With corruption and crime, selfishness and greed, hypocrisy, deception and other vices rampant in society today, the Government needs to tackle the roots of this crisis by discussing with religious and other leaders practical means by which religious education for children is given highest priority.
The vital education sector is in crisis and chaos today with hundreds of thousands of A Level students still awaiting answers to a multitude of questions, while university professors and lecturers are on their largest-ever strike demanding a higher budgetary allocation for education and assurance that the free education service will be protected. Last Monday’s virtual riot at Vidyaloka Vidyalaya in Galle over the appointment of a new principal shows the extent to which the rule of law and discipline have broken down even in schools. That is why effective measures need to be taken in schools to give religious education top priority.
With the globalised capitalist market economy and its main policies based on self-centredness and greed sweeping across virtually the whole world including Sri Lanka, religious education needs to be transformed from head-level doctrines or rituals to the dimensions of liberative spirituality. Students need to be convinced that selfishness and greed, deception and hypocrisy eventually lead to self-destruction while also damaging or destroying relationships with others also.
Students need to come to an understanding that if they are selfish they will never be happy. This is the foundation of liberative spirituality. A person who is selfish is essentially insincere if not deceptive and hypocritical. Such a person, even when appearing to be doing good to others, has a secret agenda of seeking some personal gain or glory. When this is the attitude, we damage ourselves and damage others.
Religious education or liberative spirituality needs to transform our nature, our heart and our thinking pattern, whereby we could help others without expecting anything in return. Essentially it is a transformation from self-centredness to other-centredness.
Until this transformation takes place we put up an act – one thing inside and another outside. Inside we have selfishness and greed, hatred and anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and jealousy. But we wish others well and say “peace be with you”. That is why Shakespeare said "The world is a stage and we are actors." Others know we are acting, we know they are acting, and the act goes on till we tumble and the stage crashes. That is basically what is happening in Sri Lanka and the world. Thus there is an urgent need for religious education based on liberative spirituality, so that students coming out of school or university will have not only wisdom and knowledge, but also a spirit of selfless sacrificial service to others. We need to remember that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. All that is not given is lost.
What a beautiful piece of writng . How true what the writer says . There is too much hypocricy in the world . It is time we came out of it, religion or not . who is fooling whom by having secret agenda's , only themselves as people can very well see through them
Suchith Abeyewickrem Saturday, 06 October 2012 11:45 AM
I'm agreeing that we need to have transformative religious education and not just a subject being taught though I dont know if . This is in fact what we've been trying to do through 'learning to live together' our interfaith and intercultural Ethics Education program for children and young people.
Kumara Sunday, 07 October 2012 05:51 AM
The euphemism "religious education" is nothing more than indoctrinating our children into uncritically believing religious dogma. So called religious "education" is not education at all. It is merely indoctrination. Children should be allowed to think freely. Children should be allowed to choose their own religion (if any) without being indoctrinated into the parent's religion. It is myth among Sri Lankans that morality comes from religion. If morality comes from religion, how can we decide whether it is moral to make human clones. No religion on earth has said anything regarding whether human cloning is good or bad. In reality, morality is totally independent from religion.
It is myth among Sri Lankans that morality comes from religion. If morality comes from religion, how can we decide whether it is moral to make human clones. No religion on earth has said anything regarding whether human cloning is good or bad. In reality, morality is totally independent from religion....')" type="button" class="btn btn-outline-secondary btn-sm" style="padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 2px">Reply
Hussain Sunday, 07 October 2012 02:33 PM
Religion is the problem and not the answer for peaceful co-existence between communities. Teaching ethics is better as it does not divide. Science is the only way we can derive real knowledge about the natural world and our place in it. Religious faith simply confuses and divides. When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. – Robert Pirsig
Hussain Sunday, 07 October 2012 02:36 PM
Very well said . Thank you Kumara for your elucidation what religious education exactly means.
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