Sir Lloyd Geering believes there are good reasons for teaching religion in schools. He thinks parents’ confusion about the word “religion”, can make them more likely to remove their children from religion classes.
“I think ‘religion’ is probably a word that is confusing the whole situation. What we really should be talking about is culture. Religion is simply the spiritual dimension of culture – every culture has a spiritual dimension.”
He said that in most countries, there is some form of educating people in what are the important things of culture, which includes its spiritual dimension.
Geering believes “This is an aspect of culture that has been sadly lacking in our curriculum,” and as a consequence many New Zealanders do not know much about religion.
David Hines, of the Secular Education Network, said some members of his group believed religion should be taken out of the curriculum altogether.
Others believed schools should teach children about a range of beliefs, not just Christianity, provided they were taught in a fair and objective way.
The Secular Education Network and religious experts plan to meet within the next few weeks to discuss the issue.
Sir Lloyd Geering is a well-known New Zealand theologian and emeritus professor of religious studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
News category: New Zealand.