Religious Studies helps students:
- think through their own beliefs about life, death, the meaning of life, God, and many other ‘ultimate questions’.
- to understand the beliefs, values and practices of people who may be different from themselves.
- to respect one another, even when people disagree about things.
- If students belong to one of the faith traditions that are studied in the syllabus, RE helps them to learn more about it.
- to look at many different areas of life that are important to us all, not because we are religious, but because we are human.
- to develop their ability to think ‘conceptually’. This means to think about things that we cannot see, hear, touch, taste or smell. It helps them to explore ideas. Everybody needs to be able to do this, whatever they believe.
Religious Studies is not about making students believe in God, nor making them not believe in God. Religious Studies is not about promoting any particular religion, nor about criticizing any particular religion. Religious Studies is not about promoting religion in general, nor about suggesting that religion is not good.
Religious Studies is about promoting theological literacy. Theological literacy is based upon knowledge of religion and religious issues, but it is far more than this. It is the learning of the understanding of religion and religious issues. It is the appreciation of why people participate in religion, why they see and understand the dimensions of life and reality that are not seen and understood by secular materialism. It can be done through symbolism, through narrative, through image and through philosophy. Children who develop theological literacy do not necessarily develop a religious approach to life themselves, but they begin to understand that those who do have something that is of value. They are able to connect with the values that exist within religious worldviews and relate them to their own.