Ysgol Aberconwy joined the Young Ambassadors scheme in 2015. As part of their application for the scheme, the team submitted this thoughtful essay.
Why is it important to learn about each other’s beliefs and values?
As Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Recently Pope Francis has stated that scientific theories are just as important as God’s Creation theory. He recently stated that God created human beings and let them develop, which coincides with the evolution theory. Religious Education teaches you that all religions are based on similar values; however, they may all believe in different Gods. It is important to know that no matter how you feel we all need to be reminded of how moral structure creates a coherent society and the world.
Every single human has values and beliefs so it is important to understand what others actually believe and value so that we can let them express their beliefs freely. In this way, we can respect their actions and attitudes towards certain foods, their dress codes and their social etiquette. When learning about different beliefs we are increasing our knowledge and understanding which can later prevent the sorts of disagreements that can lead to conflict within society. Every conversation, event or situation means something different to everyone. We all interpret situations differently due to our culture, faith, values and past experiences and these help us form our own beliefs and be sensitive towards others. By learning about each other’s beliefs and values it enables us to see the bigger picture, also known as the ‘helicopter view’. Different perspectives can be formed which will help us to be more empathetic and understanding. Nowadays, we encounter a great number of religions so having an understanding of these will help us to see things in a more balanced and realistic way.
‘Why bother doing Religious Education?’
Some pupils at our school believe religion is outdated, and make statements such as: ‘Too many deaths have been caused by religion’ and this can lead to arguments. However, not once have we heard somebody argue that religion is more than just believing in God. Religion as we know it is about aspiring for peace, remaining hopeful and always having faith. Surely a child should learn about the beliefs and values of at least two religions while in education? Wales is a country whose people hold a wide variety of beliefs, from Christianity to Buddhism. Such diversity enriches the Welsh nation and provides an inspiring amount of culture within Wales. We believe that Religious Education is about learning about the cultural differences that flow through our global community.
Our teacher once told us that he learnt from his father, who was a vicar. When he questioned God, his father replied, ‘’Why is it that all these scientific theories, the Big Bang theory, the theory of evolution etc. are just theories, yet they haven’t been confirmed? I too live by this, yet I believe in the theory that the world was created by an almighty man named God.’’ This story made us realise that learning about different religions matters just as much as learning English and Science, both are based on theories and are not always 100% factual.