Growing up in today’s society kids have a lack of knowledge of the controversial topic that the world deals with on a daily basis. Religion is such a huge part of the different cultures around the world that it should be acceptable to inform students on what goes on in other areas of life. Many people believe that by hiding this topic it helps keep the peace in society, but it doesn’t. It’s like shoving dust under a rug, it’s still there. Being able to teach religion in schools can educate and influence kids to have an open mind that can affect their lives in a positive way.
Students in todays society fail to understand the effect religion has in todays world. In the article “Why kids must learn about Religion much earlier” by Linda K.Wertheimer she explains, “The cost of not teaching children earlier about different faiths has too big of a price. As they grow, children carry on ignorance and bias opinions they hear elsewhere.” Religion plays a huge role in the way people act towards each other. Kids need to understand the affect it has on other peoples lives. Having a knowledge about other religions can help students when it comes to stepping out in the “real” world. They wont’t be so naive on what’s going on around them. In this article it explains how during a basketball play off game fans from a Catholic school started to shout “you killed Jesus” to the opposing side who were Jewish. We are not born hating those who are different, we are taught that. Using religion as a core knowledge can educate students by using simple lessons to stop the hate because of the lack of understanding. There is a difference between teaching and preaching. It’s not to convey ones religion upon another but to have an understanding of the difference of opinions around the world. It can teach others to be better communicators by coming to others with an understanding heart. Hate divides but love unites.
One thing we should consider is the evidence in some cases, that religion can help lower depression. This is not to say it is the cure for depression, but some people find it helpful. “First, the data generally reveals that greater involvement in religion is associated with less depression”(Hummer). Depression and Suicide is a current problem the world is facing today. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. Each year around 44,965 Americans die of suicide. Maybe its time we reach out and find ways to lower these rates. If Religion can inform others to feel a sense of meaning and purpose maybe its time we bring it to light in education.
Some will argue that religion doesn’t have a place in school. The first amendment proclaims there should be separation between church and state. However, teaching religion is not a practice to persuade anyones belief, or to practice ones religion. Its simply is a way to educate students about the different diversities around the world. Wertheimer, “Religion does have a place in school: as a part of lessons meant to show various religions’ place in history as well as their similarities and differences.”
Sometimes people are afraid to talk about religion because they believe it can be more harm than good but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still such a vital element in the world. Not talking about this controversial topic, causes people to be sensitive and offended when it gets brought up in conversation. As a result, if schools were to teach religion it wouldn’t be as sensitive of a topic to bring up. People are often offended because of an arrogant attitude towards something they don’t understand or necessarily believe. At the end of the day, some religions teach morality. Which can help students react and respond in certain situations in their life that can be beneficial in a positive way.
Students who study religion are more trained in the skills associated with data gathering and direct observation. Most professions want people with skills such as, gathering data, organizing, understanding, and presenting. When we study religion we are actually studying people and their many perspectives. Which is a vital importance when a job requires relating to others, reaching out, building bridges, or incorporating many perspectives at once.
We live in a world that is full of violence. “Many scholars now acknowledge the link between religion and crime reduction”(Johnson). Everyday hate crime increases because people are so lost and confused. Mclauglin states, “If educators encourage students to understand and respect people of different religious beliefs, it will immensely help lower the percentage of these hate crimes. Without teaching religion in schools some children feel that crime is acceptable, along with acting out because they aren’t taught any better.” People can become so closed minded due to the fact they are simply naive about the way others view life. By teaching religion it can broadens someones way of thinking towards others and possibly put into perspective of the value of another ones life. We all matter in this world and we live for a purpose. People need to understand the value and morality of life. Students have the right of religion expression. So what makes it okay to shut something out that is evidently going on around the world? “Greater knowledge, not less, is the path to peace on Earth” (Ellis).
Overall, religion is powerful, persistent, and it shows no signs of disappearing. In teaching religion in schools ultimately does more good than harm, it causes students to have an understanding and knowledge of one of the worlds biggest dilemmas that has been dealt with for years. Students will have a greater knowledge of important information that is faced in life. It teaches students to respect others that may think differently then them. It benefits them to acknowledge people can’t force others to change. Religion has been shown to lower depression and suicidal rates. It shows that by ones heart towards another can make a difference on how others react and respond. It teaches morality and value of ones life, which can help lower crime rates. We live in a world that will always battle with this topic but the more we talk about it, the more it will become less offensive. People need to be exposed to the reality we live in and be aware on what is going on around the world to better help their growth in this life. Religion is an intensely curious phenomenon that calls out for better understanding.
Linda K. Wertheimer. “Why kids learn about Religion much earlier,” (March 16, 2016) http://time.com/4261597/teaching-religion/ (accessed on May 12, 2018)