Religious Education promotes the holistic development of the person. It facilitates the intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and moral development of students. Religious Education provides a particular space for students to encounter and engage with the deepest and most fundamental questions relating to life, meaning and relationships. It encourages students to reflect, question, critique, interpret, imagine and find insight for their lives. The students’ own experience and continuing search for meaning is encouraged and supported.
Religious Education supports the development of students by helping them-to explore how religious and other beliefs are expressed; engage with life’s big questions; and reflect on moral values for life.
As students learn to live in an increasingly pluralistic world, Religious Education has a critical role to play in the curriculum in providing opportunities for students to consider the variety of religious beliefs found in Ireland and elsewhere, become aware of different understandings of the Divine, and examine other interpretations of life. It encourages respect and understanding of different beliefs, perspectives and ways of living, including both the religious and non-religious response to human experience.
Religion has shaped and been shaped by historical events, something which continues today. Religious Education gives students an important framework for understanding past and present events, actions and beliefs and their impact within the context of people’s lives. It also promotes an understanding of religions as dynamic, internally diverse and evolving over time. Religious Education within an Irish context offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of how different religions, and Christianity in particular, have contributed to the society in which we live.
People today are faced with many concerns, many of which require an ethical response. Religious Education has an important contribution to make in encouraging students to engage critically with belief systems and principles of moral behaviour which can serve as a foundation for decisions.
Religious Education helps to equip students with the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values to support their life journey and enable them to participate in their communities and in the world as informed, respectful, responsible and caring members of society.