Religious Studies is not about indoctrination nor is it a soft academic option.
What Religious Studies is:
It is a study of what is most central to religion, including:
the idea that there is a transcendent Being or Ultimate Reality, and that a variety of religions have worthwhile things to say about that transcendent Being or Ultimate Reality.
Why is Religious Studies important?
It teaches pupils to think through their own beliefs and have them refined in discussion and debate;
It informs pupils about a variety of worldviews;
It encourages pupils to apply their knowledge to related areas, such as art, philosophy, etc.
Many countries do not have such a subject, as religion is thought to belong to the private or family sphere which could encourage a narrow-minded tribalism. We do Religious Studies well in the UK, and other countries look to us as a model.
What use is Religious Studies?
It is an academic subject respected by all universities, many of which have a Religious Studies Department.
It teaches critical and evaluative skills.
It emphasises key qualities, such as compassion, and discussion of their current worth.
It paves the way for a career requiring exact thought and the ability to deploy analytical skills.
It encourages inter-religious dialogue, never more necessary than in today's global village.
Photo: White-water rafting on the River Indus, India 2012 Trip