There are conflicting schools of thought about why religion should be and should not be taught in school. Many parents balk at the idea of their children learning about religion and faith in school. They believe that it is their right as parents to teach the kids what they know about religion. They think that it is their responsibility to introduce the religion they want their kids to follow.
If you live in Gilbert, Arizona, the elementary curriculum is like everywhere else. And contrary to what some parents claim, it is perfectly okay for schools to teach religion. Education experts believe that studying the many religions of the world will open the students’ eyes to different faiths, cultures, traditions, arts, and literature. They will have a bigger view of the world.
Yes, Religion Should Be Taught in School
Religious education can be formative and character-building. Many religious texts—from Christianity, Buddhism, to Islam—talk about forgiveness and love for neighbors. It would be easier to instill good values in the students in the context of studying different verses of the Bible and the Qur’an, as well as the teachings of Buddha.
When kids are taught about only one religion at home, you take away the chance for them to get to know other religions. They need options. They need to understand that they are not required to follow and believe in one religion. They can learn about different religions and choose the one that they can best relate to.
Teaching religion in school also opens up the understanding of students. They are more accepting of their differences. They are not easily offended of others who follow a different religion. They can easily separate their family’s faith and religion from personal matters. Those who were raised to learn about the world’s religions are more tolerant and accepting of people who come from different backgrounds.
Finally, a lack of understanding leads to misconceptions and divisiveness. If taught by the right people in school, religion can bring people together and promote peace and harmony. Letting children learn about it on their own or from the biases of their parents will lead to confusion.
No, religion Shouldn’t Be Taught in School
But then again, there are views that religion shouldn’t be taught in school because the Bible and the Qur’an have verses about violence and punishment. The Bible’s Old Testament has horrific stories. Some may also misconstrue the verses of the Qur’an as condoning violence. Many think that these contrasting values of love, peace, violence, and punishment can be confusing for schools to teach.
Parents who teach their children about certain religions at home may also balk at the idea of schools exposing their students to different religions. Some see this as imposing on the personal belief of the family. Some argue that children are too young to understand different religious faiths. Thus, learning about them in school will confuse them even more.
Religious education can also persecute non-believers and those whose faith is the minority in the classroom. While school may strive to make people more accepting of all religions, students may unintentionally outcast their peers who follow a different path. This is especially true if the teachers know only about the religion they follow.
It is important to talk to your child about the things they are being taught in school. You should also guide their knowledge about the different religions of the world. Understanding these religions will help them become a better person.