Religeous Education in Schools

Tao_Equus

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My older son is now in his 2nd year of high school and doing very well in every class except R.E. His school report uses words like dilligent, enthusiastic, hard-working, studious and well-behaved in all but this one class where he is described as argumentative and disruptive. When challenged on this his response is that his teacher preaches and does not teach and that she tries to force God and Jesus down his throat.

By chance I know his R.E. teacher from years back and know her to be a strict Presbyterian, definitely of the 'fear thy God' variety. His school is non-denomenational and is required by law to teach a broad spectrum of faiths without predjuidice. Can a strict Presbyterian really be expected to fulfill the role of neutral unbiased educator and should the criteria in the job description call for an individual without strong religeous convictions?

On a broader note my own personal belief is that all schools by law should be forced to be non-denomenational. I see the school years as a unique opportunity for children of all backgrounds to mingle and fosters a tolerance and acceptance of others at the most important age.
Scotland, though globably not as notorius as Northern Ireland, has strong sectarian dvisions, though admitedly and thankfully they are gradualy diminishing. As a child myself I went to a Protestant junior school and a 1/4 of a mile down the road there was a Catholic one. The only time the two groups of children mixed was to fight each other. Even outside of school we never mixed, for me to play with a Catholic I would have suffered ridicule and bullying from my schoolmates. I remember well the sadness I used to feel when on many occasions I would see a Catholic child, who were in a minority, rushing home to avoid the protestants kids. So my opinion is that single faith schools have no place in a modern society.
Children get religeous education from their parents if they are religeous and should be afforded a school enviroment where they get to learn about the rest of the worlds ideas. The 'faith' schools do not serve to bring genuine faith but rather brainwash children into thinking that is all there is. It strikes me that parents who choose this must have little faith in their faith if they do this to their children. For if the parents have earned the child(ren)s love and respect through being great parents, and they have religeous conviction, chances are pretty good that child will adopt them as their own.

Your thoughts please.

Respect to all

TE
 
All I have to say is WOW!!

Here in the states we have ZERO religious education in schools. Prayer is out, God is out, even moments of silence are argued as taboo as they IMPLY religion!

Then of course if you send your kid to a private religious school, they get that doctrine and not the broad base you are looking for...unless you find that school, which is rare.

What a joy it would be to have our children introduced openly to all belief systems, with some history attached.

Lastly Kudos to raising a child that questions!!

namaste,
 
I would be very quick to send my child (may s/he not come for many years) to a Jewish day school. There's just a lot to Judaism and it can't all be taught after school. I don't think a liberal school teaches a child that's all there is, but it does give him or her the opportunity to go much more deeply into her faith in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

I don't think it matters if a teacher has strong religious convictions, unless they're fundamentalist. Then it matters greatly and poses a huge problem.

Dauer
 
Yea the states are now started to go really crazy about "political correctness". Some atheists want to take the "In God We Trust" out of the money and what not. Liberalism in the West is starting to get out of hand. Public education is down in the tubes producing less qualified students and because the government can only cover the fundementals, there is little room for classes like religion or philosophy. It's a shame what socialism can do if it goes to far.:rolleyes:
 
This issue is a hard one.... Hear in the states Christianity is becoming more and more outcasted and hated. Persicution is still minor in the sense that we are not jailed or killed.... but rights are being taken away... to an extent.

As far as the discrimination you mentioned between prodestants, and catholics, that falls on a bad failier between leaders of both schools. The Bible Teaches to love your neighbor, not Kill, beat, or persecute him. For some reason People seem to forget this and try to make themselves beter than others by saying their beliefs are best, and right; rather then discussing and learning from each other. Theirs is nothing wrong with a good debate so long is it doesnt get HATED... Yes I said Hated not heated!

But back to original point. Here in the states Socialism is running ramped, and its a minority! But as on man pointed out in comunist countries the comunist usually hold 14% or less or populations.

To some it up, Evil thrives when good men stand around with their thumbs in their &%^%$ and do nothing about it! And I believe this is the case in the U.S.
 
Yes this is true socialism and liberalism are all over the media and a lot of our naive children are being tricked into following many of their ideals or otherwise labled as bigots. In truth majority of the US is capitilistic and on the conservative side but all major figures such as hollywood stars as well as the school systems have turned liberal socialists. What do you expect from public schools:rolleyes:.

I'm not saying liberalism and socialism are evil, all I'm saying is that it is trying the take over the countries completly. Extremes of the right or left are not good for any government, obviously these liberals want the radical left. Most conservatives today are closer to the middle which is better than where a lot of the liberals are, on the very other side of the left.
 
Can a strict Presbyterian really be expected to fulfill the role of neutral unbiased educator and should the criteria in the job description call for an individual without strong religeous convictions?
I think this question would have to be approached on an individual basis, rather than on a general basis.

I would say that if the teacher has an intrusive ego, rather than an illuminating one, it could pose a problem. However, a teacher also needs to set an example that it is OK for each person to stick to their principles.
An effective balance between these two principles is a uniquely individual phenomenon, IMHO.

The more you try to describe a general blanket formula for this to apply blanket-fashion to all, the further away you get from it. This would likely result in mass-production style schooling, rather than nurturing individual learning. JMHO. :)
 
Hi there :)

seattlegal said:
The more you try to describe a general blanket formula for this to apply blanket-fashion to all, the further away you get from it. This would likely result in mass-production style schooling, rather than nurturing individual learning. JMHO. :)

I tend to agree with what you are getting at but the fact is mass-production education is exactly what state education is anyway. Perhaps a good way round the problem would be for each faith to be represented by a teacher of that faith and to rotate them round the schools. You would think that the different faiths would be supportive of the idea and do what they could to make it happen, but minority faiths might struggle for fair representation. Also it might be a bit of an organisational nightmare.

Regards

TE
 
Hi Silverbackman and curious Mike,


I cant pretend to speak for what happens in the US education system. But I do know that Church attendance has undergone a dramatic rise in recent years so that does not really fit with what you are saying. Also what you refer to as liberalism in the US would more than likely be viewed in Europe as the center ground. Political correctness can get a bit stupid at times but it also has the great benefit of seeing all peoples of equal worth, at least in principle. I see it as an invaluable tool for harmony in a secular society.


Regards

TE
 
Hi :)



dauer said:
I would be very quick to send my child (may s/he not come for many years) to a Jewish day school. There's just a lot to Judaism and it can't all be taught after school. I don't think a liberal school teaches a child that's all there is, but it does give him or her the opportunity to go much more deeply into her faith in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

I don't think it matters if a teacher has strong religious convictions, unless they're fundamentalist. Then it matters greatly and poses a huge problem.

Dauer

Dont you think that if all kids attended the same schools it would go a long way to creating a more tolerant society?
 
Curios Mike said:
This issue is a hard one.... Hear in the states Christianity is becoming more and more outcasted and hated. Persicution is still minor in the sense that we are not jailed or killed.... but rights are being taken away... to an extent.

May I ask in what ways are Christians in the US becoming outcasts, persecuted and hated?


Tao_Equus said:
I tend to agree with what you are getting at but the fact is mass-production education is exactly what state education is anyway. Perhaps a good way round the problem would be for each faith to be represented by a teacher of that faith and to rotate them round the schools. You would think that the different faiths would be supportive of the idea and do what they could to make it happen, but minority faiths might struggle for fair representation. Also it might be a bit of an organisational nightmare.

Not only an organizational nightmare, but also, I think, it would be no less biased; simply biased in a different way. People are not created equally, not in the sense of charisma and speaking ability and all those other things that might incline a school-age person to agree with a particular teacher's ideas.

I would think that one would need to find an unbiased person to teach the course. Whether they have strong personal beliefs or not, they don't have make any evidence of that to the class. And maybe emphasize not, 'this is what Christianity is, this is what Judaism is, etc.' (of course, this should be included, but not emphasized) and give all the 'pro-arguments' for all of those, but rather, to show why religion is important, in all of its forms, in order to promote tolerance, and in order to promote understanding, show why people believe and do the things that they do.

-Sarah
 
Hello Sarah :)


sara[h]ng said:
Not only an organizational nightmare, but also, I think, it would be no less biased; simply biased in a different way. People are not created equally, not in the sense of charisma and speaking ability and all those other things that might incline a school-age person to agree with a particular teacher's ideas.

I would think that one would need to find an unbiased person to teach the course. Whether they have strong personal beliefs or not, they don't have make any evidence of that to the class. And maybe emphasize not, 'this is what Christianity is, this is what Judaism is, etc.' (of course, this should be included, but not emphasized) and give all the 'pro-arguments' for all of those, but rather, to show why religion is important, in all of its forms, in order to promote tolerance, and in order to promote understanding, show why people believe and do the things that they do.

-Sarah

You are of course absolutely correct, charisma has extraordinary influence on children and a particularly fine orator would have the 'edge'. Also I agree with you that the ideal candidate needs to be able to present a balanced teaching that explores the common ground as stridently as the differences, and most importantly fosters tolerance and understanding.

Unlike in the US church attendance in this country is in what some people describe as 'terminal' decline. While I myself came to my own beliefs through quite a close look at the sciences not all people share that interest. In many ways there is a spirtual void developing and its getting replaced by capatalist self-interest.

I might not like to be a part of any of the mainstream faiths but I do feel that many children would greatly benefit from having a more developed spirituality. Its how to encourage them to that end without 'selling' them a religeon thats hard to figure. But they are certainly not going to find it from 1 hour a week from a 'fear thy God' presbyterian.

Its a difficult issue.


Regards and thx for your thoughts

TE
 
Tao_Equus said:
Hi Silverbackman and curious Mike,


I cant pretend to speak for what happens in the US education system. But I do know that Church attendance has undergone a dramatic rise in recent years so that does not really fit with what you are saying. Also what you refer to as liberalism in the US would more than likely be viewed in Europe as the center ground. Political correctness can get a bit stupid at times but it also has the great benefit of seeing all peoples of equal worth, at least in principle. I see it as an invaluable tool for harmony in a secular society.


Regards

TE
Think about it:
no RE in USA---> church attendance goes up
RE in the UK--->church attendance goes down​
"He who would hold it in his grasp loses it..." ;)
 
seattlegal said:
Think about it:
no RE in USA---> church attendance goes up
RE in the UK--->church attendance goes down​
"He who would hold it in his grasp loses it..." ;)

Lol, u may well have something there :)
 
Tao,

I don't think it's as much of a factor as you say it is. If the school teaches tolerance and has activities with people outside of the school, then there's no harm done. You come from a particular area where intolerance is related to private religious schooling. The only private religious schooling I've ever come into contact with raises sensitive, caring human beings who are in fact tolerant, but are also much more deeply educated about their tradition than could ever possibly be done after school. We're talking Hebrew literacy, versed in gemara and tanach, and more than comfortable with the liturgy. It's impossible to do all that any other way. Not only that, but they're free thinkers. The school was preparing the kids for college, and instead of making them memorize vast amounts of information, it was teaching them to work with it and come to their own conclusions. That's something that's hard to find in public school.

Dauer
 
I might not like to be a part of any of the mainstream faiths but I do feel that many children would greatly benefit from having a more developed spirituality. Its how to encourage them to that end without 'selling' them a religeon thats hard to figure. But they are certainly not going to find it from 1 hour a week from a 'fear thy God' presbyterian.
Maybe they will, maybe it is just what they need!

I tell my kids that their algebra teacher whom they dislike as she is strict and hard, and authoratarian is good for them. That in their life they will run into all sorts of people that they need to deal with, work with, and complete tasks with. That school not only teaches them a foundation of educational material but also they will gain social skills, in the classroom, on the playground, at lunch and on the way to and from school...

Could be one year of one hour a week fire and brimstone will be beneficial for their understanding of differing religious belief systems. Could be learning to conform to her methods, answering the questions in the required way to get grades will payoff buckets later. Could be your child and you are dealing with this teacher for a reason...works in mysterious ways you know!

namaste,
 
Hi, TE,

One account I can relate as regards this question from my own personal experience (way back when I was in High School!) although not really a religious education question would be the time my English Class I was given an assignment to write an essay on any social and or political issue. I chose to write an article on the detrimental effects of organized religion on society. When I handed in my paper, my english teacher saw the title, and said very drily to me, "You do know my husband is a preacher, don't you?" in a way that implied that I had written the paper to annoy her. She gave me a very low passing grade on the paper, which was not in keeping with the usually high marks I recieved from her before this incident. Anyway, the point in all this is that when you are dealing with education and matters of religion it is very hard for people to remain unbiased and fair if they have a strong conviction regarding their faith. I'm really not sure if public school is the proper forum for Religious Education.

regards,
N/M (a hopeless "liberal socialist swine"):D
 
dauer said:
Tao,

I don't think it's as much of a factor as you say it is. If the school teaches tolerance and has activities with people outside of the school, then there's no harm done. You come from a particular area where intolerance is related to private religious schooling. The only private religious schooling I've ever come into contact with raises sensitive, caring human beings who are in fact tolerant, but are also much more deeply educated about their tradition than could ever possibly be done after school. We're talking Hebrew literacy, versed in gemara and tanach, and more than comfortable with the liturgy. It's impossible to do all that any other way. Not only that, but they're free thinkers. The school was preparing the kids for college, and instead of making them memorize vast amounts of information, it was teaching them to work with it and come to their own conclusions. That's something that's hard to find in public school.

Dauer

All the schools I have referred to are State funded schools. Here the state funds mainstream non-denomenational schools, (all protestants and people from any other faith can attend these), Catholics schools and there are now a handful of Muslim schools. Private schools here are mostly, but not exclusively, non-denomenational and are more linked to social class/wealth than faith.

I do appreciate that Jewish education is an integral part of being Jewish and I have never once considered this way wrong. This is because, ( outside of Israel which is in many ways is an entrenched fortress), I have never come across Jewish extremeists and because the Jewish 'family unit' and community is so loving and supportive of its children. That said I see little evidence of integration outside of the community, that may well be because there are so few Jews in my city however. And no matter how well intentioned or even beneficial to the children the fact remains that it is still something the child has no say in. Yet the level of academic standards acheived by Jewish peoples is very high, and in my experience of meeting and befriending them I have indeed found them to be extremely rational free thinkers. Perhaps its time you shared your secrets with the rest of us:p


Regards

TE
 
wil said:
Maybe they will, maybe it is just what they need!

I tell my kids that their algebra teacher whom they dislike as she is strict and hard, and authoratarian is good for them. That in their life they will run into all sorts of people that they need to deal with, work with, and complete tasks with. That school not only teaches them a foundation of educational material but also they will gain social skills, in the classroom, on the playground, at lunch and on the way to and from school...

Could be one year of one hour a week fire and brimstone will be beneficial for their understanding of differing religious belief systems. Could be learning to conform to her methods, answering the questions in the required way to get grades will payoff buckets later. Could be your child and you are dealing with this teacher for a reason...works in mysterious ways you know!

namaste,


Spot on again Will and your advice is very similar to how I advised my son to approach it. (However I still feel its wrong for her to take such a class).


Regards

TE
 
Hi Nameless,

I too am a bit lost on what to think. However much I dislike the idea of religeons being taught I see in my own community a moral/ ethical decline in the children that really depresses me. Maybe SeattleGal is correct and that 1hr a week is part of the problem. I really dont know.

Regards

TE
 
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