Sunday, December 14, 2008

Occupying the same space

This idea, from Norman Geras, might cut more than one way. He is writing about objections from some Christians to the introduction of lessons in humanism, delivered by people who do not believe in God, during lessons timetabled for religious education in Victoria, Australia:

Humanism is, indeed, not a religion. But it's a body of ideas that challenges the truth of religion. It therefore inhabits a common intellectual space with the various religions and there contests some of the main teachings of religion. It is appropriate, therefore, to give it curricular space in a religious education programme. What, in any case, are these Christian spokespersons afraid of? They're not confident of religion being able to make its own way?
For example:
Creationism and Intelligent Design are, indeed, not science. But they form a body of ideas that challenges the truth of science. They therefore inhabit a common intellectual space with science and there contest some of the main teachings of science. It is appropriate, therefore, to give them curricular space in a science education programme. What, in any case, are these scientific spokespersons afraid of? They're not confident of science being able to make its own way?
Might it not be better to teach science in science lessons and religion in religious education lessons?

2 comments:

dearieme said...

At secondary school we had a few years of lessons called RK (religious knowledge). One of the teachers justified them not on the grounds that we were being taught Christianity, but on the grounds that all European children ought to know something about Christianity if they were to understand their own history. It was a good argument then and still is today. It works well for Oz too.

Yasmin said...

At secondary school in Oz in the 80s we had religious education classes that strove to give an overview of all the major world religions and emphasised the fact that religion is a personal choice to made without coercion and with knowledge of all the options. I think a segment on humanism fits well in this context.
I chose atheism.