How do/did they teach religion in your school?

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby md0 » 2013-11-22, 7:29

Kinda relevant: yesterday the most prominent spokesman of the secularist movement in Cyprus (they call themselves Free Thinkers Cyprus) wrote an article saying that the government has all rights to impose religion in schools, and those who don't like it should go to private schools.
Of course, it's known that the secularist movement, like the LGBT movement in Cyprus, has fallen to the hands of less than a dozen of vocal anarchocapitalists/neoliberals/fuckheads who quote Ayn Rand in every passage, and say that gay marriage is "racism against people who don't want to get married" and stuff like that. And "Shortest joke of the week: The west needs feminism", "abortion= violence", "feminazis everywhere" etc.
And now the "secularist movement" goes against it's founding goal, to advocate secular public education.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-11-22, 14:32

HoItalosPhilellên wrote:I've attended 9 different schools in the states of Illinois and Indiana, and my curricula has always been completely secular.

Does secular necessarily mean that religion is never mentioned though? Wouldn't it be possible to have secular education with classes about different religions? (I'm not so sure about that myself actually) I think a lot of schools in the Netherlands do have religion classes, but not religious classes. Or at least they try not to give opinions or convince people, they just want to get them a bit familiar with what kind of religions exist. Don't know if that's enough.


I've never had religion at school btw, nor elementary nor secundary. I went to a Nuts-school and a Dalton/Jena-school, we just didn't have those. Sometimes I think it would have been nice (and helpful for the Religion master I took...).
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-11-22, 19:19

Does secular necessarily mean that religion is never mentioned though? Wouldn't it be possible to have secular education with classes about different religions? (I'm not so sure about that myself actually) I think a lot of schools in the Netherlands do have religion classes, but not religious classes. Or at least they try not to give opinions or convince people, they just want to get them a bit familiar with what kind of religions exist. Don't know if that's enough.


Yes, I think it's possible and also desirable because, whether you like it or not, religions have shaped our society and our culture and hence they are a key to better understanding other fields too.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Dormouse559 » 2013-11-22, 19:35

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Does secular necessarily mean that religion is never mentioned though? Wouldn't it be possible to have secular education with classes about different religions?
I obviously can't speak for HoItalosPhilellên, but I had a secular education as well. There was no religion class as such, but world religions were occasionally a subject in social studies classes.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Varislintu » 2013-11-23, 20:47

Finland's approach to religion as a school subject differs from the other Nordic countries, where according to my understanding, all pupils take part together in a class that teaches them about religions. Let's see if I can explain it, it's a bit complicated and I had to look up some aspects of it as it wasn't clear even to me.

In Finland, pupils in elementary school (grades 1-9) take part in what is called "non-confessional education in the own religion". That is, they are split into groups according to what religion their parents claim they are, and receive classes tailored for them specifically. In practice, around 94% of pupils take part in evangelical-lutheran Christian class, because Finland is predominantly evangelical-lutheran. There are official frameworks for 12 additional religions (like Orthodoxism, Islam, Catholicism), and also ethics as a non-religious alternative for those who don't belong to a religious sect.

However, these classes are (a bit unituitively and confusingly) non-confessional, so pupils are not taught to believe, but rather about their own religion. Also, the national curriculum framework defines these classes as supposed to widen pupil's conventional wisdom, and include (more superficial) looks into other world religions as well.

I went to ev-luth class, and the first two years or so were solely about the basics of Christianity, but after that, it was about religions in general with extra focus on Christianity, like the history of Christianity and the difference between lutheranism and catholicism, for example.

However, for the life of me I can't remember if the religions of the Ancients was taught in religion class or history class. :? I know the Norse gods came up a few times in Swedish class (mother tongue and literature class). Old Finnish gods came up in Finnish class. It was all a bit fluid, I think.

Finnish schools are not bound to strict secularism like US public schools, so schools can organise small scale religious stuff, like Bible story times, religious festivity events and going to mass in a nearby church to honour religious Holidays. However, I don't think attendance is compulsory (but it's opt-out, usually) and this is not a part of the actual religion classes.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Levo » 2013-11-30, 23:42

Not too much in the general education plan. At history lessons the teacher mentioned the main geographical and economical factors that lead to the way of thinking of local people and so the main characteristics of their local religious views.
So, they taught some main features of the religions of Ancient Egypt, Mesopothamy, Indian cultures, China, Ancient Greece, Rome. Then the Jewish religion and certain sects that were the ancestors of Christianity. We had to memorize the names of certain Greek and later the Roman Gods, as well as the label for "God" in monotheist religions.

Then of course throughout the medieval ages he taught us the main characteristics of newer movements and philosophies as Saint Thomas of Aquino, Thomas Morus (or what it can be in English), Hussitism, Reformation, (mainly the Evangelic and Calvinist branches), etc...

At arts lessons, we learned the names of some Hindu gods and I remember everyone had to study and present the arts of some distant culture, so I chose that of Japan and I remember I read Japanese religions with eager and during my presentation I mentioned those too with a couple of words.

Other than that, from the 1990's, so in my childhood, there was a possibility for religious education as an option (before I don't think they announced more news of Christianity in general than how a priest raped another young boy, so always the bad sides only). I opted for my official one, so I had one lesson of Calvinist religious education each week from first to third grade. I enjoyed it and remember quite a lot of stories from the Old Testament until present day.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby JackFrost » 2013-12-01, 0:25

In my high school, there is no option to study a religion since that's forbidden under the First Amendment. However, historical and world religions are an occasional subject in history classes and it's rather secular too.

Does secular necessarily mean that religion is never mentioned though?

Secular as in school officials, as they're seen as public workers, are forbidden teaching students about a religious belief. For example, telling biblical stories, chiding a student for a sin, making the students take a minute to pray, telling a student he'll go to hell, etc. are a major no-no and you could lose your teaching job.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Johanna » 2013-12-03, 0:26

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Does secular necessarily mean that religion is never mentioned though? Wouldn't it be possible to have secular education with classes about different religions? (I'm not so sure about that myself actually) I think a lot of schools in the Netherlands do have religion classes, but not religious classes. Or at least they try not to give opinions or convince people, they just want to get them a bit familiar with what kind of religions exist. Don't know if that's enough.

Sweden is a lot like the Netherlands in that regard, so I'd say that it is indeed possible.

Then it comes down to the people running the school, or even the individual teacher, as to how neutral this will actually be.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby md0 » 2013-12-04, 16:28

By comparison
telling biblical stories

That's so common I wouldn't even say anything about it and I'm a secularism
chiding a student for a sin

telling a student he'll go to hell

That happened even in high school. More common in primary school of course, because at that age threats are effective.

making the students take a minute to pray

That's the first thing every class does every morning. Some teachers even point a single student each day to say it out loud while the rest are silent, to test if they memorised it (as they did in the army). We hated those teachers. Most just have the whole classroom pray at the same time so if you don't know the lyrics*, you blend in.

* I don't. I start reciting Lord's Prayer (Κυριακή Προσευχή) and I end up saying the long version of Gloria Patri (Δόξα Πατρί). And I don't know the Easter prayer at all. And I finally don't have to.

To conclude, a picture of our government published today in the newspapers (press conference about something or another)
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Michael » 2013-12-04, 16:56

Has Cyprus been taken hostage by the Orthodox Taliban?
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-12-04, 17:44

I wonder if all this religiosity is also due to the fact that on the other side of the island there's the "muslim turkish menace".

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby md0 » 2013-12-04, 18:11

"been taken hostage" implies it's done unwillingly and that it wasn't always like that.

I wonder if all this religiosity is also due to the fact that on the other side of the island there's the "muslim turkish menace".

Nope. Two things: It didn't start 50 years ago. It's at least 200 years old.
Also, and this will seem weird, but we don't see Turkish Cypriots as "really" Muslims. And if you go to primary sources from 50 years ago with all the conflicts going on, there isn't a religious element in either side's rhetoric. No "we will remove muslims" or "we will remove christians".
Also, in school, when we were brainwashed about all the crimes of Islam against humanity, it was always explicitly about Arabs, not Turks.
T/C Islam is kinda like Bosnia's. You barely notice it unless it's ramadan.
So it's just "Turkish menace" that we are taught there's next to us.

I can't pretend I can give you a proper answer here, but the Greek identity in Cyprus (Greece has mostly moved on) is kinda like the Arab identity. It packs religion too. Turks had Kemal that separated ethnicity (Turk) from religion (Islam), but we never had that, so Greek and Christian go together, even if you are not really religious, you are not going to be atheist, unless you don't see yourself as Greek.
And the Church is powerful enough to rewrite history. While primary sources clearly show that Christianity hated Greeks and that the Church was always in the side of the oppressors of Greeks (the Church sided with both the Ottomans and the Nazis), they managed to convince anyone they were the safeguards of the Greek identity through the ages, and that Greeks of Cyprus wouldn't exist today if it wasn't for the Church. And when you are raised to believe that, even if you can't believe in a god of any sort, you don't speak out against the Church's control of people's private lives.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby benjamino59 » 2014-01-26, 20:10

Everyone has to have 8 years of christianity here in Denmark starting in 1st grade at age 6. It's all christian indoctrinating bullshit, about how Jesus is inside of us, and shit. And they tell it to small children like it was science! And science first begins in 3rd grade, 2 years later! And all politicians and my teacher in the subject is like, "It's not manipulating, it's just teaching children about the religion, which is the foundation of our modern society." Excuse me. That's bullshit. And DR, the state-owned television company, recently made a big research project, which showed that 57 % of all Danish, heterosexual males are atheists (and that number is 63% for us gays). And it just gets worse. Of those 8 years, we've only been taught about philosphy for two weeks - and that was in the last year of christianity. Then we've had a bit about other religions, however that was in themes such as "The meeting between islam and christianity", and "Does all religions come from christianity?". And the rest was just bible reading and jesus talk.

And in 3rd grade, there's something called "minikonfirmation" (mini confirmation). It's where the school cooperates with the church, and then the children, who has christian parents, spend two hours of their week playing games and watching movies in church, while being taught about Jesus, so that when they grow up, they'll remember how friendly the church was to them. BS IMO.

And in high school there's one year of religion, which I've heard should be better. But still, it's indoctrinating small children.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby JuxtapositionQMan » 2014-02-12, 3:00

benjamino59 wrote:Everyone has to have 8 years of christianity here in Denmark starting in 1st grade at age 6. It's all christian indoctrinating bullshit, about how Jesus is inside of us, and shit. And they tell it to small children like it was science! And science first begins in 3rd grade, 2 years later! And all politicians and my teacher in the subject is like, "It's not manipulating, it's just teaching children about the religion, which is the foundation of our modern society." Excuse me. That's bullshit. And DR, the state-owned television company, recently made a big research project, which showed that 57 % of all Danish, heterosexual males are atheists (and that number is 63% for us gays). And it just gets worse. Of those 8 years, we've only been taught about philosphy for two weeks - and that was in the last year of christianity. Then we've had a bit about other religions, however that was in themes such as "The meeting between islam and christianity", and "Does all religions come from christianity?". And the rest was just bible reading and jesus talk.

And in 3rd grade, there's something called "minikonfirmation" (mini confirmation). It's where the school cooperates with the church, and then the children, who has christian parents, spend two hours of their week playing games and watching movies in church, while being taught about Jesus, so that when they grow up, they'll remember how friendly the church was to them. BS IMO.

And in high school there's one year of religion, which I've heard should be better. But still, it's indoctrinating small children.
Wow... :shock:
The first part sounds a lot like my music class, but the rest sounds just wrong.
My school kinda tries to do some of that, but the insincerity is palpable, and nothing they ever do for Catholicism is ever fun. Not to mention our religion teacher for 6-8 simply does not do her job at all. She doesn't explain spiritual meaning, how religion can make you a better person, symbolism, nada. She explains nothing. Our pastor (because the school is sponsored by the local parish) does that, but only in long homilies you have to pay attention to to understand. Most people in my class are playing on their smartphones at this point, and teachers have given up trying to stop them. I have no problem with religion, because religion gives some people meaning to their life and lets them be a better person, but this is brainwashing, and not just brainwashing, poorly executed brainwashing. At least benjamino59's school tries too hard, so some children will eventually question the absurdity, but mine is just breeding a generation of self-satisfed, hypocritical atheists and mindless, unquestioning zombies that both can't be bothered to think about anything, and one or two manipulative psychopaths that are the only ones to thrive.
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Prowler » 2014-02-16, 22:19

Religion classes are not compulsory in schools here. Back when I was kid there used to be an optional subject called "Moral and Religious Education". If I recall, you had to pay for the lectures, whether it was in a private or in a public school.

No idea what the program was since I never had that subject. I'm not religious nor do I come form a religious family.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Lada » 2014-02-20, 5:30

When I was at school, we didn't learn anything about religion at all. We still had Soviet standards which excluded anything about religion.
Right now, I've read that a pupil has to select what he wants to learn: secualr ethics, Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddism (?). The majority selects secular ethics, however some regions are fully Islamic or with Orthodoxy in majority.

Recently I've learnt that Russia is not a secular state, what was quite a surprise for me :roll:

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Itikar » 2014-02-20, 10:21

Lada wrote: Buddism (?). :roll:

For the Kalmyks?
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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-10, 23:17

We didn't even deal with religion. In socials, the closest to religion that we've been taught about was the Crusades (obviously) and in Japanese we were told a few bits of Shinto and Buddhism (zen). I don't know why, but I guess since it can be a very touchy subject and tends to cause a gigantic, heated discussion, it was ignored elementary and still ignored in high school.

I wish we did do some stuff on Christianity because then it forces those who don't understand it and related monotheistic religions to pay attention to what is actually taught to us in church and such. Everytime I try to explain something to one of my friends, he just says it's crap and hardly listens.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-10-11, 0:15

We didn't, either, apart from brief introductions to various religions in social studies/world geography/world history classes and (in high school, English class, if this even counts) Greek mythology.

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Re: How do/did they teach religion in your school?

Postby Lada » 2014-10-11, 8:06

Itikar wrote:
Lada wrote: Buddism (?). :roll:

For the Kalmyks?

They are not the only Buddists, there are Buryats, Tuvans (or Tuvinians?), probably someone else.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Russia


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