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History, Remembrance and Religious Education

by Stephen Parker (Volume editor) Rob Freathy (Volume editor) Leslie J. Francis (Volume editor)
Edited Collection X, 413 Pages
Series: Religion, Education and Values, Volume 7

Summary

How should the Holocaust be taught in schools, and to what end? What role should religious education play in recounting and remembering this human catastrophe? How has the nature and purpose of religious education changed and developed over time? What contribution should religious education make to identity formation, particularly regarding the role of memory, heritage and tradition? The scholarly reflections in this volume, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into past, present and potential future developments in religious and values education in a range of national contexts, including Germany, Israel, Norway, Canada and South Africa. The chapters fall under three headings: fostering a culture of remembrance; historical perspectives on religious education; and history, tradition, memory and identity. Together they form a unique collection of international perspectives upon these interlocking themes.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Abstract
  • In defence of history
  • A serendipitous archival discovery
  • Oral life history
  • The politics of history and remembrance
  • History, remembrance and Religious Education
  • References
  • PART I Fostering a Culture of Remembrance
  • 1 ‘Culture of Remembrance’ as a Framework for Education in Religion and Values: A Christian and German Approach
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical framework of ‘culture of remembrance’
  • Empirical aspects and insights
  • Consequences: Religious Education, human rights learning, and the culture of remembrance
  • References
  • 2 German Children and their Knowledge of Judaism and the Holocaust
  • Abstract
  • The importance of a Holocaust remembrance culture
  • What German children know about Judaism and the Holocaust
  • How to teach ‘Learning from and about the Holocaust’ in primary schools
  • Life-long process of education
  • Phase model
  • References
  • 3 Holocaust Remembrance and Human Rights Education: A Task for Religious and Interreligious Education in Switzerland
  • Abstract
  • Background of Swiss history and current political situation
  • Swiss educational policies on Holocaust remembrance and human rights education
  • The role of Religious Education as Holocaust and human rights education
  • Empirical findings
  • Open questions and the lack of empirical data
  • Research interests and empirical approach
  • Empirical data
  • KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS
  • KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
  • IMPORTANCE OF HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE
  • THE IMPACT AND INFLUENCE OF RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
  • CONCLUSIONS FROM THE DATA
  • Tasks for educational policies and (inter-)religious education in the future
  • References
  • 4 Teaching the Holocaust Within the Domain of Religious Education
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The role of memory in Jewish tradition
  • How to articulate a searing memory
  • The ontological-epistemological axes of knowledge and Holocaust Education
  • Stage 1 – The ontological level: Public denial (1943–1961)
  • Stage 2 – The ontological level: Public recognition (1961–1980)
  • Stage 3 – The epistemological level: Construction (1980–2000)
  • Stage 4 – The epistemological level: Deconstruction (2000 to present)
  • Transitions and shifts: From ontology to epistemology
  • The implementation of the typology in Religious Education
  • The relationship between Holocaust memory and Religious Education
  • Holocaust Education: Implications for Religious Education
  • Nazi paganism and the loss of ethical values
  • The ‘culture of remembrance’ as a major challenge for Religious Education
  • Conclusion and recommendations
  • References
  • PART II Historical Perspectives on Religious Education
  • 5 Raiders of the Lost Archives: Searching for the Hidden History of Religious Education in England
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The hidden history of Religious Education in England
  • Historical sources
  • Primary documentary sources
  • Primary oral sources
  • Secondary documentary sources
  • Findings
  • An agenda for future research
  • The wider curriculum
  • Educational institutions and structures
  • Religion(s) and the academic study of religion(s)
  • International and supranational comparators, movements and influences
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 6 The Overlooked Ecumenical Background to the Development of English Religious Education
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The ‘ruling’ historiography of English Religious Education
  • Evaluating the ‘ruling’ historiography
  • Limited engagement with primary sources
  • ‘Presentism’ and historical revisionism
  • OVER-RELIANCE ON ‘CHARACTER STUDIES’
  • BINARY OPPOSITIONS
  • THE LACK OF AN ECUMENICAL CONTEXTUALIZATION
  • Summary
  • Toward an ecumenical understanding
  • Resurgence of ecumenical interest in education
  • The development of dialogue with other faiths
  • Conclusion: A reappraisal of the ruling historiography
  • References
  • 7 Reading Religious Education Textbooks: Islam, Liberalism and the Limits of Orientalism
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Textbooks on Islam in the UK
  • Orientalism and contemporary textbooks
  • Liberalism, choice and the representation of Islam
  • Islam and the absence of rational choice
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 8 A Comparative Perspective on the History of Religious Education: England and Norway
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • How do two ‘power texts’ reflect different national styles?
  • Selected milestones
  • Opposing opt-out rights
  • Historical research in Religious Education in England and Norway
  • National imaginaries in an international context
  • Summary and conclusion
  • References
  • 9 Maps, Stories and Notions of Holiness in Identity Formation: Norwegian Pupils’ Religious Education Workbooks Over Fifty Years
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Identifying ‘holy history’ – cognitive realism and ritual experiences
  • Identifying the ‘living’ church interior – and the historical culture of Jesus
  • Identifying the contemporary land of Israel ‘without the occupied Palestinian areas’
  • Identifying Islamic cultural areas and Jewish history
  • Mythical river-drawings, fantasy-lands and/or a-historical sketch maps
  • Comparative discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 10 Religious Education and Mission: Historical Links and Present Challenges
  • Abstract
  • Some preliminary remarks
  • Some basic information on mission within German Protestantism
  • Historical analysis: Aspects of Religious Education within a missionary framework
  • Restructuring missionary societies as ecumenical ‘learning communities’
  • Future perspectives: Intercultural encounter in the field of Religious Education
  • Historical reconstruction
  • History of efficiency
  • Transfer
  • Principal reflections
  • Didactics
  • References
  • 11 A Legacy of Failure: Canada’s Religious Education of Aboriginal Children
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, the British government and the Canadian constitution
  • Religious roots of residential schools
  • Formal establishment of residential school policy in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario)
  • Who is an ‘Indian’ in Canada?
  • Consolidation of the move to residential schools
  • Number of residential schools and students
  • Concluding comments
  • References
  • 12 The Roots of Memory and the Space of Religious Education in Catholic Schools in Canada
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Section One: Françoise Darcy-Berubé and Christiane Brusselmans
  • Françoise Darcy-Berubé
  • Christiane Brusselmans
  • LITURGICAL INITIATION
  • THE TOUCHSTONE: FAMILY
  • THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS
  • Section Two: Core Canadian pedagogical orientations
  • Participatory, narrative, and inclusive dimensions
  • Holistic and aesthetic dimensions
  • References
  • PART III History, Tradition, Memory and Identity
  • 13 To Love and to Work: Foundations of a Theology-based Theory of Bildung
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Understanding Bildung
  • A biblical view of human nature
  • Toward maturity and responsibility
  • References
  • 14 Memory and Heritage in History Education and in Religious Education: A Cross-disciplinary Investigation into Social Sciences and Humanities Education
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Cultural memory, history and religion
  • Learning about and learning from religion
  • Learning about and learning from the Holocaust
  • Cross-disciplinary teaching and learning
  • References
  • 15 Traditional Beliefs and Practices in the New South Africa
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Problem statement
  • Conceptual and theoretical framework
  • Empirical investigation
  • Method
  • Procedure
  • Participants
  • Instrument
  • Results
  • Trustworthiness
  • Quantitative findings
  • Qualitative findings (question 1)
  • WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE TO THE ANCESTORS
  • LOBOLA (BRIDE-WEALTH)
  • INITIATION SCHOOL
  • VIRGINITY TESTING
  • TRADITIONAL DANCING
  • ARRANGED MARRIAGES
  • MALE CIRCUMCISION
  • FEMALE CIRCUMCISION
  • Qualitative findings (question 2)
  • Qualitative findings (question 3)
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 16 Hifz and Huffaz Within the Islamic Tradition: Religious, Cultural and Educational Considerations
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The concept of hifz
  • Hifz within Muslim history
  • The hifz process
  • Hifz – a beginning, not an end
  • Hifz, Qur’ānic recitation and the public soundscape
  • Hifz as a paradigm of the transmission of knowledge
  • Memorization, culture and education
  • Memorization, hifz and meaning
  • Memorization and education
  • References
  • 17 Religious Education Promoting Identity Formation in the Light of Existential Analysis and Critical Pedagogy
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Existential analysis and purpose of life
  • What do we give to life – to become a subject of life?
  • What do we take from the world?
  • What stand do we take toward a fate we cannot change?
  • Many faces of critical theory
  • What does it mean to be critical?
  • Society
  • Culture
  • Person
  • Religious literacy and identity formation
  • References
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index of Names
  • Index of Subjects
  • Series Index

| ix →

Foreword

The International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV, www.isrev.org) is the most important international research association of its kind, with a major seminar session taking placed in a different country every two years. ISREV has no religious basis or test itself, and has members specialising, for example, in Protestant and Catholic Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular traditions. It was founded in 1978 by John M. Hull, the distinguished Australian academic (currently Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at The Queen’s Foundation, and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham), and John H. Peatling, then of the Character Research Project in Union College, Schenectady, New York. The first meeting had research papers from thirty-two scholars attending from ten countries; the 18th meeting in 2012, in Turku, Finland, had 118 research papers from more than thirty countries. This volume’s chapters represent just about 15 per cent of all the papers presented at that fine event.

Each seminar has a broad theme, and the theme for the Turku meeting was History, Remembrance and Religious Education. I remember myself, as a schoolteacher, teaching History as well as Religious Education. Some colleagues treated them as no more than parts of a larger subject called ‘Humanities’, but this does not seem fair on either subject. The teaching of the Holocaust in both History and Religious Education, as is common in many countries around the world, can sometimes highlight the differences between the subjects and also the need for them to work together and build on their distinct strengths. A number of chapters in this volume tackle that issue directly: the Holocaust is both ‘historical’ (for Christians as the dominant ‘perpetrators’ as well as for Jews) and ‘religious’. But as well as considering historical-religious ‘events’, this book provides an historical perspective on Religious Education itself, in all its varied contexts – for example in South Africa, Canada, Germany, the UK, Israel, Finland, ← ix | x → Switzerland and Norway – and the nature and significance of history and memory in understanding religion.

There has been a loss of ‘history of education’ classes in teacher education, in many jurisdictions, and a loss of memory, in much educational policy-making. This makes for weaker policy and poorer teaching. At the level of governments, it can lead to an emphasis on wholly-vapid ‘innovations’ (innovatory only for those with no memory of the previous versions of the same initiatives) or, equally problematically, on recreating an illusory past ‘golden age’. At the level of school teachers, the lack of history and memory can mean teachers merely follow the educational or social fashions of the day, leading to Religious Education having no lasting influence and a built-in obsolescence.

It is a huge achievement, I think, of this book, that History, Remembrance and Religious Education are seriously tackled in all their combinations. The Scottish poet Norman MacCaig writes of sitting with his ‘back to the future’, and of ‘being helplessly/lugged backwards/through the Debatable Lands of history’. With this book to hand, I feel a little less helpless. I am therefore delighted, as General Secretary of ISREV, to commend it to all those interested in Religious Education, around the world.

JULIAN STERN
General Secretary of ISREV

| 1 →

ROB FREATHY AND STEPHEN G. PARKER

Introduction

Abstract

This introductory chapter seeks to provoke reflection on the concepts that provide the theme for the volume overall: history, remembrance and Religious Education. It begins by setting out some epistemological and methodological questions concerning the writing of history, and demonstrates their ethical significance, specifically with regard to the Holocaust. It then exemplifies some historiographical considerations of pertinence to the present volume by drawing upon archival, oral life history and published documentary data collected during research into the history of Religious Education in England. Recent public pronouncements from David Bell, Richard J. Evans and Michael Gove are then discussed to highlight issues pertaining to the acts of remembrance concerning the 100th and 70th anniversaries of the start of the First World War in 1914 and the passing of the Butler Education Act (England and Wales) in 1944 respectively. It is argued that we have a moral obligation to engage with historical discourses and to participate in acts of remembrance. Lastly, the chapter outlines the contents of the remainder of the volume and summarises the various ways in which the contributing authors have addressed the theme of ‘History, Remembrance and Religious Education’. ← 1 | 2 →

In defence of history

What is history? Is it a series of events or phenomena in the past, the narration or representation of such events or phenomena in the present, and/or a branch of academic knowledge associated with a discrete subject or discipline? What is the relationship between the language, symbols and signs that constitute historical sources and accounts on the one hand, and the past realities to which they pertain on the other? Is it possible to discover the meaning of historical texts? Can one develop criteria by which to judge historical truth and falsity that are not reflective of their situatedness (e.g. authorial interests or paradigmatic preferences)? Does a lack of scholarly consensus about inferences, explanations and evaluations mean that historical research is inherently subjective, being determined by the beliefs, norms and values of historians and the contexts in which they write? When the historical event under scrutiny is as cataclysmic as the Holocaust, there is a moral imperative to answer epistemological and methodological questions such as these.

Professor Sir Richard J. Evans, a British academic historian, came to public attention in 2000 as an expert witness in the ultimately successful defence of Deborah Lipstadt. She was being sued for libel by David Irving after referring to him as a ‘Holocaust denier’ and ‘an ardent follower of Adolf Hitler’, as well as for accusing him of distorting and misrepresenting historical evidence to reach untenable conclusions (Lipstadt, 1993; Evans, 2001). In his earlier book, In Defence of History (1997), in which he had controversially linked postmodern historiography to Holocaust denial (Purkiss, 1999), Evans had argued that epistemological relativism with regard to historical research is unjustified. The language and grammar utilized in historical sources are not arbitrary, but have evolved through contact with an ‘extra-textual reality’ that is not entirely created, constructed or negotiated, and that therefore limits the reconstructions and interpretations that historians can legitimately make. Whilst the ‘real world’ of the past does not exist, historians can piece together an interpretation of it by studying the traces it has left behind in the form of primary sources ← 2 | 3 → (Evans, 1997, 126). For him, a text is always written for a readership and framed according to the writers’ expectations of how the intended readers will take it. During the act of reading, therefore, the reader should be mindful of the purposes and intentions of the writer (Evans, 1997, 104). Authorial intentions do limit language and preclude an infinity of interpretations. At the same time, Evans (1997) recognized that all historical writing is guided by literary models, social science theories, moral and political beliefs, aesthetic sense, and unconscious assumptions and desires, no matter how much historians engage reflexively. This means that other historians can and will tell historical stories differently. This does not make them untrue, because at the very least the truth they tell will be their own (Evans, 1997, 249–250). Consequently, the validity of historical writing must be assessed on the understanding that history is a science in the weak sense. It cannot frame general laws or predict the future, but it does constitute an organized body of knowledge, acquired through disciplined research, carried out according to generally-agreed methods, presented in published reports, and subject to rigorous and painstaking peer review (Evans, 1997, 73). By these means, historians ensure that their provisional constructions of past reality are constrained by, and dependent upon, the traces of the ‘extra-textual reality’ that have been left behind. In the case of ‘David Irving v. Penguin Books Limited and Deborah E. Lipstat’ (Irving v. Penguin Books, 2000), and partly on the basis of the evidence submitted by Evans to that trial, Irving was judged to have fallen far short of this standard of scholarship, systematically distorting the historical record of the Second World War.

The epistemological and methodological questions raised by the above pertain as much to global histories of epoch-changing political catastrophes as they do to local studies of the evolution of particular social phenomena, such as the history of education, schooling and/or the curriculum. A patch-work quilt of archival, oral life history and published documentary data, collected during our own experiences of researching the history of Religious Education in England, are used in the following sections to exemplify some of these and other historiographical considerations of pertinence to the present volume. ← 3 | 4 →

A serendipitous archival discovery

History is often written by the victors. They are in the position not only to determine what of the present should be retained for the future, but also how the traces of the past should be reconstructed and interpreted in the present. Previously-hidden history can be revealed through the discovery of unknown primary sources or the utilization of known, but neglected, primary sources. These can disclose events, phenomena or people that have been forgotten, and/or shed light on why others have been remembered.

The controversial British media and social campaigner Mary Whitehouse (1910–2001) was renowned for establishing the ‘Clean-up TV’ campaign in 1964, and the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association in 1965. Less well known are her campaigns, in the mid–1970s, to defend the clauses of the 1944 Education Act governing the provision of Religious Instruction and Collective Worship in English and Welsh schools. She believed these were under threat from the campaigns of secularists and humanists who sought to abolish, reform or replace Religious Instruction (Freathy & Parker, 2013), and those academics and practitioners who were promoting the secularization and pluralization of Religious Instruction, for example, through the inclusion of non-religious stances for living, such as Humanism and Communism, in the curriculum (City of Birmingham Education Committee, 1975). In response to these threats, on 27 January 1976, Whitehouse launched the ‘Save Religious Education in State Schools’ campaign. This has hitherto been neglected in the historiography of Religious Education in England, thereby potentially exemplifying a selective amnesia within the relevant academic and professional communities (Freathy & Parker, 2012). Its rediscovery is important because it evidences the existence of lobbying, and a coalescence of political support and public debate about the reassertion of the Christian identity of Britain through a return to ‘confessional’ Religious Education, as opposed to ‘non-confessional’ multi-faith teaching, at least a decade earlier than has previously been suggested (Parsons, 1994, 183). It has also led to the disclosure of an intriguing historical detail. ← 4 | 5 →

On 23 January 1976, just days before the launch of Whitehouse’s campaign, a 16-year-old school boy from Knightswood Secondary School in Glasgow sent her a letter. It contained ‘Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!’ and the belief that ‘the Lord is using … to his advantage’ the pupil’s position, as a ‘school prefect’ and senior member of the school’s Christian Fellowship, in petitioning teachers and fellow pupils on behalf of Whitehouse’s cause. The pupil admitted, however, that this was encountering ‘a fair bit of opposition’ from ‘predictable sources, the Ultra Left and Ultra Right’ and ‘particularly the male staff room’. Offering a personal perspective, our protagonist thought ‘social politics’ and (non-Christian) ‘religious philosophies’ should be taught in schools, just not within ‘Religious Education’, which should really be ‘Christian education … preaching the true gospel of Christ’ through which ‘young people … will see Christ as the only answer to the problems of life’. The letter’s valediction and signature read, ‘Yours in Christ, David Bell’ (National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association Collection, n.d.).

The archive of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus, in which this letter was found, covers the period 1964 to 1991 and consists of 144 boxes of publications, committee papers, television monitoring reports and surveys, newspaper cuttings and a plethora of correspondence. The name of this letter’s author jogged a memory in the researcher’s mind, unlike the hundreds of other authors’ names that had been passed over in ignorance as to their potential significance. To use an English colloquialism as a pun, this author’s name ‘rang a bell’ that resonated with the researcher’s prior knowledge and experience. It was the same name of the then Permanent Secretary to the Department of Education: the most senior civil servant with responsibility for education within the UK Government. An instantaneous internet search revealed the high probability, which was later confirmed through personal correspondence, that the boy whose letter had been serendipitously encountered and recognized in the archive was indeed the same David Bell.

After leaving school, Bell had studied History and Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, followed by a teacher training qualification at Jordanhill College of Education. After that, his career took the following path: primary school teacher, deputy headteacher and headteacher ← 5 | 6 → (1982–1988); university lecturer (1988–1990); Assistant Director of Education, Chief Education Officer and Director of Education and Libraries at Newcastle City Council (1990–2000); Chief Executive of Bedfordshire County Council (2000–2002); Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Office for Standards in Education (2002–2006); Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education and Skills, Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Education (2006–2012); and currently, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading (2012–).

In the consciousness of those who study the interface of religion and education, David Bell first became well known, as Chief Inspector of Schools, when calling for the removal of the legal obligation upon English schools to provide a daily act of Collective Worship. On the basis that 76 per cent of secondary schools were already non-compliant, Bell suggested that the requirement should be for weekly or even monthly worship, and that this reduced frequency had the potential to make it more meaningful. His comments, made in a speech in the House of Commons on 21 April 2004, marked the sixtieth anniversary of the 1944 Education Act, which had introduced statutory Religious Instruction and Collective Worship (Bell, 2004). It was this provision that Mary Whitehouse’s culturally-conservative campaign, supported by the teenage Bell, had sought to defend almost thirty years earlier. Bell was now arguing that, when the Act was passed, the duty upon schools to provide for the ‘spiritual development’ of pupils ‘was probably considered to be synonymous with the daily act of Christian worship … But, with the broadening of Britain’s religious and cultural identity, spirituality has come into its own as encapsulating those very qualities that make us human’ (Bell, 2004). ‘Are we right’, he asked, ‘to be requiring from our young people levels of observance that are not matched even by the Christian faithful?’ Instead, he wondered if it would be preferable ‘to encourage an interest in matters of a spiritual and religious nature, which fitted better into the [multi-cultural] society of which the schools and the pupils are a part’ (Bell, 2004). Such questions, about the appropriateness of the legal framework governing Collective Worship in the light of profound social and cultural changes, remain just as relevant a decade later, as we ← 6 | 7 → mark the seventieth anniversary of the 1944 Education Act, more aware than ever before of the extent to which that legislation was the product of a very particular religious and spiritual environment in the context of the Second World War (Freathy, 2008; Parker, 2012).

Oral life history

To discover, metaphorically, the boy who became this prominent educational policy-maker, in such a relatively obscure archive, and expressing support for one of Britain’s most contentious public figures over the last half-century, stimulated an irresistible urge to find out more about his involvement in the ‘Save Religious Education in State Schools’ campaign, as well as how his conception of Religious Education had changed and continued throughout his professional life. Subsequently, on 12 August 2010, a face-to-face interview was undertaken with Bell at the Department of Education, Sanctuary Buildings, in London, utilizing a bespoke semi-structured interview schedule. Some of the findings from this interview are presented below.

David Bell grew up on the Knightswood council estate in the west of Glasgow and in the evangelical and strict, but not oppressive, Scottish Baptist tradition of his church-going, ‘respectable working-class’, father and mother. He underwent ‘religious conversion’ at around the age of nine or ten, which ‘shaped … a lot of [his] thinking all the way through [his] teenage years’. At primary school, Religious Education was not ignored, but it was a ‘remarkably modest part of the school curriculum … maybe a weekly occurrence’. At secondary school, Religious Education was part of the timetable, albeit taught by ‘non-specialists’, certainly until the age of sixteen, and not at all ‘oppressive’. Thus, ‘right throughout [his] school career, Religious Education neither felt as if it had a hugely prominent place on the curriculum, but nor did it feel that there was somehow some conspiracy to kick it out of schools’.

On the matter of the letter discovered in the archive of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association (known as VALA), Bell neither ← 7 | 8 → remembers what he was campaigning for or against, nor how and why he became interested in the campaign:

You think back to your past, there are some things that are really vivid, you almost can picture where you sat at a particular meeting, … as a teenager, as a child, … when you sent the letter through, and you read it … I cannot remember what that was about … I had a really happy time at school, and particularly in the last two years. I remember so much of it. And this, I just can’t. You might say that is psychological … I couldn’t remember the campaign, I couldn’t remember the petition … I had completely forgotten [the letter] … I read it, and said ‘my goodness’. (David Bell, personal interview, 12 August 2010)

Bell does recall that his parents were members of VALA, his church was affiliated to it, and one member of the congregation was its ‘sort of Scottish co-ordinator’. For him, it was an ‘influential and powerful movement’ that ‘played into much of the evangelical concern … about secularism’.

Bell retained his faith ‘probably right up until … [he] had gone through university and started to be a bit more questioning and then really detached [himself] from religious belief and the church by the age of twenty-one or twenty-two’. He says:

I became increasingly uncomfortable at what I saw as an intolerance within the evangelical tradition, and … my anxieties about the certainties of religion … however I’ve always been quite anxious … not to be disparaging about what I used to believe, and certainly not to be disparaging towards people who do hold a faith … I am … a very liberal person … I do believe that actually one of the great benefits of British society … we actually are a pretty open, free, tolerant society that allows a cacophony of views. And maybe that was a belief system that was emerging as I went to university and beyond, and I was finding it increasingly hard to put that tolerance and liberalism alongside what I thought was a rather closed system of evangelical thinking. (David Bell, personal interview, 12 August 2010)

Details

Pages
X, 413
ISBN (PDF)
9783035306811
ISBN (ePUB)
9783035394672
ISBN (MOBI)
9783035394665
ISBN (Softcover)
9783034317207
Language
English
Publication date
2014 (December)
Published
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. X, 413 pp., 2 fig., 1 table

Biographical notes

Stephen Parker (Volume editor) Rob Freathy (Volume editor) Leslie J. Francis (Volume editor)

Stephen G. Parker is Professor of the History of Religion and Education at the University of Worcester. Rob Freathy is Senior Lecturer in History of Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter. Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religions and Education at the University of Warwick.

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Title: History, Remembrance and Religious Education