The quotes below come from input from Irish high school students when asked about having religious studies in their school system. The wisdom of these kids’ words are way beyond their years.
By giving all children the opportunity to learn about the beliefs and values of diverse groups in society, the government would be providing for their education in some of the liberal democratic values on which the State itself is based. They include openness to a range of views along with inclusive and respectful citizenship.
Perhaps, as religion is one of the greatest causes of conflict in the world, rather than teach religion in schools we might study theology and get a greater understanding of our fellow man.
CIARAN McNAMARA (age 16)
Source: Teach theology, not religion
The Irish certainly know something about religious strife having lived through decades of Catholic/Protestant war in the north of their country. They are basically proposing the teaching of theology instead of a particular religion. Theology has a very high brow look to many of us but it is really quite simple. It is the study of religion.
Given that there are currently about 39,000 different versions of Christianity alone we need to study and learn why so many have deemed it necessary to leave one version of their religion for another. Then there is the Shia, Sunni, and other versions of Islam that need to be understood.
Everyone seems to be almost seeking their own private version of God. Maybe it is time to study that fact instead of insisting that “our” version be the only one to consider.
I imagine that there are many inside all the various religions who fear that if their kids learn that their parents religion is not the only one out there that they may lose their souls. But the reality is that whether they like it or not their children do not “inherit” their parents faith. They must come to God on their own terms. Seriously teaching them the entire religious spectrum may be better than trying to force them to join a particular version with no knowledge of other options. Everyone must come to God on their own, no one else can do it for them.
Just a thought for this Sunday morning…..