Nowadays, many teachers avoid teaching about religion, fearing that parents, students, or administrators would accuse them of indoctrinating children. However, teachers are allowed to teach about various religions as long as they don't favor one belief system over another. In many college prep schools, the school curriculum includes a course on religion. Many of these college prep schools are among the top in the nation for a variety of reasons, yet none of them choose to abandon religious study to just focus on core subjects. They see the benefits of religious study on their students' character beyond the classroom, regardless of those students' religious beliefs or non-belief. Public schools could see some value added to their curriculum by adding a religious studies course.
Understanding Other Perspectives
Learning about different religions helps students learn the various perspectives of other cultures. Children tend to believe their outlook is the only way, not typically examining how they came to adopt their own beliefs or the influences on their beliefs. This can lead to hostility toward those who think differently. Religious study can actually help to combat that. When they see the differences in another person's beliefs, they can come to appreciate the ways those beliefs are affected by one's environment and culture.
When students learn about other religions, they may immediately note differences but will be surprised to see similarities. Realizing that a thought or belief of a person has a similar origin or shares a similar concern is a humbling experience. Students can realize that humans of any religion have fundamentally similar longings and desires to connect to something greater. In this way, students can connect and relate to the experiences of others.
Examine Fundamental Existence
What it means to exist is a topic worth exploring in the classroom. Adolescents often look for purpose in friends, family, or other external factors, like material goods. Learning about various religions would give students the opportunity to appreciate life down to the very question of one's purpose. Along the way, they can examine and establish their own purpose.
With the exploration of religious belief comes the examination of society. Learning this can reveal prejudiced views and their origins in religious beliefs. When students see how prejudice develops and how it is shaped and influenced over time, they can make decisions within themselves about the cost of upholding prejudiced traditions from the past in today's society.
While secular learning is important, a religious understanding can also be incredibly beneficial, especially if your little ones have questions that you aren't sure how to answer. From helping kids to shape their world view to teaching children more about the connection between spiritual and secular things, it can be helpful for religious families to seek out a religious school for help. On this blog, check out great tips and tricks for learning from a religious school, so that you aren't left scrambling for what to do or where to turn for help. When you can reinforce things your children learn at home, they are more likely to remember the material.