Lecture: A challenging task to teach religion to secularized high school students


Associate professor Anders Sjöborg has studied how students in Swedish gymnasium (high school) feel about religion and religious education in school. His results show clear disparities between secular and religious students.

In his lecture on October 23, Anders Sjöborg presented the results of his study. Han claimed that most young people in Sweden today live their lives in a secularized context. Their experience religion mostly from media and school, and religion is not part of their social lives or family lives. There is, however, a smaller group that consider themselves religious in some manner.

Sjöborg’s results indicate some major disparities between the religious group and the secular group in the study. Not only are the religious students more positive to religion in general and how religion affects their lives. They are also more positive to religious education in school, and even slightly more positive to religious and cultural diversity in society.

It thus seems that religious education has not yet reached the intentions, stated in the syllabus of high school, to conduce religious and cultural understanding. Nor does it fulfill the ambition to foster a capability to reflect on and discuss religion and beliefs, a capability often referred to as religious literacy.

Anders Sjöborg concluded in his lecture that religious education should, to a higher degree, consider the fact that most students live in a secularized context. He also called for more opportunities for students to reflect upon their own and other people’s values, and how they affect the way their lives.

News from 2013