Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ye of Little Faith

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ye of Little Faith

Article excerpt

Once in a while, someone leaves my room crying. I don't say that with shame or pride - it's part of the job. You see, I teach RE. Know-nothings tell me how irrelevant it is to them ("I'm not going to be a priest, so why should I learn this, lol?") while every day 90 per cent of the world is chucking itself off a cliff for faith, or bandaging the wounded. And all the while, bombs are going off on the televisions in their living rooms, getting closer and closer.

But that's not the only reason that RE is important. And it's not why students leave my room crying. Too many people, alienated from religion either because of their disbelief of it in the abstract, or their fractured experience of it in the practical, rebel against even considering why it is so important to so many people.

What makes it powerful? If you study religion for more than a moment, it becomes obvious. Religion isn't about salat, or wudu, or the Stations of the Cross, or the divine liturgy. It isn't about bending and bowing in Mass, the lowest impact aerobics known to man. Religion is about everything that we value; it's about everything we do. Whatever your take on its veracity (and brothers and sisters, I say "amen" to your doubts if you have them, just as I say "hallelujah" to your faithful yawps), what religion does is attempt to process the sum total of human experience and make sense of everything in life with value, everything that matters to us.

That's why, in RE, we talk about ethics, cloning, abortion, death, marriage, divorce, the value of life, philosophy, euthanasia, humanism, food laws, just wars, unjust wars, oppression, marginalisation, loneliness, the meaning and purpose of life, kindness and cruelty. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.