Over the last three years pupils in S6 have taken part in an enhancement course at the College called Apologetics where they meet once a week to discuss the many aspects of human existence.
With a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic community at the College, a rich pool of values and beliefs is forged and, in an age of social media, many pupils are surprised to meet others who challenge them on their belief.
Apologetics derives from the Greek term “Apologia” and aims to encourage pupils to challenge their own views and ask whether they can hold their view to be the truth. Through the course, pupils are brought together to discuss various pertinent issues and consider the bigger questions of our existence rather than getting caught up in unhelpful online dialog.
Pupils are posed with thought-provoking questions like: “Isn’t religion based on faith and secularism on evidence?”; “Why can’t I be free to live as I see fit, as long as I don’t harm anyone?”; “Is morality relative?”
The group is led by Mr Pearson, Deputy Head of Music, who said: “I have two groups of S6 pupils who read through Tim Keller’s Making sense of God, discussing these ideas freely. There are many differing opinions, as you can imagine, but it’s great to see pupils think differently about their views and how they communicate them.
“I very much look forward to our weekly meetings and have also just completed a Certificate in Apologetics which has been another great focus for me.”
Eve C (S6) said: “Apologetics has allowed me to consider questions that I'd never even thought of asking before. It's opened my eyes to new ways of seeing the world and made it easier to understand the views of my peers, while also teaching me how to effectively examine and express my own opinions. I think it's made me more open-minded and empathetic, and I've enjoyed being able to do something without worrying about putting it on my personal statement or using it in a university interview!”
Ore K (S6) also attends the group and added: “Going into Apologetics, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but honestly it has been a decision I will never regret. It has broadened my knowledge about the world and life and made me think in so many different ways. I have questioned what I have always believed in and further solidified my beliefs with a more solid foundation into why I think what I think. What I have learned will stay with me through life and I am so glad I participated in it.”
Head of College Mr Macpherson added: “In education, we try very hard to create opportunities to develop critical thinking, and to instil an intrinsic love of learning. These are things that are often talked about, but not always achieved. The Apologetics group does both things incredibly well. What Mr Pearson does is open up fascinating lines of inquiry for pupils, in a safe space for discussion and intellectual exploration. As someone who has a fascination for religion and the nature of existence, I’m delighted that our pupils have engaged with this so fully and can only encourage more of them to do so.”