In light of this article here here that states
"More than a quarter of adults in Britain do not know where Jesus was born, a survey has suggested.
The poll found that 27% of people were unable to identify Bethlehem as his birthplace, rising to 36% of people aged between 18 and 24.
The poll, for public theology think tank Theos, also found 27% did not know who told Mary she would have a son. "
Also in schools this year only 1 in 5 are opting to stage the traditional Christmas Story as told here
So it would seems any christian (or indeed any other ) beliefs will be taught at home and at church.
I am just curious to know how schools go about teaching what was RE in my day.
Well in my school we teach about world faiths and each year group concentrates on a different religion. For example the first years study Buddhism. We
teach - "This is what Christians believe" rather than "This is what we believe".
Primary schools tend to be topic based around subjects like "The Wedding," where the teacher will look at how different faiths would celebrate a sacrament. I'm not surprised that children don't understand key concepts about Christianity as it is given no more weight than Islam or Hinduism etc.
As far as I'm concerned, if you want your children taught about a particular religion you should send your children to a faith school.
I have chosen to send my daughter to a Catholic school so that RE is taught with a Christian emphasis.
There is no national curriculum in England for RS, RE, or any other permutation of that phrase. It's the only subject in that situation.
There are *model* syllabi - from which each area comes up with an agreed syllabus, like the one in Bristol
How it's taught differs widely from place to place and from school to school. And the schools are in a real bind - no matter what they do, a proportion of parents will be unhappy with them.
However, simply because a proportion of adults don't know something doesn't mean it wasn't taught. :} I had a whole group of 30 year olds once who claimed never to have been told that England had a civil war!
Your analysis, Mary, seems to be very balanced. I think that those questioned about where Jesus was born, would also have difficulty with the likes of
Confucius, Buddha or Mohammed, too.
Our local high school has apparently banned students giving Christmas cards this year. I agree that the option for a faith based school should be availed of should you choose to bring up your child in a particular belief. I would also go so far as to say that a particular faith based school should not be forced to teach dogmas outside their own tenets unless it forms part of the core curriculum for all educational institutions.
So basically its a hotch potch, unless its a faith school.
But how long will faith schools last in the PC world we now live in. I mean how long before they go down the same road as private schools?
Don't you think that the duty to teach about a specific faith rests with the family?
When I taught in America we had moral education rather than religious instruction. I found that a satisfactory solution.
It didn't cover sex of any description. It was homilies about what happened when little Jimmy stole something from Betty etc.
On the main theme - it's not just the general populace. One thing I tend to do with university level theology students is get them to re-tell each
other the story of the nativity.
Then I have them look up what the text *actually* says.
Sometimes there are some real howlers - the same is even more true for the Creation stories....
I'd like to here some of those, Janet! I've got a smile just thinking about it.
Things such as mentions of sin and how it was all Eve's fault - that idea comes in Hebrew and then Christian theology in about the first C BC/AD -
it's not there in the original.
The idea there is only one creation story...
The description of angels. Don't get me started.... Biblical, indeed most ancient depictions of angels have nothing to do with what one tends to see on Christmas cards....
I know what you mean on the angel front.
My thinking on "original sin" from my reading of the Old Testament, was it not both who sinned or is there more to it? It's not been something I've studied.
Only one creation story? Are they only referring to Biblical teaching or are they also ignoring accounts in other belief systems.
Re the creation story - there's the long one everyone knows and within that there is a smaller, much shorter one.
Re original sin - you can get a real argument on it. From the early Hebraic view, Adam had the command, so his breaking of the command was the problem.
I think I'd enjoy your lectures. From the bits and pieces I see here, you sound as though you encourage your students to think, question their own preconceptions, and ensure that they have a solid grounding of their own beliefs at the end of it all.
That's the idea.
I'm not there to support or challenge their personal faith - I'm teaching theology for a secular university.
That said, people's beliefs come into the classroom with them.
We did a topic on water in year 6, most of our lessons in all the subjects were themed on water. including RE. (The water topic lead to the quote from
my grandad "I can't take a pee now without marking it on that damn sheet", as we monitered water use in our houses!)
We looked at Water in different religions, and then gradually we were moved away from the "water" theme and onto what different religions were like. Not at any stage were we taught specuifically that one of them was "what we believe", although we did have nativity plays at the school and christian hymns in assembly.
It was this gentle approach that led me to sample rituals from each religion for a while. I think we were clever enough to figure out the difference between a symbolic act, and a religious belief. I enjoyed the symbolism as much as the spirituality.