Religious studies is enjoying a boom. But in a multicultural society, what is it now for? Victoria Neumark reports
Niqabs in the classroom, creationism knocking at the door of the science lab, the threat of suicide bombers: big challenges face religious education (RE) in UK classrooms. A critical report by Ofsted last month demanded that RE “contributes strongly to pupils’ understanding of the changing role of religion, diversity and community cohesion”. It said children should be taught more about religion’s role in a modern world under the threat of terrorism – and that they should learn that religion is not always a force for good.
How timely, then, that Oxford University has appointed its first professor of religious education for 27 years. Neither a woolly-jumpered vicar nor a wild-eyed evangelist, Terence Copley is an enthusiast for the very virtues of tolerance and reasoned discussion that Ofsted advocates. “We shouldn’t run away from difference in a false and superficial attempt to create multicultural harmony,” he says.
Full article on The Guardian