Beyond the Bible

David Nash explores the movement for moral education that attracted quite a following at the turn of the century, and draws some parallels with today's emphasis on 'good citizenship'

Modern concerns about teaching morality in schools have turned around the issues of multiculturalism and citizenship. The extremely plural nature of the religions and lifestyles represented in modern Britain means that an entirely Christian scheme of civic and moral education is deemed inappropriate. Moreover government circles worry that the young are failing to take a sufficiently active part in civil and political society and that a policy of 'Education for Citizenship' represents the best way of rectifying this. Objections to the non- denominational approach have suggested that Britain has historically been an overwhelmingly Christian country in which such values have guaranteed high levels of social cohesion and have offered a readily accessible standard for moral and responsible behaviour. However challenges to the Christian version of moral education have been going on since the Victorian period. Indeed concerns about the relationship between morality, social harmony and national self-image are themes that run through modern history.

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