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Thread: Religion and schools

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    #1

    Religion and schools

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    I was going to put this under general parenting but because of the discussion point, figured it might get heated...

    Anyhow, my oldest DD has a summer reading assignment for Honore English and the teacher said she needs to know the story of Cain and Abel because in the books they will read "East of Eden" and "All the pretty horses" there is an association of characters with names starting in C that are going to remind them of Cain and characters that their names start with A will remind them of Abel.

    DH doesn't want the kids being taught anything pertaining to religion because he feels it will be forced on them. Me, I don't see the harm in knowing another religion's stories. In fact, I think the more you study a religion it gives you a stronger basis for not agreeing with it if you choose to disagree with it. I have my own views that diverge from what I was raised as.

    What are your thoughts? Do you think a public school should require you to know a story from the Bible, Quran, Torah, etc in an English class (or any other class that doesn't specifically state it will study religion)?
    If you disagreed with your child having to learn the story, what would you do? Have your child not take the class? Ask the teacher to give your child a new assignment?
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    #2
    In that context it's akin to teaching Greek and Roman mythology. It makes sense & enhances the learning. Fact is a lot of Western works do draw on Christian mythology and themes and knowing those stories enhances the reading. I wouldn't be okay with learning religion as fact or one religion being taught as the One True Religion or whatever, but I'm not opposed to what you described.
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    #3
    We read a good bit of the Bible, from a literature standpoint in High School, my teacher was an Atheist, it was probably the most interesting English class I've EVER had. Obviously I don't know anything about your daughter's teacher, but I doubt it will come from any sort of "religious" standpoint, and obviously if it's summer reading, that can be a subject you breach with her, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about!

    I was pretty shocked that we read so much of the Bible in Senior English, but it was fascinating, I had read a majority of the Bible by that point, in my own Religious Education, but reading it as a work of literature, and being taught by someone who completely dismissed the Religious side of things, it was really really interesting! I hope this helps

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    #4
    I don't think it should necessarily should be taught but I think it could be a great assignment taught by the right teacher. I wouldn't be opposed to it as long as it isn't being shoved down throats.
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    Bible was used a lot in my high school English classes as well. I'm somewhat religious but in that sense it was used as a piece of literature just like any other book. My English teacher didn't push any type of religious beliefs on us.

    I'm sure she's read about other religions in her history classes or read about other mythology, it's really the same thing. Now if she comes home saying her teacher isn't being neutral so to say then that's a different story.
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    I don't see the problem. It frustrates me that elimination is now the easiest way to be inclusive in public spaces. Knowledge of religion isn't the same as indoctrination. Its a high school English class studying Steinbeck, not kindergarteners singing Jesus Loves me.

    If I did disagree with the material I would probably ride the wave since the point is to increase critical thinking. If the teacher was a jackass about it I might not. Then its more about learning to handle a situation where a student may disagree with the subject matter or teacher rather than critical thinking and that isn't so bad either. I would just depend on my gut at that point.
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    #7
    I have no problem with it. In school we read passages from the bible, the Quran, the Torah, snippits from Buddist and Hindi religious texts, in addition to learning about many other religions. We did that both in english class and world studies class.

    I was, and still am, an agnostic. You can read things without being told they are true. I mean, I read Harry Potter, and as much as I wish Hogwarts existed (WHERE THE FUCK IS MY LETTER????), I dont think its real.
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    Reading the bible (or portions) for the purpose of understanding literary references is no different than reading any other piece of literature. If they she was told to read Romeo and Juliet to better understand West Side Story (I know, a musical not a play, but it's what sprung to mind), would that mean someone was indoctrinating her with Shakespeare?

    Recognizing and understanding important works that are often referenced in other works is part of being able to perform effective literary analysis. She isn't being taught the lessons of Christianity, much less being told those lessons are true. She's being asked to learn a *story*, and one which happens to be in bible. So she isn't being taught Christianity. She's being given a background in something that is an important reference for something else she will read.

    It sounds like she doesn't even need to read the actual bible text if she chooses not to. She just needs to know the story. Which can be treated like any other fictional story.
    Last edited by villanelle; 06-03-2015 at 08:08 AM.
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    #9
    I agree with everyone here, I dont see an issue with it, as long as its not being told they need to believe this or that.

    Im not sure about other places but on Long Island religion has become so separate from schools, in some schools the kids are not allowed to even talk or write about any holidays. During christmas/hanukah time they must pretend nothing is going on.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    Reading the bible (or portions) for the purpose of understanding literary references is no different than reading any other piece of literature. If they she was told to read Romeo and Juliet to better understand West Side Story (I know, a musical not a play, but it's what sprung to mind), would that mean someone was indoctrinating her with Shakespeare?

    Recognizing and understanding important works that are often referenced in other works is part of being able to perform effective literary analysis. She isn't being taught the lessons of Christianity, much lessing being told those lessons are true. She's being asked to learn a *story*, and one which happens to be in bible. So she isn't being taught Christianity. She's being given a background in something that is an important reference for something else she will read.

    It sounds like she doesn't even need to read the actual bible text if she chooses not to. She just needs to know the story. Which can be treated like any other fictional story.
    Bingo. As long as the teacher is separating the religion from the story in itself, I don't see a problem with them referencing a biblical story to tie into what they're studying in the class. Now, if the teacher began somewhat preaching and claiming to the students that the Bible is the only truth and pushing Christianity onto them, I would have a problem with that, even as a Christian follower. I've already told DH that I fully intend to raise DD as a Christian but she also gets to make her own decisions regarding her faith as she gets older. This is why we won't baptize her or anything of that sort while she is still this young. If she decides she wants to believe in something/nothing else then that is her choice to make.


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