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let's discuss this (re: religion in schools).

A "friend" posted this on facebook and claimed it's proof we need to teach religion in schools.

 http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/video/video.php?v=155315264765

here is the text if you can't see video at home:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/religion/a/einstein_god.htm

So let's make this an "IN" discussion.

1.  Does your country teach religion in schools?

2.  What is your opinion on religion in schools?

Re: let's discuss this (re: religion in schools).

  • 1.  I don't think my country teaches religion in schools (xnickerx will probably be able to answer that one better than me).

    2.  I do not think religion should be taught in schools.  While I think it is FINE for others to teach their children their beliefs, I don't think it's fine for them to teach my child their beliefs.  That's my job.

  • I think it's proof we need to teach critical thinking in schools.  The fact that an educated adult would watch that video or read that email and not question it is scary, IMO.  The link you gave already picks it apart, so no need to go into that.

    1. Kinda.  There are religion classes, though it would seem that what exactly they teach varies a lot from school to school.  Most Danes are apatheists ("I don't care if there's a god or not") so if they are trying to indoctrinate, it's not working very well.

    2. Learning about religion as an important cultural phenomenon is important and I support it fully.  It's valuable to understand the religions of the people around you, and to learn the stories behind many idioms, literary references, etc. that come from religion. Being taught one particular religion as if it is truth, though, I am adamantly against.

  • image lorryfach:

    2. Learning about religion as an important cultural phenomenon is important and I support it fully.  It's valuable to understand the religions of the people around you, and to learn the stories behind many idioms, literary references, etc. that come from religion. Being taught one particular religion as if it is truth, though, I am adamantly against.

    I find this statement interesting and never thought about teaching all of them.  How would that be done?  And could it be done without coming across as a "truth?"  

    I'm currently reading the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti monster.  It's a parody on religion and I believe that from discussions with others that when the state of Kansas was trying to teach religion in schools, the author of the book tried to get his beliefs taught also.  How would you choose which religions to teach and which not to?

  • As lorry said, that anecdote proves absolutely nothing and that an adult would think so is really alarming.

    Also as lorry said, I think critical thinking is something that needs to be taught to children in reference to religion and in general. And it truly doesn't seem as though it is.

    1. There are religion classes here, I don't know the context or extent however.

    2. I am not comfortable with my child being taught religion. If I thought lorry's idea of how to teach it as an academic/historical topic were possible, I'd go along with it. But at least in the U.S., I know that isn't the case.

  • It's the same way you teach about anything else in history class.  When we studied Greek mythology, it was never presented as truth in the sense that there really is or was a bunch of gods with these names and attributes.  It was presented as truth that these people believed these things.  You can do the same thing with current religion.  Some people over here believe this stuff and some people over there believe that stuff.

    And just like we don't learn about every civilization ever in history class, you can't learn about every religion ever in religion class, but you can hit the major ones that you're likely to encounter in your everyday life.

    I took a class that examined the Bible as a literary work and how it influenced other literary works, but we were never told that the Bible was an accurate history or that it was divinely inspired.  We read it like we read any other book.

  • 1.  Does your country teach religion in schools?

    Nope. Unless you attend a religious school that also has religion in their curriculum. 

    2.  What is your opinion on religion in schools?

    I think it should be taught from age 12 and above. And by teaching religion I do not mean "how to practice religion X". Children should be instructed in religion right along with all the rest of what happens in our modern society and all its various beliefs/rules/morays. We teach children about Darwin and evolution and how it was revolutionary, but not why it was revolutionary. We don't tell them what people believed before that because it is "too religious." Seriously- if they are old enough to comprehend Darwin they are old enough to comprehend a factual and all inclusive history.

    We were allowed to take "religions of the world" in high school but not before our Jr year. And the only text NOT allowed to be on the reading list was the Christian Bible. Pathetic.

  • image xnickerx:

    We were allowed to take "religions of the world" in high school but not before our Jr year. And the only text NOT allowed to be on the reading list was the Christian Bible. Pathetic.

    That's ridiculous.  I doubt there's any book in existence that has had more impact on our society, our language, and our literature.

  • image lorryfach:
    image xnickerx:

    We were allowed to take "religions of the world" in high school but not before our Jr year. And the only text NOT allowed to be on the reading list was the Christian Bible. Pathetic.

    That's ridiculous.  I doubt there's any book in existence that has had more impact on our society, our language, and our literature.

    Isn't it the best seller of all time? But don't get me started on Gilroy Unified School District and its insane practices and curriculum....

  • 1. I'm not sure what it is here, but where I grew up (NY), they definitely taught religion in school. It was quite a battle actually, we kept singing Christmas songs and making Christmas ornaments and my mother would show up and teach Chanukkah songs, etc. She couldn't get them to stop talking about Christianity in school so she made sure they talked about Judaism as well! I think that actually makes the problem worse - as other people have said, there are loads of other religions as well so someone is always going to be left out.

    2. I have a hard time with this. I think if you're growing up in a Christian nation (US or UK), you should be taught something about what it all means so you have an appreciation for what the holidays are about instead of just being excited to not be in school. I think it's important to understand what religion means in different communities and how religious ideology shapes different cultures. As a sociological reference if nothing else. However, no one is allowed to preach to my children (or to me!) - religion is a part of who I am but I will teach it to my children as I choose.

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  • image PittPurple:

    1. I'm not sure what it is here, but where I grew up (NY), they definitely taught religion in school. It was quite a battle actually, we kept singing Christmas songs and making Christmas ornaments and my mother would show up and teach Chanukkah songs, etc. She couldn't get them to stop talking about Christianity in school so she made sure they talked about Judaism as well! I think that actually makes the problem worse - as other people have said, there are loads of other religions as well so someone is always going to be left out.

    2. I have a hard time with this. I think if you're growing up in a Christian nation (US or UK), you should be taught something about what it all means so you have an appreciation for what the holidays are about instead of just being excited to not be in school. I think it's important to understand what religion means in different communities and how religious ideology shapes different cultures. As a sociological reference if nothing else. However, no one is allowed to preach to my children (or to me!) - religion is a part of who I am but I will teach it to my children as I choose.

    The issue is that we don't live in a 'Christian nation' in the US. The religious beliefs of our founders aren't really relevant to current academic curriculum. Religious freedom and separation of church and state were acutally principles advocated for by many of the founders despite the fact that they may have been basing their laws, processes and language on Judeo-Christian traditions, either conciously or sub-conciously. Frankly, I don't think my theoretical children should have to appreciate religious connotations behind the timing of school holidays. Do most kids know why the summer break exists or the timing in terms of harvest schedules? Calling it 'winter break' or 'spring break' seems enough to me, since not everyone celebrates Christmas (or Hannukah or Kwaanza for that matter) or Easter.

  • image PittPurple:
    I think if you're growing up in a Christian nation (US or UK), you should be taught something about what it all means so you have an appreciation for what the holidays are about instead of just being excited to not be in school.

    I agree with Lane, although perhaps you meant "Christian nation" in that most people in the US self-identify as Christians, rather than anything about the founding fathers and such.  "What the holidays are about" is not the same for everyone.  Let them be excited about not being in school, and families who put a lot of meaning into the holidays WILL pass that on to their kids.  There's no reason to bring the school into it.

  • image lorryfach:

    image PittPurple:
    I think if you're growing up in a Christian nation (US or UK), you should be taught something about what it all means so you have an appreciation for what the holidays are about instead of just being excited to not be in school.

    I agree with Lane, although perhaps you meant "Christian nation" in that most people in the US self-identify as Christians, rather than anything about the founding fathers and such.  "What the holidays are about" is not the same for everyone.  Let them be excited about not being in school, and families who put a lot of meaning into the holidays WILL pass that on to their kids.  There's no reason to bring the school into it.

     That's a fair point!

    All I meant by my comment is that I went to a state funded school paid for by everyone's taxes and I was obligated to sing Christmas songs in music class, make Christmas ornaments in art class and decorate a Christmas tree at assembly. None of that had any place in non-religious school imo. The US is definitely a Christian nation in the sense that people are given off school / work for Easter and Christmas but not for any other holidays. I can only speak about Jewish holidays, but obviously nothing shuts down for holidays for any other religion either.

    Every year my dad puts in a request to HR to work on Christmas day and Easter Monday and take off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur instead and every year it's denied so he has to take his own personal holidays on those days instead. Obviously, that's his choice as a religious person, but it's just surreal to me that it's a requirement to have off for Easter and Christmas which mean nothing to him. Even banks and post offices close for Christmas!

    Definitely some things to think about here, thanks everyone for an interesting conversation! 

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  • Pitt....That brings up another good point.  here are a list of "government" holidays (which tons of business follow):

    Thursday, January 1 New Year?s Day
    Monday, January 19 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Monday, February 16* Washington?s Birthday
    Monday, May 25 Memorial Day
    Friday, July 3** Independence Day
    Monday, September 7 Labor Day
    Monday, October 12 Columbus Day
    Wednesday, November 11 Veterans Day
    Thursday, November 26 Thanksgiving Day
    Friday, December 25 Christmas Day

    The only Christian holiday is christmas. 

    My old company gave you these holidays plus 3 floating holidays on top that...you could pick those at your own discrection.

  • We have a world religion course taught in our school as part of the history department.  And I like how it's taught...it's meant to be inclusive, questionning and make people think critically as well as see the connections between many of the world religions.  I think so many people have no understanding of what goes on in most of the major religions and it's good to demystify them.
    image
  • 1. Yes RE or Religious Education is taught in the school from as early as preschool.  None are taught more specifically as the truth unless your school is that religion.  But I know that there are guest speakers that come in and do teach as the truth, it is all if there is a balanced opion shared.

    2.  It was so foreign to me that there was RE here.  But seeing as though there are many religions being represented here I think it is very helpful to know and to understand that your classmate might be raised with a different worldview than your own.  With that said not all religions are taught, but ones that are represented at the school. 

    Photobucket
  • image lorryfach:

    2. Learning about religion as an important cultural phenomenon is important and I support it fully.  It's valuable to understand the religions of the people around you, and to learn the stories behind many idioms, literary references, etc. that come from religion. Being taught one particular religion as if it is truth, though, I am adamantly against.

    Agree! 

       If they are taught I think this is the way to go, an anthro way of looking at the world.  It can be tied to history as well.  This is why there is unrest in the Middle East or the Crusades, etc

        As for a state religion I have a tough time with it, I think it's the American public school teacher in me.  I also have a tough time wrapping my head around COE and Catholic schools which are state funded.  I forget all the time. 

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  • image PittPurple:

    All I meant by my comment is that I went to a state funded school paid for by everyone's taxes and I was obligated to sing Christmas songs in music class, make Christmas ornaments in art class and decorate a Christmas tree at assembly. None of that had any place in non-religious school imo.

    I agree with you there, for sure.

    FWIW I never got any time off school for Easter.  We had Spring Break, and Easter was never anywhere near it.  Christmas did always, always fall in Winter Break, though. 

  • 1.  I don't think they do.  I had a discussion similar to this this past weekend.  The kids haven't had any kind of religious upbringing at all, either from school or their mom and dad.  DSS started asking me about Gods wife because, according to him, he had to have a wife to have baby Jesus.  I tried to explain things to him the best I could. 

    2.  I don't remember who said it, but I agree with teaching different religions. Not as a 'this is true and you must follow it' way, but as a way to make kids more knowledgeable about what other people believe. 

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