A too liberal religious education? A thought experiment for teachers and theorists

Daniel Moulin-Stozek

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper proposes that the ideas of political philosopher John Rawls could be adapted to offer a new starting point for a pedagogy of religious education (RE) in the non‐denominational sector. It is argued that contemporary approaches to RE may infringe the liberal principle of freedom of belief by favouring certain methods of interpreting religions. In response to this criticism, it is suggested that teachers can construct a just and fair pedagogy, which is truly liberal in its assumptions, by following a procedure similar to that advocated by Rawls. Readers are invited to don a ‘veil of ignorance’ and imagine that from this perspective they are to enter into a hypothetical contract outlining the founding principles of a pedagogical approach. It is argued that those entering into such a contract would opt for a form of critical RE not dissimilar to Wright’s that aims to present religions and competing ideologies without distortion. It is hoped that this hypothetical contract can thus characterise and legitimise the first principles of a truly liberal RE, and provide a convenient conceptual apparatus that eliminates bias and promotes balance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-165
    JournalBritish Journal of Religious Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


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