Eton celeb sparks debate on standards of religious education

Spencer Matthews(Photo: Instagram/Spencer Matthews)

Reality TV star Spencer Matthews, known for his appearances on 'Made In Chelsea' and as an alumnus of Eton College, has ignited a lively debate on the standards of religious education.

Candid disclosures by the posh star about his uncertainties regarding the existence of Jesus, despite his elite education and Church of England background, have stirred both curiosity and controversy surrounding the quality of his public school teaching.

The old Etonian admits, almost with a degree of pride, "I'd be pretty low in the faith knowledge bracket, but I'm on a quest to broaden my knowledge and religious horizons."

In an upcoming episode of the new three-part BBC Two programme 'Pilgrimage: The Road To Wild Wales', 35-year-old Matthews openly expresses scepticism towards biblical miracles, stating, "I kind of thought that the people in the stories could also be made up..."

These admission have not only raised eyebrows but also ignited discussions about the efficacy of religious education in elite institutions.

During a Q&A session for the sixth series of the show, Matthews further expresses his uncertainties about faith by questioning the existence of Jesus Christ and the prophet Mohammed.

He candidly remarks, "By the way, the Jesus being real thing, just to reference it. I think I'm a bit confused with the Old Testament and New Testament - and the parting of the seas and turning water into wine all sound mad to me, so I kind of thought that the people in the stories could also be made up."

These off-the-cuff comments from a public figure have fuelled conversations about the role of religion in contemporary society, as well as the importance of comprehensive religious education. If religious education in Eton College is not adequate, what is the standard like in other UK schools?

Beyond these religious reflections, Spencer Matthews also opened up about personal struggles, notably the tragic loss of his brother, Michael, who went missing following a climb of Mount Everest.

Reflecting on his journey during the pilgrimage, Matthews shared poignant moments of emotional growth and acceptance within the group, indicating his deeper spiritual exploration.

'The Pilgrimage: The Road To Wild Wales' follows seven celebrity pilgrims as they embark on a personal journey along the North Wales Pilgrim's Way.

Before heading off on his televised trek, Spencer Matthews admitted he knew little about religion, bluffly saying, "A pilgrimage is when you walk and sleep on church floors and eat dead rats and stuff, which I'm looking forward to."

However, later on, sounding more of a mature seeker, he says, "I'm an open mind, an open book. I want to learn about different faiths, cultures and religions and develop a firm understanding of my faith and how it can potentially play a larger role in my life."

BBC Two's 'Pilgrimage: The Road To Wild Wales' promises to provide viewers with an intimate glimpse into the spiritual journeys of seven celebrities, including Spencer Matthews, and their personal reflections on faith when it airs in full on 29th March. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

The full list of the celebrity pilgrims is as follows: wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan, who places her faith in the natural world; Sonali Shah, a journalist and TV presenter who was raised in a Jain household; comedian Eshaan Akbar, a lapsed Muslim; Amanda Lovett, a practising Catholic, who catapulted to public attention in the first series of BBC's 'The Traitors'; actor Tom Rosenthal, star of Channel 4's 'Friday Night Dinner', who calls himself non-religious; and TV personality and former model, Christine McGuinness, who is spiritual but doesn't practise one particular faith.