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Humanism, non-religious worldviews and the future of Religious Education

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This article considers whether non-religious worldviews ought to be included in the curriculum content of religious education (RE). While the immediate context is that of the campaigns of the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (REC) and the British Humanist Association (BHA) to extend the content of RE to include non-religious worldviews, the arguments reviewed have a wider application to RE elsewhere. A short account is provided of the 2013 REC Framework and of current legislation governing RE. The main part of the article is devoted to the evaluation of a number of publicly expressed recent arguments advanced by humanists in favour of including non-religious worldviews in the RE curriculum. Critical attention is also given to two further considerations, that of the principle of inclusion and that of the aim of RE to challenge religious bigotry and intolerance. It is concluded that the case for the inclusion of non-religious worldviews in the content of RE is unconvincing on educational grounds and unnecessary given the secular nature of the school curriculum.
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Keywords: Humanism; RE Council Framework; inclusion; non-religious worldviews; secular education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Education and Professional Studies, King’s College, London, UK

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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