23 SES 03 A, Religion and Education II
The aim of this paper is to discuss about the neutrality claim that secularism makes and to reflect the implications for educational policies in Europe. In sociology secularization theory has been known from the 1960s but educational discourse hasn’t engaged it until recently. Contemporary educational formations have been blind to historical and cultural elements that take religion into account. Religion as a social category is underestimated as seriously taken entity in educational discussion. Class, gender and race are well-known categories in political theories but God is supposed to be dead in the modern world. It is time for education to see religion as an integral part in identity and citizenship forming process. Interestingly, Council of Europe reacted to this cultural change in the aftermath of 9/11 considering citizenship to have deeply religious connections.
How to make sense of secularism and religious worldviews in the public sphere and as a part of education?
The objective of this research is A) to explore the exclusive nature of secularism towards certain worldviews and B) to analyse the consequences of such an attitude for democracy and education. This study also seeks for understanding how pedagogy can help making sense between different worldviews. Secularization process has been a key element forming liberal democracies in Europe but we have to ask whether the totality of this “neutral” and “value-free” thinking has its limits. The secular attempt to wipe religious worldviews away from political can be seen as an ideological effort to build walls around democracy and to promote predominance of secularism over all other worldviews. (Hunter 2009, 28-30; Papastephanou 2008)
State education has an elemental role in making citizens. This paper presents religious education as one pedagogical tool to enforce the political socialization of young people. The way religious education is organized in European countries varies a lot; Finnish model has its advantages and disadvantages, too.
As a conceptual framework, citizenship is understood as an ethical concept that has close connections to persons’ worldview (Papastephanou 2008; McLaughlin 1992). Instead of talking about religion, worldview is considered being a broader term catching the fact that everyone holds her own way of seeing and valuing the world (Valk 2007). Liberal democracy is understood from its classical notion of justice and freedom (Rawls 2005) but is strongly criticized here for neglecting its mission for equality of all citizens (Hunter 2009; Wolterstorff 1997). Traditional paradigms of secularization are analysed in contrast of new perspectives on post-secularism (Dobbelaere 1981; Bruce 1996; Casanova 1994; Habermas 2006).
Bruce, S. 1996. Religion in the Modern World. From Cathedrals to cults. Oxford/ New York: Oxford University Press. Casanova, J. 1994. Public Religion in the Modern World. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Dobbelaere, K. 1981. Secularization a multi-dimensional concept. London: Sage Publications. Habermas, J. 2006. Religion in Public Sphere. European Journal of Philosophy. 14 (1), 1–25. Hunter, I. 2009. The Shallow Legitimacy of Secular Liberal Orders: The Case of Early Modern Brandenburg-Prussia. In Levey, G., L. & Modood, T. 2009. Secularism, religion and Multicultural Citizenship. Cambridge, 27 – 55. McLaughlin, T. H. 1992. Citizenship, diversity and Education: A Philosophical Perspective. Journal of Moral Education. 21 (3). Papastephanou, M. 2008. Religious education for political thinking and citizenship. Journal of Beliefs & Values. Vol. 29, No. 2, 125-137. Rawls, J. 2005. Political Liberalism. Expanded ed. New York: Columbia University Press. Valk, J. 2007. Plural public schooling: religion, worldviews and moral education. British Journal of Religious Education. Vol. 29, No. 3, 273 – 285. Wolterstorff, N. 1997. The Role of Religion in Decision and Discussion of political Issues. Teoksessa Audi, R. & Wolterstorff, N. Religion in the Public Square. The Place of Religious Convictions in Political Debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 67 – 120.
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