To Battle Ignorance We Need More Knowledge
Can you explain the difference between a shia and a sunni? Can you explain the reason why there are multiple denominations of Christianity? Why are there multiple translations of the Bible?
If you cannot don’t feel bad. Polls have indicated Americans have done fairly poorly on knowledge about religions. But given how much religion is connected to many of the world’s conflicts are connected to religion it seems odd how little we know as Americans.
Which makes sense. In school, most information about religion is taught as part of Social Studies and is grouped in with such a large amount of other subjects that it gets a cursory understanding. The understanding of different religions is a key way to eliminate the misinformation that different groups give online. For example, hearing about any particular religion being “a religion of violence.” To look at the complicated history, different interpretations, and evolution of belief would give individuals a way to discriminate between fact and hyperbole.
Therefore, schools should have mandatory religious studies classes. This does not mean teach theology. Any particular religion should not be taught as a universal truth. What is needed is comparative religious studies course. Studies need to learn about various religions because of how complex contemporary issues have become where religion has become a central aspect.
While there are some schools that have religious studies classes for students in high school. It should be taught at a younger age. Studies have shown that children have the cognitive ability to learn about religion and there is no reason to wait until someone has grown older had created built-in prejudices.