Thursday, December 29, 2005

Teaching the Religion

As I was ranting about religion last night another thought came to me. Why isn't the topic of comparative religions taught in public school? Shouldn't we be educating children about the different religions and philosphies in the world so they have an understanding of the underlying problems across the world? Can you really understand current political situations if you don't know the differences between the world's major religious beliefs?

Many of the conflicts throughout history have been about differing religious beliefs. Many of our more recent and current problems in this world are due to different religious beliefs: Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, the Balkans, Shias and Sunnis. The global war on terror could be called the war on radical Islamic beliefs. Having a basic understanding of these religions would be a basis for understanding the world.

I remember learning about Martin Luther and the protestant break from orthodox Christianity. I had a rudimentary understanding of Judaism. Heck, I even remember learning a bit about Mohammed from my high school history classes. Does this get taught anymore in schools, public or private? Or has testing the standards taken over these nuances?

If we taught comparative religions, then the different creation theories could be taught. Kids could decide for themselves what they believe on that subject. Perhaps they could even see that evolution does not remove the possibility of a creator. Maybe they would begin to do some thinking for themselves.

What do you think? Should comparative religion be taught in schools?

As for poetry, let's try a poem that rants against a god but returns to that god.

The Collar
By George Herbert

I struck the board, and cried, "no more;
I will abroad!
What, shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the road,
Loose as the wind, as large as store.
Shall I be still in suit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me blood, and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn
Before my tears did drown it;
Is the year only lost to me?
Have I no bays to crown it,
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted,
All wasted?
Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures; leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not; forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sand
Which petty thoughts have made; and made to thee
Good cable, to enforce and draw,
And be they law,
While though didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away! take heed;
I will abroad.
Call in thy death's head there, tie up thy fears:
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need
Deserves his load."
But as I raved, and grew more fierce and wild
At every word,
Methought I heard one calling, "Child";
And I replied, "My Lord."

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