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Religion in school

Updated on April 21, 2017

Religion does have a place in schools

Religion has a place in schools, just not in the science classroom or in any classroom that promotes any one religion as fact. In history or cultural classes, religion should be studied. But not studied as truth, but as any historical thing is studied.

Religion has played a huge part in the history of the human race. There have been many different kinds that have been invented throughout time and they have had many different effects on civilizations

History classes can talk about how religion caused certain wars or caused certain cultures to develop. Including religions in the study of history will give students a better understanding of history and how religion has influenced it. Discussions can be held about the religions of various types of leaders and how their beliefs tied into religion or didn't.

Schools can teach the history about how various religious texts were developed through the combination of other historical stories talking about how various cultures borrowed ideas previously made and used those ideas to help develop their own culture and invent their religions.

it shouldn't be the sole focus of history classes, but it can be included as a part of nearly every discussion because it has influenced societal discourse in many different ways throughout history.

Since religion places a big role most of the world's societies, students can examine how religion influences public policy, politics, and society as a whole.

There can also be discussion of religion in classes about psychology. Students can examine the causes and effects of various religions from more a mental standpoint. Extremists can be studied to try to understand why they are extremists. They can compare the texts they say they adhere to, to what they do and try to think of the various "whys" of their actions.

Students can think about the different ways religious or non-religious views can influence people's mental lives.

There is a lot that religion does, so there's no reason it should be left out of the school completely. But teaching it as anything more than myth is intellectually dishonest.




Where creatiionsim should be

Creationism should be

  • Relegated to culture classes that talk about religion.
  • Talked about on equal footing with creation stories found in other religions.
  • Left out of public policy and the government
  • Called creationism and not the theory of creationism. A theory has to have significant scientific evidence behind it. Creationism does not.

Creationism should not be in the science room

Creationism should be far away from the classroom. It is a far gone hypothesis that has no science worth or merit to it, so there is only negatives effects of including it in a class that is based off of the teaching factual things. Teaching creationism will cause the stagnation of the development of scientific minds. It will cause the United States to continue to lag behind in the sciences.

Spending time teaching things that aren't true and damaging to students' intellectual growth in the sciences can have negative short term and long term effects for the students and for society as a whole,.

it's disappointing that there are recent court cases about creationism, and that there are people actively trying to sneak unconstitutional things like creationism into schools covertly. It's disappointing that courts' time is being wasted hearing about why certain places should be able to violate the constitution, so they can teach religion in schools because that's all creationism is, religion.

If creationism had any shred of merit, it would be taught in schools, but it doe not, so it's not taught.

The article below gives a summary of ten major court cases involving creationism and evolution. The most recent on that is one the list is in 2005. I'm unaware of others more recent than that, I have heard of various news stories of schools trying to sneak creationism and general religion into schools.

ncse.ten-major-court-cases-evolution-creationism

Creationism is bad in the long term

There are many negative long term effects of teaching creationism in schools.

Teaching something that isn't true may keep students from pursuing certain fields to study that could have far reaching benefits to humanity. If a student believes that a god created the world, they are going to see no purpose, more than likely, in finding out about how life started in actuality.

These students will be more likely to not consider studying fields and researching topics such as abiogenesis.

U.S. rankings in science education

Source

Science Rankings

According to businessinsider, we are ranked 24th in science. This is based on test results from 2012, so they may be slightly different now, but I doubt they are drastically different.

And you can see in this article from livescience-science-education-ranks that the vast majority of states rank below average when it comes to science education. This article is from 2011, so, again, it may be slightly different now.

These studies and test scores plain stink. America should be embarrassed at how low we rank in the world and how low our individual states rank. You'll notice from the map that most of the best ranking states are in the northeast and most of the lowest ranking states in the South.

Massachusetts is the highest ranked state and Mississippi is the lowest ranked states. I find it interesting how Mississipi has done a lot more to attempt to put creationism in schools than Massachusetts.

Here is a quote from an article about Massachusetts and science:

"While some other states' legislatures have attempted or succeeded in passing laws allowing intelligent design to be taught in public schools, such practice is in essence in violation of the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Massachusetts, at present, remains free of such statutes. " source-masslawlib.massachusetts-has-evolved-have-you

While in MIssissippi, they are trying to undermine the proven scientific theory of evolution with laws like the House Bill 25 aka the "Sticker Bill." Which would require a statement be included on every textbook about evolution that basically tries to discredit evolution as not being a scientific theory, but being a theory like the one about the creation story in the bible. The big difference is that evolution has mountains of evidence and creationism has less than no evidence. But states like Mississippi insist on attempting to muddy up the truth about evolution. If they were trying to do the same thing with the theory of gravity, germ theory, or atomic theory, we would look at them like they are insane. Their goals of indirectly promoting creationism should be looked at with the same eye.

Here is a link an article all about the bill sensuouscurmudgeon.mississippi-creationism-textbook-sticker-law/ In this article, they include the text that the law would require to be included in every book about evolution. It's pretty blatantly anti-evolution, aka anti-science.

It's no wonder why states like Mississippi rank dead last in the nation in science education when they are trying to undermine basic principles of scientific knowledge and education.

Where does this leave us?

In order for the United States to be able to compete in the world in science, we must embrace proven concepts of science and religiously promote and teach them. The only way we will be able to improve in the science sector is to teach what has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

if we can manage to improve the state of science in our schools, we could possibly have more people working on and inventing new ideas and processes that can improve a variety of aspects of our lives.

The United States should be ranked near the very top in the world in academics, and I find the our current level of performance to be embarrassingly low.

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    • thunkfulthinker profile image
      Author

      Jim 2 years ago from Ohio

      Paladin,

      I have heard from him and that does sound familiar. Although, I had not direct inspiration from him to write this hub, I'm sure I'm not the first to have the ideas like the ones I talked about in this hub.

      Austinstar,

      I agree and disagree. For little kids, I agree. They don't have the deep thinking skills to abstractly think about religions, so there's little to no benefit for them.

      But for late middle school, high school, and college I think they have the mental capacity to think critically about these kinds of things.

      I also do think it's possible to talk about religion without promoting one over another. It all depends on the teacher and how they present the information. I think the key to presenting in a way that talks about current day myths like ancient day myths.

      That is my vision. I do find it unlikely that most teachers would be able to present their personal views as they would other myths, assuming they are religious.But the same would have been true in the days of ancient Rome and Greece when many people were believers of their myths.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      It's not that religions don't include 'facts', most legends and myths do start out with some sort of fact. It's that it's impossible to teach about religion without one religion or another screaming about how THEIR religion is the 'correct' one!

      Children's minds are very prized indoctrination grounds for religion. They don't have the cognitive abilities to understand religion.

      So, while I think it's ok to teach religion in schools, it should only be taught as an elective and only to adults.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Thinker, are you familiar with the popular atheist spokesman Daniel Dennett? He is perhaps the most well-known advocate of the idea you propose -- teaching the history and particulars of ALL religions as part of an established curriculum, but in a purely academic manner, and not as sacred dogma.

      He believes that such instruction is the best antidote to religious indoctrination of children. As an anti-theist, I find him to be a bit too conciliatory -- even somewhat admiring -- toward religion. But I certainly agree with him on this point. You should look him up on YouTube.

    • thunkfulthinker profile image
      Author

      Jim 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Excellent ideas, here!

    • thunkfulthinker profile image
      Author

      Jim 3 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Austinstar.

      I think some atheists and people arguing against atheism think that they want to keep religion entirely out of school. But various religious myths throughout history have an important historical impact, past and present, and should be discussed.

      I would support the same line of teaching about the Greek mythology, even if a lot of people still believed in bits and parts of it. The amount of people believing in a certain mythology doesn't exclude it from critical examination.

      Secularism doesn't mean schools can't talk about religion, just that it can't be taught fact because none of them approach the scrutiny that a fact faces. I think schools should embrace religion in the same way they embrace Greek mythology or Egyptian religions.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      And which "creation" story is the correct one anyway? There is no way of knowing this. I like your idea of teaching creation myths alongside every culture's creation myth.

    • thunkfulthinker profile image
      Author

      Jim 3 years ago from Ohio

      There is no evidence for that position. Therefore, it has no place in schools.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I have to admit that I do not agree with you. For me, all the scientific facts does not have to be the opposite of religion. Science can be used to show how God made the earth, agreed not as in Genesis 1 as it was written for a whole other purpose and should not be taken literally. No one can dispute a degree of evolution but I believe in en evolution God is using it to keep on creating. So, the two does not have to be separated.