Children need to be taught a wide-range of topics in school, which should include world religion. If children were taught world religion in school, then there would be less prejudice against those of different religions. Religion is a controversial subject, especially were children are concerned. In most cases, the topic of religion is either avoided or rather quickly turns from discussion to argument. Rarely are parents completely comfortable with ideas that are not their own being taught to their children. This closed mindedness is unfortunate as more than ever the world is becoming smaller in terms of communication. The more we are able to express ideas, the more the human race might benefit. World religion should be taught in schools to prevent wars, stop hate crimes and bullying, and it would help cross cultural business flourish. In a state of ignorance, hate festers like infection in an unclean wound.
Human beings are one of the few species on earth that kills one another, and it is certainly the only one that does so on such an immense scale. Thousands upon thousands of people across the globe have died in the name of different religions. The primary reason this take place is because there is not an understanding or sufficient knowledge present in the individuals who fight over religion. There are those who believe, “By encouraging students to understand and respect people of different religious beliefs, educators are combatting these disturbing statistics and contributing to a more peaceful world” (Jackson, Anthony). At a young age, children would be taught about the various religions and learn to respect those who believe in something different than they believe, which would prevent wars from occurring based on religious beliefs. After the bombing of the World Trade Center, there were many people in the United States who had a prejudice against the Nation of Islam. However, there were citizens of the United States, which were Muslim, who did not agree with the act that was committed.
Religion is the foundation from which civilizations have structured themselves. Religion gives a strict set of rules for people to follow unto their own salvation in the afterlife. Though there are differences between religions, many of their core values are similar. If children are taught lessons about other religions of the world from an unbiased point of view, then they may be enlightened not to a new path but a new found respect. Religion is a very large door to unlock when trying to understand another cultures social cues. With the implementation of communication tools like the Internet, it is more imperative for success that professionals are able to communicate their thoughts or opinions to a multitude of other peoples. Linda Groff and Paul Smoker explained:
It is often the case that in everyday interactions individuals, even from the same culture, can misperceive each other. When they come from totally different cultures, including different religious traditions and belief systems, the danger is even greater. (Groff, Smoker)
With knowledge of other religions, a student is more likely to understand why someone of a different background might act differently than himself or herself. From business endeavors to life-saving politics, world religion studies will help students to steer the future to an enriched humanity and away from war.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world; individuals who live in the United States believe in many different religions. With all the diversity of this country, it is important that children understand their fellow citizens beliefs. There would be fewer children who bully others for following a different religion because they would be taught at a young age to respect other people’s beliefs. Jackson explained, “The U.S. Department of Justice Hate Crime Victimization report, the percentage of hate crimes that were motivated by religious bias was nearly three times higher in 2012 (28%) than in 2004 (10%)” (Jackson). Furthermore, Jackson asserted, “Many violent hate crime perpetrators are school age: in 2012, nearly one in five were under the age of 18” (Jackson). There would be less hate crimes committed because of religion. Unfortunately, in the United States there are many innocent individuals who are subjected to hate crimes because of their beliefs. Those who are responsible for committing hate crimes often act because they do not understand others religious beliefs.
It would benefit society if world religion was taught in schools, and it would give children a basis to respect those who believe something different. There are many subjects that are taught in school, such as music, art, and physical education, so why should world religion be excluded from the subjects that are already being taught? It should not; it should be included in the curriculum of schools. It is true that not everyone is going to agree on topics, such as world religion, but being taught a basic understanding will eliminate many problems. There would be many children who would lead happy lives free from bullying and be able to proudly worship and act on what their religion dictates. The separation of church and state can be upheld while still enlightening students to the beliefs of the world.
Groff, Linda. Smoker, Paul. “Spirituality, Religion, Culture, and Peace: Exploring the
Foundations for Inner-Outer Peace in the Twenty-First Century.” The International
Jackson, Anthony. “Four Reasons Why You Should Teach Religion in School.” Education