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Bible Studies/Religious Education in Mainstream Schools


Hello Mr Ross!
I don't know if you will remember me but I very much remember you and have many fond memories of the years you were my R.E. teacher at high school. I do not have very many memories, let alone happy ones of any teachers that have stuck in my mind and made quite as much impact on me as you have.
To think that my year only had one lesson per week with you and nothing else really is testimony to your gravitational personality, engaging style and the authenticity of your conviction to teach.
I truely mean when I say that I admired you then and I admire you even more so now. The way you managed to enthuse and engage a class who in truth could not really be less interested was nothing short of amazing. Although some may have seen you (and in reality any religious education teacher) as a polarising figure, I really do feel you taught with more enthusiasm, intellect and quick wit than anyone else, you truly did engage myself and many of my peers who would otherwise be ignored by the system.

Without going in to detail, I met you again after leaving school on a very sad occasion; at the funeral of one of my friends who died far too young. Like myself, he laterally had no respect and found no support from the education system but I knew he had respect for you.
Of all the many school staff claiming to care, you were the only one in attendence and you said that day you no longer worked at the school.
To me that showed and enforced once again that you truely do care, that you care about people, their lives and their futures, over and above what is defined as "caring" professionally. That is more than can be said of most people I have ever known.

To get to my question:
I was not brought up around religion, not a member of church nor in a particularly religious family. As I grew older I came to fundamentally disagree with religion of any kind and could only see the hate and hurt that religion causes.
No benefits of any faith were ever put forward to me and it was most certainly not encouraged.
I feel that the mainstream education system supports this stance and that religion is referred to negatively in a general sense.
I do not know whether the qualities I mentioned above that I see in you have anything to do with your religion but surely if so, it can only be an extremely positive thing in any persons life.
Is it perhaps not the case that like myself, children around the country are being actively turned off by religion and discouraged - taught by professionals with no personal or spiritual investment in the subject?
Do you think religious education in this country should be changed and should it be taught by people with a religious belief personally?
Does the lack of compassionate, heartfelt religious education not lead to children from religious families being taught extremist, right wing views of their families religion and having no alternate view to question with?

I hope you get this message and I send my thought and appreciation to you.

Hello Craig!

Thank you for your unusual question - which is not really within my AllExperts area! - and also for the very kind, and humbling, comments that preceded it.

First of all, an apology!  I did have a lot of "Craig's" in front of me, and a number of faces are now in my mind!  I would offer some surnames - but am concerned that I would miss yours out and thus, potentially, cause a measure of offence!

Perhaps you would like to join the app 350 former pupils who have asked to be Facebook friends?  I would ask - but, as stated, am unsure as to which Craig you are and, in any case, I have a strict rule that I only respond to the requests of former pupils.  I never make the request - for reasons that will, I am sure, be all too clear!

As to your question(s), I would agree.  Indeed, I would go so far as to claim that no subject ought to be taught by anyone who is not passionate about it!  I know that my own love for Maths) I kept that one secret!!) came from a teacher who, all of those years ago, could make even quadratic equations fascinating!

With regard to the specific subject of RME (RMPS), you may recall that I often explained that, when teaching about Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism (I have never really understood Hinduism, so refused to teach it to others!), I was doing so on the basis of what I had learned from books.  When I was teaching Christianity, I was teaching from my own life and experience.  In my opinion, that is absolutely necessary - and the fact that I had (have!) a personal faith actually helped me in the teaching of other religious belief-systems.

Your final question has me a wee bit confused!  I would hope that children from devout families of any religious persuasion would have sufficient grounding at home, and have already been encouraged to look at other points of view, to have no difficulty here.  I can, of course, only speak for my own family - but my wife and I certainly encouraged our children to research, while always seeking to ground them in the faith which we hold.  Both of my girls are dedicated disciples of Jesus, and the one who is a married mother is seeking to deal with my grandson as she was dealt with.

I do hope that I haven't rattled on too long.  I was having a coffee with a former pupil just last week (happens with a few!), and she agreed that classes often asked me a 'red herring' question so that they didn't have to do any work!  Devious lot, you were!

Thank you, again, for all of your kind words.

Kindest regards,

PS (in an unusual position!).  It was only when I submitted the answer that your full name was published.  You will be, I hope, relieved to know that yours was the first face that sprung to mind when I read the name "Craig"!!!   Unsure as to what that says about your long-lasting effect on me!!!!   :-)  

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Rev C.Brian Ross


I am happy to offer answers to anyone with a question that refers to the Christian Faith in its widest possible sense. I believe that the Bible is the living Word of God, and seek to base all of my life on its teaching. I also have some knowledge of some of the cults, and of Islam and Judaism. Of course, my answers are just one man's thoughts, and I would always advise a questioner to check with others, and with the Word of God.


Served as a full-time parish minister in Scotland for about six years, and then spent the last thirty as a teacher (now 'retired') of Religious Education in Secondary Comprehensive schools (ages 11-17) while continuing my own preaching and teaching ministry. I have spent three years as a voluntary Chaplain with Strathclyde Police Force. I also believe that learning is a life-time process, and have recently completed a Master's degree in Divinity. I now spend most of my time in France, ministering mainly to English-speaking groups.

Former Presenter on Revival FM - a local Christian, community radio station, broadcasting in west central Scotland, and online at Involved with a number of organisations that support Christians who are currently suffering persecution in some 70 countries around the world. Until the formation of the new Police Scotland Force, I was a Chaplain with Strathclyde Police Force, deployed within 'Q' and 'N' Divisions, and also responsible for the Force Training and Recruitment Centre.

Various articles in Christian magazines. I also maintain a blog - My first book, Great Words of the Faith, is available as a Kindle e-book at My second book, Foundations of the Faith, is available as a Kindle e-book at*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Diploma of The Bible Training Institute, Glasgow; Licentiate in Theology of the University of Glasgow; Associateship of The Philosophical Society of England; Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons) in History from The Open University; Post-grad Certificate of Education - Religious Education and History; Post-grad Certificate in Learning and Teaching; Post-grad Diploma in Management and Learning in Education; Master of Science Degree from the University of Strathclyde; Master of Divinity Degree (with Distinction) from Trinity College and Seminary (accredited by the University of Liverpool)

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