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American Education on Religion

Discussion in 'Perspectives' started by YamiB., Jun 4, 2007.

  1. YamiB. GoSpieler

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    After going through the American school system I think that one important and interesting area which had lacking coverage was that of religion. I'm not too sure about how this is handled in other countries though it is my understanding that many European countries have informative comparative religion classes. I think that a need for classes such as these can be displayed in America be the sheer amount of people which think that Catholicism and Christianity are different religions.

    Do you think that comparative religion classes should be pushed for more in American schools? Should they be required or electives? Should we avoid them for fears of religious indoctrination by the teachers?

    Personally I would love having the opportunity to teach a class such as this once I become a teacher.
     
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  2. Amaretti No strong feelings whatsoever

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    No question about it really. Religious Education is a must. There can never be too little education on anything, and religion is a topic that seethes with ignorance, so the more education on it, the better.
     
  3. MartialHorror The Convicted Cinephile!

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    Being recently I've come across someone who didn't know the difference between theism and religion........I say its a must as well.

    The problem is, though, trying to find someone who is neutral.

    I took a world religion class and while the teacher did fine, I noticed she was a bit critical of Christianity(Focused almost entirely on the acts committed by them, instead of the actual religion) and seemed to be praising Judaism.

    Well.....it turns out she was Jewish. In High School, I had a similar class. I went to a Christian High School so naturally.....the teacher was Christian. He was a cool guy, but far worst.

    He often either lied or simply did not know the facts.......but he basically slammed everything......

    So obviously it would have to be done carefully......
     
  4. Esponer Brief Intermission

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    My religious education teachers (I'm English, and religious education in some form is mandatory 'til age 16) were mostly rather good at keeping a neutral point of view, as it was required of them. One is an atheist/sceptic who believes that religion has the potential to be a force for good, and another is a mildly Church of England (Protestant) Christian who kept his classes neutral, although then again nobody listened to him anyway as he was a conservative whose presence tended to demand mockery rather than respect.

    Religious education is good, anyway, even though it doesn't achieve all that it could. We'd generally learn about divisions within Christianity and Islam and moral attitudes taken by various religious groups and how they were justified. We did a little on religions other than those two, but not so much on the basis of time constraints and local demographics (I live in a town notorious for white-Pakistani, Christian-Islam divides and riots, so the key issue is in those two religions).

    I think we did a little on Hinduism and Sikhism, the third and fourth most prevalent religions in the U.K. as a whole, but nothing on Judaism. I studied philosophy around that time by being skipped ahead and choosing to, and one of the modules I took was Buddhism.
     
  5. dark_angel New Member

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    Religion is a must!!
    I don`t know how the things go in other countries but in SLO We have a specific way of educating about our religion- every end of the week we go to the curch and we have classes there (from 1st to 8th grade) and when ve fulfil our duties We get our sacraments.

    But that`s yust my babling

    Dont you thing thar your religion is just forced into you, like to the Cristians
    we don`t get any posible choises to pick our religion(I`m not critic to the Cristian religion because I kind of follow the rules of it eaven so im not the best example) we are just given our christening and our life starts like that
    That`s because ve get our christening at age 1 or 2, so I think that a human should decide about his religion when he is aware of that what he/she/it wants.

    just picking up posts so that i wont be a newbie animore:p
     
  6. Esponer Brief Intermission

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    dark_angel, we aren't speaking of religious instruction, where periodically one must go to a place of worship of one specific religion and take part in the rituals of that religion. We're talking of religious education, where students sit in a class room and are taught about various important world religions, what they believe and their outlook on life and morality, with equal weighting being given to each religion.
     
  7. Jagon Fox Bad-Ass Uke Girl!

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    no, I don't think it should be really, it's a good idea, but at the moment, the immaturity levels, and I'm not neccesarily talking about the immaturity levels of the kids are at an all out high. Martial Horror makes a good point, you gotta find someone that's neutral, and that seems to be a far more difficult thing to do in today's society. IMHO introducing it at a time when people on all sides are up in arms about this and that, and have turned the schools into a political circus isn't such a hot idea at the time, maybe later when the adults have matured a little more.
     
  8. Fulcata I don't recognize your names.

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    I'm American, and my school system offers world religion classes as an elective. It would never be allowed as a required class, however, because it'd be completely unconstitutional.
     
  9. Esponer Brief Intermission

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    I've never understood the phrase "unconstitutional". Does it merely convey that it would go against the codified laws of the country, or does it indicate some more basic denial of human rights? Either way, could you justify why? I do not know the codified laws of your country, nor can I see why religious education is a denial of human rights.
     
  10. YamiB. GoSpieler

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    Explain how it would be unconstitutional to have it as a required class.
     
  11. Amaretti No strong feelings whatsoever

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    Religious education is not really about advertising religion or instructing it. It just gives people a better grasp of what other religions are about, their philosophies, their deities, their rituals, the belief systems behind religion and other related topics such as atheism, agnosticism, deism, etc.

    Basically people taught RE wouldn't be saying Catholicism is a different religion from Christianity, which is a comment I hear all too frequently on this forum.

    I don't really see how maturity has much to do with it. People who aren't taught about other religions are more likely to fall victim to silly prejudices than people who are better educated. Religious Education is very common throughout Europe and is considered one of the most basic requirements of the syllabus because it encourages religious tolerance and a broader mind-set. If anything, religious education is vital in uncertain times. With so much rampant islamophobia around, for people to be better educated as to the whole of Islam rather than the extreme fundamentalist end of the spectrum is very important.

    Pretty sure that the constitution is only against the favouring of one religion over another religion or non-religion. Religious education isn't really meant to focus on any one religion, but the subject of religion in its entirety.

    Not sure how this could be classed as unconstitutional...
     
  12. Fulcata I don't recognize your names.

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    Actually both.
    Click the second Spoiler in my Sig to see the Treaty of Tripoli, and remember that the First Amendment of the US Constitution grants religous freedom.
    Forcing a student to learn about religion would violate their rights as a citizen, because:
    A. There never be enough time to cover each religion equally, and even if ONE is left out the course immediately becomes biased.
    B. Given A: The rights of the non-religous and religous alike to choose their own path automatically becomes infringed upon, because the government is censoring what religions exist.
    C. Cult: What of the occult and other religions that the government does do not believe constitutes as a religion? Will they be included, probably not. Once again, censorship.
    D. The right to ignorance: In America, the is something in the school systems I call "The Right to Ignorance", basically stated, just because the student is in the classroom does not mean they are taking the course.
     
  13. Fulcata I don't recognize your names.

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    Big Brother's not supposed to make laws regarding religion in any form.
    Besides, any one who is interested in learning about it already is/has/or will.
    There's this handy new invention.. What's it called? Oh yeah, the internet.
    Making them sit in a class is a waste of time.
     
  14. YamiB. GoSpieler

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    Even I who think that God should be out of the pledge and off money think that you're stretching the restriction that is placed on our government by the first amendment. If the religions are represented in a manner that is not meant to convert students but rather to inform them and all of the religions are presented in an equal light, there should not be a problem.

    Just because people can choose their religious beliefs does not mean they should be ignorant of all others. Having no knowledge about a thing that can play an integral role in the lives of so many really seems like a bad thing.

    And what is with the Treaty of Tripoli? I love the document and all, but I do not see the relevance to the discussion at hand.
     
  15. drache who's afraid ofa big bad wolf?

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    Fulcata,

    As long as preference isn't given there is no probelm with the first addmendment. That said I don't think people should be forced to learn about other religions, it's not productive. Are you really gonna be recepative when you're being told you have to learn about something that you might not care for?

    That said I think comparative religion is a must, in a way it was a class I took in comparative religion that helped me find a path in life and a belief system that not only can I live with but I feel comfortable with. Not only that but with a class like that there is more a chance for tolerance.
     
  16. explicitkarma 24601

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    Before I start, I don't think that a forced comparative religion class is unconstitutional. But I still think that it is utterly absurd.

    One could make the argument that, in order to operate in society, you need the required algebra skills that you taught in math. One could make the argument that you need the grammar skills taught in English. One could make the argument that you need the reading skills taught in literature. One could make the argument that you need the insight taught in American history.

    But can anyone make the argument that the things discussed in a comparative religion class is not just trivia? I mean, what functions of society fail if someone, as said before, doesn't know the difference between theism and religion?

    I absolutely agree, however, that there can be comparative religion classes in the schools at the will of the school board. But why force it? Why is it needed? Why can't this information be sought independently?

    As far as required subjects go, the school system should stick to the fundamentals--reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and basic arts.

    Other than that, it's not the school system's responsibility to teach us everything else under the fucking sun like a lot of people try to make it these days.
     
  17. Esponer Brief Intermission

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    Why is the history of America, or of anywhere else for that matter, a fundamental topic without which someone cannot operate in a society?

    Literature is the only fundamental one, and all of the others serve two purposes: character building, and forming a framework for further, optional studies. Mathematics and science primarily serve as frameworks. History is a character building topic, as is religious studies.
     
  18. explicitkarma 24601

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    History pertains events that for certain, at least more certain than religion, happened and form a part of our current sociopolitical landscape. To know about our errors in the past is to prevent them in the future. That is why it's important to learn about slavery and the Great Depression for instance. Religion also plays an important part in our sociopolitical landscape, but that can easily be covered in the history class itself.

    That is why history is a requirement. Now why should comparative religion be a requirement?
     
  19. Nisukeita Huh? What?

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    As long as it covers ALL religions, and makes no preference to any then I think it would be a good elective....but making it mandatory...I just don't see the relevance in a modern society....
     
  20. TiGel2. Well-Known Member

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    It is greatly lacking, and it would be great if there was a greater emphasis on it. In the USA, as many know, for a majority of Universities, there is little need for more than 3 years of science/3 years of history/social science as well as foreign language. Therefore perhaps it would be nice if people in High School were given the option of selecting a course like Comparative Religion and World Religions in the stead of the others.
     
  21. Juubi Active Member

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    Christian religious education is a must, especially since the voices of only a small group of Muslims is causing people to think that Islam should be taught in schools.
    There should be a course that teaches the bible objectively and leads the students to form their own conclusion.
    The vast majority of America is Christian, and it's quite sad that many of these people don't even know about their own religion.
     
  22. The Internet Banned

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    Elective maybe, but make it somewhat manditory, like a credit needed.
     
  23. Nakiro Narutimate Hero

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    Check my signature for examples of American education about religion. There's couple of examples.
     
  24. Nisukeita Huh? What?

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    Why just Christian?

    I for one am NOT Christian and DON'T believe in God, you cant make me learn some theory in which I have no belief in. Teaching just Christianity is implying that that is the ONLY choice people have, which is not true.

    If schools were to start teaching religion, then they need to start teaching about ALL religions, and let the student form there own logical decisions about whats right.

    Parents also need to stop brainwashing there naive children who will believe everything they say, Religion should be taught once a child has the brain capacity to make there own decision. Thats why certain religions run rampant in the world....Doesn't make them right....
     
  25. AmigoOne :(

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    I can't see a class where a single religion is focused on can work. But something where all religions are studied and stuff I can see happening. Only as elective.
    My school already has a little sections on different religions in world studies, because it was so relevant to the actions of the events we were studing. It worked out pretty well. Just a quick crash crash of some religions, what the basis of their beliefs are. IE, christian is jesus dying on the cross, buddhism is people tryin to reach nirvana, etc etc
     
  26. Yuriha what is...the thesis?

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    I could see it being a college level class. In society where a recent attack on the U.S. was significantly motivated by religion and religion is prime issue in many parts of the world, it is to the advantage of someone seeking an associates degree or higher to understand the forces at work. I would require it for anyone going into business, journalism, political science/pre-law, economics, public policy, etc.
     
  27. Juubi Active Member

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    You misunderstood my post. I meant that since the vast majority of this country is Christian, and has been for a very long time, a course that objectively teaches the bible as only a religious text, and nothing more, should be offered.
    I don't believe in God either, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the importance of having a thorough knowledge of a book that affects billions of people.
    The truth is, most Christians don't really know their own book that well, and many people are brainwashed because of the fact that they have little actual knowledge of the bible, and instead, believe whatever their local priest/preacher tells them.
    It's critical, because we live in a world of such religious intolerance and bigotry, that we allow ourselves to objectively look at the scriptures from which these religions originate. I didn't mean to imply that we shouldn't do the same with other religions, just that Christianity should top the list, since America is filled with Christians.
    I can guarantee you that as the number of people with a full comprehension of Christian scripture grow, so will the number of atheists.
     
  28. Mintaka Well-Known Member

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    Keh. Maybe as an elective but not a main academic course.
     
  29. explicitkarma 24601

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    I agree that society definitely needs to gain a better understanding of its religious texts. But why should it be the public school system's--the government's--responsibility to cure the ignorance of society? I argue that it should be society's responsibility--the responsibility of the church--to better educate religious and non-religious people alike about religion in an objective manner. It's unrealistic, I know, to think that churches can teach scripture objectively. But what does it matter if you're going to that church and already subscribing to that belief whether or not a church's teaching is objective?

    If you're non-religious and wish to gain an objective teaching of the Bible, that is where I think the public school system can be best utilized by providing an elective comparative religion course. That leaves all parties free to choose whether or not they wish to learn about religions--effectively letting society combat problems on its own.

    So if you're so concerned about people having a lack of knowledge about religions, speak to them directly--argue to them why they should. Don't bring government into society's problems unless it is absolutely necessary.
     
  30. Jagon Fox Bad-Ass Uke Girl!

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    well Amaretti, people can be surprisingly immature on other peoples religions, or lack theroff, parents who follow monotheistic faiths will squawk about how their kids are being taught witchcraft the occult, satanism, and the devil, not all mind you but a decent amount, those who don't follow the Big Three parents will squawk about seperation of church and state religious bigotry. And how the school is forcing their kids to a monotheistic viewpoint, again not all but a decent chunk ofr parents. so while I think it would be a great idea as an elective, there are bound to be people on all sides ready to derail it, as usual.
     
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