MSNBC actually made an interesting point today…gasp. There was a piece discussing the downside of removing religious teachings in our schools. In an effort to be sensitive and respectful of all beliefs/nonbeliefs and cultures, schools have gone to great lengths to remove religious messages in schools. The exception is, of course, the private schools which focus on one specific faith. The growing problem is that much of the world’s conflict has a religious connection. Because our citizens are learning less and less about religion and religious history, few will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to promote a peaceful world. Look at how poorly the current generation of adults has navigated the conflicts in the Middle East. And this generation and much more exposure to religious teachings than kids have now.

I think we’ve over-corrected as a society in an attempt to do the right thing. We can discuss religion in depth without telling people they must believe or discount a faith. Arming our citizens with extensive information about various faiths and practices can only help us play nice in the global sandbox.

3 Responses to “Interesting”

  1. reeveslady says:

    I know! I didn’t learn much about other religions until college, where I got my undergraduate degree in international relations. I think the problem lies in the focus of classroom studies now. Schools are so consumed with “getting the grade” on those standardized tests that they are forced to give (under the No Child Left Behind policy) that they are focusing all their energy on math, reading, and English. Don’t get me wrong. Those subjects are extremely important, but it’s also important to at least learn a little bit about other cultures and religions in this world. I wouldn’t think it would be too hard to incorporate those fields of study in schools. Wouldn’t it fit in with “Social Studies?”

  2. kepirus says:

    Great subject, Lisa!
    To reassure you a little, I definitely teach all of the major religions along with the world history – I tell my kids you can’t study history without studying the religions, they’re interconnected. In fact, our district’s World History book has an entire section on religions of the world.
    I think part of the problem is high school is ‘History’. The kids here (entire state) get ‘Cultures’ in Middle School where there is too much going on socially – after a few years, they forget everything they learned.

    I know some people would gasp, but I leave 6 weeks to teach everything European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, etc.) so that I can devote plenty of time to everything current, and the history behind those current things.

  3. adverbia says:

    Religious discussion certainly has its place in schools, but in a curriculum, not as part of the daily culture of the school (like morning prayers). Classes in history, sociology, humanities, theology, all those are appropriate settings for learning about world religions. I have particular issue with the idea of teaching religiously based pseudoscience as a part of core science curricula.