British Students Make a Case for Studying Religion in School

Some 80 students age 16-17 from schools across England participated in a debate on the subject of religious education—whether it should be discontinued as a subject in UK schools. An overwhelming majority voted against the motion to cease offering the subject.

Students vote against dropping Religious Education as a subject in English schools at debates held at the Palace of Westminster (Photograph by Ella Perkins).
Students vote against dropping Religious Education as a subject in UK schools at debates held at the Palace of Westminster. (Photograph by Ella Perkins)

Religious education (RE) helps to tackle extremism, most students argued. The debates, which took place at the Palace of Westminster, were organized by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, and RE Today Services.

Labour MP Stephen Pound said “Religious education is crucial for two reasons. One is the comparative aspect: knowledge is the antidote to fear, and if you don’t understand about other religions then you can fear other religions.

“I’ve always thought the heart of Christianity is quite simply three words: Love thy neighbor. And I see that in other faiths; I think comparative religion is so useful. But, above all, the reason for it is we need to understand the purpose of life. Only religion, worship, faith can lead you down that path.”

Asked about schools that did not teach RE, Mr. Pound said: “I think it’s like a school not teaching survival. If you don’t have that faith component, then what is the point?”

From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.

The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.

For more information visit the Scientology website or Scientology TV Channel.