Friday, 6 December 2013

"No one is born hating another person..."

How can RE help people learn how to get along?
Nelson Mandela believed that people can be taught how to live without hate; that we can learn how to co-exist and to see one another as human beings, deserving of dignity, regardless of race, religion or background.

At the RE Ambassadors Conference in London and in our Lancashire Youth Voice meetings, students have been thinking about how RE can help us to build a more cohesive society. In school, Y9 students have been discussing whether religion is a source of conflict or a force for peace in the world - they came to the conclusion that this is a complex question; that too often people use religion as an excuse for conflict, but that the teachings of all the world's religions promote peace and justice for all.
We have reached the conclusion that in order for people with different beliefs and lifestyles to live in peace there needs to be a deeper understanding of one another. We do not have to agree with beliefs and values that differ to our own, but we have to accept that people and communities are diverse and that this makes the world an interesting place to live.

Our dREam team visited All Hallows' Catholic School as part of its work for the Lancashire SACRE Youth Voice project to find out more about how Catholic beliefs might influence a person's life. For many of us, this was the first opportunity to see how a faith school is different from our own experience of education. What we noticed was the high profile that their faith had and how their were signs of their beliefs all around the school. Everything from the school emblem, the mission statement and wall displays act as a reminder of their Christian beliefs and values. But we also found out that we had many things in common. Although our school is not religious, we still believe in the importance of treating one another with respect, we feel as though we belong and that we are a community that supports one another.

What the day really taught us was about the importance of finding out what people are really like for yourselves. If you have never been in a faith school you may have a preconceived idea of what they are like, the reality may be very different. The same is true of any faith community or culture. If we want people to live in peace, they first need to get to know one another. Only then will we start to break down the barriers of prejudice, discrimination and hate.

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