The churches are empty and hardly anyone prays anymore, for example before eating. Fewer and fewer people seem to have anything to do with religion. Is there a need for religion classes at all?? We asked two religion teachers from caspar-vischer-gymnasium. Religion is for the church.
Many believe that. But religion is inextricably linked to our society and therefore also has a firm place in our schools. Religious education is a regular subject – a pre-printed subject, which means that if you get bad grades, you can fail. "But it rarely actually happens," explains the, female rainer seifferth (49), who has been teaching protestant religion at the caspar-vischer-gymnasium in kulmbach for many years.
Who thinks along …
"If you think a little in class and participate, you don't have to sit out because of religion." What you learn in religion class is not measurable like in math or geography. "Of course, there is also material here that needs to be learned, says seifferth "but it's really about learning and practicing how to think for yourself".
Bastian primer (29) can only confirm that. He has been teaching catholic religious education at caspar-vischer-gymnasium for the past two years. "Much of what we take for granted today, such as respect for human dignity, is rooted in the christian faith. Only by recognizing and understanding the background can we understand why our society is the way it is." It is not without reason that religion was already considered the "mother of all sciences" in the middle ages have been called.
"Schoolchildren hardly know their way around"
Religious education covers many different areas. For example, schoolchildren are taught what is written in the bible. "Today's schoolchildren hardly know anything about it", teacher seifferth emphasizes. In principle, he regrets this, but it also has a decisive advantage: "the students are often surprised by the stories the bible has in store for them." From home, very few children have heard stories about moses or jesus.
The church story
church history is also on the curriculum. "The reformation, for example. On reformation day we also do activities with both denominations together", explains catholic religion teacher primer. What actually happens in worship, why do we celebrate communion? And what does an altar boy do?? Such questions are also clarified in the course of religious education.
But what many students find particularly exciting, both teachers observe time and again, is the area of "other religions.
In each grade, a different denomination is taught. In the lower grades, for example, it's judaism or islam. Buddhism in the upper school. "We point out differences and commonalities, seifferth says.
A track for one's own values
"It gives the students a sense of their own values and a basic understanding of people of other faiths", says the protestant religion teacher.
Activities outside the classroom also fall within the remit of the religion department. One of the focal points in the fifth grade, for example, is the orientation of the introductory days. "There, the children get to know each other, but also the teachers. The new students then feel welcome in the school and as part of the community", according to seifferth.
In all these areas, the basic goals of religious education become clear. The two teachers at caspar-vischer-gymnasium agree: they want the students to think about themselves, our society, social relationships, values and the meaning of life. "That's what religious education is for, and that's why it plays such an important role in the education of young people, seifferth is certain.
Conviction behind ethics
Could not the ethics class do the same? Bastian primer puts it into perspective: "if you can't identify with our faith, you can send your child to ethics class. But the conviction behind ethics – you can only get that in religion classes, of course, and for me it's necessary in order to understand ethics."