There has been a growing debate on whether religious education should or should not be offered in public colleges. While some people view religious education as an important subject matter for students whereas some people oppose religious education because they are concerned about students being indoctrinated and confused about the values taught in college vs values taught in home. However, opposing religious education is not a good option because of the growing terrorist attack at different religious sites. Religious education should be offered in public college because it increases knowledge of students, fosters unity and teaches morals.
Teaching about religious education is beneficial to students and for the society. We live in a pluralist society. There are billions of people following diverse religion and principles. According to Stephen Prothero,’ Most students could not name the first five books of Hebrew Bible or Old testament, only one out of eight could name the first five books of Hebrew bible or old testament, and only one in a four could name a single Hindu sculpture.’ This growing religious illiteracy prompt the need of religious education. Exposing students to diverse religion allows them grasp vast knowledge about world. Understanding different religion of the world is a necessity in today’s world as everything is tied up to religion. If we turn up the news, variety of news have some reference to religion. It teaches students the ability to understand background of people’s life and the faith they hold. Basic understanding of religious belief is important for students to understand each other. So much of today’s conflict can be traced back to religion which makes it even more crucial for students to be knowledgeable about the religious beliefs. According to John C. Bothwell,’ The other ways to expose students to religion as an important phenomenon in the world today, as well as in history. Here they will learn about the religious heritage of mankind and gain a sympathetic understanding and appreciation of their own tradition (if they are the part of one) and those of neighbors in today’s global village.’ The main objective of religious education is to educate students about the existence of different faith. It informs students about the importance of faith and beliefs. Not only that, religious education allows students to think critically about the current problems facing religion.
Religious education holds more value in today’s contemporary times to increase awareness as well as religious tolerance for the harmonious society that we desperately need in today’s world. My experience in being a part of international college from students of different religion, disagreement may appear naturally among students. Every now and then, we hear cases of racism, intolerance in colleges. According to Noah Berlstsky,’ More than 10% of American Muslim students reported physical bullying such as slapping, kicking, or slapping. Seventeen percent of the female respondents who wear a hijab, the Islamic headscarf, reported being bullied at least once.’ Teaching religious education give students a opportunity to integrate with students with diverse beliefs and have discussion with them. Despite of the differences in religious beliefs, all faith teaches integration. Students will understand each other’s belief and respect each other despite of differences. The understanding of religious beliefs reduces the chances of offending other students and fosters unity among students. Students will be less inclined to start confrontations with other students regarding their beliefs. Students will learn to respect differences between them and respect each other’s opinions and beliefs which promotes unity in diversity.
Students will be able to learn morality through religious education. Examining other religion allow students to cultivate moral agency. Religious education plays an important role in molding students’ spirituality and build their values as human beings. Throughout the human history, religion has a significant approach to comprehend the importance of life and some people rely on their religious beliefs for their moral decisions. The value of morality differs according to religion. According to the Cheung, Chris Hin Wah et al, ‘Religious engagement does seem to influence student’s attitude to the role of religion in society but the impact of religious engagement on social and civic values is differential.’ Students possess ethical convictions, ethical ideas, ethical inclusions and exclusions. Teaching religious education educate students to respect many ethical beliefs and values around the world. Teaching religious education also promotes ethical awareness and help develop skills to act ethically. According to Stephen Prothero, ‘From time immemorial, and for better or for worse, human beings have been motivated to act politically, economically, and militarily by their gods, scriptures and priests. Without making sense of those motivation, we cannot make sense of the world.’ The faith people believe has impacted their life decisions and the way they act. Religious education certainly will allow students to make a choice on whether they want to believe on religion. It empowers students to consider and react to crucial question regarding their spiritual development process and makes it easier for them to differentiate between what’s wrong and what’s right.