparative study, where believers and non-believers alike are forced to confront the origins of their spiritual axioms. I have seen, I assure you, just as many faiths wane as wax in RE lessons. “Learning about” is not “learning to”.
I think a few on here need to really take stock of that.

It ends:

Throughout this article I’ve posed many questions. During our week in the Holy Land I asked myself a million more. To answer them, you need history, of course, but more than just history: crypto-history. And geography, but more than that: the geography of imagination and belief. Literature and art, too – as ways of understanding how values become embodied in aesthetic representation. Sociology also, that upstart arriviste. Perhaps even psychology. Theology and its secular sister, philosophy. All of these. And more than just these. That’s the space that RE occupies. The story, the history of the interior space of the human heart; meaning and value and all the things that make life important. Not just where and when, but why and at what cost.

You can believe in Hell, Zion or the great silence of nihilism if you want, but ignore belief in the human story and you’ve deliberately ignored one of its pillars. That’s fine, but don’t pretend that you’ve acted in the interest of objectivity or rationalism. Religion endures, whatever one thinks of it.
So there we have it, if taught well, the most important subject we teach. Make sure you read it all here: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6417096

Then tell me why I waste my time. :hilarious: