Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 19, 2004
Let religion out of its box -- Gallagher
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Father Jack Gallagher has challenged school principals to integrate religion into every subject of the curriculum.
When students ask questions outside the box "we tell them we are not allowed to discuss
something else," Gallagher told Edmonton Catholic School principals at St. Anthony's Centre Jan. 13.
Gallagher, the president of Newman Theological College, said the secular world - and the school system - does things in compartments and keeps religion out of every compartment.
As a result, subjects like chemistry, physics and others have no reference to religion, he said. "We only ask those questions that are going to keep us within the compartment and we don't ask questions that are going to cause us to break out of that compartment," he lamented. "We ask very limited questions."
That must change, Gallagher said in an interview. "I'm saying (to the principals) you have to learn to ask those other questions that would get you out of your compartment. You have to learn to ask other questions."
That can be achieved by letting people's natural curiosity have free rein "so you aren't always asking narrow questions but you are asking questions of meaning," Gallagher said.
Teachers must go beyond just teaching specific subjects and allow the students to ask questions that go beyond the subject itself. Subjects like physics, for example, can lead to all sorts of questions.
According to the Big Bang Theory, the world began at a certain point, he noted. What caused it to start at that point rather than some other point?
"If the human mind is allowed to go in its natural mode, you will come to other questions," Gallagher told the principals. "And when you come to that question in physics people might say, 'Oh, that's outside of physics.' Okay. It's outside of physics but it is still a good question."
"Allow the mind to ask the question that a child would ask," Gallagher said. "Find a way to encourage students to ask further questions. Allow them to go into this whole mystery of reality and ask questions like what's the meaning of life, why does anything exist, is there a purpose?"