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Old 15.08.2011, 11:27
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Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

There's an interesting article in 20 Minuten about discontinuing religion lessons in public schools or replacing it as a philosophy instead.

In the poll, most people felt religion lessons are outdated and many people felt it should be taught at home. Some people thought religion could be offered as an after-school course and others felt religion is still necessary for moral purposes.

If religion were discontinued at school, shouldn't Catholic / Protestant public holidays be abolished as well?

If it were left to the parents to teach their children religion, would Switzerland become a religious desert with churches having only a historical purpose or would it lean even more to the right as seen in the USA?

Personally, I like the way it is but realize for many parents, religion is a thorny issue.

Thoughts?

http://www.20min.ch/news/schweiz/sto...aess--18977762
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Old 15.08.2011, 11:39
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

I went to both a religious and a non-denominational high school (yep, two highschools).

I felt that the religious highschool severely over did the "Religion thing" and as a consequense I have not been remotely interested in it ever since.
I do have to say that as a subject, it was worthy to gain an understanding of all the different religions, Muslim, Judaism, Christianity, Buddism, Hindu, etc. So the take home message there is I have a much higher tollerance and understanding of others beliefs...... Religion just isn't for me.

At the Non-demoninational High School there was no religion whatsoever, and I always felt I had to explain basic things if it was ever in conversation.

In conclusion, I think it's healthy for society to have a school subject that offers insight into how the various religions work, but to force any particular religion or a belief on someone is just wrong.
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Old 15.08.2011, 11:41
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

Depends.

I don't think teaching people how to be a good <insert religious adjective here> should be taught in general schools. This should be part of familiy life or Sunday School (or equivalent) as an extra curricular activity.

It is important however, that people are taught about the various flavours of religion (including atheism/agnosticism) and their beliefs and traditions in order that they understand and respect those with beliefs that differ from their own.
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Old 15.08.2011, 11:50
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Depends.

I don't think teaching people how to be a good <insert religious adjective here> should be taught in general schools. This should be part of familiy life or Sunday School (or equivalent) as an extra curricular activity.

It is important however, that people are taught about the various flavours of religion (including atheism/agnosticism) and their beliefs and traditions in order that they understand and respect those with beliefs that differ from their own.
Exactly

Like it or not, religion surrounds us everyday in every walk of life, and it is important aspect of social tollerance to "understand".

Fear is always driven by what you don't understand.
(so people who make stupid comments about religion generally don't understand)
So I think robbing a child of such an education will only have a negative impact further down the line.

I think it's important that kids learn about all the different types of religions, provided the basis is unbiased.
They can then take an informed decision about what they want to follow in their private life, if they so choose
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Old 15.08.2011, 11:58
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

My son will start 2nd grade tomorrow. We received a letter from the "Katholisches und Reformiertes Pfarramt" about these classes but just ignored it as it didn't come from the school. On second read, it is hard to tell if these classes are mandatory (1.5 hours every two weeks). Are these classes mandatory or is it another Kantonal specific thing?

Of course I will ask the teacher but can't today as we have another holiday (Maria Fliiguuf)
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:07
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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My son will start 2nd grade tomorrow. We received a letter from the "Katholisches und Reformiertes Pfarramt" about these classes but just ignored it as it didn't come from the school. On second read, it is hard to tell if these classes are mandatory (1.5 hours every two weeks). Are these classes mandatory or is it another Kantonal specific thing?

Of course I will ask the teacher but can't today as we have another holiday (Maria Fliiguuf)
We didn't get a letter but we got several phone calls from other parents asking whether our son would be attending particular classes with their children.

I believe these are the extra-curricular classes outside of normal school lessons.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:10
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

OK, this will raise my groan count 10 fold, but the OP asked for an honest opinion. Here goes nothing:

As an atheist I strongly believe religion should not be a part of school curricula. Not even an after-school activity. I certainly do not appreciate my tax francs paying for religion classes no matter what time of the day. The reason for that is simple: understanding or tolerance is one thing, and it can be taught in many ways (philosophy being one), independently of religious beliefs (I don't need to understand anything about Mandaeism, but I tolerate anyone, if they choose to worship John the Baptist over Allah or not). I do NOT want to pay for teachers teaching tolerance through "Intelligent design", and I most certainly don't want my children to be taught by a priest, simply because I don't respect his (maybe I shouldn't generalize, but I am confident this applies to most) pedagogic background and his order of priorities. Above all else I don't want my children brainwashed at such an early age with century-aged conceptions of hell, eternal torture or blind-faith-over-knowledge.

Before I get flamed: I do realize we are in a religious country, and I respect the fact that like it or not some religions are an integral part of daily life (e.g. my town's bells going off through the day), and not only I respect that, I also don't complain about it. But we are also living in a pretty secular society, and school should finally separate academics, which are based in scientific notions of knowledge and understanding, from religion, which is the exact opposite (disregard for observation and experience, in exchange for faith and love for its deity).
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:17
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

I think it's important to maintain a fair balance, but finding that "balance" is open to interpretation. Some feel that we live in a Christian society in Switzerland, I'd counter that we live in a fairly non-believing culture with a smattering of Christian values thrown into the mix. Switzerland has many "Free Christian Churches" which seem to be attracting a younger audience than the established Protestant and Catholic flavors.

Seeing as companies have no option but to pay "Church Tax", I'm not of the opinion that we have freedom of choice in Switzerland anyway. But if schools want to play out the nativity scene at Christmas, I have no objections, even if I personally consider the whole religious thing a cynical manipulation of humans trying to control other humans.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:20
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

Not having children, I wasn't aware of the situation, but this leaves me quite surprised. I knew Switzerland was a very religious country, but had no idea they still had religion in their schools.

In the small town where I come from in Spain, up in the mountains and quite far from everything, including civilization, we had the choice in high school of religion or civic studies. And that was 25 years ago!!!
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:24
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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if schools want to play out the nativity scene at Christmas, I have no objections
That raises another sub-discussion.

While I think education should be secular, I find things like Nativity plays a nice* thing. I'm not entirely sure how I can reconcile my hypocrisy.




* Sorry Mrs Doman.**
** My old English teacher. Hated the word, she did.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:24
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:29
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

I remember religion lessons at school as completely unproductive. The message was radically biased, and not a single word was spoken about tolerance. Quite the contrary - roman-catholics are quite clear about the consequences of believing in "other gods". I hated this and did anything to avoid going there.

I'm totally against these backward ways of education. On second hand, it's a fact that we are living in a mixed society and whether we want this or not, some are believers and some are not. I would love to see ethics, psychology and history of religion taught at school. A lesson from which, a muslim, a buddhist or a christian child would equally benefit. All in the name of tolerance and social balance.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:32
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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That raises another sub-discussion.

While I think education should be secular, I find things like Nativity plays a nice* thing. I'm not entirely sure how I can reconcile my hypocrisy.
By considering Christianity as an intrinsic part of European culture, regardless of the rights or wrongs of Christian belief.

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. I wouldn't go so far as to say there is no place for religion in schools (it is part of our shared culture, after all), but if you try to please all the people all the time you end up with something that is so bland and inoffensive as to be meaningless.

Let primary school teachers do their jobs and let Sunday school teachers do theirs, and we'll all know where we stand.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:33
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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

What exactly is taught in religion class here?
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:38
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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I'd much rather my children attended lessons provided by the church of my choice than a teacher I didn't know.
And what if there is no church of your choice? I know I'd still want my child to know about other religions and be taught by a professional - something I just wouldn't be capable of doing myself.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:40
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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And what if there is no church of your choice?
Then I'd try to stop being such a fussy bugger and find a church that was almost my choice.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:46
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

I believe that religion should be taught in schools as religion is a huge factor in explaining what makes the world it is today.

But, it should be taught in a historical / comparative context.

(That's how I learnt it back in the U.K.)

Without knowledge of religion, history teaching becomes meaningless. History of Art becomes meaningless and so on.

It should not be ignored. It's too important for that.
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:48
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Then I'd try to stop being such a fussy bugger and find a church that was almost my choice.
Christian to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sort of thing?
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:50
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

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Then I'd try to stop being such a fussy bugger and find a church that was almost my choice.
No, I mean it. What if there exists none, wherever. Where would children of atheist parents learn to understand those who are religious? They should at least be taught ethics (make this a free choice if you prefer - ethics/protestant/muslim/jewish etc; but it should be obligatory). Knowing and understanding religion is just too critical in today's society
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Old 15.08.2011, 12:51
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Re: Should religion lessons in public schools be discontinued?

If it's only for a small percentage of the curriculum I don't care if my son learns about it so long as it's taught in a similar manner to other subjects, eg, History.

I don't think it would happen here but if they were to start ramming religious rhetoric down his throat I would have a couple of things to say to them.

I had to complain at his daycare a few months ago because he came home spouting stuff about "God says this.." and "God saves everyone" - we don't even discuss religion at home. Turns out one of the daycare dearies decided to shoe-horn it into part of one of the topics they were covering.
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