Religion should not be taught in schools as a ‘history of superstition’
Hostility towards Catholicism blinding us to how much we depend on the Christian faith
Because of escalating cultural hostility towards Catholicism, we are becoming blinded to the fact the specificity of the Christian faith is a necessarily particular code upon which Irish society depends for many quantities essential to human functioning. What is taught as religion is in effect a history of superstition. “Here”, the teacher tells our children on our behalf, “is what these people – or those people – or your antecedents – believe(d). Isn’t it fascinating / quaint / absurd!”
There is the world of difference between this and educating a child in his/her own absolute subjectivity – the historical function of religious education, but now at an advanced stage of eradication.
To confuse teaching “about religion” with the idea of educating an infinite subjectivity in the process of unlocking the meaning of absolute reality is like confusing an outline knowledge of the theory of aerodynamics with the ability to fly an aeroplane. Hence de-absolutisation – the fatal reduction of human beings to functionaries in man-made systems. Our children learn “about” many things, but not to comprehend their place in reality.
[/CROSSHEAD]Religion is the best means to develop a sense, at both personal and collective levels, of the absolute and infinite dimensions of existence. It educates not just in respect of what is demonstrable and provable, but what is possible, conceivable, imaginable, what can reasonably be deduced from aspects of the human situation which are unknowable but yet implicit in the defining questions of the human condition.
Even if these questions cannot be definitively answered, an awareness of their scope is essential to human functioning, providing a working hypothesis which allows questions and tentative answers to be accommodated symbiotically in the psyche of both individual and the human community to which he or she belongs. Thus, what we call “religion” is, yes, infinitely more important than any other “subject”, because it fills out the speculating and marvelling elements of human subjectivity.