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Religious Conscio Usness of Dutch Youth

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

This article offers a survey of the religious consciousness of Dutch secondary school students. From an educational point of view, this survey is understood as a description of the actual, initial situation of the student population that the comtemporary religious educator faces. Against the background of this survey, the question is raised, therefore, what can still be a ligitimate, general goal of religious education in school given the fact that these students hardly have any affinity with any religious tradition anymore. In order to provide an answer to this question, three concepts of religious education are discussed: education in religion, education about religion and education from religion. However, on the basis of empirical data and a number of pedagogical and theological minimum requirements, it is concluded, then, that none of these concepts offers a sufficient basis for religious education in school today. As a result, an alternative conception of religious education, which focusses on the formation of a personal religious identity, is presented as a possible and viable concept for religious education in the future.


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