Respecting Faith

How can I respect someone’s beliefs when I think they’re wrong, ‘clutter’[1] or even repressive?

Our aim as professionals must be to provide a comprehensive Sex and Relationships Education. This means that we will work in such a way as to engage and educate all the young people in our group. To do this we may start from the observation of the Teacher who notes:

In the class there may be people that haven't started puberty and people that are already sexually active, so it's quite difficult to cater for all the needs" [2]

However, we must also develop our awareness of the existing beliefs and attitudes in our groups of young people – both those that are dominant and those that are in a faith or other minority.


You might believe "Young people want to discuss sexual pleasure and explore their thoughts and feelings. They want to know when it is the right time to have sex and with whom.” [3]

But will you be able to educate the children of those who feel that

"SRE should be taught in single sex classes – For children to appreciate the seriousness of SRE and not make it a subject of childish humour, lessons should be segregated. This allows for sensitive issues to be addressed without embarrassment and also retains modesty.” [4]

The source is Muslim but the feeling expressed here is shared by many people of faith.

So then, if our aim as professionals is to help young people to find ways to live sensibly and healthily, the question we need to ask is – ‘will this belief lead them to live unwisely or unhealthily?’ rather than whether we consider it to be the happiest or most reasonable way to live.

Follow the links to two areas of respect.: Being sensitive and Listen to us and don’t assume.


[1] “Religious moralities typically combine these shared human values with a good deal of clutter , and humanists will want to remove the clutter” p118 On Humanism . Richard J. Norman. Routledge, London, 2004

[2] From :-Teachers’ TV programme KS3/4 PSHE: Sex and Relationship Education - Tackling STIs (from subtitles script)

[3] Let’s talk about sex. feature by Hannah FrankelIn TES Magazine 3 :12: 2010

[4] Sex and Relationship Education. F. Khodabaksh / Y Patel . 2009

Though note Lila Green’s article on this and other Muslim views at