Faith schools have built Scottish education

1st December 2006 at 00:00
In her article of November 17, Marj Adams states that "denominational schools expect their charges to swallow, without question, whatever religious drivel is on offer".

Apart from being offensive (since I am a Christian), this statement is academically immature. I am presuming that Mrs Adams is familiar with the personal search elements of the 5-14 curriculum. Here pupils are required to reflect on the issues of, not only their Christian tradition but other world religions - even atheism.

Her reference to denominational schools attempting to "indoctrinate" pupils is nothing more than scare tactics. Faith schools exist due to many factors, but in the history of Scotland they have helped to build our education system.

The arrogance Mrs Adams betrays does not reflect the academic attitude that I would expect from someone in her position. The lecturers at the University of Glasgow express their opinions, but they are open to academic debate.

I believe that religious education in denominational schools equips pupils for the world at large, not only because it allows them to grow in knowledge about a number of world religions that they will find in any multicultural community, but also because they will be helped on their personal search journey by people who are sensitive to their spiritual development.

Philosophy can give them some tools, but has Mrs Adams not just substituted her "truth" for the "truth" many believe lies in religious beliefs?

Mrs Adams has made it clear that for me to take the opposite academic position to her makes me small-minded and intellectually inept. I believe she needs to examine her article in regards to at least critical analysis and fallacy.

If she did, she would see that her argument appears as follows:

* Faith schools are run by unthinking males.

* Faith schools do not allow freedom of opinion.

* Faith schools reinforce poor self-image.

* Therefore, faith schools are bad and should be closed.

Even a first year philosophy student will see that this is an immature argument.

Peter Sharp

MA religious and philosophical studies student, Glasgow University

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