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Just a remark about Bert Roebben when he speaks on religious education [Inclusieve godsdienstpedagogiek, grondlijnen voor levensbeschouwelijke vorming, ACCO 2015]

Although sympathetic towards and even endorsing Roebbens central thesis that amidst a plurality of worldviews it is highly commendable to let young people discover and develop their worldview ‘in the presence of the other’, I am left with the impression that Roebbens concept of worldview education is still too specific, too particular (i.e. religious and christian) to do justice to the other, when present. Symptomatic for this is his use of the term ‘religious education’ and ‘interreligous learning’ when describing his project, thus ignoring the presence of the non-religious. Just look at the self-contradictory title of his book 'religious pedagogy'. Also questionable is the concept of ‘inclusivity’ used to characterize this approach (also in the title of the book). An all-inclusive teacher is ‘in control’ of the diversity and therefore in danger of not really facing the differences. Alterity of worldviews is a harsh and more painful reality than Roebben suggests, both on the personal and the institutional level. A truly pluralist pedagogical approach in which students learn to deal with all aspects – including the unpleasant ones – of one’s own and the each other’s outlook on life, would therefore be more than welcome.

 

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