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Teach Religion As Well As Morality - Bishop

by Gerry Lynch last modified 13 Mar, 2014 10:52 AM

Bishop Nicholas says teaching religion matters as much as teaching morality or spirituality. This should include experiences of worship and prayer.

Commenting after he spoke at the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools conference in London, Bishop Nicholas said:

“We used to assume that secularisation meant religion would soon die out in the West. That view has changed over the past 25 years. It is clear that in the UK and globally, religious faith remains a part of life. Across the world, 8 in 10 people identify with a religion.

“Most schools say they wish to educate body, mind and spirit but there is constant pressure on school leadership to put the weight of thought, time and money on mind and body.

“Many schools teach both spirituality and morality without religion, by focusing on values rather than faith. Mostly they do it well and in an inclusive way.

“‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is the Golden Rule found across the world’s Wisdom traditions. The values of the New Testament are mostly what were the common values of the day and they are still what most people regard as ‘good’.

“Yet religion and morality are not the same. The religious story is richer, deeper, divine. It has great potential to transfigure and transform.

“Universal values do not exist in a vacuum. To belong everywhere you have to belong somewhere. We want depth and not just superficial acquaintance. It matters that we teach Christianity not just as history, philosophy and ethics but as the lively faith of a religious community including experiences of worship and prayer.

“This is about giving young people a good education and the opportunity to explore faith so as to be better able to negotiate the world in which they live.”

The full text of Bishop Nicholas’ speech, along with the photos of the works of art he discussed in it, are available here.

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