Critical Thinking and Catholic Religious Education: An Empirical Research Report From the Philippines

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While critical rationality is an explicit goal of Catholic education, its practice in confessional Catholic religious education can be problematic for epistemological reasons: the prevailing Catholic religious epistemology may not be conducive to critical thinking in the RE classroom. A survey among 1068 teachers conducted in fifteen Catholic schools in the Philippines confirmed that a significant percentage of the respondents – especially religious educators – exhibited epistemologies considered incompatible with critical thinking specifically in the domains of religious beliefs and value judgements – the two areas covered by the Philippine Catholic RE curriculum. An examination of Catholic religious and moral epistemologies is recommended to determine the possibility and necessity of critical thinking in matters of faith and morals.