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Religion in Schools Essay

The 21st century is the time of intense development of science, travel and education. Hence we find ourselves in the world of globalization in which we are forced to acknowledge the parallels and similarities in the cultural development of the humanity, while respecting the diversity of different cultural traditions.

Religion has always been the significant part of culture in every nation, religious wars were not rare neither in the past, and it is a pity but nor they are presently. The future of our nation depends on the “quality” of our children: their physical, intellectual and spiritual health. Parents and guardians are entrusted with the duty and the privilege of nurturing and developing of each of these elements in their son or daughter. If they manage to consult these responsibilities well enough in some period of time healthy, intelligent and highly moral adults will emerge. As a matter of fact it is easy to formulate, but not so easy to manage to do. Parents are in need of help and guidance from different sources along the way.

We may say that religion is as old as the human creature itself, but there are some very good reasons to study it: 1) we are Homini religiosi, thus we have to study human beings as we study them as political creatures or as beings possessed of aesthetic sensibility. 2) We often have narrow view of religion; we naturally tend to identify it with experience in the framework of our own tradition, so we should study religion to overcome our ignorance. 3) The third reason for studying religion is to understand better our own history and culture as well as the others. 4) Religion, as well as philosophy, gives answers on the ultimate questions of life and death, so it may help us to formulate our own philosophy of life. 5) If we want us and our children to maintain peace and establish a stable world order among the nations, we should realize the spiritual needs of people of foreign religions, be aware of their way of life and beliefs[1].

Most teachers suppose that the approach to religion in public schools must be academic and not devotional. Teaching of religion should be presented as information and solely private speech by students can be allowed on the reason that there are significant differences between some religions though we may meet similarities between them as well. The most essential condition in successful religious classes must be no discrimination against private religious expression or a school sponsorship of a message that is religious in nature. It is evident that religious differences imply various responses when questioned of. One person may state that all religions are the same and true, another would think that all religions are false and basically misguided, there may be a person who believes that only one religion is true and all the rest are false. The task of the teacher in such cases is to show pupils how they can express their opinions in a tolerant and respectful to opponents form, to encourage children to speak up and such attitude may be achieved only if there would be a right atmosphere in class, where everyone is listened to and each of the students feels safe of expressing his or her thoughts[2]. Besides, this certain atmosphere depends on the experience and morality of the teacher, so here we face an urgent need in qualified employees. The diversity of communities, traditions, beliefs and visions of a Divine Being are nothing else but opportunities for mutual discovery, understanding and transformation. Of course students should have a chance of expressing their attitude to religion in the form of homework, artwork or written or oral assignments. All the activities taken in the classes of religion should be absolutely free of any kind of religious discrimination; they should be based on mutual respect and gratitude. Home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance. Fair and balanced study about religion on the secondary school level includes critical thinking about historical events involving religious traditions. Teachers should remember that religious beliefs have been at the heart of some of the best and some of the worst developments in the history of the world.

Nowadays students are confronted by the fact that they are part of a global community and that every civilization and culture has a set of ethical beliefs rooted in religious indigenous to those cultures. It is upon us whether our children obtain all necessary information about religious backgrounds as well as the history of different religions in our country and in foreign ones and form their own adequate views on past and present events in the world history.



[1] Carotta, Michael. 1999. “Teaching for Spiritual Growth: Doors to the Heart and Soul of Young People.” Spalding University

[2] Alexandr, Hanan. 1999. “The Spiritual Education of Generation X.” pp. 253-255.

 

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