Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Does religion in school promote rejection of religion?

This is the sort of thing I really wish I had statistics on. Do kids who had religious education as part of their school curriculum grow up more likely to abandon that religion as adults?

I was not aware that kids in England had mandatory Religious Education in schools. And I am not certain about how most Christian kids get their religious education, thou I have seen parts of the Jesus Camp Documentary:



& Reviews of it:



Does this making Jesus/God fun for youth, instead of just educating them about their religion, make these kids more hard-fast in their beliefs? (Aside from the obvious brain-washing some of these kids are experiencing.)

I went to Catholic school. I was educated about my religion. Religion class was about memorizing prayers and a work-book with a smiling, very anglo-looking, cartoon-Jesus. We didn't sing rock songs; we went to mass on holy days & sang old-time hymns. It wasn't exciting in the least (except when one of the boys made fart-sounds with his shoes mid-mass, and we'd all try not to giggle). And since Religion was part of my education, I felt compelled to actually think about it. Religion wasn't fun/games, it was serious stuff, with lots of rules to follow, lots of formality.

Would I have stayed religious if it was more fun? Would I have thought less about religion if it wasn't taught in classes in school?

2 Comments:

Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I think England has a Religious Education timeslot as part of their curriculum in the same way that Australian schools do.

I am refering to public schools as obviously religious schools everywhere do.

The time allocated for religious instruction here is approximately 1-1 and 1/2 hours per week. (and it is not mandatory that the time is used for this purpose)

Most teachers do not take religious education classes, instead, the respective school alligns with the community and asks the parents if they would like representatives from the religious community to take a half hour lesson per week.

Some school communities agree to this, and various people from a variety of religious backgrounds donate their time to take a religious class.

The class is not compulsory for the students and they must have parental approval to take part in them.

It has been this way in australia for decades. Most children find the classes uninteresting.

I would suggest that they do little to increase the number of children who believe in religion.

Certainly, australia and england would be considered as markedly less overtly religious than the US.

Perhaps it is because a lot of us were bored to death during religious instruction classes in the first place.

7:46 PM  
Blogger new.atheist said...

Thanks very much for clarifying that :-)

In the U.S. they don't let any form of religious education during school. I once went to a bible-study class before school in college, and didn't like it (cuz more than bible-study, it was praise-god-hour... none of my questions about the bible were appreciated, and I didn't wind up going back).

I only also know that Catholic kids that don't go to Catholic school go to after-school CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine). It's still boring.

12:07 PM  

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