Emerging government policy is unashamedly “secular” re religious ed in schools.* The policy amounts to this: “Because there is lots of bathwater, let’s throw out the baby too!”
Needless to say, I’m a fan of keeping the baby!!
The bathwater is all the hogwash that passes for religion these days. The manipulation, the chest-beating, bullying, business interests, marketing, the blah-blah-blah. You know the stuff. Chuck it out by all means. But what’s the baby?
The baby is the spiritual, the in-spiration of students to live according to higher realities than those dictated by the mere physics of space, time, and matter.
You see, our values are based on spiritual realities as we see them. If you see no spiritual realities, you will form values based on that. If you see spiritual realities in one way, you will form values different to those who see spiritual realities another way.
For example: if the way I see spirituality says “women are inferior to men,” then those values will form and express themselves in my behaviours. If I see that women and men are equal, then I will express those values.
Another example: if you see no spiritual realities, and you are the strongest, you may rationalize the law of the jungle. If you see a spiritual imperitive to support the weak, you will increasingly support those causes.
Conflicts arise which cannot be resolved by ignoring them.
The answer is NOT to throw out spirituality entirely (as if that can be done!) But to learn to see more clearly. Learn to evaluate, and discuss positively and respectfully, and in ways willing to adjust my own perceptions. Only in such discussion, reflection, and action, can we begin to see more clearly.
And clearer perception is the road to values that work because the higher and lower realities are in sync.
* secular: denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.