Religious education

29th April 2005 at 01:00

RE adds to intriguing issues such as the grandfather paradox and the knowledge paradox the possibility of God. If God is real, has God set the universe, past, present, future - or spacetime - in an unchangeable way, so that what humans think of as free will is a delusion? How would the accepted view of human choice fit such a universe? What sort of God would that imply? Where might God fit in if the spacetime theory is correct? Such questions meet RE national framework target 1b, requiring students to "think rigorously and present coherent, widely informed and detailed arguments about beliefs... drawing well-substantiated conclusions". But what would we want to ask Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha and other figures whom we might meet in backwards time travel? What do we expect them to look like? How might they behave? Who would translate their speech for us? Could we really face watching the crucifixion or the five days' torture of Sikh Guru Arjan Dev that preceded his death? These questions address the framework's stolid AT 2a, "reflect on, express and justify their own opinions in the light of their learning about religion" but are far more important as an exercise of the imagination.

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