“Religion” in School?

I am an Atheist, and I personally don’t want religion taught in schools. When they say religion, they mean Christianity, and when they say Christianity, they mean their own denomination. Considering how many different denominations there are, that leaves it open to definition, and most of them don’t agree with each other.

Even if you taught religion based on history only, you are looking at 12 major religions globally with 4,300 minor religions. If you taught only history and not beliefs, you still wouldn’t have time to teach any other subject. This is why those who go into religion as a vocation, study for 8-12 years after high school, and pretty much all those classes focus on only religion.

There is no logical reason for religion, the Bible and prayer to taught to kids at school, since the majority of children come from families who believe different things.

Christians don’t want to be forced to learn Islam, Judaism, Paganism, or science as a substitution for biblical teachings. Yet, they just don’t understand why Muslims, Jews, Pagans and Atheists don’t wish to be forced to learn Christianity. But the ironic thing is this: most Muslims, Jews, Pagans and Atheists know more about the bible and the history behind it than most Christians.

8 thoughts on ““Religion” in School?

  1. I work as a teacher in a Catholic School. I am “qualified” to teach religion. In my school that means I have a post graduate qualification that focusses on the doctrine of the Catholic faith and a smattering of the theology behind it. Interestingly more than 50% of the students at my school come from families who claim to be non-Catholic. I suspect the vast majority of the parents who tick the Catholic box would struggle to get themselves, let alone their children to Mass on a regular basis.

    One of the absolutes of being enrolled in our school is that every student must take religion as a subject AND participate in rituals associated with practicing the Catholic faith. Religion as a subject is not indoctrination but rather a presentation of the teaching of the church and an explanation of some of the history and reasoning behind it. I feel that our curriculum is quite balanced and definitely Non-Catholic friendly. There is room for students to explore other major world religions, Christianity as a whole, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. The subject matter is presented in an academic way not in an indoctrinating way.

    I must stress that the families who enroll their children in our school CHOOSE our school. It isn’t a government school, they have other options. As part of the enrollment process the requirements to participate in ritual and religion classes are clearly explained. Still the general attitude to religion by the students is at best ‘meh’ and at worst active opposition. These attitudes are fully supported by parents. Teachers of religion get zero support from parents of students who actively derail and cause chaos in their classes. Parents openly tell teachers that they don’t care if their student fails religion even though it does form part of their overall Senior Certificate.

    In short I think that parents calling for religion classes in government schools are simply being lazy. As you say these parents are only interested in teaching their children THEIR particular indoctrination. They do not form a majority of the school population and implementing a religion curriculum would simply be a rod for teacher’s backs. A lot of work making a class happen that most students would derail. Only to satisfy the vocal minority.

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    1. I can understand religion being taught in a religious school. Parents who enroll their children in those schools know that religion will be one of the subjects of the curriculum, but I would imagine most of what is taught is pertains to that specific religion. It’s a lot different in a public school. Unless parents are homeschooling their child, they are required to have their child enrolled at the local public school…, they don’t have a choice to pick which school their child will attend unless they choose a private school. I worked in the public school system and they just didn’t have the time for the subjects that needed to teach, let alone learning about world religions. I remember it suggested one year and the parents had a fit, believing that their children would be indoctrinated in a religion they didn’t approve of. When my son was going into the 6th grade he was struggling at school and we knew we had to find a solution. We told him he could go on to the middle school, go to the Catholic school (we were Catholics at the time), or homeschool. We let him decide on which one. We visited the school at our Parish so he could see what it would be like. In the end, we homeschooled for one year and he returned to public school for the next two years of middle school.

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  2. The only time “religion” should be taught is about them and why people believe, what they believe etc. Something like that is par course for anthropology, sociology, and other sciences. It should *not* be taught as swearing to God, praying, etc.

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      1. If I could I would say all major at least. Paganism, Shintoism etc. But also David McAfee wrote a kid’s book on why people believe in things and this would be more imperative to teach than any one individual religion.

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      2. This topic came up when I worked at a middle school. The conservative Christians complained that the only religion that should be taught was their brand of Christianity. When it was suggested that just the major Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, all non-Christian religions complained. When we suggested adding Buddhism, Hinduism, Sihkism and Paganism, again the Christians complained. And of course the Atheists objected to any religion be taught. There are 7 major world religions but 4,300 total world religions and 200 different Christian denominations just in the US. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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      3. Yeah especially if you live in the bible belt. Christianity dominates are system and part of this is because of cold war propaganda.

        To clarify, I want people to be taught *about* these religions like I was in college. I figure there would be opposition like you see with evolution. But school should be secular and science override any opinions of the religious. Unfortunately we don’t live in such an ideal world.

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      4. I don’t have that excuse. I live in a small conservative town in the Northwest, but there are enough of us radical liberals to find a balance. I agree, I wish all of these religions could be taught but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting. My own education started with joining various Christian churches and seeing how they each taught their own thing. I did research at libraries. Then I became a Catholic and started studying theology and Biblical history for the priest there. He taught things that the Vatican didn’t approve of. When he left the Parish, I left and joined an Evangelistic church and started studying for the ministry. The sexist behavior of these classes caused me to drop out. After five years I left this church for various reasons, including their narrow-minded ideas. I also left Christianity and became a Pagan and practiced for 20 years, while studying world religions, including Christianity. The past few years led me to realize I didn’t believe in any religious practices and teachings and I then considered myself an Atheist. But I still like the Pagan attitudes and behaviors.

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