Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beliefs and religious teaching in schools

Originally a comment made on an article about religious teachings in schools found here:

Everyone has beliefs.  In fact, our psyche is a reservoir of them.  We believe we are a worthwhile person, we believe in evolution, we believe when we die we will cease to exist, we believe our wife loves us, we believe in the validity of the scientific method for ascertaining truth, etc.  Someone who says "I don't believe in evolution, I know evolution is true", is in denial.  If we haven't experienced something directly we don't know if it's true or not, though we may have strong opinions about it. 

Everyone has a worldview that is a combination of beliefs about things that we surmise from the words of others and things we have actually experienced ourselves.  For some people this includes a belief in a higher power and for others it doesn't.  Either way, it's still beliefs.  The idea that the universe was created by an intelligence is certainly no more irrational than the idea that it just popped into being from nothing, which is a belief held by many.

Indeed, a variety of beliefs should be taught in schools and the source of the knowing (or surmising) should be made abundantly clear!  I am actually of the opinion that religious and spiritual studies is a worthwhile pursuit, and that it should cover a number of religions and other spiritual approaches and philosophies to give students an idea of what is "on offer" out there.  It is the lack of choice and the focus on one system of belief, whether it be religious or secular, that I think presents the real danger.

Sharka Todd

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