Most Danes want ‘Christian studies’ to be renamed ‘religious studies’ at public schools

A survey reveals a majority wishes to change the title to match the curriculum

Since 1993, Danish schools have been required to educate pupils about various world religions and philosophies (photo: Pixabay) Since 1993, Danish schools have been required to educate pupils about various world religions and philosophies (photo: Pixabay)
February 19th, 2016 11:49 am| by Lucie Rychla
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More than half the Danish population would prefer religious education to be taught at public schools in classes called ‘religious studies’ not ‘Christian studies’, reveals a new survey carried out by Epinion for DR.

Of the 1,095 respondents, some 54 percent agreed the name of the subject should be changed to make it clear the course educates children not only about Christianity, but also other religions.

READ MORE: More Danish women than men believe in God


Ongoing discussion
The discussion about the subject’s name has been ongoing since 1975, when Denmark passed a law that stated public schools should provide pupils with a more knowledge-based and neutral education about religion rather than the previously required Evangelical-Lutheran doctrine.

“We believe there is a clear need for the subject to get a new name that would be more in line with its academic content,” John Rydahl, the chairman of the Danish Association for teachers of religion, told DR.

In 1993, a new Danish law requested that ‘Christian studies’ should include more teaching about various world religions and philosophies.

READ MORE: Danish Muslim parents have no objection to their kids enjoying Christmas church services

Sends important signal
However, Venstre’s spokesman for education, Anni Matthiesen, believes it sends an important signal that the course continues to be called ‘Christian studies’ (‘kristendomskundskab’).

“It signals that Christianity should fill more space and get more focus in the course,” Matthiesen, told DR.

“We believe this is important because it helps secure the foundation our society stands on. Other religions should, of course, be included in the curriculum as they are today, – including, for instance, Islam.”