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Even though the distinction between one form and the other was not contentious, controversy remained over which names referred to the denominational or nondenominational content. For a time, the previously mentioned term for religion class — verouk — stood for both. Much more interesting are the proposals and especially the arguments for them, which appear in the literature from to Interestingly, there is no basic difference in those proposals and arguments from what appeared in the daily newspapers. A proportionally large amount of literature can be condensed into just a few representative areas.

The following paragraphs will concentrate on these separate areas. This examination covers only some of the most clearly expressed opinions, and it is important to keep in mind that many areas overlap. The question of the relationship between the state and religious communities was settled in a law passed in former socialist Yugoslavia in After the change in social order and Slovene independence, it soon was apparent that some of the provisions of this law were unacceptable. In fact, they infringed upon human rights to freedom of expression of religious affiliation and public expressions of faith.

The two articles show that the place and jurisdiction of either institution were not clearly defined. The authors who advocated for the introduction of religious education in schools supported their argument by citing the practice in other European countries. In addition, at that time we did not have any lawfully regulated private schooling. Those opposed to religious education as an independent subject in school took as their argument the separation of the state from religious communities as written in the Slovene constitution.

Based on this separation of church and state, he refutes the argument presented in the previous paragraph. He asserts that the constitutions of European countries, except for France, do not define the separation of state from religious communities. He also emphasizes the cultural breadth of religious education and its connection with ethical upbringing. Authors frequently debated the concept of a neutral school. Each school must impart some fundamental values.

School is neutral only in the sense that people of different opinions may learn there, as long as they accept a certain moral code.

Both authors wish to point out that the question of neutrality is strongly tied with the value system of the individual, which must be respected based on the principle of democracy. We find this argument in the White Book on education and upbringing, which was issued by the government. In this way the idea of neutrality is difficult to support. After all, democracy is one of the ideologies, as well as a political system. Advocates also established the necessity of religious education in state schools alongside the rights of parents to decide how to raise their own children. It is important to emphasize that the establishment of different positions in the same document is at least uncommon, if not unprecedented.

In this way international documents adopted by our state6 played an important role in these arguments. In light of such international documents, Gaber stresses that the state should enable the establishment of private, independent schools, as defined in article 5 of the Convention Against Discrimination in Education Gaber , 9— Otherwise, the state would have to allow religious education also in public schools. However, the subject most likely was accepted into the catalogue of elective subjects because it delivered knowledge about this important area.

The need for greater knowledge about religion and familiarity with religions was probably the only argument not contested among advocates as well as opponents of the introduction of a special subject about religions. How, for example, can one In the time of Yugoslavia as well as Slovenia. Almost all authors recognize that it would be necessary to include information about religions in school, if not as a separate subject then at least within the framework of the remaining subjects.

In their writings, the authors most nearly came to a consensus on the fact that it would be necessary to include religious contents in school; however, they were not unified in how they would incorporate them. In the beginning, two opposite camps were in favour of including the topic into the frame of an independent subject: supporters7 who were predominantly from religious groups, especially the Catholic Church; and opponents who were mainly afraid that religious groups and their ideology would make their way into schools along with religious education.

Over time a middle ground came about which favoured a non-denominational elective subject. Currently, according to the law on primary education passed in , Slovene state schools also offer the elective subject religions and ethics. We also have a few private schools founded by the Catholic Church in which religious education is included in the regular curriculum. However, the most important question is perhaps whether children who complete primary school are adequately acquainted with this important subject.

Perhaps it would be better if the subject on religions would be associated with culture, tolerance and multiculturalism rather than with ethics. However, a fundamental fear exists that the presentation of different cultures in school — more than the presentation of a particular religion, and more than the differences and facts about a specific culture within increasing globalization and equality — would lead to further stereotypes than real facts and contain more judgment than tolerance.

The need for a different approach to the discussion of religiousness in our schools is clearly demonstrated by the frequent occurrences of religious intolerance in our country, and also great ignorance, as evidenced in the fact that many refer to every religious object as church, and every religious rite as Mass. Bibliography Bezek, Danijel. These were not unified, as some demanded a denominational and others a non-denominational subject.

Dom in svet: — The first problem was inaccurate terminology, as the extant one was interpreted by authors in their own ways. Both sides of the argument — that in favour of the introduction of religious education into schools as well the one against — included broader social questions.

The debate raised the question about the relation between the state and religious communities, as well as questions about the concept of a neutral school and the dilemma of whether school should only instruct students or be involved in their overall development and upbringing. The situation in other European countries was also presented.

The terminology was gradually made uniform and a new optional school subject on religions was introduced with the new primary school legislation. Introduction When we address religion classes or religious education within the Slovene territory we usually think of catechism as an activity and process of educational upbringing within the framework of Church, and which does not concern life outside of the Church, national school policy or the state.

This image of religious education as an activity confined within the Church no way resembles the image present in our country during the pre-Communist period or those currently present in other European countries. The latter is corroborated by the fact that in the majority of European countries religion classes or religious education are included in the school curriculum.

The idea of religious education confined to the Church is also not in compliance with the true meaning of the education and knowledge gained by students attending such religion classes. This meaning is far greater than frequently presented even within the Church. Conditions in many Orthodox countries, where rural areas are especially culturally backwards, attest to the fact that a lack of systematic religious education can lead to cultural impoverishment.

Holistic View of the World It seems that the view of religion classes as a special subject and not a scholastic subject emerged already during the Age of Enlightenment and even more so in the Industrial Era, which above all expected schools to teach practical knowledge. This idea of religion classes as a subject not compatible with school was finalized by Communism and of course derived from its distinctive materialism and anti-religious stance. In spite of this, religious education has remained part of the curriculum in Different terms have been used for religious education [verski pouk]: religion classes, religious studies, religion, religion and culture.

The present article has been slightly modified from the original. It is published here because the questions it addresses remain pertinent today. Today, as the rationalist and industrial paradigm has been exhausted and a more comprehensive view of the world and individual is emerging, it seems as if those particular school subjects which are able to synthesize disciplines are gaining interest.

Religious education is certainly among them. It is high time that we begin understanding religious education as an activity that not only concerns the Church, but is also of overall national interest. Knowledge obtained by students attending religious education is useful beyond the Church, and is essential to our civilization and the individuals living in our nation. The fact that this is true is demonstrated by parents — even those who are not religious — who send their children to attend religion classes in the parishes.

Many children whose parents do not participate in Church activities or are otherwise unaffiliated with the Church attend these religion classes; their parents are well aware that their children will receive a comprehensive education only if it includes religion classes. If we want to be familiar with ourselves and our culture, if we want to cultivate ourselves, we must be familiar with the foundations of our culture — both the Greco-Roman tradition their literature, philosophy, and law as well as Judeo-Christian tradition the Bible, moral and religious education, and Christian spirituality.

One of the characteristics of 20th Century totalitarianism was that it tried to tear the individual away from these traditions and present him as an epoch-making novelty. That is why they first ousted religion classes from schools and later also Latin and Greek languages. This took place during the Nazi period and even more under the Communist regimes. This accounts for the low level of religious education among the young and also middle generations in many Central and Eastern European countries. Supporters of the existing school system recognize this imperfection; however, they assert that this is not such a tragedy because other subjects are also treated deficiently.

Of course these questions are rhetorical and we can only hope that children know more about what represents the core of European thought than about what is marginal, for example, more about Christian ethics than Epicurean. In such debates we must be careful to make equal comparisons and prioritize what is more and what is less significant. Kodelja creates mental confusion by equating essential and non-essential things. Such confusion derives from the fact that he does not cite relevant and essential knowledge which determines our culture, but only lists some schoolbook facts for which it is arguably trivial whether we know them or not.

In contrast to this, it is possible to identify significant cultural characteristics which we should know about because they are a part of our everyday life. In summary, without knowing about Christianity we separate ourselves from Europe, which we entered precisely on account of it. Here is the crux of the question about the meaning of religious education and Christianity in our culture. Christianity is not just one element of European culture, but it is its essential building block. While we can imagine European culture without Epicureanism, it does not exist at all without Christianity. In response to Z.

This is rightfully so, since these elements represent the more essential part of our culture compared to some other, more marginal ones. The fact that this knowledge is ubiquitous among us in our nation can be accredited particularly to religion classes.


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Religious education thus has significance beyond the walls of the Church. I therefore see the significance of religious education in the fact that, by mediating this particular knowledge, it puts us on equal cultural grounds to work with the rest of Europe. Without basic religious knowledge we cannot understand our European peers. Religious education also allows us to understand and continue the cultural traditions of our predecessors.

Religious Education Raises Fundamental Existential Questions The value and meaning of religious education can also be seen in the fact that it exposes young people to the secrets of the world and life through existential questions about God, the meaning of life, eternity and temporality. Without this openness an individual is unable to appreciate artistic or philosophical works, which as a rule arise from the wonder of creation and through contact with the Mysterious.

In awe of the miracle that first and foremost everything is, exists, and lives.