Bishop Argues for ‘Religious Literacy’


Writing in the Courier  Bishop Nigel comments that while the Scottish Government may be in a muddle whether 16-18 year olds can opt out of Religious Observance in school without parental consent, which the Humanist Society advocates, knowing about faith in society is crucial in today’s world.

“There may be an inconsistency here in what 16-18 year olds are allowed to do compared with elsewhere in the UK. Perhaps a well-intentioned Scottish Government is confusing the ends with the means.

But let’s be clear, the Humanist Society alongside the British Secular Society are not really keen on religious observance or faith schools and hold strong views about religious and moral education in general.

Yet religious education remains as important for young people at school and in college as in previous generations. I believe that religious literacy is a public good and absolutely vital today. Religious illiteracy can fuel radicalisation and intolerance and world events in recent years have shown us the disastrous consequences.

So knowing something accurate about Christianity and Islam and other world faiths, as well as Humanism and No Religion (as it is now called) is therefore enriching for young adults. Understanding the place of spirituality and faith in society past and present is important. It is a crucial part of the contemporary diversity and equality agenda, along with learning to make good personal choices.”

Bishop Nigel’s article in the Courier a widely read Scottish daily newspaper published in Dundee on Tuesday, 13 September 2016.

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