Deconstructing religious education
This chapter attempts to deconstruct modern religious education and recast it within an anti-realistic framework. The negotiation of religious meaning requires religious competence, and it is the nurturing of such competence that emerges as the core aim of contextual religious education. 'Religious competence means being able to deal with one's own religiosity and its various dimensions embedded in the dynamics of life-history in a responsible way but also to appreciate the religious view of others'. Contextual religious education is presented as a response to 'a paradigmatic shift in the theory of religious education and the scientific study of religion in general which, inspired by phenomenological philosophy, has re-focused its attention to the life-world(s) as origin and locus of religion'. Government advice on the implementation of spiritual education deliberately disengages spiritual education from religious education, presenting spirituality as a crosscurricular theme that should permeate the life of the whole school.