Jesus is just a tiny part of our pick-and-mix RE

Apr 29, 2019 by

by Matt Archer, The Conservative Woman:

DID you know it’s possible to take GCSE or A-Level religious studies having hardly had to learn anything substantial about Christianity? So let’s play a game called ‘Do you know more than my year 10s?’

1. What religion was Jesus? (This is similar to: what do you put in a toaster?)

2. What does Judeo-Christian mean?

3. What is the relationship between the Old and New Testament? – For a bonus point, how old are both?

If you answered any question correctly, you know more than most of my students when they enter their first year of GCSE religious studies. At A-Level, whilst students can pick Christianity as a topic, they don’t have to. And for the philosophy and ethics section of the course, they need only learn a few arguments from the likes of Paley, the Christian apologist famous for his pre-Darwin watchmaker analogy, where he argued that complexity entails a designer.

How is this possible? AQA is one of the main exam boards and its GCSE specification is indicative of the general trend: pick two religions from seven (in year 10), and (in year 11) study some philosophy and ethics, where you should make reference in your answers to ‘the main religious tradition in Britain’ – this is a distilled reference to British law. However, we have now reached a point where only lip service is paid to the law.

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