Prateek Maloo

IT Analyst, Tata Consultancy Services Limited

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Indroduce a concept of flexible religion in schools. Let people choose to follow a faith they want to.

There's a reason we have religion. Its not only to instill the notion that there are gods and supernatural powers controlling and creating everything. The greater good is in imbibing the qualities the religion tries to personify.

There is a huge divide in the entire world over religion. People, belonging to different religions, have reservations against each other. The religional biases are stunting the harmonious social development. As we live in a global and free world, its in the best interest of everyone to be given chance to understand all the religions equally and rationally, avoiding fanaticism.

The imagery of a God that is created by a religion should no be taken as the absolute aim. Blindly following a faith and not learning to lead a useful lifestyle should not be the aim of following a religion or a god. The grand personna of God has more than just mystic to it. There are qualities which made these figures so grand. The way of living, behaviour towards others, moral values, attitude and a desire to learn and grow to be a better person are some of the most basic qualities all the different Gods have.

Instead of being pushed into a religion, I believe people should have a right to choose a faith. And there's nothing better than to teach the children about it. Introducing religion as a concept in school and making it interactive, open ended and unbiased will make the children understand all the religions equally and give them a better perspective. It will make them understand and respect the various subtleties and behaviour of different faiths.

Allow them to choose a God rather than restricting and forcing them to worship one. Its imbecilic to constraint people to one religion and one god. The concept should give people happiness and not pain. Its a support system. we should work it away from the rigid and ridiculed tenets that it has been inculcating.

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    Dec 21 2011: @ David Hamilton:

    My idea is to move beyond religion, towards a better life as humans. The morals we are teaching in schools are moot on the children. Blame the way of teaching or the social psyche. Religion is an easy way to combine concept of "following" and "moral living", hence the idea.

    I am an apathetist. I don't think this, by any means, frees me of moral obligations and being humane. People these days are more involved in forming a sect and forgetting that things that divide them from the others are skin color, language spoken and God followed. All are cosmetic.

    I vote for a broader mind over a cult religion.
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      Dec 21 2011: An apathetist... Does that mean you don't care if there is a god, because you'll be moral anyway? I really dig that word, if that is in fact what it means... because I guess that is what I am too. I think it would be cool, if there was a cannon of literature to teach our children for that philosophy as well.
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    Dec 21 2011: Totally agree. I said something almost exactly like this awhile back when talking about revolutionairy concepts, and how to convert them to mass action. Basically my thought was that "Every religion of the world holds the key to understanding a part of the human mind, and motivation, and to pick one, is simply incompetent. We need an educational approach to religion, where having read five or six different religious texts is considered objectively smarter, than reading one, and we need to start teaching our children this fact."

    I'm glad to see some like minded people suggesting a similar idea. I would also add however that one of the biggest problems that our generation faces, is that there are no longer any moral philosophers, they are almost all religous... It's kind of considered an archaic practice nowadays, to just think about morallity for decades, and then bring your revelations to the world. I think we could use more of that, especially, for the purpose of creating what I would call an "atheists cannon of moral philosophy", that suggests that peopel who don't believe in god, are still subject to moral principles. Dawkins is someone people would tend to think of when talking about this, but honestly, I'm not entirely convinced he's actually a moral person, though I do occasionally find him entertaining and interesting.
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    Jan 21 2012: Of course all children should learn about religion in school. And not only the five or six currently popular religions, but the religions that are no longer popular - we usually call them "mythology" - to show that those were as relevant and as true as the ones that happen to have caught people's fancy in the last few hundred years.

    You say that religion teaches values. It can do that, but it usually mixes it in with all kinds of rites, sacraments, and rules. The negatives with religions are that they separate people from each other, often creating an impenetrable wall of hatred, and they hamper the free thinking of the adherents, by forcing their mind into certain approved channels.
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    Dec 22 2011: @Pontus Westermark

    I don't want to start a new religion. We already have too many to handle. There's no point starting another one. I am suggesting introduction of religion as a suject in school. This incorporates all the major religions in the world. I think I should rephrase "Teaching religion" to "Make them understand religion".

    The framework of most of the religions revolves around someone who leads people to a better life. Good wins over evil. There are teachings on how to lead a good lifestyle. Thats the chassis.

    The beliefs I hold are mine. I don't want to impose or preach. I want people to understad what different religions are all about, let them find their own faith and above all, lead a life free of prejudice. This doesn't really need another religion. Just a little shift in the way we think.
  • Dec 22 2011: @Prateek Maloo

    So you just want to start a new, true religion that everyone should adhere to instead, because the beliefs you hold are more valuable than others. Have you considered basing it on truism, non-falsifiable ideas and thoughts that corresponds very well with current political developments? Sounds like any other religion to me.

    You have to revise more closely what this "framework" you refer to actually means. What criterias do you use to decide which parts of religions should be included. Perhaps all the ones that fit your idea of the perfect world? Throw in small bits of hate against the parts you don't agree with?

    Why not got with the "if you can't test it or if there are logical inconsistencies in the premises, let's not teach it at schools"? Wouldn't that breed more critical thinking and innovation instead of repolising the Prateek Maloo religion and teach it as "the true way of life"?
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    Dec 22 2011: @Pontus Westermark

    The age criteria is debatable. I chose to be an apathetist at an age of 16. Of course I didn't know the state of belief I was in was or will be called so. Moreover, Teaching religion not as we know it, might help better than otherwise. If you observe closely, you'll see that every religion has a common framework. Extract the chassis, polish it, and present it to the children. Then give them religion.

    Schooling them doesn't mean making them learn facts and theories, but to make them think for themselves, become rational and observe morality. You can't stop someone from growing up to be a serial killer or a rapist or a swindler but you sure can put a moral wall between the sane and insane. Its always a prerogative of a person to take the plunge to the darker side. All I am trying to say is good schooling will make the plunge harder.

    Teaching religion to effect of reducing the differences and promote mingling is the aim. This may help in curbing religious hate to some extent.
  • Dec 21 2011: Or you could try to make it illegal to teach any religion to children under the age of 16 or 18 or something, then you allow the religios doctrines to try to reach out. That way the children will not be molded into one fixed idea of how the world works largely based on what their parents tell them, but are allowed to make their own mind up on weather or not they accept the "logic" beneath the different religious teachings.

    But I guess that wouldn't be very well liked. "You have to get them while they're young, when their minds are still open and receptive to god"...
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    Dec 21 2011: @ David Hamilton:

    Its a personal choice. I don't care about God or religion. I care about how people can live with each others without any boundaries or inhibitions. To erase differences based on who you worship and to be with each other because of who you are. Morals are yours to follow. God has nothing to do with it. :)