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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:09 pm 
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America get an 'F' in religion
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Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, isn't laughing. Americans' deep ignorance of world religions — their own, their neighbors' or the combatants in Iraq, Darfur or Kashmir — is dangerous, he says.
Belief is not his business, says Prothero, who grew up Episcopalian and now says he's a spiritually "confused Christian." He says his argument is for empowered citizenship

So, is it possible to teach Biblical studies without indoctrinating kids? Would people tolerate their kids learning about Islam, Buddhism and Judaism in a neutral fashion alongside their own faith? Were you aware that Sodom and Gomorrah weren't married? (I always assumed so, seeing as how they were gay and the whole same sex marriage thing is kinda new :P) And in the spirit of Prothero, lets keep this away from personal faith and in the realsm of informed citizenry and the obstacles to educating said citizens.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:15 pm 
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I've had a comparrative religion course in institute (seminary for mormons).

I found it to be very informative. Specifically, i learned alot about hinduism, but the course wasn't limited to any one faith; I don't think the problem is common to those who are willing to frequent a classroom dedicated to religious study.

The problem is people in America are tired of religious bigotry, and while a classroom setting doesn't necesitate proximity to a bigot, it certainly increases the likelyhood of it occuring.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:19 pm 
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This is how we can get religions supporting ideas at odds with their own core values. It is also symptomatic of a deeper problem with education in general. History, science, music, even mathematics are all deeply misunderstood by the general population, leading to difficulties understanding the origins of the Iraq/Iran/Shia/Sunni conflicts, doubts about evolution, global warming or even quantum or relativistic physics, the popularity of boy bands and Brittney Spears and the Lotto. Why should religion be spared?

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:01 pm 
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I can't believe how many questions I knew the answer to considering that I haven't believed been religious since the 90s. Strange. I think once you start viewing the stories in the Bible as myth, like the Odyssey, as opposed to a religion they become more interesting to learn about. Perhaps this perspective might help the inquisitive secular Americans... y'know... learn or something.

Sorry, I lost my train of thought.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:43 pm 
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Eh, who needs the hassles of constantly suppressing the theocrats who will seize on any slight opening to advance their agenda? Unless it's all openly labeled 'mythology' right up front, and ruthlessly prevented from suggesting that any of it might be factually correct, then it isn't worth the hassles.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:05 pm 
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I find the Bible fascinating, but I have to say I started enjoying it more once I left school and just read it for my own amusement. Which is true of almost everything I learnt in school.

Didn't have many problems with the questions with regards to Christianity, but I struggled on the other religions a little. I guess I'll have to go do some more reading.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:51 pm 
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angrysunbird wrote:
America get an 'F' in religion
Quote:
Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, isn't laughing. Americans' deep ignorance of world religions — their own, their neighbors' or the combatants in Iraq, Darfur or Kashmir — is dangerous, he says.
Belief is not his business, says Prothero, who grew up Episcopalian and now says he's a spiritually "confused Christian." He says his argument is for empowered citizenship

So, is it possible to teach Biblical studies without indoctrinating kids? Would people tolerate their kids learning about Islam, Buddhism and Judaism in a neutral fashion alongside their own faith? Were you aware that Sodom and Gomorrah weren't married? (I always assumed so, seeing as how they were gay and the whole same sex marriage thing is kinda new :P) And in the spirit of Prothero, lets keep this away from personal faith and in the realsm of informed citizenry and the obstacles to educating said citizens.


Sodom and Gomorrah were cities. God destroyed them because their citizens (aside from the sorta-kinda-righteous Lot and his family) tried to homosexually rape strangers.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:43 pm 
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I'm taking a Comparative Religions course next year @ the old high school... so, this type of course exists, and does successfully educate about religion, but then again, it's coming from an education rather than religious standpoint, and it doesn't focus on any oen religion, so...not quite what you're looking for, op. Just decided to chime in, 'cause I'm looking forward to the course itself, and it's sorta on topic, right? :torg:

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:49 pm 
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I got an 88. I only knew half the Sacrements, none of the Noble Truths, misidentified the Good Samaritan story, and, to my chagrin, though the Sermon on the Mount quote was slightly misquoted, and thus a "trick question".

Of course, comparitive religions has been an interest of mine since my mother took the class while preparing for seminary. I think that religious education is benificial to people; the most intolerant people I have met have been ignorant, often even of the tenets of their own faith or belief, while those that have received education on their own faith - even if not on others - are far more informed and enlightened to the virtues present even in those that don't share their faiths. One of the most open-minded men I've met was, somewhat ironically, a Southern Baptist minister (often viewed as the most bigoted of American Christians) who had actually attended seminary.

So knowing your own faith - as well as others - seems from my experience to be beneficial to humanity, so I would support such lessons in school.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:50 pm 
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Crazed123 wrote:
angrysunbird wrote:
Were you aware that Sodom and Gomorrah weren't married? (I always assumed so, seeing as how they were gay and the whole same sex marriage thing is kinda new :P) .


Sodom and Gomorrah were cities. God destroyed them because their citizens (aside from the sorta-kinda-righteous Lot and his family) tried to homosexually rape strangers.
Okay, I'll bite. Notice the use of a colon and a capitalised p at the end of my statement there? Its something called an emicon, which makes what looks like a face with a tongue poking out, with which I am indicating that the previous statement is in jest. (Although it would have been completely awesome if I had started a thread about religious ignorance and inadvertently shown myself to be, you know, religiously ignorant.)
(The story of Sodom is interesting, of course, for the wonderful behaviour of Lot in Genesis 19.)

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:02 pm 
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And here I thought that using a colon and a tongue thingy in reference to Sodom might mean something else entirely...;)

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:07 pm 
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Jus imagine the horrors of a semicolon. Thank God for fire and brimstone.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:14 pm 
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heh, I got an 84. I didn't know any of hte noble truths and I missed one of the sacraments (stupid Holy ORders grrr)

I took a comparative religion class in College, but also had a World history teacher in 10th grade that fully believed that world history could not be covered properly unless some basis in the religions was set. We learned the names and places (basically The 5 W's and the H) important to the rise of those religions, and then moved on.

Every child should have the chance to learn something different.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:54 am 
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It's impossible to understand history, other cultures or current events without at least some teaching of religion, and would tend to think an open, even handed class would be very good for all of our students.

Having said that, I agree with Were in that it would not be possible in our society. Realistically, it'd be all Chrisitan indoctrination or nothing at all. Do you think the hard core evangelicals would want their kids learning more about Islam than "it's scary and evil"? Let alone paganism, hinduism or secular humanism (since to be fair, you'd have to have a section for those who don't believe). Ye Gods, thier kids may grow up to be Buddhist or something.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:59 pm 
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My World Lit teacher was complaining about the lack of knowledge of religion this past week, because he feels that it is crucial to understanding much of the course material.

Incidentally, most of my exposure to the ideas of other religions (even though I've forgotten most of it) was in my church youth group in a rural, conservative Southern Baptist church. We spent an entire summer covering world religions and what they believed, then comparing them to what we believed as Christians and why we believed differently from them. It may have been a cliffnotes style class on world religion, but it was the broadest exposure that I have had to other religions.

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