Religious education is an oxymoron

Good quality’ ‘Religious Education’ (RE) in schools is seen as important and valued by the public, research commissioned by the Religious Education Council (REC) has indicated. According to the research, 53% of adults in England and Wales think that RE should remain a compulsory subject in state funded schools. A greater number (58%) think it is beneficial for pupils to study RE.

REC of England and Wales brings together fifty professional organisations and religion and belief groups with an interest in promoting good quality RE.

Err, good quality religious education? I think that’s what’s called an oxymoron.

Religion and education are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. One is dogmatic, prescriptive and punishes free thinking and reason. Education is *meant* to be the opposite.

I’m really not sure why anyone who is not part of a religious group would be glad that adults recognise the importance of religious education.

And if it’s so important for children to be force-fed their parents’ religion – which is what this is all really about – why not have political education classes too? It is also very helpful in raising obedient robots.

I know, I know, it’s all about exploring the ‘many varied ethical and religious perspectives to promote understanding and to assist in the personal development of each student’, blah, blah, blah.

But religion is the last thing that can help in anything to do with promoting understanding and children’s personal development.

Maybe it would be best if the ‘professionals’ started looking at it from a children’s rights perspective rather than from the perspective of religion.


I’m blogging every half an hour from 9am to 3pm GMT in support of the Secular Student Alliance blogothon. The SSA is trying to raise £100,000 by 16 June.

Try to support the SSA if you can. If we’re going to beat the religion industry, we need to support organisations promoting secularism and reason.

Here’s a link to the official SSA Week page, which has lots of information about the SSA as well as an easy-to find donation widget.

Here’s a list of quotations collected by Greta on why the SSA is worth supporting.