A bizarrely effective Biblical counselling course that has been taught in Australia’s capital is now being taken to the extent of banning children under the age of 16 from taking part.
The ABC has learned the program is part of a broader religious curriculum that also includes a program that teaches “how to use condoms”.
It is being taught at the University of Tasmania, where a group of young people from a different religious community was enrolled.
The programme’s founder, David Williams, said the curriculum was meant to help young people overcome some of the challenges of growing up in the Catholic faith.
“It’s really about understanding your sexuality, understanding your gender identity, understanding how you relate to others, it’s about getting to know yourself and getting to grips with your own faith,” Mr Williams said.
“So it’s really a process that we believe will help young Christians understand their faith and how they can be better Christians.”
The program is being used in Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia, but is not currently being taught in schools.
But in a statement, the university said it had taken the program’s content “very seriously”.
Mr Williams, who is also the president of the Tasmanian Young Atheists, said he believed the course had been “extremely well received” by the young people.
“They really wanted to get into the program and were incredibly interested in learning the fundamentals of the faith and really got a lot out of it,” Mr James said.
The program’s founder said the course would help young Australians “find their voice and their truth”.
“We’re really hoping that this will be the beginning of a dialogue that people from other faiths can have with young people,” he said.
Mr Williams is an evangelical Christian who has written several books, including the book, “The Bible and Homosexuality: How to Love Your Enemy”.
He said the program was not intended to replace or replace the teaching of the Bible in the classroom.
“The bible itself is the most powerful and most powerful tool for truth, and for justice, and it’s the only way we can be a compassionate society,” he told the ABC.
He said he hoped the program would help dispel myths about sexuality.
“I’m trying to do my best to dispel some of those myths and misconceptions that are out there, and to help people know that God loves all of us and that the bible is just a book, and not a Bible, and that God has a plan for us,” he added.
A spokesman for the university told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that it was working with Mr Williams to create a curriculum for the school’s students that would include the Bible.
“We have a number of different curriculum offerings in place and we will continue to explore ways to include other sources of information, including other religions, to strengthen our curriculum,” the spokesman said.
In a statement to the ABC, the University said it was not in a position to discuss the program or whether it should be taught in classrooms.
It said it would “review the content of the program to determine its appropriate place in our curricula”.
The university’s statement also said it believed the curriculum “is not intended as a substitute for the Bible, but as a complement”.
“It provides a framework for understanding the Bible and its teachings and is designed to help students to develop their own personal religious understanding and to build a deeper understanding of their faith.”
The ABC contacted the university and asked about the program.
The spokesman said the university did not comment on matters that relate to students.
Mr James says he hopes to introduce the program at a future meeting.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to do something with it in a week or two,” he says.
“But at the moment, we’re just getting started.”
The University of Adelaide also told the broadcaster it had no information on the program itself.
The school has been criticised for its treatment of LGBTQ students, with students protesting outside the school this year over the use of the term “queer”.