Should Religion Be Taught in Public Schools?

  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Unicornmon
    How does a school teach all religions? I agree with you completely that they should be taught, but since there are thousands, maybe millions of faiths, which do you teach? I would be so offended if it were only the big three. (Judaism, Christianity (Catholic/Protestantism), & Islam.)
    June 24th, 2012 at 03:03pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    I'd add the main Asian religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, also Hinduism. Also Any religion that is represented within the particular school district.
    June 25th, 2012 at 07:13am
  • charming.

    charming. (135)

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    It would be nice to have kids teach each other - if there isn't time to cover 20 different religions in any way that's more than tokenistic, have students select one each to research and give a talk on. That way, every student learns something new and teachers not giving appropriate time/info to any one religion would be less problematic. The class would see that there are many beliefs, that people who hold them are equally passionate, and that their beliefs are equally rich; that whilst you or your family may have beliefs that they hold as true, so do others. I think that's an important message for anyone living in a globalised world. You can still believe you hold/know the objective truth, but you should understand, early on, that others (while believing different things) think the same; and learn to reconcile that understanding.

    That's only 2-3 classes taken up by this exercise (which is, what, one week?) assuming 5min presentations; a minor intrusion into an otherwise structured-however-is-appropriate curriculum.

    To reiterate my position on religious education in public schools: I'm anti-proselytising (teaching religion) but pro-education (teaching about religion) and I think the difference is not what you are teaching, but how you are teaching it.
    June 25th, 2012 at 07:44am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    I feel like there would still be a ton neglected. I'd want to add Paganism, Satanism (yes, Satanism to show that it's not all this Satan-worshipping religion), atheism, agnosticism, New Ageism, Mormonism, Scientology, Wicca, and more I'm sure.
    June 25th, 2012 at 04:03pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    ^I did say any that are represented in the particular district. Also atheism isn't a religion, so I don't think that should be included except to say that there are those who don't believe in any form of God or gods. As it it, Buddhism in a sense is an atheistic religion.
    June 26th, 2012 at 06:44am
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    Or they could teach the main ones then set a special research assignment where the students could research other religions and do presentations in class about them. (Sorry, about double post, am on my phone)
    June 26th, 2012 at 06:47am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    How would they know they're represented? And, even if they aren't, but excluding them from the curriculum they could be excluding individuals from discovering the religion that fits them. Not every practicing Wiccan and Satanist would be forthright about practicing, especially in a community that most practices one of the big three.

    And while Atheism isn't technically a religion, it endures a lot of hatred and slander from the religious community. If the point of the class is to teach facts to fight prejudice, it needs to be included.
    June 26th, 2012 at 02:38pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @ of dru's being. I agree atheism needs to be addressed but only in light of what you mentioned, but it's not a religion and so should probably not be afforded the same amount of time as the religions being taught.

    Well, does the US have census data that curriculum writers could access? That's a good starting point and then any others could be discussed as student choices depending on the cohort? I remember my Christian Education teacher allowing us to choose the topic for several weeks a few times so that it was relevant to us and not just pulled from dry texts. Granted he was open-minded but he gave us the choice. He was also the school chaplain [and yes, it was a private school]
    June 26th, 2012 at 02:53pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    Unless every child is staying in the district for the rest of their life, how will the class help them when they are exposed to other religions in the 'real world', which is what the point of school is?
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:01pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @ of dru's being.
    Well, if that's the point of schooling, I guess my school failed in preparing me mathematically....
    But, that is a fair point, but you know if kids really want something to stick with them they'll look it up for themselves. They can't always rely on their peers for information, we are continuously learning, school is only the starting point of that other more important school: life.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:05pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    My school didn't have books on other religions, really. When I did look up things about other religions on the internet at school, other kids found out about it and made fun. This is why I feel it should be taught by a teacher in a classroom.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:08pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @ of dru's being.
    I guess maybe I'm different than you. When it came to my beliefs, I didn't care what others thought. I was proud to be one of only three members of the senior Christian group at our school. If people teased me about looking stuff up it was water off a ducks back for me. They teased me about worse so it was like whatever... I was always in the library anyway. I had more issues with my views on evolution than religions. Funny how that works.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:16pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    I got picked on for everything. I was different. It was a small town. I didn't enjoy having an X painted on my back for being curious about other religions, for having a Harry Potter jacket, for wearing long dresses, for posting quotes on my locker. Teens are cruel and I think that teaching about a lot of subjects we hide will make them less cruel.

    I don't think that we should use 'not caring when it happened to me' as an excuse. Not everyone is that strong.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:19pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @ of dru's being.
    I'm not using it as an excuse just explaining why I personally feel the way I do. I don't think it's plausible to try and teach all religions, and that may seem unfair, but I don't think that then means we should refrain from teaching it at all.

    You make a fair point that if we taught things that we hid people would be less cruel. However, the same could be said of history classes. In Australia once upon a time they didn't teach about the Stolen Generation etc etc...they do now, but it took a long time. And even then I didn't learn it at my school, in history they only taught Ancient History or Modern History. But not Australian History. I learned more Australian History by researching it, taking note of our national holidays, watching documentaries after I'd finished school. The same could be said for religions.

    Yes, schools should expand religious education from just teaching the three big ones and include others, but they can't teach everything and they shouldn't not teach it at all.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:27pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ The Pies Endure
    I think it's discrimination to pick only certain religions and not do others. Unless there was a cohesive list that every school had to do, I wouldn't be okay with it. Because small, narrow-minded school districts would use it to their advantage and that's the problem with teaching religion in the first place.

    Go big or go home.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:31pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

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    of dru's being.:
    @ The Pies Endure
    I think it's discrimination to pick only certain religions and not do others. Unless there was a cohesive list that every school had to do, I wouldn't be okay with it. Because small, narrow-minded school districts would use it to their advantage and that's the problem with teaching religion in the first place.

    Go big or go home.
    Is is discrimination to not teach about every culture that ever exist in a history class? To not teach every known theory in a science class? To not read every novel? We don't apply this thinking to any other area of school curriculum. And it would be a shame to force kids into ignorance by teaching nothing rather than teaching what we can.

    Discrimination implies wrongful intent; excluding things simply because children don't spend enough time in school and there isn't enough money isn't discrimination, it's just practical.
    June 26th, 2012 at 04:40pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Kurtni
    I'm discussing wrongful intent though. I clearly stated wrongful intent in my post. "Unless there was a cohesive list that every school had to do, I wouldn't be okay with it. Because small, narrow-minded school districts would use it to their advantage and that's the problem with teaching religion in the first place."
    June 26th, 2012 at 04:43pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

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    @ Kurtni
    I'm discussing wrongful intent though. I clearly stated wrongful intent in my post. "Unless there was a cohesive list that every school had to do, I wouldn't be okay with it. Because small, narrow-minded school districts would use it to their advantage and that's the problem with teaching religion in the first place."
    Like I said though, we still don't approach curriculum in this way in any other area. We don't make the narrow minded schools teach evolution but other kids can still learn it. We don't make them read To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't think the majority of American students should be punished because midwestern schools like to put Jesus into everything, and this is coming from someone who went to school in the middle of Missouri. I know they trample all over separation of church and state every chance they get, but there will never be a universal curriculum in America because that's left up to the states. I agree with you it should be changed, but that's not a practical option, and no school can just put a hiatus on what they teach and wait for that to happen.
    June 26th, 2012 at 04:53pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Kurtni
    I also think we need a national curriculum because a state curriculum isn't good enough. (My sister was never taught American History because she's a military brat who moved too much.)

    And if we can't teach religion right, I'm against teaching it at all. I know that sounds harsh, but religion is a weapon of mass destruction and it's safer, imo, to leave it well enough alone rather than play with it and risk it exploding.
    June 26th, 2012 at 04:55pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

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    @ Kurtni
    I also think we need a national curriculum because a state curriculum isn't good enough. (My sister was never taught American History because she's a military brat who moved too much.)

    And if we can't teach religion right, I'm against teaching it at all. I know that sounds harsh, but religion is a weapon of mass destruction and it's safer, imo, to leave it well enough alone rather than play with it and risk it exploding.
    When I moved from Chicago to Union, Missouri (tiny town), the history book I used in 4th grade was the one they were using in 6th grade. Literally every class I took was something I had already learned for 2-3 years, but there was nothing that could be done about it. I imagine it would have been much worse for someone moving from Missouri to Illinois, because they would just feel so behind. Illinois just had a more progressive education system. Oh well, I had Mibba. Mr. Green

    I don't think religion, in public, primary and secondary schools, needs it's own class anyways. I think it needs to be incorporated into history and social studies classes.... which it is pretty well now anyways.
    June 26th, 2012 at 05:03pm