Religion & Philosophy

God/no/where
God/now/here

Where do YOU draw the line? Many people say this generation of students is the most ethically alert and aware body of thinkers. The room comes alive when we have class discussions about abortion, war, euthanasia, cloning and many other contentious issues.

Imagine a subject which could take you to faraway cultures, to times past and to other worlds: that is what we do! Welcome to the most exciting subject in the world - this one at least!

Religious Education is the academic study of some of the most powerful, inspirational and emotive ideas in human history. A major component of what it means to be human is to 'believe'. In RE, we discuss these ideas, where they come from and how they influence and structure believers’ lives. Thinking about these issues makes our pupils more focused, analytical and skilful in both debate and research.

We want our pupils to be articulate about what they believe; we want their opinions to be backed up by solid academic knowledge. We have, at the same time, a completely unique, intellectual identity - teaching and reinforcing the intellectual skills that make many of our students successful applicants to law, journalism and a host of competitive and demanding careers.

Pause for Thought

“One of the highlights of our whole School Assembly is an inspirational weekly address. This address which is both varied and topical leaves us all with much to ponder upon. I am keen these thought-provoking missives are shared with as wide an audience as possible and give us all food for thought during the coming week. From rock star Jon Bon Jovi’s New Jersey ‘Soul Kitchen’ restaurant, to Why do we wear a poppy? and the challenges of a new term, there is much to contemplate.”

Ian Davies, Headmaster

 

Pause for Thought - Whole School assembly readings

Mr Clements' ‘Pause for Thought’ articles have been viewed more than 30,000 times on TES. See his latest reading below. 

New Zealand

A few weeks ago, the nation of New Zealand was shaken to its core by the murder of 50 Muslims and the wounding of another 50 in the terrifying and brutal attack on two mosques in Christchurch at the start of their Friday prayers. New Zealand has a reputation of being a very calm and peaceful country and for many of us, this was the very first time we had ever heard anything negative about this far away and beautiful land.

The next Friday, something rather startling happened in the mosques in Christchurch. The worshippers had quite understandably been anxious about attending, but when they turned up, they found large numbers of three of New Zealand’s most feared biker gangs outside their buildings. These gang members were from the ’Mongrel Mob’, ’King Cobra’ and ’The Black Power’ who have a long and terrifying history. They are involved in drug crime, protection and racketeering up to the hilt and they are a terrifying aspect of modern life.

Like the drug gangs in Mexico, they are organised like armies and when somebody becomes a member they often commit to the organisation in heavy visible tattooing. So, you can understand why the worshippers were pretty anxious when they saw these men outside, but what they learnt very quickly was that these biker gangs had pledged themselves to support the local Muslim communities and were standing guard outside the mosques to make sure people could pray in peace.

The photographs in the Evening Standard showed some astonishing hugs between the two communities and in these photographs we saw a type of healing and a new style of hope emerging. Islam is a religion of law and the biker gangs are by definition outlaws. It would be very easy for them to despise and fear each other, but yet something startling happened in the healing process, they remembered they were both human.

So this is the moral message I think we should focus on this Easter time. There are many reasons to be scared and angry in this divided and dividing world, but there are as many, if not more reasons to be optimistic and cheerful. The tragedy of New Zealand has taught me many things but maybe one lesson I need to learn more carefully than all the others is to pay attention to the goodness in the people around me.

We would be grateful for your views.

Mr B Clements
Teacher of EAL

  • All 'Pause for Thought' articles from the last four years are available to read here