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July 25, 2005

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ash

I couldn't agree more! Whenever kids tell me "Re is boring", "RE is pointless" My gut reaction is "what?! it's the most important subject there is!"

Now I guess everyone wants to think that about their own subject, but I honestly think it. It's about people and how we interact with them and their beliefs. And it is about life and how we live it, how others live it, and why we and they live differently. I find it immensely disappointing that someone would suggest we knock RE on the head in the current climate, especially, but ever really.

I was fortunate enough to have very good RE teachers throughout school (although I didn't really appreciate this until A-level, It never ceases to amaze me how much i retained when i didn't think I was listening). It is RE that enables us to see Islam as a religion of peace that is antonymous with terrorism to the core. It is RE that helps us to understand that not all Christians are against condoms and think the universe was made in 6 days. It is RE that helps us examine things like history with some level of understanding: Why would the holocaust ever be allowed to happen? Why did we regress in medical and technological knowledge after the Romans? Why did the slave trade end? Why are there Churches in every village but not always a Post Office? But more than that too: why did gran and grandad have to go to Sunday School? Why were mum and auntie sybil baptised as babies? Why does Fatima wear a scarf on her head? Why does dad's boss wear a turban? Why does the lady down the road have a spot on her forhead?

The beauty of working with A-level kids is you get "why am I here?" "what is the meaning of life?" "why is there something rather than nothing?" "Why should we believe in God when there is so much evil?" "Why one God, aren't they all names for the same thing?" and so on.

I started to love RE at A-level. Really love it. If it's taught right, it can actually change lives for the better. It may not make kids choose a religion; but it will sure open their eyes to the world, and help them to understand it through more informed eyes.

rock on.

Dave Rattigan

Andy, you were far too gracious to Woodhead. (What an apt name!) I am going to blog about this myself this morning.

Laurence

I rarely sympathise with Woodhead, normally thinking him a bit of a bimbo. But insofar as religions can't really be appreciated well outside of thier lived contexts, and don't make it well translated into a purely studied thing, I would go along with that.

But if it teaches kids to question, more than anything else, I would encourage any kind of RE. Well written, thanks for that helpful discussion...

Anderson

No way should RE Lessions be scraped in schools, I no lots of kids drop it as quick as they can but at least they learn a little of what faith is. I find it a little odd that at times RE teachers don't confess a faith in God, how can you teach a subject you don't really understand!

Laurence

"I find it a little odd that at times RE teachers don't confess a faith in God, how can you teach a subject you don't really understand!"

That depends on how you take RE, and it's approach. If it's simply a lesson in apologetics and presentation of a particular faith, then perhaps it would be as good to have someone from that faith teaching. But state school RE is not simply an evangelising arm of Christianity, or whatever. If its aims are wider, then there shouldn't be an automatic barrier to teachers of different persuasions.

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