Here’s a really fascinating 2.5 minute video showinv the spread of world religions starting in 5,000 BC. It’s not perfect, but given the complexity of the topic, it’s well-done.
I guarantee it would shock a lot of American Christians.
In discussions about requiring a course in world religion in public schools there’s often a huge backlash by Conservative Christians … but also, many nonbelievers.
- "Public schools should NOT be teaching religion at all. If I wanted my kid to be indoctrinated, I wouldn't be sending her to public school."
- "Why waste time teaching kids about fairy tales? Teach kids FACTS only. Religion has nothing to do with real life."
- "Maybe as an elective, for those kids who are interested. But do NOT require it."
You may think religions are “fairy tales.” But Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s Brothers stories haven’t contributed to human migration (including the Pilgrims to America), marriage, law, art, music, architecture, philosophy, psychology, medicine and war.
If skeptics really want kids to learn tolerance and/or skepticism, one of the best ways to start is to show them that:
- Many, many beliefs exist, and
- Followers are all equally convinced theirs is "true."
- Christianity is the oldest religion
- The vast majority of the world is Christian
- Buddhism, Hinduism etc are "fringe" beliefs that are dying out
- Christianity is true because it has been around longer and spread faster than any world religion
Yesterday I encountered a guy who believed Buddha copied some things from Jesus, when actually Buddhism predated Christianity by thousands of years.
And we wonder why Americans are isolationist, selfish, and ignorant. Hello.
I’m not talking about “teaching religion,” but teaching ABOUT religion. ONE unit, with a NATIONALLY standardized curriculum.
Such a class would cover the BASICS about the major world religions… how and when they started, basic doctrine, number of adherents, etc.
Of course it would only touch the surface. That is true of many topics. And of course there are opposing views. Again, that is true of many topics.
It would not be necessary to “say what’s wrong about each belief system.” Simply revealing the diversity says a lot.
Another thing: Some atheists get frustrated because people don’t understand what atheism is and isn’t. Well, a class in world religions would also include definitions of words like atheism, agnosticism, humanism, etc.
Why required rather than elective? Because this elective would “preach to the converted.” It’s the kids who wouldn’t choose the class who need the info the most.
Here is Pew’s Annual Religion Quiz.
How did you do? I always get 100% … many atheists do, because statistically, atheists DO know more about religion than religious people do. That’s why many of us are atheists!
Which is why I am surprised so many oppose teaching the topic. (Overall, scores are abysmal).