7 Reasons Why Religion Must Be Taught in School
1. Fear of retribution should not be a reason to stop doing what we want.
The interdisciplinarity unit was being formed by my colleagues and myself. An extensive timeline detailing historical themes through each location was also given. Art, literature, science, invention, and politics were all covered in this category. When we were brainstorming ideas for the themes, I shared my thoughts “Oh, that’s right. Don’t forget about your religious beliefs.” I was a long-time friend and colleague with whom I had grown to have a great deal of regard throughout our relationship. The pupils should investigate the history of major religions and draw a timeline of their growth, I proposed.
All of the participants promised me that religion will be handled in the other themes after the awkward quiet. When it came down to it, they decided that we could have a religious theme, but not a religious ceremony. It could be referred to as “culture.” What I took away from the talk was not that my colleagues are opposed to the teaching of religion in schools. Their opposition to the thought that we could be accused of teaching religion was non-existent. As a reflexive response to the real anxiety that we were about to enter an area that may land instructors in serious trouble, we acted in this manner. It is programmed into our brains to avoid anything that might anger one or two parents or arouse the ire of our school’s administration. I am quite aware that I have done the same thing. Even though I may have moved closer to the line (or further to my disadvantage), I have avoided the impulse to “do the right thing” on several occasions to escape the political implications of my actions.
Teachers who censor themselves can have severe implications for their students and colleagues. Teachers’ anxieties must be dispelled, and they must be allowed to reflect on all elements of their professional work. Curriculum, assessment, classroom culture, and punishment are all part of this process. We must also be able to evaluate each part of our activity in terms of its relevance, appropriateness, significance, or significance, among other criteria. We are terrified of being retaliated against, even though we recognize religion as a real and necessary subject of study. This means that we are depriving our children and teenagers of the critical knowledge that they deserve. As a result, we are allowing extremists to influence what we teach without ever requiring them to raise a finger themselves. If we wish to teach our children how to be engaged citizens in their communities, we must model these actions more frequently in our own lives.
2. It has been asserted that teaching religions are a violation of the rights of both the church and the state. However, this is not the case.
Even though I have no idea how this “rumor” got started, it is extremely difficult to stop once it has been propagated. The situation reminds me of a moment when I was teaching about the current Iraq War. Students who are old enough to remember the Iraq War still believe that we went to war because Saddam Hussein was the mastermind behind September 11th. Despite studies, conversations, and arguments, some students remained adamant that Saddam Hussein was not directly responsible for the September 11 attacks. Once an inaccurate concept has entered our minds, it is quite tough to get it out of our skulls. Wouldn’t it be good if we were a little more skilled at this than 12-year-olds? On the other hand, this is not always the case.
Religion can be taught in schools, according to the Supreme Court, which has said unequivocally. It is permitted. We are unable to give any religion greater attention than the others or to promote one religious scripture as the exclusive source of true knowledge and belief. There are numerous ways in which religion can be integrated into our educational program. Literary, historical, artistic, and architectural studies can all be conducted on it. We must also evaluate how it is influenced by contemporary social issues or political events, among other things. Religious Study is a subject that can be taught as a comprehensive elective course. Through the Constitution and the Supreme Court, we have the right to allow students of any age to pursue a career as religious scholars.
3. we shouldn’t be scared to employ the curriculum in instances when we might find it tough to navigate through uncharted territory.
Even while religion can be studied legally, this does not rule out the possibility of it being a difficult subject to teach. Similar scenarios can develop with other vital subjects, such as politics and sexual education if the subject matter is not handled properly. The majority of the issues I see in my seminars are not related to legal restrictions. They are a result of the negative connotations connected with discussing religion in the educational setting. Students believe that religion is not something that should be discussed in the classroom setting. If we do not prepare children for this, they may also respond emotionally or impulsively to what is happening. The conversation about the meaning of separation of church and state, as well as the constraints that exist, can help to avoid unwarranted reactions and conflagration.
Because we are frequently dealing with delicate subjects, I use the phrase “conversation” frequently. To engage in religious exploration, students must first get familiar with the fundamental norms for conversation. Despite all of the preparation, however, some students will be unable to resist the temptation to investigate the themes that are certain to elicit negative emotions from their classmates. Some people will wish to talk about their religious beliefs as soon as they are able. Problems such as creationism and abortion will inevitably be brought up by others, despite our “best efforts” to keep them off the table. These attempts at shock or awe are normally allowed to take place as long as they comply with civilized discussion principles, such as remaining on topic and using I statements, among other guidelines. The discussion of forbidden matters becomes simpler if you allow for it to take place. Getting on with the task makes it easier and more efficient since we can move forward. We must avoid becoming overwhelmed by the issues that they raise and must adhere closely to the standards for respectful dialogue that have been established concerning the other units and themes.
There are a plethora of other minefields we could investigate. The option to return home and inform her parents that she prefers eastern Buddhism to her Methodist upbringing is always available to Sally. She wishes to construct a temple on her lawn and discontinue her attendance at church. It’s never happened to me before. But it’s possible. Furthermore, it will be embarrassing. However, this is acceptable due to arguments #4, #5, and #6. It is critical to remember that the subject matter is more important than having to endure a certain amount of ambiguity and unpredictability in the process.
4. If we wish to comprehend others and other societies, we must first understand the subject matter.
Religion studies should not be reduced to a collection of facts, as is the case with any other subject taught in school. Some fundamental knowledge, on the other hand, can provide perspective and open the door to fresh perspectives that may allow students to see the world in a different light. Most pupils, regardless of their age, believe that Christianity will eventually govern the globe. It’s intriguing to them, and it’s amazing to be able to see the world in a more realistic light as a result. The questions start to come in fast and furious. They are interested in learning more about Buddha and Abraham, and they identify as Catholic Christians. And so forth.
When students compare and contrast faiths, they have a plethora of possibilities to see both their fundamental differences and their similarities. Students can then compare and contrast these parallels to conclude. The children enjoyed the opportunity to choose between a non-indigenous and an indigenous worldview. Then we figure out which point of view belongs to which group. It is critical to comprehend the ramifications of various points of view for our understanding of others, our culture, and our values, among other things. They take pleasure in contrasting and contrasting the Eastern and Western religions. They will study excerpts from religious scriptures and make educated guesses as to whether they are from the East or the West, respectively. Then they’ll try to figure out which religion they sound the most like by listening to their voices. A lesson I learned from Teaching Tolerance that demonstrated that the Golden Rule of Christianity is also the Golden Rule in all major religions was well received by the students. We talked about the parallels and differences between the original and translated texts, as well as the ramifications of these similarities and differences.
It is essential to comprehend numerous historical events from a political, scientific, and artistic standpoint fully comprehend them. To fully comprehend a culture, it is necessary to first grasp its beliefs and then to understand itself. The basic beliefs of a group about the issues that are most important to them are intertwined with all other ideas and actions in the culture. It is impossible to study politics and economics without taking into consideration how these two fields interact with one another. Having an indigenous spiritual perspective may have an impact on how we handle the environment and how we conduct our economic affairs. Everything from what you eat to how much you produce and who receives what could be affected. This will have an impact on how much time we spend together, how we treat elders, and how we interact with others in our social circles.
5. The topic matter is critical if we are to have a complete understanding of ourselves.
Students can recognize the long-term consequences of concepts or beliefs that permeate contemporary culture and that were formed from religious and historical worldviews, as well as the short-term consequences. These reverberations are a part of the history of the United States. We learn about the different layers of ourselves, as well as our assumptions about the world and how to examine those assumptions. Continuing our search for our own identity and ideas, as well as our place in society, we can either embrace, reject, amend, or leave them as we progress through our search process. Students are fascinated by the Puritan work ethic, predestination, and “city upon a hill” mentality that characterized the Puritans. Students also learn about the long and illustrious history of Quakers, as well as their staunch opposition to slavery, the enslavement of women, and the plight of the less fortunate. They are also an important part of our identity, but they rarely have the opportunity to interact with Quakers.
6. It is critical that the subject of bias, intolerance, and hatred be addressed if we are to successfully eradicate these attitudes.
One thing I’ve learned is that disturbing notion aren’t only the domain of radicals anymore. While it is possible to describe creepy as intolerant or harmful, I find it difficult to assume that these are the only viewpoints that youngsters will be able to express. Also, I’ve heard stories about the complicated belief systems that these children may have if they are given the freedom to feel what they want, and I know that these children are good and caring people. Members of the Ku Klux Klan may make sentiments like these, but they are unlikely to be echoed by the vast majority of youngsters in any given classroom setting. Students who receive a real education will be able to analyze their prejudices and emerge from the experience entirely transformed. The only requirement is that we be willing to confront these challenging and strong concerns.
It’s difficult to think of anything more moving than witnessing someone overcome prejudice or biases. All forms of bigotry, including religious persecution, must be addressed. It is necessary to address these prejudices, including their origins as well as their implications. Children will believe that there is something wrong with them, their families, and their communities, and they will be right. They’re not even going to say it. This is the most likely method by which they will perpetuate the damaging and deeply rooted cycle of prejudice. When people learn to understand the underlying causes of the difficulties they encounter in their own lives and their communities, they are transformed into individuals who are no longer constrained by the patterns that surround them. Acknowledging oppression can be the first step toward achieving liberty. In our roles as educators, it is our essential responsibility to guarantee that our children are exposed to this type of environment.
7. children can deal with it.
Many times, when I advocate the idea of dealing with complex sensitive issues with children, one common reaction is that they are too young to handle it. This may work for college students, but it is not appropriate for elementary or middle school students. We don’t give children enough credit, I think. As adults, they will be more reflective and mature if they can learn about the world in an educational setting. It is unrealistic to expect our children to think for themselves and expect them to begin thinking when they are 18. We are also fooling ourselves if our children think they are safe from serious issues. They live with others, see them live with others, and can see and experience a lot more than what we can imagine. We can’t give our children a safe place to understand the world. They will be unable to cope with the world around them, suppress their feelings, ignore their surroundings, or follow the example of their parents. For kindergarteners to 12th graders, many wonderful lessons and units integrate religion and foster curiosity, inquiry, and growth.
It may be difficult to make religion an integral part of our curriculum, but it is legal and worth the effort if our children are to become independent, tolerant critical thinkers who strive to improve the world around them and the world they live in.