Ethics versus religion in Berlin

Referendum Pits Ethics against Religion

What a beautifully irony-laced headline from Spiegel Online International.

From the article:

Since 2006, ethics has been a compulsory subject for all high school students in Germany's capital city, while religion is an optional course. The "Pro Reli" campaign wants to change those rules so that pupils would have to choose between ethics and a faith-based religion class. Those classes would be strictly divided along religious lines, with Protestants, Catholics and Muslims being taught separately.

I actually can't believe this.  It's like a piece of science fiction.

9 thoughts on “Ethics versus religion in Berlin”

  1. i think it's excellent. we never get to have a say in anything in this country. berlin is an extremely interesting political entity and i reckon the turnout will just exceed 50% but haven't a clue which side will win. what side are you on?

  2. The original ethics lessons were instated in response to an "honour killing" of a woman by her Muslim brother because he thought she lead too secular of a life. I think the response to this — of explicitly teaching ethics to kids — was genius. I wish we had the same thing in this country. But now that the taught ethics come into conflict with religious teaching (what a surprise), various people (mainly Christian and Muslim leaders) want the option to replace the ethics lessons with exclusivist religion-specific lessons.I cannot think of a worse idea. If religious teachings contravene basic ethics, the the answer is NOT to throw away the ethics!! I'll bet they just don't want their kids being taught to tolerate gays... I really think that's one of the key motivations. Can you think of *any good* which can arise if the religious apologists win this?

  3. was hoping you'd say something like that. i just can't help but think that anyone of any faith will be pressured into taking formal religious instruction at school as an alternative to ethics as a secular study. ethics would decline etc... back to square 1, entrenching religious divisions etc... politics and religion... jesus christ... *slaps forehead*

  4. Hmm... I'd put money on this particular campaign being unsuccessful. I can't say that I'd vote for it. Personally, I wouldn't necessarily see ethics and religion as mutually exclusive or conflicting. If I remember my GCSE days correctly, we used to discuss all manner of ethics, morality, society, personality, philosophy and some religious beliefs, so I don't see why an ethics subject in Germany couldn't be something similar.Then again, if it turns out that it's more like the "Citizenship" course that we also had to do, then this may turn out to be an entirely moot point - that was the lesson where everyone bunked off to go and smoke.

  5. The original ethics lessons were instated in response to an "honour killing" of a woman by her Muslim brother because he thought she lead too secular of a life. I think the response to this — of explicitly teaching ethics to kids — was genius. I wish we had the same thing in this country. But now that the taught ethics come into conflict with religious teaching (what a surprise), various people (mainly Christian and Muslim leaders) want the option to replace the ethics lessons with exclusivist religion-specif​ic lessons.I cannot think of a worse idea. If religious teachings contravene basic ethics, the the answer is NOT to throw away the ethics!! I'll bet they just don't want their kids being taught to tolerate gays... I really think that's one of the key motivations. Can you think of *any good* which can arise if the religious apologists win this?

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