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  #26    
Old August 6th, 2012 (09:49 PM).
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World Religions as a course should be mandatory. Honestly, just throw it into every elementary school's social studies curriculum and we're golden. Field trips to visit places of worship to learn more about it from the religious leaders, lessons in class from an impartial textbook, and activities based on traditions from the religion. Everyone learns more about the history and customs of a religion, kids have a bit of opportunity to explore their faith and see if they find something that matches their belief system, and they learn to be tolerant of other faiths because they know exactly what those other faiths entail.

Plus, religions are really interesting when you get into the whats and whys of them! It's not even like this kind of thing would affect anyone's standing religion. Unless your kid is so dumb/closed-minded that he or she can't take in information about other religions without feeling the need to convert to them or something, all they'll be doing is learning. And that's not a bad thing.

Religious education that focuses only on faith and instilling it should be kept to religious schools (which should still have the above curriculum regardless of denomination, imo).
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:45 AM).
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If religion is going to be taught at schools, then many religions should be taught, and not just one. I came from England, so religion was a mandatory subject, and we only studied Christianity. I don't find that fair, because I would've liked to learn about Buddhism or something else as well ._.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (03:26 AM).
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Studies of Religion was a course offered as a Year 11/12 elective at my high school, and I chose it because I thought it seemed incredibly interesting. Unfortunately, the way the schedule worked out, I couldn't do it and had to pick something else. But the point is, I was interested in it and I chose it. It wasn't forced upon me.

I think the only subjects that should be compulsory at school are the skills that will help everybody through life: English, Mathematics and some sort of overall Wellbeing course that covers things like health and kindness toward others. Every other subject should be optional, and I do include Science in this. Beyond the very basic, every student should be able to customise their educational experience based on what they feel will be of benefit to them specifically.

So no, regardless of how many religions are studied or how un-biased it is, religion should absolutely not be compulsory in schools. Very few things should.
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  #29    
Old August 7th, 2012 (12:38 PM). Edited August 7th, 2012 by droomph.
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Well I agree, SR, that you should not have many mandatory classes in school.

However, what I don't agree with, is that you don't think Religious Education should be one of the few mandatory ones.

Maybe it's because of the "Religious" in the class name, but if you think about it, what it is, is basically teaching tolerance. And maybe in Australia your core principles are focused on only allowing one group of people to dominate (hey, I don't live there okay) but I'm positive that at least the US has a policy in the Constitution that explicitly gives religious freedom and tolerance as one of its core values of America. So if it's in the core values, it should be in the core cirriculum as well. After all, weren't we the most open country in the world at one point? We should strive to maintain that position, and since the world is opening up, it's not just the US now - it's the whole world that should teach tolerance in school.

Edit; also

California state standards

  • 6th grade - Ten Commandments; Judaism
  • 6th grade - Eightfold Path; Buddhism
  • 6th grade - Family values; Confucianism, Taoism
  • 7th grade - Nature and Formation of Japan; Shintoism
  • 7th grade - Five Pillars of Islam; Islam
  • 7th grade - the Hajj; Islam
  • 7th grade - Story of The Disciple Mohammed and his followers; Islam
  • 8th grade - Puritanism and England; American Colonies, 17th Century America
  • 8th grade - Immigration's numbers; Modern-Day America
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:07 PM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
Edit; also

California state standards

  • 6th grade - Ten Commandments; Judaism
  • 6th grade - Eightfold Path; Buddhism
  • 6th grade - Family values; Confucianism, Taoism
  • 7th grade - Nature and Formation of Japan; Shintoism
  • 7th grade - Five Pillars of Islam; Islam
  • 7th grade - the Hajj; Islam
  • 7th grade - Story of The Disciple Mohammed and his followers; Islam
  • 8th grade - Puritanism and England; American Colonies, 17th Century America
  • 8th grade - Immigration's numbers; Modern-Day America

Amazing! Exactly what I am trying to get at and like I was taught in London. I have forgotten some specifics of certain religions but I do know their beliefs and respect them for that. It makes one more tolerant and understanding.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:22 PM).
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I would be personally offended if any public school mandated religious studies. Only if my child was interested in the subject would I allow it, and only then if the course material covered many religions rather than one or two only.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:26 PM).
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Omg. Califiornia have got the right idea there. What droomph just outlined is what I feel is the perfect way to teach religious material - many different religions over a long time.

Quote originally posted by Jay_37040:
I would be personally offended if any public school mandated religious studies. Only if my child was interested in the subject would I allow it, and only then if the course material covered many religions rather than one or two only.
Out of interest, would you be offended if the school mandated another subject such as history which your child wasn't interested in? Or would the issue lie only with religious studies?
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:29 PM).
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I Don't mind tbh, even though i'm not interested in most religions
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:33 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Lightning:
World Religions as a course should be mandatory. Honestly, just throw it into every elementary school's social studies curriculum and we're golden. Field trips to visit places of worship to learn more about it from the religious leaders, lessons in class from an impartial textbook, and activities based on traditions from the religion. Everyone learns more about the history and customs of a religion, kids have a bit of opportunity to explore their faith and see if they find something that matches their belief system, and they learn to be tolerant of other faiths because they know exactly what those other faiths entail.

Plus, religions are really interesting when you get into the whats and whys of them! It's not even like this kind of thing would affect anyone's standing religion. Unless your kid is so dumb/closed-minded that he or she can't take in information about other religions without feeling the need to convert to them or something, all they'll be doing is learning. And that's not a bad thing.

Religious education that focuses only on faith and instilling it should be kept to religious schools (which should still have the above curriculum regardless of denomination, imo).
As someone who went to a Catholic high school, I can't speak for the schools for younger children but my school was actually pretty respectful of the fact that people chose the school often due to academic opportunities and not because they shared the faith. So the classes for religion (that were required, one every year) were still focused on Catholicism but were knowledge-based and not faith-based. The history of the bible, how people practice the faith, etc, nothing pushing people to actually become Catholic.

I have to agree with RL on the religious studies, and I actually find it a bit strange that both your child has to be interested in it and it has to cover 3+ religions for you to accept it, Jay. What if your child is in high school and has decided he wants to study one religion in particular so he takes a course in just that religion? Would you not allow him to? I guess I was raised with pretty much 100% freedom when it comes to my parents dictating what courses I would take so I just can't understand if you have an intelligent kid, telling him he couldn't take a course he wanted to take, haha.

I wouldn't be against having a Philosophy of Religion course instead though. I've taken both Theology and Philosophy of Religion, and they're very different things. Theology is from the inside; you imagine how people worship as a believer, and not from the outside. Philosophy is from different philosophers, some within religion and some outside it, applying logic and philosophical arguments to different parts of religion.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (01:55 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Razor Leaf:
Out of interest, would you be offended if the school mandated another subject such as history which your child wasn't interested in? Or would the issue lie only with religious studies?
Schools currently mandate courses such as language studies (English and French), mathematics, science, athletics, history, sex education (grade 5 and above), and social studies, so no, I would not be offended if another secular topic was mandated (i.e. shop class). My issue is with organized religion alone.

I envision this scenario: my child would be a part of a non-traditional household, given that his or her parents would be a gay couple. In the course of learning about certain religions, my child would most likely learn of most religions' condemnation of homosexuals. He or she then could then think that all people of those religions hate gay people and my child could become frightened that people might harm myself or my boyfriend (or husband should we be married).

This is, of course, a hypothetical situation in my part, but this is sort of happening right now here in Ontario, and in the U.S., where children of gay couples are being told in school, by teachers and staff, that being gay is wrong.

So no, I would most certainly be offended if anyone were to mandate religious studies as part of my child's education. I would rather my child make up his or her mind whether it is a subject they wish to study, and only after I'm certain they are able to mentally comprehend that belief is not reflective of reality. Hence I think the course should only be offered as an optional class in high school and in post secondary schools (colleges and universities).

Religion belongs in the home and in church. Not in the classroom.
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  #36    
Old August 7th, 2012 (02:03 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Jay_37040:

I envision this scenario: my child would be a part of a non-traditional household, given that his or her parents would be a gay couple. In the course of learning about certain religions, my child would most likely learn of most religions' condemnation of homosexuals. He or she then could then think that all people of those religions hate gay people and my child could become frightened that people might harm myself or my boyfriend (or husband should we be married).
o_o;; Sorry but that's your job to teach your child otherwise. They're much more likely to think that people hate gay people from the TV or other news outlets than they are in a classroom. Believe it or not but gays aren't of that much importance in the study of religion - and most teachers would actively avoid such a controversial topic anyway.

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Religion belongs in the home and in church. Not in the classroom.
Cooking belongs in a restaurant, not in a classroom. History belongs in the past, not in the classroom, etc.

Again, it's education not religious preaching. It is not an organised religion teaching it, in fact I know two Religious Education teachers personally and both of them are Atheist.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (02:09 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Jay_37040:


Schools currently mandate courses such as language studies (English and French), mathematics, science, athletics, history, sex education (grade 5 and above), and social studies, so no, I would not be offended if another secular topic was mandated (i.e. shop class). My issue is with organized religion alone.

I envision this scenario: my child would be a part of a non-traditional household, given that his or her parents would be a gay couple. In the course of learning about certain religions, my child would most likely learn of most religions' condemnation of homosexuals. He or she then could then think that all people of those religions hate gay people and my child could become frightened that people might harm myself or my boyfriend (or husband should we be married).

This is, of course, a hypothetical situation in my part, but this is sort of happening right now here in Ontario, and in the U.S., where children of gay couples are being told in school, by teachers and staff, that being gay is wrong.

So no, I would most certainly be offended if anyone were to mandate religious studies as part of my child's education. I would rather my child make up his or her mind whether it is a subject they wish to study, and only after I'm certain they are able to mentally comprehend that belief is not reflective of reality. Hence I think the course should only be offered as an optional class in high school and in post secondary schools (colleges and universities).

Religion belongs in the home and in church. Not in the classroom.
However, people that have a working knowledge of the basics of religion are far better off than people who live in ignorance of it. For example, I know many people (some on PC even) that make claims that show they have no knowledge of how Catholicism actually works. Although I'm agnostic, I have enough background in Catholicism that I end up having to set them straight, because they weren't ever taught about religion and what it really says in doctrine.

In addition, I have to say that in all my education I haven't once had a teacher even mention gay people to a class. Or abortion for that matter, and all of these were long, in-depth Catholic-specific classes (not the kind that are being spoken about here, but the kind that gets deeply into theology so would be much more likely to bring up that issue). Think of it this way. The students would probably be studying at least Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and smaller religions such as Wicca. In only a year or two. In reality, when you look at religion from an overhead perspective and start from the basics, being against gay marriage is just a footnote in the overarching theology of Christians. Instead of that, I'm sure the class would instead focus on the New Testament, the early history of the believers when they were persecuted, some basic doctrinal things (how people become saints, where people go when they die, consubstantiation, etc), and then on to the next religion.

I also agree that it shouldn't be taught until later though, at the very earliest the beginning of middle school but preferably 7th-8th grade and above. Before that too many children are just too impressionable and a lot still believe that everything a teacher says is right just by the nature of them being a teacher.
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  #38    
Old August 7th, 2012 (02:20 PM). Edited August 7th, 2012 by Dakotah.
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Quote originally posted by SwiftSign:
o_o;; Sorry but that's your job to teach your child otherwise. They're much more likely to think that people hate gay people from the TV or other news outlets than they are in a classroom. Believe it or not but gays aren't of that much importance in the study of religion - and most teachers would actively avoid such a controversial topic anyway.


Have you SEEN some of the shows on TV lately? They're the most gay inclusive/friendly shows out there! So much so, all we hear about are religious groups whining and complaining that there are too many shows portraying gays in a positive way!

Quote originally posted by SwiftSign:
Again, it's education not religious preaching. It is not an organised religion teaching it, in fact I know two Religious Education teachers personally and both of them are Atheist.
Again, I want my child to determine for him or herself when they are ready to tackle that subject. I am an Atheist myself, and I have some very strong feelings about organized religion. I'll just leave it at that.

Quote originally posted by Toujours:
However, people that have a working knowledge of the basics of religion are far better off than people who live in ignorance of it. For example, I know many people (some on PC even) that make claims that show they have no knowledge of how Catholicism actually works. Although I'm agnostic, I have enough background in Catholicism that I end up having to set them straight, because they weren't ever taught about religion and what it really says in doctrine.
I'm not arguing that, though. I'm arguing that when it comes to religion, as it deals with faith and belief, it should be a subject offered to those who have an interest in it and not forced on them. It should be an elective course, not a mandatory one.

Quote originally posted by Toujours:
I also agree that it shouldn't be taught until later though, at the very earliest the beginning of middle school but preferably 7th-8th grade and above. Before that too many children are just too impressionable and a lot still believe that everything a teacher says is right just by the nature of them being a teacher.
Yes, after a child becomes a teenager or young adult. A child of 6 or 7 barely maintains knowledge of the math they learn in school, except when it comes to determining how much candy they have. Then they become like IRS auditors, strict and unforgiving.
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  #39    
Old August 7th, 2012 (03:30 PM). Edited August 7th, 2012 by droomph.
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Alright Jay I was taught Greek Gods last year. Was I particularly happy to learn about a fake religion? No. But I got over it, and I'm still a Christian, not some Olympia-worshipping freak. It's about learning their values, not worshipping it. I learned about hybris and Niobe and how that caused her to fall from glory, how you should love others, like in Narcissus, and how Zeus finds man disgusting and will destroy them one day.

So by the same note I think teaching different religions isn't going to affect any child in any way. The important word here is "teach". If it is "preached", like at a sermon, then obviously the child will become very influenced. But we're not preachy preaching, we're teachy teaching. We must make that distinction first.

And jsyk being gay is okay in 99% of religions, including Christianity. So yeah it's not something you should care about. And as Toujours said lots and lots of religions are skimmed over and there are never any debates other than Q&A time. Nonetheless it accomplishes what it was set out to do, which is to promote tolerance.

Though I also agree that it shouldn't be taught until middle school. Little children aren't going to have to worry about religion and the world issues yet - that's why they're so innocent, and we should hold on to their unbiased opinions until they start forming their own and start thinking for themselves, at around adolescence. We should provide them with critical information of the world in an unbiased way at this point so they don't grow up to be racist.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (04:12 PM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
Alright Jay I was taught Greek Gods last year. Was I particularly happy to learn about a fake religion? No. But I got over it, and I'm still a Christian, not some Olympia-worshipping freak. It's about learning their values, not worshipping it. I learned about hybris and Niobe and how that caused her to fall from glory, how you should love others, like in Narcissus, and how Zeus finds man disgusting and will destroy them one day.
I just bolded the part in your statement that's concerning. By what basis do you determine which religion is a "fake" one? I guarantee you, at the time, it was just as real and just as widely practised as Christianity is today. Would you like to take a shot also at the Norwegians too for having dared worshipped Odin and Thor and the other Norse gods? What about Muslims today, are they practising a "fake" religion also?

While you've demonstrated you learned much during your religious studies, by your comments, you've also demonstrated that you hold other religions in contempt, and are more then willing to express that contempt.

Which leads me to ask, just what is it that you were learning when you took religious studies? It certainly wasn't tolerance.

This is why I would not want my child to attend such a class. Too many people willing to condemn others for practising the wrong religion, or for not practising any religion at all.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (04:35 PM).
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I think no because there would be alot of controversy between parents as well as teachers of a different religion. For example, if they taught Christian religion at a public school, it is possible Jewish or those who belong to no religion there that could be offended. I would love that because I am Catholic, but there would be too much controversy.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (08:42 PM). Edited August 7th, 2012 by droomph.
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Quote originally posted by Jay_37040:


I just bolded the part in your statement that's concerning. By what basis do you determine which religion is a "fake" one? I guarantee you, at the time, it was just as real and just as widely practised as Christianity is today. Would you like to take a shot also at the Norwegians too for having dared worshipped Odin and Thor and the other Norse gods? What about Muslims today, are they practising a "fake" religion also?

While you've demonstrated you learned much during your religious studies, by your comments, you've also demonstrated that you hold other religions in contempt, and are more then willing to express that contempt.

Which leads me to ask, just what is it that you were learning when you took religious studies? It certainly wasn't tolerance.

This is why I would not want my child to attend such a class. Too many people willing to condemn others for practising the wrong religion, or for not practising any religion at all.
It's not as much as I hate them than what I think about it. Just because I think it's fake doesn't mean I have much prejudice against them. Now, if I had said "dumb religion" then that would have some problems to it.

I think Islam is fake and wouldn't be Muslim myself, but I don't think that they are teaching a religion that is promoting violence and thus will be more mellow and less suspicious around them. That is the only point of these Religious classes - to teach tolerance.


Quote originally posted by WillPowerPedro:
I think no because there would be alot of controversy between parents as well as teachers of a different religion. For example, if they taught Christian religion at a public school, it is possible Jewish or those who belong to no religion there that could be offended. I would love that because I am Catholic, but there would be too much controversy.
I think you're misunderstanding something - this teaches all religions, not just one. And they don't preach, they teach.
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Old August 7th, 2012 (10:14 PM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
It's not as much as I hate them than what I think about it. Just because I think it's fake doesn't mean I have much prejudice against them. Now, if I had said "dumb religion" then that would have some problems to it.

I think Islam is fake and wouldn't be Muslim myself, but I don't think that they are teaching a religion that is promoting violence and thus will be more mellow and less suspicious around them. That is the only point of these Religious classes - to teach tolerance.
Using fake there makes it seem like you don't think that there are actually people who follow that religion and that the religion's philosophy has never existed, which is very, very incorrect, as the religion's philosophy has to exist in order for anyone to be a follower of that religion. A much better, less malicious word to use to describe how you feel about those is to say that they are incorrect.

Anyway, back on the topic, I do think educating individuals about all the major religions as well as educating them about the prevalent philosophies of the non-religious should be compulsory, as this is a subject where even if you're cheating your way through the class, you may glean just enough from the notes to actually have a decent understanding of where someone of another religion is coming from.
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Old August 8th, 2012 (02:30 AM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
It's not as much as I hate them than what I think about it. Just because I think it's fake doesn't mean I have much prejudice against them. Now, if I had said "dumb religion" then that would have some problems to it.
Calling a religion fake IS being prejudicial.

I do not believe in a God, am an Atheist, but I would not call any religion a fake one. I simply do not believe in a deity of any kind. Christianity is a genuine religion. Islam is a genuine religion. Wicca is a genuine religion. None of them are fake. They are all real, they all exist, and they are all practiced by many. By calling them fake you insult the followers of those religions.

A better way to describe your feelings about other religions is to say that you do not agree with them, which is accurate and non-prejudicial.

As I said, you learned much about the particulars of certain religions, but what you didn't learn obviously was respect for them.

This is a danger when dealing with religion and is precisely why it should not be made mandatory in schools. Too many people unwilling to show respect for others whose beliefs differ from their own.
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Old August 8th, 2012 (07:18 AM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
I think you're misunderstanding something - this teaches all religions, not just one. And they don't preach, they teach.
But still, don't think some people would be offended? It would be unlikely, but who knows how someone could react to their children learning a completely different religion. I mean, what if their kid got into the religion? Once again, super unlikely, but possible.

And at my school, we learned religions and how they work, we learned Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
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Old August 8th, 2012 (07:38 AM).
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Quote originally posted by droomph:
Maybe it's because of the "Religious" in the class name, but if you think about it, what it is, is basically teaching tolerance. And maybe in Australia your core principles are focused on only allowing one group of people to dominate (hey, I don't live there okay) but I'm positive that at least the US has a policy in the Constitution that explicitly gives religious freedom and tolerance as one of its core values of America. So if it's in the core values, it should be in the core cirriculum as well. After all, weren't we the most open country in the world at one point? We should strive to maintain that position, and since the world is opening up, it's not just the US now - it's the whole world that should teach tolerance in school.
I believe that inherent within the 'freedom of religion' clause is 'freedom from religion'. If people don't want to learn about religions they shouldn't be forced to as part of a core curriculum. I don't support that. Nor do I support the hipocrisy of a nation claiming to promote such 'freedom' enforcing its core values - no matter what they may be - on its student populace.

Your point about teaching tolerance is well-received, though. Even then, I don't support a compulsory course in something that isn't necessary for survival in the world, but supposing I did, there are far better ways of teaching tolerance than through learning about religion. Why not a course on different cultures in general? It could absolutely include religion, but it's quite short-sighted to focus on exclusively religion when there are so many other aspects of different cultures that students could be learning to 'tolerate'.

Quote originally posted by droomph:
Was I particularly happy to learn about a fake religion? No. But I got over it, and I'm still a Christian, not some Olympia-worshipping freak.
Quote originally posted by droomph:
Just because I think it's fake doesn't mean I have much prejudice against them. Now, if I had said "dumb religion" then that would have some problems to it.
For somebody so gung-ho on the idea of teaching religious tolerance, you certainly aren't showing a lot of it yourself. I'm not even religious and I'm beyond offended on behalf of the 'Olympia-worshipping freaks'.

Lets do a hypothetical: say a Wiccan posted in this thread and said, "I was taught about Christianity last year. Was I particularly happy to learn about a fake religion? No. But I got over it, and I'm still a Wiccan, not some Jesus-worshipping freak."

How would that make you feel?
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  #47    
Old August 8th, 2012 (07:56 AM). Edited August 8th, 2012 by droomph.
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I would be fine with it. It's their view of the world, after all.

Now if they started to reject them and started to kill them just because they were Christian and all that good stuff, I would definitely have a problem with that. But I don't, and won't, have a say on someone's opinions. That is what I'm trying to get at - that religious education won't make you consider any religion any more or less acceptable to you, but it will make you know that they're not all going to blow up planes and stuff.

Quote originally posted by Jay_37040:


Calling a religion fake IS being prejudicial.

I do not believe in a God, am an Atheist, but I would not call any religion a fake one. I simply do not believe in a deity of any kind. Christianity is a genuine religion. Islam is a genuine religion. Wicca is a genuine religion. None of them are fake. They are all real, they all exist, and they are all practiced by many. By calling them fake you insult the followers of those religions.

A better way to describe your feelings about other religions is to say that you do not agree with them, which is accurate and non-prejudicial.

As I said, you learned much about the particulars of certain religions, but what you didn't learn obviously was respect for them.

This is a danger when dealing with religion and is precisely why it should not be made mandatory in schools. Too many people unwilling to show respect for others whose beliefs differ from their own.
I'm not preventing them from being Muslims, or Wiccans, or whatever, right? I may disagree vehemently of what you say, but I will forever defend your right to say it. Now, you should be able to disagree vehemently with what I say, but you should allow me to say whatever I feel is the case. And I say that it is the case because that is my truth, and may not be yours. All other religions are fake to me, that is a fact. I have facts that prove it to me, and may not be true to you. However, me being prejudicial to them is not a fact. I will look down on you, but not disallow you from anything I, or any law-abiding individual, do. It's the same as gay marriage, abortion, and all those other issues involving personal opinions. That is the basis of tolerance. Tolerance means allowing people to have their own opinions, not accepting all opinions. That is what I have learned during my musings at the Christian religion.
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  #48    
Old August 8th, 2012 (08:03 AM).
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I feel like you all are being a little hard on droomph here. Basically he said something that was mistook as something else. He's clarified that he doesn't mean the religions don't exist, just that he doesn't agree with them (and thus in his opinion the gods are fake), and yet you all are jumping all over him for it.

Pedro, what's wrong with a child wanting to be a religion different from their parents? Why is that a bad thing and something we should be afraid of?
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  #49    
Old August 8th, 2012 (08:17 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Toujours:
Pedro, what's wrong with a child wanting to be a religion different from their parents? Why is that a bad thing and something we should be afraid of?
Well. Like what I mean is... It is hard to explain. Like what if a parent kept their kid away from religion because of controversial reasons and their kids start to practice that religion? I am not really sure how to explain. What is your opinion on the matter?
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Old August 8th, 2012 (08:19 AM).
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Quote originally posted by WillPowerPedro:
Well. Like what I mean is... It is hard to explain. Like what if a parent kept their kid away from religion because of controversial reasons and their kids start to practice that religion? I am not really sure how to explain. What is your opinion on the matter?
What type of controversial reason do you mean? I do understand your point of view. Like some Christian parents dreading their kids being atheists and vice versa.
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