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Old 23.08.2010, 23:02
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Religion in Schools in Switzerland

As I understand it, public schools in Switzerland are secular. Is that correct?

The reason I ask is that one of the books my son gets is called: "un monde en couleurs" (decouverte des religions). (My son goes to a public school b.t.w.).

Have other parents seen this book?

Personally I have nothing against explaining religion to children (I still tell my son fairy tails), but:

* Explaining this to a 7 year old child is a little bit early, especially from a authority figure like a teacher. My son comes home with some strange stories about religion and he does not understand why they tell him this. Having been trained as a scientist, I have to explain him that the evidence is stacked against the concepts religion deals with, and explain the cultural reasons why people practice religion. Having the FSM is helpful in explaining this. The problem is that he is only 7 years old, and frankly I do not want to have this discussion at this moment, but am somewhat forced to, as he comes home with these strange ideas.

* The book is quite biased towards the christian faith, which gives me the feeling that this is book with a biased message.

* If you start at this age with religion, it would only be 'balanced' if you start with science and the scientific method (I do not mean math here as they do get that at school). 7 year old children are already very capable of understanding basic concepts of science. The world would be better off if more people have good critical thinking skills (of course not every politician will agree with that )

* Having been raised as a catholic myself and having heard all the irrational arguments, to me it feels like a covered marketing campaign of the christian church. Get them while they are young (that used to be the strategy of the smoking lobby)... After all it is more difficult to convert adults (on any kind of issue). But perhaps I have a somewhat jaded view of this, having seen how the church works from the inside.

Data
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Old 23.08.2010, 23:16
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

I think it depends on the kanton to be fair. We live in a catholic kanton so the kids here who are registered in the gemeinde as catholic families have religious instruction. i actually posted earlier today to ask for suggestions about educating my kinder about all the various religions etc

caz
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Old 23.08.2010, 23:53
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

As far as I know, secular in this context means that the teaching is provided by the state, not by the church. This does not exclude teaching religion at school. I haven't seen the book, so I hope not to be too out of context. Here are my 2c.

I remember learning about religion at school early on, probably before 7. But other topics like geography or biology started before that, so the religious teaching was always put into a safe perspective. Imho, it's not about teaching to be religious, it's about teaching religion like you would teach philosophy.

I'm not surprised that the Christian religion is emphasized at first. I wouldn't start by teaching all religions at once, this would be confusing. The catholic and protestant religions are the dominant ones in CH and still play an important social role (e.g. for weddings or burials), so it makes sense to start there.

Btw, I'm swiss and I don't believe in any religion .
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Old 24.08.2010, 00:00
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

This has already been discussed at length in various places in these very forums.
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Old 24.08.2010, 00:06
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

I did religious classes from that age and I didn't turn out as a rampant believer of anything other than the Flying Spaghettimonster and Christianism-Light. But I must not say that too loud or I shan't get any Christmas presents.

On a more serious note - kids are brighter than we give them credit for, as long as it's the teacher doing the teaching and she/he isn't overly part of one of the more worrying religious associations (there is a bit of a problem with that, Christian fundamentalists getting their folk into teaching positions), then I don't think you should worry this much. Of course it is biased towards the "official" religion of Switzerland, which is Christianism (all the random days off and ringing of bells is a dead give-away) but I don't remember it being taught in a way that said other religions are bad. This was before we had to deal with every minority asking for random free passes because of whatever it is that makes kids taking swimming lessons together the devil. Still makes no sense to me today...[rest of statement falls victim to fear of offending members of another religion].
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Old 24.08.2010, 00:58
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

Hi Data,
You said --
* Explaining this to a 7 year old child is a little bit early, especially from a authority figure like a teacher. ----- and then you said---- The problem is that he is only 7 years old, and frankly I do not want to have this discussion at this moment, but am somewhat forced to, as he comes home with these strange ideas.
*

My two cts , I've learned that kids are very very clever and their ability to grasp concepts is often underestimated.
You're a scientist then imbue him with your scientific perspective, tell him what you think, and he'll have a nice solid rounded perspective and will weigh his external Religious Education according to the logical guidelines and critical eye you teach him.
Kids are logic monsters . Theres pretty much nothing they cant grasp, including your reasoned approach to religion. Lay it on him.

power to the kids.
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Old 24.08.2010, 01:12
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

As I do not have kids (let alone any kids in school here), I am unsure what they are teaching in the school with regard to religion.

Have you checked out the book he has to see what it says? I ask this this way because I remember that relgion was touched on in my World History class in Texas. They explained that adherants of this or that religion believe such and such as opposed to actually TEACHING religion... do you see the difference?

So, check out the book. See if what they are teaching is religion or if they are teaching that such a religion exists and the beliefs of that religion are such...

Also, if I am remembering correctly about how they decide such stuff, do they not go with religion which "you" (the parent) specifies on their registration to the geminde? As in... I registered as Catholic (it is habit even though neither hubby nor I are "practicing") so I believe if / when we have children, our children will be exposed to some Catholic materials at school.


Edit to point out as I just noticed...
Poor Data (aka Frank)... two posts and already has red blob. I can't imagine it was awarded for his introduction post, it must have been due to being concerned about what his kid is taught at school... how dare he show concern! (Some folks around here with serious panty-twist issues to give someone red blobs for being concerned about what his own kid is being taught.)
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Old 24.08.2010, 01:39
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

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Edit to point out as I just noticed...
Poor Data (aka Frank)... two posts and already has red blob. I can't imagine it was awarded for his introduction post, it must have been due to being concerned about what his kid is taught at school... how dare he show concern! (Some folks around here with serious panty-twist issues to give someone red blobs for being concerned about what his own kid is being taught.)
It wasn't me but it was more than likely because of the fact that this subject has been discussed quite a few times already and a quick search would have been the polite thing to do before starting a new thread.
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Old 24.08.2010, 09:52
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

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The reason I ask is that one of the books my son gets is called: "un monde en couleurs" (decouverte des religions). (My son goes to a public school b.t.w.).

Have other parents seen this book?
Yes, my daughter has the same book.

Received it for 1-2 years at school.

Personally I didn't have any qualms about it. But I guess that is based on your background and perhaps what you want your children to learn at school.

I consider it part of her education, and when she came back home with futher questions, or related the info to everyday life, it was an opportunity to discuss the matter further and educate her more at home on the subject.
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Old 24.08.2010, 18:04
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

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If you start at this age with religion, it would only be 'balanced' if you start with science and the scientific method
bravo! i am very young adult and do not plan to have kids soon, but i believe that is the best approach. that is the only way our new generations will be tolerant and loving. personally, and ironically enough, most of the violence in this world comes from die-hard fundamentalist religions and sects that brainwash people at an early age. very very sad
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Old 18.05.2012, 14:30
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Scientific theories are also not infallible. They are only true for so long, until the next scientist disproves them. We are limited in our capacity to understand. Can the table understand the carpenter? The bread the baker? Can we understand our creator? Or are we just an accident? Did we appear so quickly simply by accident? What is the statistical probability of that happening? Zero. No insurance actuary or bookie would take on that bet!
Unfortunately, religious lessons teach prejudiced and outdated meaningless dogmas, superannuated traditions, superstitious rituals and ceremonies.

Love and unity are paramount ! Even over-secularised, highly materialistic scientists should accept that !

Science without religion is environmentally dangerous materialism: Religion without science results in fanatical dogmatism. Both should work together, like the wings of bird, so the scientists can care for the world.

Hitler and Stalin were not "religious" but believed in the secular theories and philosophies current at their time or racial and class superiority.

Upon this altar to racism and class superiority, were sacrificed over 60 million victims in WW2

It took this to show that no class nor race is better than the next.


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bravo! i am very young adult and do not plan to have kids soon, but i believe that is the best approach. that is the only way our new generations will be tolerant and loving. personally, and ironically enough, most of the violence in this world comes from die-hard fundamentalist religions and sects that brainwash people at an early age. very very sad

Last edited by jrspet; 18.05.2012 at 14:35. Reason: Merging of successive posts
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Old 18.05.2012, 15:24
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

Not sure what you post has to do about teaching religion in schools.
Plus, the reasons scientific theories change (evolve) is because they are continually tested and our understanding is pushed. Whereas religious dogma is unchanging because any argument is met with 'it says so in this book and so don't think just follow'.
Just saying that science is not changing because it's weak and wrong, but because it's the right way to discover things.
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Old 18.05.2012, 16:07
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Re: Religion in Schools in Switzerland

What ever swiss schools do, im sure it will be a heap of a lot better than the school my daughter attended in england where they rammed it down every childs neck.
We arent a religious family, in fact i find alot of faiths make me very uncomfortable with some of the other contexts lurking in them, but i dont put this on my children, they are free to make their own choices and i have to understand that with most schools they do include a fair amount of religious education.
If a book is all we are talking about and a few stories in school, its better than making the school put on a production at easter, dressing the children up as the appropriate characters including a jesus with a crown of pretend torns, with a cross on his back to walk up to the stage with whilst all the other children sing the 'kill him' song! .......oh yes! Lol
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