Religion is very sensitive subject for many people. Very often people tend to get very emotional or passionate while talking in favor or against religion. There are many different religions which are practiced in world, some are very ancient (like Hinduism) and some are relatively new (like Islam). They differ from each other in various aspects, some practices are radically different from each other. Because of differences between practices and rituals of some of these religions communal tensions in different parts of the world (where people practicing these conflicting religions come across each other) is also very common occurrence. People who support the concept and practices of organized religions claim that ultimately all religions teach love and compassion towards each other. They also say that people who are fighting among themselves or spreading hatred in the name of religion doesn't understand the true essence of that religion. At the same time all radical groups or fundamentalists who are present in each and every religion, country and section of society claim that they are the only people who understand the true meaning of that own religion; they claim to be authorized flag bearers or true followers of their faith and call all others as fake, compromised, weak or misguided followers. On the other hand people who criticize organized religion call it a totally outdated concept which has done more harm than good to human race. So there are many different views about concept and practices of religion, these views are very different, some of them are poles apart form each other.
There is no doubt that religion plays a very important role in many people's lives. For some it is so important that their behavior, thinking and even personality is shaped by their religious affiliation. So if religion is such an important subject why don't we teach it to kids in proper way as we teach them history and science? Please listen to this very wonderful talk by Dan Dennet from where I borrowed the title of the blog. Why don't we present them with all historical facts and figures about each and every religion which is practiced today? Let them know the unbiased version of history of each religion (including their own), let them understand the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of it. In current system they get very biased knowledge about their own religion and rest of religions from their own parents (or family). Many times this information is so biased that it creates false positive image of their own religion and false negative image of other religions in their minds. This image is then magnified by people like politicians or terrorist organizations who want to use these sentiments for their own benefit, this then results in creation of fanatics who claim to do something good for their own religion by harming others who practice some other religion.
Why can't we teach religion as a subject in schools? Why we can't have unbiased, logical and fact based discussion about each and every religion? After all everyone who believes in religion say that their religion can stand any type of scrutiny or test, so why not to teach it in very unbiased way. This will help kids from being misguided by people from their own religion as well as clear misconceptions about other religions. This might help to bridge huge gap which we see among followers of different religions and may be sometime in future we could avoid any communal clashes. I know I am stretching it too far but I believe once people are equipped with right information their decision taking capabilities are enhanced, they are less prone to make wrong choices. Our job should be to provide correct unbiased information and expect for it to produce desired results, we do this in the area of science and history so why not with religion? I believe concerned people should think over this topic and come up with some viable plan. Now a days sex education is becoming a part of many school curriculum, finally many societies and countries are agreeing to the fact that it is necessary to give youths a proper sex education. Sex is very integral and important part of human life, so giving proper information about this subject at right age will definitely benefit students, it will help to make them proper choices in their lives. Same way if religion is such an important aspect of many people's lives why not to take the similar approach in this case also?
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]
1. Let's teach religion — all religion — in schools-TED talk
2. Letting go of God-TED talk