by Timothy Elphick
MULTI-faith religious education in schools can lead to a superficiality that "depresses teachers, alienates pupils and outrages faith communities" according to a report released this week by the 3,000-strong evangelical Association of Christian Teachers.
The report, "Calling or Compromise ?", claims that the attempt to teach a. curriculum based on the six major faiths of the world "leads inevitably to the risk of misrepresentation" and "the real danger of devaluing the distinctive nature of each religion." And it warns that the "constant danger of 'open' and 'objective' RE lies in its detachment from religious
Teachers with anything more than the desire to offer their own religion as just one more world faith, "who maintain both a finn and clear witness to Christ as the only saviour", risk being seen as "inconsistent or even dangerous," the report says. It expresses "deep concern" over the damage a multi-faith approach, which it describes as the Cook's Tour of world religions, can do to teachers and pupils alike.
Christian! teachers involved in RE should not be "nervous about exploring ideas from a range of faiths" if they are secure in their beliefs, the association stresses, but they must be aware of the "potential hazards" involved.