A chasm exists between religious teachings and students' daily lives. A Year 11 class recently studied Jesus' words on violence; "love your enemies", "do good to those who hate you", "if someone hits your right cheek . . .", some students found these ideas crazy.
The overwhelming message they receive from the media is that money is the god and the National Lottery is hope. "Look after number one" and "winner takes all" are attractive concepts when one-third of children in the UK live in poverty while wealth does not "trickle down" (itself an immoral concept).
Religious teachings opt for the downtrodden and the vulnerable. In our society, however, the poor become poorer, special needs budgets are cut, asylum seekers are denied housing and the link between truancy and crime becomes ever more obvious. Survival of the fittest is illustrated in league tables.
It is difficult to see how RE, or indeed a concerted effort from all teachers, can begin to address the nation's sensibilities while a cost-accounting mentality reigns supreme. At a national level the shrine appears empty.
E BYRNE Head of RE The Nobel School Mobbsbury Way Stevenage Herts