Should religion be taught in school?
I think a religion class where all religions and spirituality are learned about would be extremely beneficial today. Students will learn the common thread that runs through all religions and understand that there is no reason to fight. Having these classes in public schools could serve as a second gym class. Of course these classes will be from an unbiased perspective.
I just think that having parents (who for the most part are very uneducated on the topic of religion because they only really know one) teach their children is now out dated.
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interesting. Part of our history class in either sophomore or junior year was “Comparative religions”, so of course I figured it was commonplace high school material. Our teacher’s whole point was “it’s all the same thing, just in different languages.” So I’ve always carried with me the very simplistic thought that, if you had buddha and allah and jesus and moses and vishnu and whoever sitting around the dinner table, there would be a lot of head-nodding and breaking of bread, and very little bloodshed.
of course if they don’t teach festivus as well, they’re doing a disservice to the youth of today.
When a child asks where we go when we die, most parents lie to them. The most honest answer is “nobody knows, what do you think happens?” The worst thing you can teach a child is to fear hell, or to be convinced of an exclusive heaven, that pays attention to the extent of one’s faith… WTF? It takes the wonder out of life and pacifies and subdues the raw human spirit. Make heaven exist on Earth before it can possibly exist in a fictional afterlife.
I care not what else religion teaches, overall it’s to strive to be a good person, and I’m in support of that. The fact that people pay extra for their children to go to a catholic institution, claiming that it’s a better education, even though large chunks of time are spent indoctrinating myths as facts into our youth, kind of brings to light the hypocrisy of catholicism itself.
I don’t know about other regions, but where I live, in 8th grade your ‘history’ class is learning about a lot of the world’s different religions. It was completely biased though. Buddhism and Hinduism had one chapter each, Judaism had two, Islam had no less than FIVE, and Catholicism and Christianity weren’t even mentioned at all.
That being said, I think teaching the basic concepts of different religions might be a good idea, as long as there would be no bias. But that seems almost impossible to me; everyone who writes the history books always favors their beliefs.
@Max, in defense of catholic/private religious schools for a sec, most of those schools were founded because they were not allowed to attend regular or comparable private schools, or because when they did attend these schools, they were discriminated against in some way. They then opened schools for their specific communities so that they would have a place to go that was better/safer for them in a social context. Now, you cannot be barred from attending a Catholic school (for example) if you are not catholic, but the vast majority of catholic school students are at least catholic on paper.
I think that religion would be a valuable addition to the cirriculum of public schools because sometimes in our drive to be politically correct we neglect to learn what the “other perspective” actually is/says, so we end up just as ignorant but less aware of prejudice.
If all religions were thoroughly taught then yes it would be incredibly helpful to today’s society. This would show how many people in the world THINK they are right and the perhaps consider the alternative. Here is a picture that sums it up pretty nicely. http://i.imgur.com/jRSi4.jpg
Also, my cousin started taking world religions at the Seattle University and ever since learning about all of them she has been considering abandoning her religion (Christianity) and becoming an atheist. I think people get the wrong idea about atheists, I am one and just not partake in any religion. I think the possibility of a “god” is quite high but I do not believe this “god” rules us and judges us today.
Our children should have a mandatory class from grade 1 that focuses on teaching them critical thinking, philosophy (including all religions) and nurtures their ability to question everything around them. This should be a free form class without grades, who’s sole purpose is to teach the student HOW to navigate the various -isms and religions surrounding them in order to question their validity based on their own criteria.
Think of it as a discussion group vs a standard teacher/student class where there is no “wrong” answer or belief and everything is discussed with respect and open mindedness. Just imagine the legions of free thinking young adults we would be churning out after 12 years of such a class…
Of course such an approach would destroy the established religious hierarchy and seriously undermine our current government structure. Oh one can only wish…
I was home-schooled and attended Montessori school for a good portion of my schooling. These are wonderful alternatives (if done right), because the idea is to let the child explore their natural curiosity and develop the ability to think instead of just memorizing. Sadly, these options are not available for very many people.
You are so very correct Theo. I personally am the product of the Canadian public school system and am living proof that it does not work for those of us that cannot help but question everything presented to us (mulitple suspensions, expulsions all for refusing to accept the doctrine of “do what your told”).
The Montessori schools are a form of education that currently is only available to the elites (re: those who can afford it), while the public system is in place to create new cogs for the wheels of our great industrial nations and purposely avoids creating any free thinking individuals where, in fact, free thinking is discouraged/punished. The established order only wants to keep things “as they are” and creating free thinkers would do the complete opposite of that.
Teaching religion in schools without the student possessing the ability to properly question was is being presented would simply make it just another class in memory regurgitation, in what amounts to nothing more than a government funded day care for everyone under 18 years old.
I realize that making such courses a mandatory part of public education is nothing short of a pipe dream in the current structure, but eventually the system in place will collapse and it is folks like us that need to then step up with something better to fill the void.
Haha yes I agree. This would be great as an elective, I totally disliked being forced into a Catholic only religion class however I was going to a private school so its one of those “if you don’t like it, leave” situations. But my alternative, public school, would have been a letdown as well….
Yes, I like this idea. A sort of philosophy/history of religions course. In a perfect world, kids will be able to take this course and choose themselves what religion they would want to partake in if any. I hate the fact that I was baptized as a baby when I couldn’t choose. Seeing as I can’t stand the catholic church…
Definitely not for a grade. I don’t see a lot of things that could come from intensely studying religion, but good could definitely come from learning about different religions and whats going on in current society and past societies.
Oh yes. I agree. As long as it’s not like, “Oh, only this religion can be taught.” That would be detrimental. But, we NEED this in our schools. I got frustrated in school with how they taught me evolution. “Oh, so we aren’t SUPPOSED to teach this as fact, even tho it is and God is fake.”
Really? That’s how you teach me/our kids?
It would certainly expose children to all the many ideas and philosophies that exist in the world. Imagine the open conversations that could stem with intelligent design vs Darwinism vs panspermia vs every other idea. We as a western culture are very limited in our beliefs and knowledge of what else is out there in the world…so I think it would be a great educational tool in a perfect world. That being said, I don’t see it happening without a major reconstruction of the education system.