Importance of teaching religion

Importance of teaching religion

Tolerance and understanding needed

I always brace myself for the response to when I ask the question, “what do you know about Islam?” for I never quite know what I might get.  As predicted, the word ISIS is mentioned and I know at that point, that whatever I planned that lesson, will go right out the window.  For this is what I love about teaching Religious Studies.  Not only is it a chance to impart knowledge of the world’s major religions (brag over), but more importantly it is an opportunity to right the misconceptions that are forever being raised by platformssuch as social media and the press, in order to create a “good story”.  

In a world that is ever changing, one can’t open a newspaper without some reference to religion and as such, tolerance has never been more important.  And whilst history is full of blood and violence where religion is concerned, whether it is the Babylonian wars in Old Testament times (studied in Forms 5 and 6), the Crusades, the martyrdom of Sikhism, the conflict during India’s independence and the Holocaust, each religion has its part to play in the history of religious conflict.  After all, as the saying goes, one man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter.  There is no doubt that interpretation has a lot to answer to, as does the culture versus religion debate; these latter two are not synonymous and will forever be an ongoing battle to separate.

And that is why the teaching of religion is now, more than ever, such a vital part of the overall education of the young generation coming though.  Whatever the reasoning behind these events, our children need to understand that at the heart of all faith are the core values – treating others well and living a life in the way that fulfils this.  The very slim minority that don’t do this should not taint the vast majority of those that do, and this is what I hope the children of Cargilfield understand.

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