Secular believers

The teaching of religion in schools is currently under discussion in New Zealand (see NZ Human Rights Commission discussion document Religion in schools). For many there is a conflict between “religious instruction (the old way limited to Christianity) and teaching about religion (where children are taught about all the relevant religions). Teaching about religion should provide opportunities for encouraging tolerance and understanding. It would also fit well into values teaching as described in The New Zealand Curriculum (see also
In Praise of the New NZ School Curriculum).

However, teaching about religion would be a travesty if the non-religious or secular ethical systems were ignored, given the large numbers of non-religious in our society (see Trends in religious belief in New Zealand and God’s not as popular as we thought). Unfortunately many religious and political leaders make this assumption of exclusion and the Human Rights Commission discussion document also ignores this group. Maybe this indicates that many religious people still fear secular ethical beliefs.

Secular believers film

The film “Secular Believers” provides an example of how secular beliefs can be included in a religious education syllabus. It was made for the UK education system but would also be effective in New Zealand. Its message is that beliefs, and believers, come in many shapes and sizes, and not all of them can be described as ‘religious’. The film provides an introduction to a fascinating range of non-religious people and their beliefs.

With this example I can’t understand why religious people should fear inclusion of secular beliefs in our religious education syllabus.

Secular Believers 59 min

Related articles:
Why do we believe?
Thank God or Thank Goodness?
Society’s ” Christian values”
Discrimination at school
Religion and Schools
What do we teach our children?
“Let us pray . . . “
Special rights for religion?
Christian prayer problems
Teaching religion
Should we teach creationism?

One response to “Secular believers

  1. Excellent teaching resource.

    I agree, the best way to expose the pitfalls of beliefs is to teach children about religions and other belief systems and the topic of non-belief is a critical component.

    As a side note, I read all of your blog entries but seldom feel the need to comment because the majority of my responses would be “I agree completely” which would get a little tedious after a while. 😉 Keep up the good work!


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