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Spirituality in British state education: an alternative perspective

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The purpose of this article is to challenge the assumption that a wholly secular spirituality offers an appropriate basis for encouraging spirituality in state schools. It does this by, firstly, drawing attention to the reality of secularist indoctrination in our society and in our schools. This makes the anxiety about religious indoctrination, so strongly expressed at least since the 1960s, heavily one-sided. The article then outlines an understanding of spirituality which transcends the secular versus religious debate in offering genuinely common ground, open to all and intuitively perceivable by all. Examples are given of a spiritual plane of experience put alongside two radically different planes: the habitual and the demonic. The purpose of explicit education concerning spirituality thus becomes to develop further awareness of this common ground and its presence or absence in practice. The article concludes by advocating that schools enable serious and respectful debate between different interpretations, secular and religious, of this plane of experience, while seeking to exemplify it in the whole ethos of the school.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wyke House Croft Bank Western Malvern Worcs WR14 4BP UK

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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