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Religious Education and the Floodgates of Impartiality

Can one coherently deny that religious doctrines have the remotest plausibility on the one hand and yet still advocate their discussion in an open-ended manner in educational contexts on the other? Although there is no direct contradiction in taking these stances, this lecture will argue that consistency on this policy brings one to unattractive conclusions, which one would certainly not want to maintain (i.e. that holocaust denial ought to be discussed in an open ended way and that teachers ought not to advocate the falsehood of holocaust denial). John Tillson suggests that since altering their position on the intellectual respectability of religious doctrines in order to motivate a critical kind of RE would be seem like an instance of engineering a desired conclusion, they ought instead to emphasize the social rather than critical dimension of RE.

John Tillson has recently completed an MA in the Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education. The South Place Ethical Society, being interested in his dissertation research on the inclusion of non-religious beliefs within Religious Education, had funded this study. He has previously completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Durham and a PGCE in Secondary Religious Education at the Institute of Education.


John Tillson | talks


Date and Time:

23 January 2011 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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