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Why teach doctrine? A response to Dan Moulin's 'Challenging Christianity: Leo Tolstoy and religious education' in Journal of Beliefs and Values, Vol. 30, No. 2, August 2009

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In response to the article by Dan Moulin it is argued that the representation of Christianity in British religious education relies on central beliefs and practices that are widely shared. In contrast to Moulin we consider that the teaching of doctrine is important in order to prevent serious misunderstanding of Christianity. Focussing on a sociological approach can undermine the importance of taking truth-claims seriously as requiring real reflection. We argue that doctrine should not be thought of, or taught, as something rigid and restricting but rather inviting an on-going re-thinking and re-application. Thus doctrines can be held confidently while remaining open to, and benefiting from, criticism. We finish by asking what can realistically be expected of teachers.
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Keywords: Christianity; doctrine; openness; religious education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Liverpool, UK 2: Formerly Director of the Farmington Institute, Oxford, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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