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Adam van Kuik

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Should a child be able to choose his or her own religion?

Young children only believe in their respective religion because they are forced to believe by their parents. Should a child be able to choose his or her own religion? Should schools require all kids to take a world religions course in either elementary, junior high school, or high school? How would this hurt society?


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    Jul 18 2011: I'm all for religious education under several conditions (in order of importance):
    1. Clarify that with all religions, with no exception, "it's a matter of faith, not a matter of knowledge".
    (If there's a guarantee the teacher has done just that, we can be sure the teacher wouldn't be the cause of any fundies and science deniers.)
    2. Contradictions between different non-controversial religious doctrines are to be as emphasized as their similarities - mention the golden rule, but also mention reincarnation vs. heaven&hell, created vs. always existing universe, etc.
    (If that and 1 are done, we can be sure there will be religious tolerance)
    3. All holy texts, without exceptions, are to be presented as "evidence for God" or better yet "the source of the belief system" (is there a religion with a holy book and no Gods? If there is, the latter would include it) rather than "the word of God".
    (If that is here, we have the seed of doubt being planted within any truth seeker)
    4. Include not just popular contemporary religions, but also popular ancient religions (Greek at minimum, ideally also Egyptian and Norse).

    I've had all throughout my elementary education (informally... the teacher taught us about religion out of the curriculum), and I think I've turned out OK. Even my peers that identify themselves as Christians and believe in God are tolerant of all faiths, and are technically "agnostic Christians". They wouldn't use the term precisely because they all understand that being religious is a matter of faith i.e. not claiming knowledge - being agnostic - by definition.

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