The Instigator
rikomalpense
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
AndreiBalint
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Public schools in Western countries should be completely secular.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
rikomalpense
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 853 times Debate No: 66927
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

rikomalpense

Pro

It is true that religion plays a large part of many students' lives. However, students follow many different religions. Just as a Chinese family would likely teach their children their dialect of Chinese outside of school, a religious family should teach their children their religion outside of school as well.

Indeed, with many religions, such as the ever-ubiquitous Christianity for example, students may be required to attend religious functions once a week or more anyways. Combining this with further Religious Studies seems to be superfluous.

As well, often in Western countries, a non-secular school is synonymous with a Christian school. While Christians may be the majority in many Western countries [1], there are still typically significant minorities of other religions that may feel marginalized when their children are forcibly exposed to another religion. They live in the country and pay for their children's schooling through taxes, just like everyone else- they should be entitled to some respect.

Of course, religions should be studied within school, as they are a major part of mankind's history. However, it should be confined to a few units in history classes, or as an optional course, for example, and no teacher should claim that the beliefs of any religion are true, or not true. Students should be allowed to make that decision for themselves.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
AndreiBalint

Con

I understand your argument and to some extent i might say i agree but consider the following. A country and it's religion have very strong bond even nowadays . The perspective and principles based down from generation to generation is strongly tied to the past . So present day mentality in a country is bound by the past and history of such a country.Thus I can say that for a nation to study its religion is important because it gives children the necessary knowledge to understand and choose which of the principles passed down from their parents should they choose etc. I do not agree with the fact that immigrants might feel shamed. Remember that immigrants when leaving their country make a decision to abandom some of their culture and integrate and respect the country they are immigrating to . Paying taxes and raising children is just a small part of that process . When you promote the right to religion etc you have to consider that you are creating a link between the heritage of those people and your own country thus making the abandonment of former beliefs and principles harder. People with the same principles and view tend to group and create enclaves inside society. Look in Usa for examples . These enclaves help keep people anchored to the society they left and promote it's belief system and principles. Because these enclaves are tied up so well their members will also have a better sense of commitment to their enclave rather than the society they live in now . This will make integration harder and loosen state control . So although religious freedom is good , in reality people will use such things to help themselves in promoting their worldview in a country in which they should integrate. Thus I believe that teaching a national religion in school is important because it passes down the basic moral traits of that specific country. A population without those traits will not have a higher moral standart to which it can adhere and a population with multiple moral standarts will lack coherence. Both of these situation will only lead to a rise of instability and civil unrest.
Debate Round No. 1
rikomalpense

Pro

Where is your source proving that religion and a country have a strong bond, even nowadays? Atheism is the fastest growing "religious" (or rather, non-religious) movement in Western countries [1] [2]. The statistics show that Western countries' bond with religion is growing more tenuous by the day- and is it not the responsibility of schools to keep with the times? There are still many religious people in Western countries, but there are also many non-religious people- from a logical standpoint, it makes the most sense to allow parents to teach their children what they wish in regards to subjective subject matters such as religion.

Your argument, while making some valid points, hinges on the fact that those with different religious or non-religious views are immigrants. This may be sometimes true, but as mentioned before with the example of atheism, people of different religious views may certainly be home-grown. As well, in America and Canada in particular, everyone there aside from the Aboriginals are immigrants- who are Christians (who are the majority in those countries) to say that everyone must learn and believe in their religion, when they refused to learn in believe in the religious beliefs of any Aboriginal group themselves?

As well, you appear to be of the view that immigrants should assimilate. This is a point that could be argued in an entire other debate, but suffice to say that that is a very subjective viewpoint, and not necessarily true at all. Immigrants can live with natives or more longer-time immigrants in harmony, without destroying their own culture.

Finally, you also appear to be of the belief that religion is necessary for a moral code. This viewpoint is decidedly incorrect. Some of the most irreligious countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, also have some of the highest qualities of life and the lowest crime rates [3]. While I do not mean to say that irreligion inversely results in an improved moral code, it is clear the irreligion does not in the least result in less morals.

In sum, it is evident that for the most harmony, especially considering the growing multicultural nature of many Western countries, schools should be secular.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com...
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
AndreiBalint

Con

To answer the first point you raised . Yes it is important for the church to keep up with the times and teach a more open view on religion but that does not mean to stop teaching religion alltogether. The moral principles which religion promotes stand at the basis of much of our history and our way of viewing things. One teacher even went to the point of saying that religion made states possible . These principles must always be taugh and understood so that a person can make the decision of what he wants to keep or cast-away.

Next in America the colonists were not immigrants . Before the colonisation of America, in the most part of north America there was nothing than even resembled a state. No one is saying that you be forced to believe in the religion of that country but you are required to study and know it because of it's importance to the history and culture of that state. Knowing a persons spiritual belief may not be as important as knowing their language but it also carries a lot of weight. Understanding and learning the religion of the country you live in gives you a better perspective of that country's culture and world-view.

Yes i agree that this topic should be debated in another topic but i disagree with that statement.

Your statement is incorrect and your examples sketchy. But if you are going to argue by examples well the former countries of the USSR were all very secular and that left people with wide-spread corruption and decadence. Their experiment to create the "new man " who is moral by definition without the need of religion failed horribly.

To sum it up religion has held an important place in our history for a long time after the fall of the Roman empire and to understand our culture and history one must also understand the spiritual side. The moral principles which at one point made the church one the most powerfull organisms in europe are still valid and powerfull even today, And finally the existence of religion might have made way for the creation of nation-states as we know them. Studying the spiritual side of a country is relevant even today because it gives you the insight to understand the country and its people in a better and more fundamental way.
Debate Round No. 2
rikomalpense

Pro

You appear to be going off of a mistaken assumption. In my very first statement, I stated that:

"Of course, religions should be studied within school, as they are a major part of mankind's history."

Secularity is the state of being separate from religion, or not being exclusively allied with or against any particular religion [1]. Students can study the religions that helped to form their countries without being told that say, this religion's beliefs are correct, or that religion's beliefs are wrong. I only object to any religion being held as more real than any other in the classroom. No religion can be proven or disproven, therefore no religion should be treated as true or false in an institution with people of many different beliefs.

Let's put aside any debate over the semantics of the word 'immigrant'. The colonists came into an area with existing beliefs, customs, and cultures, and took it over, refused to assimilate. That is a fact. Why should immigrants, who are essentially in the same situation as the colonists (only the immigrants are here legally (for the most part)), have a particular religion forced upon them, when judging from history, it should be them forcing their religion onto the long-time inhabitants? Looking at it that way, is it not a good compromise for schools to remain neutral and have individuals instead teach their children what they want at home?

As we should not go on a large tangent about the pros and cons of assimilation with only one statement left for the each of us, let us agree to disagree and drop this particular subject.

You cannot say that my statement is incorrect. I simply stated that a lack of religion does not correlate with a lack of morals. If my examples are supposedly sketchy, perhaps these will convince you otherwise:
- The prison population in America is only 0.2% atheist [2]
- Nearly all of the top 50 safest cities in the world are non-religious [3]
- The most secular nations tend to be the most altruistic. [3]
- The most violent nations tend to be the most religious [2]
Yes, there are irreligious people who do terrible things. But there are religious people who do terrible things as well. All I am pointing out is the fact that irreligious people are the same as any religious person- some do bad, some do good, and a lot are somewhere in the middle. I could quote hundreds of examples of terrible religious people, but that doesn't mean that religious people do not have morals.

Thus, in all, I believe that it has been made clear that secularity in schools will not lead to lowered morality in students. Even if you ignore the facts and insist that irreligion most definitely leads to immorality, the idea of secular schools is not to destroy religion, but to allow students to believe in whatever religion or non-religion they wish to without being told that their beliefs are wrong. If you believe that this will lead to students choosing irreligion over religion, you must have a low view of religion indeed.

It is even possible that by receiving a unbiased (or an unbiased as possible) view on various religions in history classes or maybe a World Religions class, students could learn to be more tolerant, unlike how they may become in some non-secular echo chambers where teachers only teach one point of view.

And so, in all, secular schools appear to be the best option for harmony in a rapidly globalizing world where people tend to meet people of different faiths on an everyday basis.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.sachikospace.com...
[3] http://www.psychologytoday.com...
AndreiBalint

Con

AndreiBalint forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by dhardage 2 years ago
dhardage
cheyennebodie is an ignorant fanatic that likes to use veiled threats in an attempt to silence anyone he deeps critical to his religion. He is, unfortunately, more and more typical of the religious believers found on the site.
Posted by rikomalpense 2 years ago
rikomalpense
Again, I'm unsure of what your problem is with me, but first of all, I mainly vote conservative, secondly, I never accused anyone of being ungodly (and I don't consider that an insult anyways), and thirdly, I never even mentioned Christmas.

Christmas is a fairly secular holiday. Atheists and agnostics tend to celebrate it too, and even casual Christians don't really tend to think about the religious aspect of the holiday, at least where I live. It's like Easter, it's been adapted for the mass market.

What I object to is when teachers claim that the Bible is true, or not true for that matter. I've mentioned why schools would be better- because non-Christian (because most of the time in Western countries it's Christianity being hailed as the truth) will not feel excluded. There's no reason to teach these things in public school when Sunday school is a thing that exists.

And also again, if you'd like to debate on it, I'd be pleased to.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
You are saying that schools should be secular. You are not giving reasons why they would be better off.You are the one that is ungodly. If parents in a school district are majority religious and they want there children to sing Christmas songs in schools, keep your liberal nose out of it.
Posted by rikomalpense 2 years ago
rikomalpense
No need to be so defensive, friend. I'm not sure what your problem is, but it's irrelevant to this debate in particular. If you'd like to debate whether the growing secularism in Western schools has had a negative impact on the countries, or whether schools in Muslim nations would be improved with the introduction of secularism, I'm sure someone would be pleased to oblige you if you posted an open debate.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
It has everything to do with it. Western nations already have been mostly secularized. That is why they are overrun with ridlin and metal decetors. You have to know that if you went into a muslim nation with your agenda, you would be taken out back and beheaded. That is why you go after christian influenced nations. Which is cowardly.
Posted by rikomalpense 2 years ago
rikomalpense
@cheyennebodie I'm sorry? I specified Western countries because I don't feel as though I know enough about the cultures of non-Western countries to properly discuss the schooling within them? So I don't quite understand what Muslim countries have to do with this topic.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
You are such a coward. Why do you not go to muslim countries and say that in front of them.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Oliark 2 years ago
Oliark
rikomalpenseAndreiBalintTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by dhardage 2 years ago
dhardage
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Reasons for voting decision: Con put forth no sources for his arguments, all of which were refuted by Pro while Con could not effectively counter Pro's arguments.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
rikomalpenseAndreiBalintTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture