Humanist's faith in RE framework

19th November 2004 at 00:00
If the remarks of the chair of the Birmingham Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education were accurately reported (TES, November 5), it is worrying that RE is in such a person's hands.

When survey after survey finds that more than 60 per cent of young people are atheist or agnostic it is not good enough to dismiss them by saying:

"in the main, that's because they have never had the case for the belief of God presented to them." Apart from the tiny minority who are withdrawn from RE and school worship, it's hard to see how pupils can have avoided the case for belief in God.

Teaching the atheist arguments alongside the theist ones would be nothing new in most RE lessons. What would be new in many syllabuses would be to include the ethical world view of humanists.

RE, thankfully, has moved on from scripture lessons to explore religious, philosophical and ethical questions from a range of perspectives. It is a healthy development that the new RE framework has recognised this, but it seems it will take a while for some SACREs to acknowledge the real world.

Marilyn Mason

Education officer

British Humanist Association

1 Gower Street

Bloomsbury, London WC1

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