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Old 15.08.2011, 15:19
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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...As an atheist I strongly believe religion should not be a part of school curricula. ...
As a Christian, I completely agree, if by religion you mean Religious Instruction.

Religious education however, certainly should be part of the curriculum, in the same way that politics is (or should be). It's vital to understanding the modern world.
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Old 15.08.2011, 15:43
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

I've not read all the posts so obviously might be repeating what's already been said.... but here's my view....

My husband and I are not religious - but we're not anti-religious iykwim either. So, we believe in tolerance and understanding for others beliefs even if we don't ourselves share them.

When my son started primary (today! OMG!) we were asked if he should attend the religion classes since we ourselves are not part of any church. We said categorically "yes". I know that the religion classes are mainly catholic/christian based, but all the same it's a subject I want him to know something about. I'm happy that he will learn something about what the bible says and about what religion means to some people. And that he will learn it from "an expert" (because I myself am pretty clueless about such things, so if it were left to me he wouldn't learn much about religion at all).

It does sometimes make me uncomfortable when he says something like "god made that" because I don't myself agree with that. There I try to explain things - and say "yes, some people think that, Daddy and me don't but you make up your own mind".

Another aspect of our decision to let him do the religion classes was because we did not want him to be excluded. As an expat kid I think it's especially important to be included in activities that other "regular" Swiss kids do.

Having said all that though I think I'd rather that religion lessons were more about education - as in "this is what Christians believe" "this is what Muslims believe" "this is what Buddhists believe" etc. and learning about some customs and traditions of different religions - a kind of rounded cultural thing, rather than any indoctrination of one faith.

I think religious education / awareness / understanding is something that belongs in the school curriculum. I'm not sure exactly how the Swiss schools are really teaching it, but for the moment I'm happy for my son to do it.
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:24
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Having said all that though I think I'd rather that religion lessons were more about education - as in "this is what Christians believe" "this is what Muslims believe" "this is what Buddhists believe" etc. and learning about some customs and traditions of different religions - a kind of rounded cultural thing, rather than any indoctrination of one faith.
Ah, there's the rub though. What does roundedness look like?

Equal time for all major world religions sounds like a good stab at it. You don't do that with history or art though - kids spend way more time on European history than they do on Asian history. Why? Because they're European kids. History that relates to their own culture is more accessible and arguably more important for them to understand in depth. So we feed them World History: The Highlights plus an in-depth look at their own country/region. Same with art - kids will spend far more time dealing with Renaissance art than say Australian aboriginal art.

A reasonable religious education course that took the same approach would have to focus on Christianity since we are in Europe, and just hit the highlights of other religions. That's great if you're a humanist and just want them to understand European art and literature they will be exposed to later on, not so brilliant if you're a Hindu and your kid's whole belief system has been condensed into and-here-this-is-Diwali-now-let's-eat-some-sweets.

The fact it's so hard to design a 'fair' 'balanced' RE curriculum is probably part of the reason some schools just import somebody from the church to do it. Path of least resistance.
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  #44  
Old 15.08.2011, 16:30
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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As an indoctrination class, no.
As an elective course in history of religion or comparative religion, fine.
I myself am not religious but have studied things like the archaeology/history of the Bible, Islam, fundamentalism, etc.
+1!

This is exactly my opinion. You get my proxy vote.
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:32
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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and-here-this-is-Diwali-now-let's-eat-some-sweets.
Aaargh! That awakens miserable memories of teaching Religious Education to five and six year olds back in England:

"Here, let's reduce the profoundly held beliefs and practices of millions of people into half an hour of sweets, dancing and colouring-in, then tick the box marked 'festivals of light celebrated by major world religions' and move on to something else equally vapid and devoid of actual meaning."

I remember it well...
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:35
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Aaargh! That awakens miserable memories of teaching Religious Education to five and six year olds back in England:

"Here, let's reduce the profoundly held beliefs and practices of millions of people into half an hour of sweets, dancing and colouring-in, then tick the box marked 'festivals of light celebrated by major world religions' and move on to something else equally vapid and devoid of actual meaning."

I remember it well...
That level seems about right for five to six year olds. After all you're not going to teach them differential equations and the present subjunctive tense at that age, are you?
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:45
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

Is there anything to prevent schools/teachers from imprinting kids with excessive morals, guilt and righteousness?

...I know adults who are sill trying to shake off such imprints that are impeding their lives and clouding their horizons.
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:46
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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I am wondering how the kids who opt out of christian studies should pass German at the Matura, if they won't be able to do literature interpretations due to lack of knowledge of the bible?
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That's not what they teach in christian studies at Swiss schools. Christian studies are a preparation course to give you the tools to be able to follow the German and history classes.
@m_dalloway, I have NO clue what they teach in Christian Studies in Switzerland (and obviously you do know). Now you've made me extremely curious: what is it that they teach ? Religious education or Christian Instruction ? And what is it that they ask from students in the Matura, that requires knowing what is written in the Bible ? And WHY in the world would Bible content be relevant in an education system in which Religion is OPTIONAL ?

I am also asking about the content because if it is Christian Instruction they get in school, I MOST CERTAINLY don't want my child to attend. I dissent with most people in regards to religious education as well, as I personally believe nobody needs a lot of understanding other religions to be respectful of other people's beliefs. Respect for others is largely an ethic/moral choice, learnt at home (at least that's where I learnt it, and my parents never mentioned a single religious word at home...ever). I have some atheist friends, some fervient Catholic friends, several Mormon friends and some Muslim friends. We respect each other as much as you can expect, and we know religion is not a topic to debate among us. We know and understand each other's point of view, and don't try to indoctrinate each other. Why would I have needed Religious Education to get here, to a simple understanding that we are all different individuals, and we must coexist in peace ?
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:51
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

In my Highschool we had so many cultures faiths and religions flying around that we were taught a bit of everything with no bias, all were allocated the same amount of time and at the end of the year we could pick two to be examed in. i found this very useful later in life
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Old 15.08.2011, 17:17
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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I am also asking about the content because if it is Christian Instruction they get in school, I MOST CERTAINLY don't want my child to attend. I dissent with most people in regards to religious education as well, as I personally believe nobody needs a lot of understanding other religions to be respectful of other people's beliefs.
Agreed.

However, religion has had a massive input into shaping the world into what it is today and not teaching it would, in my opinion, be akin to not teaching any history.
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Old 15.08.2011, 17:23
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

Primary school kids in the (very Catholic) canton of Fribourg are taught the catéchisme as part of the curriculum, leading to 1st Communion. Every parent has the right to exclude their child however. I think it may even continue in CO* in preparation for confirmation.


*Cycle d'orientation (aka secondary school)
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Old 15.08.2011, 17:25
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

Catechism is taught in our local primary school as well. The class prepares children for first communion and confirmation.
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:04
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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And what is it that they ask from students in the Matura, that requires knowing what is written in the Bible ?
Well the reason why students should know the bible is, as most references in German literature are disassociations from the original bible passages - so to spot that you need to have a fairly well knowledge of the original source.
(E.g. Goethe's Faust, where he alienates the Johannes Evangelium with one single word, which is the clue to the meaning of the text.)
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:17
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Now you've made me extremely curious: what is it that they teach ? Religious education or Christian Instruction ?
[...]
I am also asking about the content because if it is Christian Instruction they get in school, I MOST CERTAINLY don't want my child to attend.
In my times, about 25 years ago, we had classes with a christian theologian, from the age of 7 until the age of 13, where they taught us the bible very much in detail, and a bit about Judaism.

I am not sure how to differentiate between 'education' and 'instruction', as I can't see how religion could be taught without any bias. Anyway, I can assure that that we didn't get 'brainwashed'.
As in the end I am without any confession, nor do I believe in any religion, as neither most of my peers who attended the courses at school...

In my opinion, if you won't let your children attend these christian study courses, your kids will have to read all that stuff up later on their own (or probably will come to you with questions), as there is really no way around from it if they want to attend gymnasium and get some higher education.
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:24
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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That's not what they teach in christian studies at Swiss schools.

Christian studies are a preparation course to give you the tools to be able to follow the German and history classes.

There is absolutely no way you would have a chance to pass those classes if you hadn't been educated in christian studies.
Well that's funny - because my two passed without a jot of religeous education .
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:28
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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In my opinion, if you won't let your children attend these christian study courses, your kids will have to read all that stuff up later on their own (or probably will come to you with questions), as there is really no way around from it if they want to attend gymnasium and get some higher education.
Well your opininion is the wrong opinion. Our twins did not attend any of these classes and the academic one has gone on to the Gymnasium.
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:32
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Well that's funny - because my two passed without a jot of religeous education .
One went the apprenticeship route, and the other one had to read up the stuff later?
If not, congratulations if he passed all the German exams without having understood any books.
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:33
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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As I have no experience with the Swiss school system, may I ask:

What exactly is taught in religion class here?
In our experience of SG primary and secondary education there is no Religious Education taught on the curriculum. There is Religious Instruction with students able to select catholic or protestent (if those words mean anything thes edays) options, or to opt out and cover what I would call social studies.
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:34
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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One went the apprenticeship route, and the other one had to read up the stuff later?
If not, congratulations if he passed all the German exams without having understood any books.
One went into work - the other to Gymnasium. I can assure you he understands all the books .
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Old 15.08.2011, 18:42
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Best leave important things like these to those we trust, rather than teachers appointed by the canton or state.
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Anyway, regarding the OP's question: I'd much rather my children attended lessons provided by the church of my choice than a teacher I didn't know.
Is that to ensure the *ahem* correct version of events is passed on to the little Dougal's ?
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