Running head: Faith commitment and impartment of RE
Faith commitment and impartment of RE:
How important, do you think, is faith commitment in the teaching of RE?
Religious education (RE) helps develop respect for others and combat prejudice practically encouraging sensitivity to those whose faith and beliefs are different from their own. It develops a sense of identity and belongingness that promotes discernment and enables one to flourish individually as they strive to participate in the surrounding conditions of the global economy. One of the major emphases in RE is the use of stories to express faith and develop self-understanding of their respective religion doctrines and underlying principles through identification with other people’s stories and through life personal experiences.
These stories elevates a person’s understanding of people and the significance of life which helps them make sense of their lives into some framework focusing directions shaping influence on who we are displayed by the commitments that we make. On the profound implications of externals of language, dress, and symbols representations in religious pluralism, one is subjected to different ways of conceiving ultimate reality. This fact of course refers to the different ways one experiences reality and the different ways one responds in life to that reality.
Encounters on religious pluralism with other human beings inhabiting within the circumference of individual horizons marking range of perception and experience shaped the foundations of their truth and the meaning of the nature of their reality. Teaching RE based on religious faith commitment connotes individualism and in depth loyalty to propagation of personal religious views. How do we regard then the importance of faith commitment in the teaching or RE? How can a great teacher be a great teacher for RE in the absence of faith commitment? Faith commitment precludes beliefs and culture of the instructor, methodology used and materials for references. How is it possible to alienate oneself from one’s belief to teaching RE effectively?
In some forms of instruction and teaching methodology domestication, indoctrination rather than education is predictable outcome of religion propagation agenda. The complexities of individualism and indoctrination confuses faith commitment on RE to faith commitment bracketed in the domains of individual beliefs when studying or teaching religion. Explorations on a mix religious faith commitment adversities calls to order focus on the relevance of whose faith commitment prevails in RE classroom setting and generalization of participants potential acceptance of personalized views that may fracture traditional foundations to unwanted student susceptibility to influence.
Faith commitment and impartment of RE:
How important, do you think, is faith commitment in the teaching of RE?
Religious Education published in October 2004 established agreed guidelines and national standards for religious education at each key stage level. Leaders from Church of England, Hindu, Sikh, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faith signed a joint agreement to promote the scheme which encourages the teachings of five major religions namely Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The course program serves to enhance knowledge, increased understanding, and develops ability to respond to Christianity and other principal religions exploring issues on faith and influence among individuals, societies and culture.
Religious education is the tool through which society bridges the gap and disparity on culture, religion, and faith encouraging reasons and informed judgments on religious and moral issues by reflection, analysis, and evaluation of beliefs, values, and practices in communicating responses. Religion is considered to be a major factor that shapes culture, behavior, social norms and characterization of a person affected by it. The things that people believe, the things that people do, the way people express themselves, and the variables of references on their responses comprises their identity values, meaning and directions in life which has relatively put on great influence on their sense of commitment.
RE seeks to understand wider range of areas and the links between them to predictable universal spirituality of yet unstructured deliberate exploration on moral and religious issues to identify what is of value and concern to an individual and to others within the bounds of his coordinate system. Understanding the significance of symbols and practices and its meaning, to acquisition of knowledge from stories shares selected features on some practices of a person’s religious life expressed by their responses to other people’s values and commitments.
This is the time when man fails to define and grasp the essence of humanity construed by unstopping violence and aggression aggravated by the dilemma of handing on faith to disinterested future generations. The established practice on evangelization, catechesis, and religious education assumes faith commitment of its participants or students. The philosophy of religious studies addresses critical issues on the dynamic relationship of self-understanding and questions that deals with the very existence of humankind. A more appropriate approach in RE involves contextualizing questions as to what particular historical figure, text or story reveals profoundly about such issues.
Yet, one may find that this is not especially illuminating. The leap of faith induces one to commit beyond reason to upholding the truth which most likely helps to prevent one from suffering any crisis of faith (Flikschuh 2000). The articles of faith may not necessarily bear upon theories in humanities but its scope of understanding is purely without or beyond intellectual limits. As revealed in nature and Scriptures, the proposition of faith reaches beyond human comprehension and is only credible to those who possess it (Helm 1997). Illumination comes in the form of extended meditation on God reflecting his presence and wishes to learn more about God from God himself wherein intellectual insight is the expected answer to prayer.
Commitment therefore involves justifications and reason giving more than mere desire or expression of professional preferences to close any possibility of error. It implies abstract transcendental point of view perceived by the physical senses where in any way bypass intellectual intuition (Wendling 1995). Experiences do have weighty reality of its own whose order is not that remote and is very much capable of influencing and directing everyday behavior expressed by a lively imagination and in a language commonsense transcendentalism people could understand. Where does this all lead us?
Faith commitment promotes awareness of other people and the obligation their existence imposes on us especially the idea of moral struggle leading to the knowledge of phenomenal to whatever assumptions brings the inner acceptance of Absolute noumenal order beyond or within it. The relevance and necessary interconnection of faith and authority in RE mandates defense to major arguments in the legitimacy of religious faith to an audience of academics whose religious appetites are listed in the least importance. One should understand that a good catechist always begins with the known and then proceeds to the unknown.
The role of RE as transmitters of faith initiates faith formation by catechesis, theology, and spirituality. As faith seeks understanding, theology becomes theology when the person becomes conscious of his faith and seeks interpretation over experience with God. Theology on RE is the channel of education or simply the religious articulation of that experience within human experience that encompasses belief to understand. Faith commitment holds and embraces individual’s conviction approach to religion. It dramatically defends arguments and issues of the passion appropriate to the conviction of their truth.
Faith commitment is very important as one can never transmit transcendence without the commitment and experience that may serve to validate and invalidate belief. Since catechesis will seek to nurture academic student’s personal faith, it must be done through shared goals and shared narratives. To illustrate, a person must undergo conversion, deep conviction of self, sacrifice, and change of behavior made possible by the leadings of the Holy Spirit to development of their spirituality to be able to effect transcendence of faith. Teaching faith by lack of conviction is irrelevant because portrayal and impartment of knowledge is not effectively directed to the hearts and minds of the listeners but is only hooked on head based.
What do we mean by head based? The knowledge is only imparted like how the other subjects of science and math were transmitted. It only procures to serve the intellect but never the soul and spirituality. It could be full of doctrines and virtues without affecting the values of the listener. Faith commitment commences change in behavior in many forms. Propagation of faith made through universality of instruction amidst diversity of beliefs among listeners models human experience merged with interpretation to understanding spirituality and its major components. The dynamic process only comes alive in the experience of faith which holds individual faith commitment. By the lack of it, the lessons doctrines issues has every reason to shake faith in mere contemporary philosophical claims and possible concessions from one who is certain to reinterpretation and misinterpretation of the church’s dogma.
The idea of propagation stemming from own views over educational claims of RE is predictable and significant in the presence of religious faith commitment expressing greater probability of domestication where dogma and indoctrination emerges as a product of evangelization. Faith commitment argues on the universality of the subject RE. When we talk about fundamentals of relationships with God and search for individual identity it will always refer to explanations from individual religion supported with the occurrence of individual experiences. The keyword is individual. Individual faith commitment emerging from individual faith experience leading to individual change of behavior fulfilling individual search for meaning and purpose in life to elevating individual levels of spirituality which promotes individual understanding of human existence and individual relationship with God. Individualism is the domain of meeting to understand other people’s values and religion.
Considering that RE is not faith based, the curriculum thereby limits faith commitment to the subject RE alienating oneself to propagating faith within the education system. How can one teach religion without the intention to propagate faith according to the doctrines and teachings of their religion? How can man alienate self from the traditions and beliefs he had accumulated from birth of faith to alienating itself from the convictions he had with God and all that is related to it by separating faith and religious education? Faith is something intangible and is very much attached to the system of the person hosting it.
Religious education would mean nurturing faith and not explaining how to go around with faith. And what direction shall this subject lead the students? Philosophy and sociology can very well explain behavior and meaning of life not faith based. It is now the question of harmony between body, soul, belief, and spirituality of private domain and temporarily casting out individuality during secularization of beliefs. This is a rather hot and cold fusion for neutralization to damage in identity. Teaching RE absolutely needs faith commitment that is faith based.
The strength of commitment reflects strength of moral and philosophical issues within the framework or system of their own religious beliefs. The main frame of self and alienating from self denounces identity which will never happen on people holding strong beliefs and faith issues. The most possible solution is appointing different teachers to teach major religion listing according to the religion of their faith commitment. The result which may create an order to the course instruction but produce superficial faith based students because of confusion in dogmas, teaching methodology of transcendence, stories, and essence of spirituality. The live unabated question is how do we nurture spirituality to be able to see other people and understand other people? Isn’t it by individual faith commitment? The question then closes the question for importance of faith commitment in the teaching of RE itself.
Flikschuh, K. (2000). Kant and modern political philosophy. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
Helm, P. (1997). Faith and understanding. Edinburgh, Great Britain:
Edinburgh University Press.
Wendling, R. (1995). Coleridge’s progress to Christianity: Experience and authority
In religious faith. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press.