I was thinking today about how people blindly fall in with a religious belief without perhaps understanding different perspectives, belief systems and indeed science.

In most cases (I understand that there are exceptions) people find religion in times of need or anguish. This often puts them in a position of vulnerability, and I believe that religion (intentionally or unintentionally) uses this to its own ends. People are not thinking clearly or logically at these times and so immorally religion pounces on the vulnerable.

But it’s more than just that. Many people enter into a covenant with a god or belief system without fully appreciating the two main sides of the argument. For example, personally I was an ill informed atheist until in 2004 I became a Christian. I believe that this was due to it filling a gap in my life, which I won’t go into here.

At that point I threw myself into faith, blindly and totally. I had no time for opposing views and paid no heed to arguments against my beliefs. I spent 2 years in Bible College and another year in a biblical studies course, immersing myself in my faith. Now, as an atheist once more I seek to gain an equal or better understanding of atheism and humanism.

So what’s my point? My point is that some never look that deeply into their faith or into their bible. If they allowed or were allowed to look at all the points of view, how many would really remain? How many Christians for example simply go along with whatever they are told on a Sunday without actually researching their faith and alternatives to it, this starts at a young age and is just another reason to keep faith out of schools.

Views: 160

Comment by Lewal on October 6, 2011 at 8:55am

Gonna be devil's advocate for a second here but what if we taught world religion right from the start? Expose them to ALL religions equally. The idea of course is that they could then choose for themselves rather than being brainwashed into a particular belief system but I was a religious studies major and I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that after such an education these children would likely view the whole idea as tomfoolery. There's a certain "moving on" feeling, a certain peace that comes with it. And that's kind of the point isn't it?

Comment by Arcus on October 6, 2011 at 9:28am

"what if we taught world religion right from the start?"

In my country this was done, though with an emphasis on Lutheranism. Today around 20% of 14 year olds actively choose humanist confirmation over christian, and only around 1/3 of the population believe in God. Far from perfect, but haeding in the right direction..

I think you are absolutely right, the study of religion(s) should be a school subject since it is, unfortunately, an extremely important factor in modern society.  

Comment by Artor on October 6, 2011 at 11:16am

I think that a thorough education in comparative religion would quickly lead to the decline of religion in general. Once you know about more than one, you start to see that their "unique" claims and miracles are the same stories, recycled over & over. It's what happened with me. I distilled the worthwhile bits and left the rest at the curb.

Comment by Looptheloop on October 6, 2011 at 1:24pm

Many are indoctrinated into religion as children.  I would imagine that it's hard to have an objective view on the matter later in life once you've experienced a biased upbringing, not impossible but hard.

Comment by Nathaniel Summers on October 6, 2011 at 3:40pm

Comparative religion is a great thing for everyone to learn. The biggest influence it would have is in helping people understand people of other faiths. They might even learn about Atheism as well. In order to pass the class, they would have to know certain things about the various religious beliefs. This helps to break down barriers and diminishes the likelihood of an individual characterizing someone of a different faith as a true Other.

It will also force them to learn about their own faith outside of the sugar coated pulpits. You would be surprised to find, for instance, just how many protestants do not know the protestant stance on salvation... that is, they don't know how to get to heaven. No joke.

I fully support comparative religion, philosophy and critical thinking being taught as early as 8-13 years old.


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