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Old 03-13-2007, 10:43 AM   #46
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i took it not as wanting to divorce religion from the classroom, but to prevent the teaching of religion divorced from the teaching of history. religion-as-history is quite well and good and alive, and every Western kid should learn about Islam, for example. but where we dig our heels in is when we'd teach a class on Islam itself, and not a class on the history of Islam and Islamic societies.


and now i'm re-thinking this -- i couuld see a great value of a class, perhaps we could call it "World Religions" where the history and thought systems of each of the world's great religions are explored, and perhaps moving into the idea of religion as a thought system. but that might be better left to college.

i think it's understandable the caution that we'd have to use when we talk about "reading" -- teaching? --- the Bible as "literature" -- infallible? inerrant? do we call any other book "the Good Book" or even "The Book" -- but i find great value in learning about religion. it's as good a tool of cultural study as any other i can think of.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:57 AM   #47
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I never knew it is referred to as the Good Book. Never heard anyone here in Germany say that.

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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


A history class will still be a history class without learning exactly how and what a Muslim worships.

Right, I don't think you should mix those things in history classes.

How the different religions worship and all that should be taught in religious classes, and in history they should rather teach how the church influenced the life in the middle ages, what impact it had on society, and also how e.g. the world religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism spread.
I don't know what get taught in other countries, but here history is quite stuffed and tries to cover as much as possible. So to teach how other religions worship isn't really the right place in history if you already have some religious classes in school.

Generally I think it would be very good if there is some courses in religion that doesn't only cover Christian religions, but also other world religions. That would help getting rid of all these prejudices and misconceptions of other religions, and help children to tolerate other religions more.
I don't think it has such an influence so that suddenly a child of age 13 decides to convert.
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:06 PM   #48
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But you're missing the point. A sex ed class would be nothing without learning sex. A history class will still be a history class without learning exactly how and what a Muslim worships.
With all graciousness, I think you're missing mine. Religion plays a huge role in defining or forming worldviews in many cultures, and understanding opposing worldviews is critical to understanding history. Studying the nuances of religions may be better suited to the "World Religions" class Irvine suggested, but ignoring religion's role in historical events is to ignore a huge aspect of said history. (And, to bring the thread back on topic, to ignore the significant influence the Bible has had in culture, art, literature etc.)
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:17 PM   #49
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With all graciousness, I think you're missing mine. Religion plays a huge role in defining or forming worldviews in many cultures, and understanding opposing worldviews is critical to understanding history. Studying the nuances of religions may be better suited to the "World Religions" class Irvine suggested, but ignoring religion's role in historical events is to ignore a huge aspect of said history. (And, to bring the thread back on topic, to ignore the significant influence the Bible has had in culture, art, literature etc.)
Believe me, I understand what you are saying, just that the analogy doesn't work.

Yes religion does impact culture, art, literature, etc...

I took several art history classes in high school and college, and yes we spoke about how certain religions influenced certain periods and pieces of art, but not once did my professor have to say this is a painting of Christ, the son of God.

We could discuss a painting of Christ, even the symbolism of the painting without once going into the religion of it.

You could not do that with a sex ed class.
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:22 PM   #50
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Well, speaking of history as a whole, not just one area such as arts, you can't do so without taking into consideration religion.

I don't think you would understand European history if you tried to ignore the religious background.
That doesn't work.
And that's not only for Europe, but also for the middle east and probably for every other part of the world as well.

And the first settlers left England among others because of their religious beliefs.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:09 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




and now i'm re-thinking this -- i couuld see a great value of a class, perhaps we could call it "World Religions" where the history and thought systems of each of the world's great religions are explored, and perhaps moving into the idea of religion as a thought system. but that might be better left to college.

I took a course involving that during my second year of high school (I think it was just called "World Civilization and Humanities" and was a two-part course....I think it was a college prep course, but not AP). We just talked about major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are the ones I remember, but there may have been more and I think we briefly touched on Greek and Roman mythology and animistic views, but in less depth) and philosophy.

Religion is taught in schools here (obviously it's a bit different since there's a Church of England!), and I think it has very little impact. I'm not sure to what depth it's discussed as I've only come across a bit of the primary school religious education material at work.
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:38 AM   #52
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Originally posted by nathan1977
With all graciousness, I think you're missing mine. Religion plays a huge role in defining or forming worldviews in many cultures, and understanding opposing worldviews is critical to understanding history. Studying the nuances of religions may be better suited to the "World Religions" class Irvine suggested, but ignoring religion's role in historical events is to ignore a huge aspect of said history. (And, to bring the thread back on topic, to ignore the significant influence the Bible has had in culture, art, literature etc.)
But are people prepared for the kind of studies that such a course might entail? Religion has had a rather large effect on society, yes, but that has been both positive and negative. Did you know that modern capital punishment owes itself not to a government, but to Christianity? The Inquisition devised so many torture and execution techniques that it had a profound effect on how governments execute people. We could also have an entire lesson on apocalypticism and list all the people over the last millennium who have claimed that Jesus was going to return "in our lifetime," and you could probably reasonably determine that such beliefs are nothing short of a psychosis in Christianity.

I think what I fear--and what many fear--is that such courses are going to be soaked in romanticism, where Christianity will always be determined in the most positive light and be given credit for things that they don't even deserve (i.e., the "Christian Founding Fathers" romanticism that started in the 1830s and is still widely cited today as "truth").

We can say that religious studies are important--and they have certainly been an invaluable tool in my rhetorical arsenal--but if our public school systems have so much trouble teaching the core curriculum of math, science, English, etc., how can we possibly think that they will have the maturity to teach such a delicate, difficult, and passion-filled subject as religion? There's still too many unresolved core issues in public schools that I believe it would be inviting disaster to try and teach subjects like this now.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:50 PM   #53
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Good luck understanding any societies culture, history, art or architecture without some knowledge of their religion.

It would be like trying to understand rock n roll without listening to Chuck Berry.
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