chapter  14
14 Pages

Modern religious education

Historically speaking religious education has, almost without exception, assumed a confessional agenda, taking as its primary objective the enculturation of children into the belief patterns, liturgical practices and normative values of the religious community. Since modernity had been quick to marginalise religion, there was little reason to think that its attitude toward religious education would be any different. In multifaith Britain in the early 1970s it was increasingly clear that a public religious education rooted in Christian confessionalism was incongruous and that accusations of religious imperialism were almost impossible to answer. The response of religious educators was a positive one. The emergence of modern religious education coincided with the establishment of university departments of religious studies as an alternative to traditional faculties of theology. Religious education thus found itself called to the service of the third of our modern meta-narratives: liberalism.