Critique of Religion, Critique of Reason: Criticising Religion in the Classroom
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Original versionBrekke ØB: Critique of Religion, Critique of Reason: Criticising Religion in the Classroom. In: Mjaaland MT. The Reformation of Philosophy, 2020. Mohr Siebeck p. 259-269 https://dx.doi.org/10.1628/978-3-16-159218-8
Religious education (RE) in Norwegian schools today is of a so-called integrative kind, meaning that the subject gathers all students, is multi-faith oriented, and its context is non-confessional.1 Christianity still holds an important place in the curriculum and teaching of the subject, argued for by way of Norway’s historical-cultural heritage, but much has changed since this was the all dominant focus of religious education in Norwegian schools. Current guidelines for the school subject, which also includes ethics and philosophy, underline that the same pedagogical principles are to be employed for all topics. Furthermore, it is stated that all religions and world views shall be presented in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.2 In recent didactical discussions the question of what critical teaching about religions and world views is and should be has gained particular attention. To what extent and in what way should this compulsory school subject also involve a critique of religion in a more focused sense and thematise as problematic various beliefs or practises of religions and other world views? My own work involves teaching religion, ethics and philosophy to students who are going to teach RE in school. What I should like to do here – with this question in mind – is to make an excursion into the field of philosophy of religion to see how this may help us in our reflections upon the relationship between critical teaching and the critique of religion in a more focused sense in the context of primary education. My aim will be to sort some perspectives that may prove helpful for a later, concrete working out in didactical terms.