Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Nietzsche insisted that one should seek a straight line and a goal for life. Well, as far as RE is concerned, this is about as straight as it gets. And, no, the 'RE' has not been Photoshopped!
More seriously, of course, Religious Education, at its best, not only gives factual information about the lifestyles and belief systems of the world religions - itself absolutely necessary for a mature and sensitive approach to live and empathy with people of different cultures - but it should also provide an opportunity for students to learn to questions their own beliefs and assumptions, ask fundamental questions about life, and grapple with issues of meaning, value and direction.
Of course, one can validly claim that role for Philosophy too. The only difference being that Religious Education seeks to earth philosophical reflection in the intuitive, the cultural and the personal - those things that give religions their on-going attractiveness - whereas there is a danger that philosophy will seek an over-intellectual approach to life that leaves these things out of account. The best philosophy includes them, and when it does so, it gets beyond the superficial and Western distinction between philosophy and religion. They are both about finding direction and getting life straight!
And, no, I was not trespassing on the railway, but was on a level crossing; I was listening out for a rumbling that could have made this my last photograph, and - hey - this little branch line in Friesland gets few enough trains.