a journal of analysis and comment
advancing public understanding of religion and education
Volume 32 Number 1
European and Danish Religious Education:
Human Rights, the Secular State, and
Consequently, I do not pretend to be impartial. My kind of religious education is based upon a certain point of view in regard to religion, religious education and the obligations and interests of the state in regard to the education of its citizens. The descriptive part of the paper, then, is accompanied by a normative part, the latter connected to personal as well as professional opinions on religion and education, the well-being of the state, the positive value of scientifically based knowledge, and the importance of religious education as one of many instruments available to provide for knowledge and intercultural understanding.
I am not an educationalist well-versed in pedagogy. The transformation of my ‘ideal-type’ of religious education into classroom practice at the various levels of schooling is a task for the teachers. I know, however, from my own experience of more than 15 years as a religious education teacher in an upper-secondary school that it is possible. I am an historian of comparative religions, and one point of departure for me in the academic study of religions is that religion and religions are part and parcel of the history of mankind, and that religions matter. Religions matter in the lives of individual citizens, and in international as well as domestic politics. In order to be and become a well-educated and well-integrated citizen of a modern nation state as well as of the world, one simply has to know something about religions. Not only about one’s own or one’s parent’s religion, but about other religions as well.
My point of departure includes a non-religious (or secular4) approach to religion. I consider religion an historical and human variable, a social and cultural system and discourse distinguishing itself from other such systems and discourses primarily by way of including a reference to a postulated transempirical, transhistorical, and transhuman agency which cannot be either falsified or verified.
[To read more...]