I know a lot of you have told me that one of the school subjects you disliked most of all was Religious Education. Some of you have spoken about the schools you have been to, some of the over zealous teachers who have pushed their particular brand of faith and the feeling of indoctrination you feel you have experienced. So, why have I started the new home school year with Religious Education?
We talk a lot about "being part of the conversation," if you don't know anything about what your friends or colleagues are talking about - you are left out of the conversation.
Socially, it can be tough if your not up-to-date with the latest trending show, or game or event. That feeling of isolation gets worse when you realise the people around round you (for example, the friends you left behind in school) have moved on.
It can be magnified, when you start to meet new group of people and a conversation strikes up and you don't understand what they are talking about or you feel you have nothing to add. Worst of all is when you start thinking the all the other people know something you don't - and then you feel stupid!
So this month, we are looking at the essential information you need to stay in the 'religious' conversation.
Lots of people have faith. You may or may not have an opinion about, your opinion may be positive, negative or even indifferent - but unless you can be part of that 'conversation' you will never know their opinion. In time, their opinion just might be really valuable to you.
It doesn't mean you have to believe, it doesn't mean you have to agree with what they believe - you just have to understand enough to ask questions, be interested to new experiences and ideas and open yourself to a conversation which may lead to knowledge and friendship.
More importantly it can help you stay away from some dangerous people. As part of this 'conversation' you need to know this - any one who tells you there is only one way to live, or only one true path, anyone from a religious group who is being over friendly - might not be all they seem. Being part of the religious 'conversation' will help you stay safe.
As children we do what our families do, as we get old and move in to our teenage years our own ideas develop and sometimes we reject our family's traditions. It is important not to reject our family. However, it is ok to reassess the traditions and whether they have any value to you personally. Being part of the 'conversation' and understanding about religion as a whole, rather than just where your parents are coming from, will help you think about this.
The more people from different communities we can communicate with and be part of that 'conversation' with - the more our lives are enriched.