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The Independent Online

The Government's guidelines on religious education, which stipulate that children should be taught atheism alongside Christianity and the world's other religions, will no doubt provoke apoplexy in some quarters. Stand by for condemnations of the moral degradation of society and tirades against rampant "political correctness".

The Government's guidelines on religious education, which stipulate that children should be taught atheism alongside Christianity and the world's other religions, will no doubt provoke apoplexy in some quarters. Stand by for condemnations of the moral degradation of society and tirades against rampant "political correctness".

But these critics make the mistake of equating religious education with indoctrination. Pupils should have an opportunity to study as wide a range of belief systems as possible - and that should include atheism. Then they will be in a decent position to make up their own minds about what they believe in - and, perhaps more importantly, what they don't.

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