Religion in schools

Singapore
February 12, 2008 3:39am CST
Today I'm feeling a bit daring, so I'll walk on egg shells a bit and talk about one of the hottest issues that have been going on for years: Religious education in public school. We all come from different backgrounds and believe systems. No 2 person share the same believes, even when they fall under the same religion. That said, how are we to create a standard in which our youths may learn the believes of the world, without being politically incorrect? Perhaps we should teach believes as we teach the arts, through samples of different view points, discussions and hands-on experience. Of course, some parents will be horrified that their kids are being taught anything else but their OWN believes. For these parents who want their kids to be taught the right way, may I humbly suggest home school? There are, of course, limits as to how far we can push such an idea. For example, it will be offensive to have one of another believe worship a different deity just for the experience. Show and tell would be more appropriate in these cases. However, the merits of exposing future leaders to the different view points will, in the long run, build a better world. Less conflicts, less misunderstanding, less invasion on other countries for phantom weapons. Oh, of course, just to be fair, only atheist should be allowed to teach this subject. No cheating~
18 people like this
32 responses
@cdparazo (5768)
• Philippines
12 Feb 08
I don't want religion to be taught in public schools because each student come from different religions. However, I would rather opt for VALUES EDUCATION subject. If we want our children to be taught religion, then we should enroll them to a schools that teaches our religion. Here in my country there are Baptist, Catholic and 7th Day Adventist schools. Philippines is known to be a Christian nation and a Catholic one too. So it may follow that the religion that may be taught at our schools would be Catholicism which would be grossly unfair to other religions. What is important for me in the curriculum is the values education that would help shape and mold our children to become upstanding citizens of our country. Let us just leave our respective churches and families to teach us all about our religion
• United States
12 Feb 08
i couldnt have said it better.
2 people like this
@starr4all (2865)
12 Feb 08
Very well put!
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Very true cdparazo, it is grossly unfair to teach any form of religious believes in schools. Unfortunately, even in schools which are suppose to be neutral, teachers and school master are still enforcing their own believes on the students. I suppose if we can't stop it, we should at less control it in some fashion, so that the minds of our youths roam free.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
12 Feb 08
I have no desire for religion to be back in the schools like it use to be..I think its disrespectful to all other religions actually...BUT I'd be fine with there being a religious education class with a show and tell/sharing type base to it though..In fact I think somethign along those lines would be great actually...However..the first problem I see would be the parents you mentioned that would be horrified at the thought of little Suzi or Tommy being taught something different ESPECIALLY if they are being taught to believe that other religions are safe, valid and real....the SECOND problem I see would be Suzi or Tommy not being able to open their minds because they've been brainwashed and that fact resulting in not showing respect and in classroom fights etc.... HOWEVER that being said...I think that it could be better dealt wiht in the later grades....I mean lets say grade 7 and 8 and then have it being an optional class in high school or somethign like that.....
3 people like this
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
12 Feb 08
Oh and I dont think that only Atheists should teach the class....i think bringing in someone who is just openminded and educated would be fine....My BiL is very Christian, he is a Reverand BUT he also has his Doctrate in Religion and is very openminded (he's the one that spoke to our MiL and explained to her about my being Pagan..and he did it very well)..So I dont think only Atheists should qualify..I think anyone educated enough and openminded enough would do well..
3 people like this
• United Kingdom
13 Feb 08
That's a good point Raven, I think the problem is that your BiL is a rare breed! I don't think there are many strongly religious people who are so open minded. I think the idea of an atheist teacher is that they would be guaranteed to not be biased whereas, even someone who is open minded might put more emphasis on their own beliefs if they are deeply religious, even if they are trying not to.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Honestly, I have no desire for religion to be in schools, but the unfortunate truth is that, in many places, it is. And we can't really stop it either. Teachers are already a rare breed, let alone religiously open minded ones. It is nature to teach one's way of life to students unintentional or otherwise. I had religious believes pressured on me when I was in school. Things haven't changed much around here, and they should. Perhaps if we can't stop it, we can hopefully control it to some degree. P.s. hang on to that one gal, he's a keeper :D
@chris1314 (787)
12 Feb 08
I am 16 and in the last year of high school, I am in the UK and here it is compulsory to have 1 hour RE lesson per 2 week timetable. I am atheist and believe that no single man however great could create something as good as the world, i know there are different ways to prove and disprove he was here and is actually the man who we know as 'god' We also get taught about all different religions, buddhism etc. I find these interesting and all, but when the RE lessons are forced on you i dont think that it is right. I feel that people should have the choice to dictate whether they 'have' to learn about this or not. Personally i would rather be getting on with my qualification (GCSE) subject coureworks which have to be in, in a short while; this is just my opinion and i know that everyone feels differently about this matter. I also go to an all boys school and 90% of them feel the same was i do. If you want to take it then you should be allowed to, if not then you dont have to, i fell that it should be forced upon you at this age. ...Thats just my opinion :/
• United Kingdom
13 Feb 08
I thikn that's a very good comment. I'm sure if I'd have had an extra hour to study for my GCSE's instead of doing RE, I would have been able to turn my "C" average into a "B" average!
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
The laws in my country prevented them from introducing it in class, so they got a pastor to 'talk to us' everyday before class. Tradition, they said. To the rest of us, it was an hour plus on our feet being brainwashed.
13 Feb 08
Thanks =] And being lectured sounds like the way forward ... I dont think! lol
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 08
I think religion should be taught in schools. So much war occurs because of misunderstanding about religion. If we do not learn about different viewpoints we cannot begin to understand eachother and thus end the torturings/killings and war that occur because people of different religions are not made aware of other religions
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
It will be great if we can do it in a way which is unbiased. But humans, being what we are, it is unlikely we will ever see it happen
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 08
we could have different people from different religions teach about their own religion or something similar. Some people are able to teach fairly unbiasedly. I go to a private college and here I think the professors give a fair view of each religion.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 08
I think removing religion from the school system is a big mistake. God has been removed from everything else, so taking Him out of schools isn't such a surprise. With all due respect to anyone and their beliefs, the United States was originally formed by Godly men, dedicated to God, and operated under Godly principals. While it's true we all come from different backgrounds and belief systems and we all have the right to study and worship our own way, that doesn't necessarily give anyone the right to dictate or complain over how the country (government, language, schools, etc.,) is run or whether or not God is allowed in the ciricumlum. Being politically correct, like many other issues, has been pushed to the edge of being abused. While the people of the United States have been forced to 'accomodate' other people and their beliefs, our own beliefs and 'systems' have been compromised. Instead of taking God out of everything and humbly telling everyone to home school, simply inform 'others' who have no interest in God in school, taking classes in a God based religion is, has always been, and will always be, an elective. No one was ever forced to attend a class of any kind. The only classes that were not elective were math, reading, history, geography and science. Any other class has always been an elective. I would humbly tell the people who don't want the class, simply, don't attend it. Why should we be forced to take God out of school just to accomodate someone else? We, as American Christians, have been forced to give up ideas, ideals, beliefs and our way of life by those who push political correctness. It's high time we stood up for what we believe in and stop bowing down to others. (That's just MY opinion).
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
13 Feb 08
Those are fair comments in some ways but I noticed that the person who asked the question is from Singapore and I am from England. I don't know about other countries but here, religious education has never been elective and there is also the concern of having one person's belief forced upon children within a school every day in the form of prayers and hymns in an assembly for example. If I wanted this for my kids, I would take them to church but I want them to make their own choice. I do agree with you about political correctness pushing out "traditional" religions in both UK and USA in favour of tolerance for other beliefs. That's why I think teaching religion in schools should be all or nothing. I would have been glad to have had the choice not to take religious education, particularly as that which I was taught was neither informative nor useful. I am happy to study religion properly and am glad to help my kids out if they are interested but without the idea of expecting them to believe on thing n dnot another.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
I'm surprised you noticed pumpkinjam :D The education system in my country was based on the old systems passed down from the colonial times (we were part of British Empire before WWII). That means that a lot of the older schools in Singapore are Christian schools. I did not enjoy the daily one hour assemblies where a pastor read to us from the bible. The laws prevent them from teaching religion in classes, nothing stopped them from stuffing it down our throats in ever other way. I have no grief with Christianity (now, that is), heck, I was even a Christian once. But since I myself was pressured to accepting a religion I was too young even to understand, I don't think we should teach them in schools, in any form. I think many here can understand the confusion and hatred that you will end up with after you understand the term 'peer pressure' and how it affects you. I have learned from other religions that, the hell they put me in was paved with good intentions. Something I hope the next generation will never have to face.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
13 Feb 08
I also see no harm in teaching kids about the various religions and beliefs. I think It could be taught in a way that did not favor any particular religion but just was informative. I see nothing wrong with it. It seems to me that the only ones making the choices about these things are really the only ones bothered by them.
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Hehehe, how very true sid556 :) It bothers the people who are bothered by it. Everyone else is sleeping in class anyways!
@mlhuff12 (799)
• United States
13 Feb 08
I to believe that school should allow teachings of religions. I remember when I was in highschool we learned a tiny bit on some religions like hindu and the other ones that were kina similar...but never christianity... ...I am not a big history person. But what I thought was that when the country was founded on the beliefs of their religion. In the American dollar it says "In God We Trust". So schools are part of the government. So I don't understand what the deal is...I think that they should teach other religions too, not just christianity. To teach, not preach.
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Hear hear :D
• United States
12 Feb 08
I think it would great to teach religion in schools. I thought they still kind of did they just have to call it history? One of the problems with teaching modern day religion is how many different versions of each there are now. For example Paganism can include neo pagans, wiccans, druids, gardinarians, ect.....and even within those there are hundreds of different belief systems. Even Chritians have branched off into assembly of Gods' and such. As much as I would love it I dont see how it is possible without offending someone. I think that they could only teach the history of and maybe work it into how it differs now, But not much else.
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
If it is possible to remove all traces of religious education from schools, it will be great. But that is unlikely, as teacher will, in one way or another, be teaching religion. As such, perhaps if we teach it objectively, the kids will be able to find out more if they are interested :)
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
12 Feb 08
I have no problem with Religious Education in Public schools as long at its unbiased. But religious teaching doesn't come this way. The Catholic Church has stated Publicly," If we can get them by 6 we can keep them for a lifetime!" We need to educate our kids to the religions of the World and then allow them Free Choice! Wouldn't this go over like a Lead Balloon? Do you think an atheist would more unbiased than a regular Teacher, to teach religious Studies?
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Heck no, but at less the atheist will tell the kids that we are all godless monkeys, and not --insert creation story here-- It will be easier for them to explore other religions if they are not worried about eternal damnation :D
• United States
12 Feb 08
i agree with your view points but on the other hand i would preffer religion be kept seperate from acedemics in public schools. If a parent so chooses they can send their kid to a religious school, although it would not be a bad idea to interduce it as an elective in high school.
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Personally I think it should be isolated totally from public schools (which isn't often the case now) :)
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
12 Feb 08
I don't object to religion being taught in Public Schools but I do however think it should be by choice to take the classes and should not be forced on anyone.
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
If we can somehow keep religion from being taught directly or indirectly, in public schools, perhaps it would be better :)
• India
12 Feb 08
I don't think most atheist can teach religion well. Btw, religion is just too broad a term.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
An atheist MIGHT be able to present them unbiased fashion :)
• India
16 Feb 08
But they have not really studied the subject. I have not read any atheist who have done proper study of religion. Read Richard Dawkins and his presentation of Christianity is really misleading.
@stella1989 (2274)
• India
12 Feb 08
I am a passout from a christian school. So I have seen that nobody forces a non-christian to attend the classes!! Only for we christians its necessary to study the subject christianity .. the classes are called cathecism (there may be a spelling mistake*) and it was like one of our compulsory subject in school and others where taught "Moral science" and in it no religion is involved and its totaly like teaching humanity to students...!! And why do you need an atheist for that. You just have to be practicle towards your job..!! I never saw anyone forcing to learn about other religion. :)
• Singapore
13 Feb 08
Lucky you :D I was forced to stand for an hour plus before school to listen to our school pastor (all had to attend, regardless of religion, see above). The laws stopped them from making it a class, so they took the school to it...
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 08
My mom attended Catholic school in Canada, but she and other non-Catholics just went to the library to study during the daily Mass. She had to go to a Catholic school because they are usually much better academically (spelling? lol I'm too tired to check it. Oh well) than public schools. If I had the choice, I would've went to Catholic school because my school wasn't all that helpful in learning stuff. All public schools care about is getting the students to pass the yearly TAKS test. I don't even know basic algebra or adjectives, eect.
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
13 Feb 08
wHILE i am aware of all kinds of different religions and all different beliefs,it is possible to teach christain morals without teaching doctrine...When i went to school, we would pledge allengence to the flag, and uses the word "Under God" and do not remember anyone getting offended...We were taught christain values,such as like the 10 commandments, of course they were not called the 10 commandments, but the rules were, we do not steal, do not kill, hit, spit, on our classmates..We were taught not to fight,take something that was not ours, do not poke fun at other students..It was taught to us in that manner, but not under the name of religion..Then that Madeline Ohare hit the scene with her athiest crap and she started all the athiest to come out of the wood work...We were fine the way we were..We were taught christain morals but not doctrine...thats how it should have stayed..We were fine before her and her .junk started...I just took my kids out of public schools when they were very young and put all five of my children in christian private schools.....
@Galena (9123)
15 Feb 08
why should not stealing, not killing each other, not bullying, not fighting etc be considered Christian Morals. they are Morals. where does Christian come into it. I was raised in a Pagan family, and these are the same morals I was taught from a young age. does that mean they are Pagan Morals? Morals aren't exclusive to one religion. things like not stealing, bullying or murdering are basic morals of society. nothing to do with religion. those that go against them still know it's not moral to do so.
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
22 Feb 08
Just so you know where this response is coming from (LOL), I went to a private Christian (Baptist) school all my life. I think if parents want to send their children to private schools, great. More power to them. If they want to control everything their children learn, as you said, they really should find the time to homeschool them. Having been from a private school, I'd say it was a great experience. It was nice being in a smaller school where everyone knows just about everyone else. For this reason, however, there's a lot more drama! (LOL) I think public schools should stay out of the whole religion thing; in other words, religion should stay out of the public schools. I think it's more trouble than it's worth and there are so many controversies over the issue. I like what you said about parents homeschooling their children. If they want their children to be educated in a certain way, they should do it themselves. That's the way I am. If I want something done "my way," I just do it myself! That's the best thing to do. However, if religion must be taught in the public school, I think the students should be educated about a wide variety. After all, school is for education. I don't think it would be fair to talk about one religion without talking about another. It's only right that the students learn about all viewpoints, not so much for them to choose a religion, but for education's sake. It keeps everything balanced and that way, the school won't seem as if it's trying to push an certain religion on its students. If the public school is trying not to push religion on its students, which I believe is true, it should either teach about all religions (or at the least the most prominent ones) or none at all. It only makes sense that way to me. Great discussion! I'm glad you walked on thin ice for this one. It definitely keeps things interesting around here!
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
21 Feb 08
I agree and think religion should be taught as a part of history or social studies class. In other words, it's not the place of the public schools to indoctrinate our kids but educating them is a different story altogether. Annie
1 person likes this
• Canada
17 Feb 08
I don't think it's right to have any ONE religion taught in a PUBLIC school. I think if there are going to be religious classes in public schools it should be a class on WORLD religions, with as many religions as possible, taught. If there is to be one religion, it should be in it's own school. If separate religions are to be taught in public schools there should be an OPTION to take that class.
1 person likes this
@flowerchilde (12518)
• United States
14 Feb 08
hi, there ..actually atheism is another belief or philosophy, since contrary to what most people have somehow come to think, evolution as origins is no where near ever having been proven, in fact many scientists are now rejecting it, even though most up to date science finds are suppressed.. i.e. the textbooks are way outdated.. also "phantom weapons" were believed to be in Iraq by all the western countries intelligence.. and they also filled a few mass graves.. And such things in the wrong hands will end all debate as to religion and philosophy.
@schilds (410)
• United States
14 Feb 08
Religion shouldn't be taught in public schools, but it shouldn't be banned either. I remember a group of students when I was in middle school who had to risk truancy charges to cross the street for a morning prayer, because they were not allowed to meet on school grounds. That is just crazy - they weren't effecting anyone, but the principal had to ban them from meeting on school grounds, or fear a lawsuit. In college I took a class on world religions - it was one of my favorite classes, but it was not public school - it was in college, and completely voluntary.
1 person likes this
@vanities (11376)
• Davao, Philippines
14 Feb 08
well?? thats your opinion!!and i respect it..its what your perspective on beliefs..since your atheist..actually i had taught my children well about God and faith while they are still young and not yet at school..and very much confident that they had already a foundation on it and cant be swayed or lured to other belief..and it shows i guess..and no matter what you believe in as long as your in the right path socially and morally then no worries...
1 person likes this