Should Religion Be Taught in Public Schools?

  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Kurtni
    My sister switched attended a different school for 7th and 8th grade. She learned world history twice. She didn't know what the Gettysburg address was. Because almost all states teach world history in 7th and American in 8th, but this school in New York didn't, so she was never able to learn American History. My mom had to give her a crash course for her GED test.
    June 26th, 2012 at 05:07pm
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @Kurtni the situation may be different for those in America when it comes to teaching religion, perhaps what you suggested re a cohesive list may work in Australia. Also a national curriculum may be difficult to implement in a country as large as the US but Australia really needs one. And is slowly working towards one. I believe in Australia at least that religion needs to be kept on the curriculum. It just needs to change.
    June 27th, 2012 at 12:18am
  • The Master

    The Master (15)

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    I think Scotland has a totally different curriculum to the rest of the UK but I digress.

    I loved how RE was taught to me during Primary and High School. In Primary, you looked at different religions which was neat since we got to see inside a mosque and stuff. Never did get to see a synagogue which was a little disappointing. In high school, the emphasis moved from facts to broader issues that got more complex (and adult) as we grew older: starting from the Afterlife to things like abortion and drugs.We'd look at not only religious POV but philosophical standpoints. And it was only an hour a week.
    June 27th, 2012 at 01:26am
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    I absolutely think religion should not be taught in public schools. Of course, religion had a lot to do with American and European history and, in those cases, it should definitely be acknowledged because it is vital to understanding the history. But I don't think public school students should actually be taught about religion, whether that be Christianity or whatever else.

    However, I do think that if the school has the resources, than having some type of religious studies class as an elective, where students could learn about all the major belief systems in the world, would be pretty cool for those who are interested in learning about different religions. I'm a hardcore atheist but I know I would've found some type of theology class very interesting. The school would have to be strict about making sure the class is objective and doesn't play favorites with religions, though.
    June 27th, 2012 at 02:47am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ chai latte
    I agree with electives, but you still have to teach it in those closes. So you don't think it should be mandatory taught, I'm taking it?
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:38pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ of dru's being.
    Yeah, pretty much. Basically, I think it's wrong to force kids to learn about religion, but if the kid wants to learn about religion in an objective environment, than I think that option should be available, if possible. I also think if schools were to introduce some type of theology course than it would have to focus on all the major religions of the world. I think focusing solely on one or two would be wrong.
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:43pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ chai latte
    I think that you would need to teach 10-15 to get even close to creating the classroom environment for learning about religion without being biased.
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:45pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ of dru's being.
    Yeah, so do I, and that would be close to impossible to do in a high school setting. Religion is such an expansive subject and it is very, very easy to fall in to bias, intentional or not. Mostly because of this, I generally think, above all, religion should be kept out of high schools and saved for college, where classes have the time and resources to cover the field much more thoroughly and (this isn't the word I'm looking for but I can't think of another) professionally. Plus, I think most high school kids just straight-up wouldn't understand a lot of what they're being taught, especially when it comes to eastern and more "spiritual" religions (Buddhism, Hindu, etc.).

    I think I saw someone mention a few pages back that, I think in Australia, they don't teach religion at all in schools, but they have special universities that are completely focused on theology and learning all about world religions. I think that's pretty cool.
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:53pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    I think regardless of religion class, you would still have difficulty incorporating Satanism into it without bias, which I feel is one of the most misunderstood religions. Most people don't even realize it has different denominations, like Christianity. And the LaVeyan Satanism doesn't even worship Satan, as I understand it, and just adopts less of a 'turn the other cheek' approach. In other words, if someone is a dick to you, you should be a dick back to them. Their #1 sin is stupidity.
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:58pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ of dru's being.
    Yeah, I've read up a lot on LaVeyan Satanism and it's basically atheism with some philosophy thrown in (Anton LeVay himself said he considered it a philosophy, not a religion). But that's a really good point you make. I've met so many dumb high school/middle school kids (i.e. my little sister's boyfriend) who go around pretending to worship the Devil and cutting themselves and making blood pacts, then calling it Satanism.

    Same with, for example, Buddhism, which I've studied quite a bit and thought about converting to before I actually took the time to learn about it and realized I could never commit to it. It's not just about being "zen", and reaching nirvana is no easy feat.

    I think that's why a thorough religion class taught by an unbiased professor who truly knows what they're talking about would be beneficial if people took interest in it, though--clearing up a lot of the misinformation and misunderstandings out there. Of course, people would first have to take a genuine interest in it and set aside any preconceived notions to get anything out of a class like that.
    June 27th, 2012 at 06:15pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

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    chai latte:
    I think that's why a thorough religion class taught by an unbiased professor who truly knows what they're talking about would be beneficial if people took interest in it, though--clearing up a lot of the misinformation and misunderstandings out there. Of course, people would first have to take a genuine interest in it and set aside any preconceived notions to get anything out of a class like that.
    Unbiased professor, that's a good one. Laughing
    chai latte:
    @ of dru's being.
    Yeah, I've read up a lot on LaVeyan Satanism and it's basically atheism with some philosophy thrown in (Anton LeVay himself said he considered it a philosophy, not a religion). But that's a really good point you make. I've met so many dumb high school/middle school kids (i.e. my little sister's boyfriend) who go around pretending to worship the Devil and cutting themselves and making blood pacts, then calling it Satanism.
    But LeVayan Satanism isn't the only type of Satanism, it's an entire group of deistic, theistic and atheistic religions. Blood pacts and worship are components of some types of Satanism. You can't really look at Satanism as having denominations like Christianity, because the religions are completely unaffiliated and different. They don't have a comment element like the same God or same figure like Jesus, even if they're labeled as "Satanic" religions, it doesn't mean they think Satan is the same God or that they think he exists at all. It's really a problem of terminology.
    For those of you who think religion should not be taught in school, what do you do when you have a lot of religious diversity in your school? How do you explain to a kindergartner not to laugh at Joey's funny little hat, or explain why another student cannot except Halloween cards at a party? What if a parent tells their kids to hate Muslims, what do you do about that? It just seems like your solution is to keep them ignorant and hope someday they chose to educate themselves and I just think that's a bad idea that leads to discrimination and bullying in schools.
    June 27th, 2012 at 09:04pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Kurtni
    I think one can simply explain those those things without a religion class that could breed more intolerance and hate. I don't have a problem with religion being taught in school, but to force it down someone's throat with the way Americans are (can't say dinosaur or gay in two states right now, yeah?) it's just asking for trouble. If we, as a society, weren't in such bad shape I probably wouldn't have a problem with it.

    But asking for a bunch of religious nuts to teach a diversity class on religion is just like giving a murderer a gun to teach hunting and hoping he won't shoot a person in the process.
    June 28th, 2012 at 02:22pm
  • the4PonyGirls

    the4PonyGirls (100)

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    MyQueenVampy!:
    I don't think they should, that is what specific schools are for. If you want to learn about religions, go to a religious school, i'm pagan but i really hate hearing that kind of stuff during school. What about you guys?
    Teashing religion, is not about converting you into a specific 'Fait', it's about helping you understand your fellows, whom you meet every day.
    When you know enough to make a choice, you're free to take the classes, at the school, that teaches the 'Faith' you choose, for your individual life.
    Why is faith always about converting your 'Fellow man', into your flock?
    June 28th, 2012 at 05:30pm
  • Zachary Merrick.

    Zachary Merrick. (200)

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    I went to a public school in England and we didn't really even have RS classes at all. The most my yeargroup ever had was one hour a week for about a quarter of the school year and more often than not we watched movies rather than doing actual work. I don't know if it still operates like that for the younger students. The lessons where we did actually study were mainly spent studying religions that weren't Christianity; I remember we spent quite some time studying Judaism and Buddhism when I was in Year 11.

    In my school (I don't know about others in the country) it was an elective we could take in Year 10 to study in a more thorough, in-depth way, but everyone who didn't take it still had to do the hour-a-week lesson for however long. Very few people actually opted to take it. We actually only had one RS teacher in my whole school, and she wasn't actually religious herself.

    Personally, I don't mind religion being taught in public schools if its an elective, and you don't have to study in depth if you don't want to.
    June 28th, 2012 at 07:22pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

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    of dru's being.:
    @ Kurtni
    I think one can simply explain those those things without a religion class that could breed more intolerance and hate.
    That's the policy for what schools do now because religion is so taboo- can you say that works?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/michigans-matts-safe-schools-law-allows-bullying_n_1076494.html

    http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/jewish-family-sues-green-schools-over-bullying-of-girl-1.245047

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Muhammed-Muslim-Bullying-Westwood-New-Jersey-143697496.html

    Clearly, we're failing and our policy as of now is what breeds intolerance and hate.
    June 29th, 2012 at 03:01am
  • Unicornmon

    Unicornmon (100)

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    @ of dru's being.
    Ok, granted it can't all religions but I've covered far more than those three in my schooling. From memory I remember about 4 branches of Christianity (because there is a hell of a lot of variation within it), Judaism, Hinduism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, Buddism, there were more but I can't think of them off the top of my head.
    It's not like we need to learn every intricacy of the religions either, if we were interested in that we could do that in our own time, but some things (like the Qur'an should be the highest book in the room) will prevent offence. I agree, that learning every religion in detail is impossible, but it is possible to prevent upset with most religions within class time.
    Despite there being millions of religions you are unlikely to encounter most of those in your lifetime so, though learning about them could be useful, it's not critical. As for the ones you will come across, many religions, though they practice differently, have similar beliefs or even the same beliefs but with a little extra and rules so some knowledge can be applied to several (ie, Judaism and Christianity both use the Old Testament of the bible, so some knowledge is transferable).

    I always end up typing mini essays...sorry about that >.<
    July 1st, 2012 at 01:41pm
  • Ponyess

    Ponyess (155)

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    of dru's being.:
    I don't belive that public schools should teach religion.
    Believe? that's what the question is all about. isn't it.
    The problem isn't religion as a part of education. the problem is if one of them get an unfair advantage.
    School should teach the kids all they need to know, in order for them to be productive citizens?
    In this case, you need to have an understanding, so that you don't act out of fear or ignorance?

    Another problem, what's the actual core of the respective religion?
    Seems we've forgotten what it was all about, in the first place?
    We're getting lost in pointless details, like "How many angles could dance on the proverbial pin?"
    Who cares?
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:01am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Ponyess
    "the actual core of the respective religion" is the problem in the first place. You can't teach one religion ... it's indoctrination.
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:04am
  • Ponyess

    Ponyess (155)

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    of dru's being.:
    @ Ponyess
    "the actual core of the respective religion" is the problem in the first place. You can't teach one religion ... it's indoctrination.
    For now, I think there are five generally recognised major religions.
    Starting from the home corner, Christianity would be what Christ said.
    Although that could stir up quite the debate, I guess?
    In my opinion, the core is basically, "Love thy Neighbour.."
    There's always the line, you find in all five?
    "Do to others, what you want others do to you.."
    "Don't do to others, what you don't want others to do to you.."
    Combined, they should be quite safe. since there is no excuse to do bad things.
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:22am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Ponyess
    I have a problem with only major religions being taught. I think it will give people the idea that individuals in less recognized religions are okay to make fun of or bully and that there's something wrong with them.

    Plus, the Golden Rule can be taught without religion. 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.'
    July 5th, 2012 at 12:24am