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Should religion be compulsorily taught in schools?
OK, so the title says it all. However, I will elaborate. (Making a note along the way that, even though a political aspect could apply - party politics does not....so don’t even think about it or I will have the thread closed!).
I am an Atheist. This is well known here and there are at least two more to my knowledge. As Atheists, unlike many Christians, we have no problems, whatsoever with the other practising their beliefs. They are simply not for us.
My contention is this: Christianity has long, long been forced upon children in school under the guise of ’Religious Education or, R.E. if you will. I see this as unacceptable as part of the child’s formative upbringing. My feeling is that, children should not be subjected, mandatorily to a subject so contentious. Apart from this, I recall my own classes in R.E. Our teachers must have been on drugs to possess the level of patience that they had! We spent all lesson picking out fallacies, lies and errors from the Bible and associated teachings. This does not mean that we felt ourselves to be the only ones ’in step’ of course. We learned later about religious tolerance and came to respect those who held the views and those who broadcast them (though not those who chose to evangelise, as we once saw in these hallowed halls). For instance. Rev. Roger Perry is a man of God and also an ex-Boy Entrant. Had he only been the latter, I, as an ex Apprentice would likely have nothing to do with him......
I contend that Religious Education should be given in schools but only on a voluntary learning basis. My reasons for raising this issue are various but the major concern is the spread of Islam througout this country. A religion which, if followed by true believers is of little danger to anyone but when used a weapon, as it mostly seems to be, these days, becomes one of the greatest threats to mankind in the past 2000years or so. The teaching of Islam is becoming forcibly imposed by claim of discrimination on any school that is too weak to oppose it.
My premise, however, is that no form of R.E. should be mandatory in schools.
Michael I have always rspected the views of all religions and non-religious people too. I believe school curiculums are based across the field to give children a broad insight to the world they will live in and to give them a deeper understanding of the outside world. However If the option of Religious Instruction were taken from that mode of teaching because some children feel they don’t benefit then it might well set a precedent in other subjects as well. Surely schooling is a method to test and open the mind to a wider spectrum and give the scholar a chance to make their choice when adult. Only my opinion of course
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I do not think there would be a knock on effect, Dennis. I have attended schools where there was no R.E. and they did not appear to suffer for it. Had there been no Maths, English or Science then there would be been serious shortfalls. Domestic Science was an option at one of my schools. The girls all signed up (remember this was the 50s/60s!) Few boys did. In retrospect, I feel that this subject should have been mandatory!!
Many schools and colleges these days have a plethora of optionals. I feel that this is what R.E. is....an option, not a necessity. I think many would be surprised at the amount of pupils who would be more inclined to take it up, were it voluntary.
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It seems to me that a number of traditions and beliefs have been "dropped" from schools using the mantra of "children should not be forced".
Among those dropped are Religious Instruction, the need for neat and tidy writing, the need to understand that it is possible for children (and adults) to lose at a sport or examination, morning assemblies, the singing of the national anthem, etc etc.
I cannot help wondering if lack of instruction in some or all of these areas has resulted in the bad behaviour, bad language, lack of respect and so on, that we see in today’s young, and in many instances, older people.
Religion being the thread topic here, then just think of the ten commandments in the Christian religions. Surely it cannot be a bad thing to teach children those rules?
I know that some will say that those commandments were intended only to get the chosen people to the promised land, whole, intact and not weakened. Notwithstanding that, the ten rules work in any civilized society, and in my not so humble opinion, would help children in particular to have at least some standards to use as guidance.
Maybe RI in the form of the old time Sunday Schools would not go amiss in today’s schooling, rather than forced, boring lectures given by adults who are not interested in the subject.
I fear the geek, even though he comes bearing gifs.