Religious education in France

Authored by: Regis Dericquebourg

The Routledge International Handbook of Religious Education

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415536301
eBook ISBN: 9780203106075
Adobe ISBN: 9781136256424


 Download Chapter



Until the 1980s, teaching about religion at French schools was rarely discussed, but since the 1980s–1990s, it has become a topic to which sociologists and political analysts have given considerable attention. The starting point of teaching about religion originates from several observations: religion is losing its influence and consequently fewer children can acquire a religious culture during their studies. Moreover, with regard to alleged threats from“sects” and from Muslim extremism, some Catholics and rationalists have come to the conclusion that for their own protection young people must be intellectually equipped so that they do not react with naivety to marginal or dangerous world viewproposals. The best way in their eyes is to teach about religions, especially about their history, and to teach about philosophy (metaphysical and moral). The underpinning idea is that some knowledge about religions is necessary to understand literary works and the history of France, Europe, and the world. Some have also advocated that teaching about religion could contribute to a mutual understanding among young people. The knowledge about others’ religion (beliefs, life guidelines, values, religious festivals) would blur the impression of radical otherness and would lead to adjustments between social groups. The introduction of religion in the school curriculum has now become an element of public debate. In this chapter, we will address the situation in France.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.