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- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Is Teaching Religion good for Children?
Don't teach like it is fact.
I am a man very interested in cultures of the world, history, and especially religions. Delving into the psychology of the culturally indoctirnated completely fascinates me. However I was not always this way. I hadn't grown an interest until after I had become an atheist and learned about some very different religions my sophomore year of high school. However my learning of those religions and cultures was brief and simply clear cut. So I hadn't gotten an indepth look at the world religions anywhere close to what my previous indoctirnation had done to me. From a very young age, like many others, I was forced into the learning of catholisism as if it were fact. Sunday school was just as dreadful as regular week day schooling and just as, if not more tedious than the daily homework load that I brought back from school every day. However that was their job. to indoctirnate me and mold my mind into a prayer chanting, god worshiping drone that they wanted me to be. Church going no questions asked. It is like that cross country in churches and homes alike, between the vaguely christian, to the biggest bible bangers. There is no possible way to escape this process of indoctirantion unless your parents have previously broken the mold of their slave drone parents before hand. While indoctirnation is another issue, the one we are facing at the moment is this sort of behavior in our public schools.
There was a time when more than 70% of our country was christian. Infact getting closer and closer to 100% the farther back you look. Whether it was one form of christianity or another, the even more dominant faith was christianity. There was a time when it was taught in public schools with no real concern. Part of that was due to the high christian population, the smaller number of students, and the fact that there was a smaller understanding of the world back then. This persisted into the 20th centuary leading up to the cold war, a time where we good wholesome capitalistic Americans wanted to separate ourselves from the godless immoral communists in the east. This led to us placing the words "Under god" in the pledge to the flag and "in god we trust" on our money. These little changes and the already high proportion of christians to non-christians have changed the mindset that this country has a freedom of religion, to the idea that this is a godcentric theocracy. That alone has been generating this idea that we are trying to remove god from school.
First of all, people aren't trying to take god out of the school. The thing is it shouldn't be in there in the first place. This country is a place where everybody is entitled to be free and practice their religion as they see fit. Now here is the issue with teaching god into the public space. When you teach it publicly more people will see it as fact, and it isn't. Religion may be your belief but a belief is an opinion regardless. People go through public school to learn information, facts, and get started in understanding life and how things work. When people are taught things like religion as if it is fact, it will cause several problems. If teachers begin to teach kids religion they can't teach fact, regardless of their own bias. That is the first step to teaching in public schools.However the question we need to ask is if it is even good to teach kids religion at all?
Teach the World
For me I loved learning about the other cultures and religions of the world. I have always enjoyed learning. Unfortunatly not every kid feels that way, infact most don't. However if every child got what they wanted we would live in a uneducated world with children hopped up on sugar running around on recess all day. For the betterment of society I guess we need to not really care what children want. Maybe we should teach kids about the world and its religions and cultures, but if we do then how shall we go about it? I haven't said I we should yet or if it is good or bad but that is coming.
Now if we were to start teaching things like religions and cultures we should start at a decently early age to counter balance the indoctirnation that many kids will face growing up. If we do that we may start to get way more intellectual and critically thinking children that can analyis the world better. This will hopefully advance our society faster and to new heights, hypothetically.
If we were to start teaching about the worlds cultures there are a couple of things we should be doing. First of all we can't limit it to contemporary religions of the current day. That would accomplish almost nothing other than just inform our kids of the different ideas our humans hold. We have already started teaching some older ideals and cultures of the past, the Greeks, the Romans, and some older religions and cultures. However from my personal experience in the classroom there simply isn't enough cultures explored. Through my 1 year of world cultures we were taught things about Russia, Japan, and a few Middle Eastern Coountries. In those 2 semesters we had only learned so much about the older cultures of the past, it was limited to learning the political changes and courses of the times excluding the middle east. The middle eastern unit was the most religiously focused of the units, however it mostly pertained to the holidays of Musslims, and terrorism and why it exists there today. In my opinion that isn't a very good way to teach the worlds cultures or religions. Of course the history of a country is necessary to see why things develop and change and why their cultures shift with the time. However not only was the studies limited but it was extremely biast. Most of the course details showed students why the world doesn't agree with America and why it is bad and wrong. It was indoctirnating on its own and nowhere near educational. So if we did start teaching the cultures and religions of the world, the history will of course be necessary, but a more detailed lesson would need to be developed. Details into how they practice, why they practice, what they practice, and of course where they practice, on top of when they practice. All those details are important to show the progression of the world and show how quickly ideas change. The biggest reason why it is so hard to tolerate other religions or even think critically, is because people just aren't educated enough on this subject.
Teach Critical Thinking
On top of the teaching of the religions of the world you of course need to show children and teens to think critically. Like I said before many of the reasons that people can't think critically about their own religion is becuase they are indoctirnated into the religion, making any other narrative that contrasts instantly wrong. And another reason that so many people can't think critically is because they aren't educated enough about the different religions, making them think about the reasons why those religions are rediculious. This is why people can't see the issues with their own religions. They are quick to point out the issues with others, however the same issues are present in their own ideas, and they see nothing wrong with ignoring their own contradictions and issues. The reason being they aren't thinking critically. If they were taught more about thinking critically, and presented with every religion and idea they might actually think twice about something before subscribing to the idea of a religion.
Thinking critically is necessary in all aspects of life. It is what makes us smart, it separates us from other animals, and it is what is necessary for progression in society. If we didn't think critically to progress us forward we woulld still be stuck in a cave, painting on walls and hunting with spears. Critical thinking is absolutely necessary, and while we are taught to think critically about several subjects in school already, religion isn't one of them. Maybe because schools already teach actual science and assume people aren't that stupid to believe religious fiction. However that simply isn't true at all. Schools in America are full of christians, many of them disssagreeing with the curriculum, and some going as far to dissrupt class because of their religious views. Maybe if we taught religion and critical thinking about religion we might actually get society to progress. And who knows if you religious people thought more critically and critically examined stuff. Instead of just ignoring current science, and the way we understand the universe, just to fit your narrative, maybe you could critically examine and some kid could grow upto find the proof of a religion or a god. However if you keep ignoring it and not thinking critically that will never happen.
Should we teach our Kids religion?
Now the question is should we teach our kids religion in public schools? Well first what isn't teaching religion? Teaching religion isn't putting one religion over another. It isn't teaching christianity. It isn't teaching kids why a certain religion is wrong, or why it is bad. Teaching our kids religion would need to be the teaching them about the different religions of the world, past and present to see how and why things change and why they change. It needs to show why there is friction between religions. It is teaching why some religions just don't make sense, and why they are dead, or why they were followed. Teaching our kids of religion would need to be in depth and critical in every way, that way our kids can think critically about the religions.
If we teach our kids properly and unbiastly then yes we should teach our kids religion. However if there is going to biast, or the teaching of negativity of other religions then no there should be no religion at all in public schools. However if people grow up being taught different religions parrallel to their church studies and sunday schools, then maybe our kids will learn to think more about what they are being taught beside being blindly subservient, and being indoctirnated into subscribing to something they curently don't understand and have say in what happens. If we can teach our kids religions they will think critically. If they do that they will grow to discover more, grow and learn. Then one day, who knows, maybe we will one day see the proof of a god, but above all else we will progress as a society. We will grow to be smarter and more critical and eventually progressing at previously impossibly imaginable speeds. So teach our kids religions, just do it correctly.