The Instigator
Holliekat
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Lupricona
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Religion in public schools

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Lupricona
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 695 times Debate No: 44722
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Holliekat

Con

My 10 year old son's teacher gave him a book and on the inside cover wrote, "Stay strong and keep faith in God." I'm an atheist and do not push any kind of belief on my children and I was very upset by this. I brought it to the attention of the principal and was brushed off as though I had no right to complain. I'm very disgusted that this teacher would just assume that my child is religious. Religion needs to be kept out of public schools. If religion is going to brought into a public school then every religion deserves recognition. Not everyone shares the same belief.
Lupricona

Pro

Hi, thanks for the opportunity to debate. I hope for an engaging discussion :)


You didn't specify the book that the teacher gave your son, so I'm not sure whether it's a religious or a secular book. For the time being, I'll only focus on the text inside the book (and you can specify what the book was in the next round).

The text itself shows that either your son has previously indicated religious belief (maybe unknowingly), or that the teacher incorrectly assumed that your son is religious. In either case, the text itself does not show that the teacher was being deceitful. I'll concede that the teacher should be more careful from now on, but I see no issue with the teacher speaking to a student personally about religion if the student is knowingly religious.

That being said, your issue is that a teacher exposed someone else to a belief that was not shared. You are arguing that either, no belief should be shared at all, or all beliefs should be shared. I assume the latter was more of a sarcastic remark, as it's inentions were that we would assume that there are too many religions for the students to be exposed to, so that would be a waste of time. So, you are specifically arguing that religion should be completely kept out of public schools.

I think keeping religion out of schools defeats the purpose of a public school. Public schools are for children to receive an education while also learning about the diversity of other students. Private schools are for those who do not wish to be exposed to a wide variety of culture.

If you are an atheist, I assume it is because you see religion is illogical. If this is true, you should have no issues with your son being exposed to fairy tales, as he will be able to refute the claims made by said tales. As your son will be exposed to religion eventually, the best time is when he is young. Most kids at this age belief in "magical" things, and start to realize how reality works. Maybe your son has recently figured out that Santa isn't real. If they are exposed to religion at a young age, when they are older, they will see it as a childish and illogical concept.

In conclusion, I think staff and students should be free to talk about their personal beliefs, as it welcomes everyone into the mixture of cultures, and allows for more understanding of other people instead of ignorance and fear. Embrace the culture, but still encourage the child to think for himself.
Debate Round No. 1
Holliekat

Con

Sorry about that I thought I did post the title. It was a Harry Potter book oddly enough. My son didn't indicate any type of religious belief, it was 100% assumption on his teacher's part. I do not want my children taught about religion of any kind until they have reached an age of reason. When they are able to understand and research religious beliefs is when I will discuss options with them. I am now forced to have that discussion with my son. Public schools are solely for educating, not for discussing personal religious beliefs. If a parent wants their child to be exposed to religion in school then they should enroll their child in a private non secular school. Children from all types of different backgrounds attend public school and parents shouldn't have to wonder if they are being exposed to any type of religious belief. I should be the one who will discuss religion with my son when he is old enough to make an educated decision. I never pretended Santa brought presents or the tooth fairy left money under their pillow. My children knew at a young age that those fairy tales weren't true, but with the way religion is revered in today's society any young child will be inclined to believe it. I know that the school wouldn't allow a teacher to tell one of the students there is no God, the parents would have a fit if that happened. Why should I have to be okay with this man implying that there is a god. If religion is allowed in schools then you would have to include all religions and atheism. No parent would be okay with a teacher telling their students that satanism is the one true religion (unless the parent was a satanist). So no, I wasn't being sarcastic at all. If one religion is allowed in public schools then all must be. Religion is a personal belief and there is no need of it in public schools. I don't have a choice but to send my children to a public school because I cannot afford a private one. Public schools only purpose is to educate out children, not implicate the existence of a god.
Lupricona

Pro

I would like to apologize, as I have misinterpreted one of the claims by my opponent. She would either have all religions be taught equally, or no religions at all, as either case will not push only one religion on the students. This puts me to argue that it is okay to discuss only one religion with children in a public school. (This puts me into an argument that I was not ready for, but I think I can work this)


Even if teachers don't expose students to religion, it is more than likely that the other students will expose each other. There will be religious students in your son's classroom, and at some point he will be exposed to things that they believe in. If it were to come from an authority figure, like the teacher, I can see why that would be more discomforting, as that makes the child more likely to accept those beliefs as being true.

Here is my contention: If God does exist, then it would not be morally wrong to expose children to religion, because objective moral values would exist.

If God does not exist, then there is only moral relativism. One cannot say "This or that ought not to happen".

If God does not exist, we are here only by the process of chance and evolution. We are mere accidental collocations of atoms. Morality is just a societal construct, so ethics are relative to each person. We each decide what is right or wrong for us, but if one atheist says to another, "You ought not to do this", they are an intellectual hypocrite.

One can argue that society decides morals. But what happens when a society like Nazi Germany massacred millions of people? How can an atheist say that their morals were wrong? Morality is relative, we each define our own ethics. You may disagree with their ethics, but that is your subjective opinion.

Conclusion

Therefore, if God exists, then He causes objective morals upon humanity. Then, in this case, schools should expose children to God's existence, because it is ethical.

If God does not exist, one atheist cannot tell somebody else what they ought not to do, because morality is subjective. How dare you tell another human being what their own personal ethical value system should be. That is intellectual hypocracy.

Debate Round No. 2
Holliekat

Con

That isn't my claim at all I'm simply pointing out that you can't endorse one god without it being offensive to someone. Religion has NO place in a public school and he had no right to assume that my child has any type of belief. I'm fine with people being spiritual or religious however you want to phrase it but it's personal keep it to yourself. I do not wish to religiously indoctrinate my children and a subject I had made a decision not to talk to my children about until they reached an age of reason has now been introduced to my son and I am now forced to have this discussion with him. It would be a little different to me had my son come home saying he heard it from another child as a teacher cannot control what the children talk about at all times, but it's very unlikely that at ten years old these kids would be discussing religious beliefs. The existence of a god isn't the argument here, it's the fact that it is unacceptable to bring god into the classroom. Church and state should always remain separate and as this is a public school it is funded by the government. If people want a god and religious beliefs in a classroom there are private schools for that.
Lupricona

Pro

I understand what you are saying. You are making a value claim. I am arguing that you don't have any basis for your argument on the value claim. You attempt to appeal to society for your claim, citing the separation of Church and State. First of all, this idea separates the State from endorsing religion, but discussion of religion in shools is an issue not covered by that law. Secondly, you cannot appeal to society for moral objectivity, as I've already pointed out that different societies have different morals, like Nazi Germany when they massacred millions of people. Why appeal to American laws? What makes these better than the laws of any other society?

You are making a value claim, and from the standpoint of the atheistic paradigm, you only have moral relativism to appeal to, which does not give you grounds for making said value claim about school policies.
Debate Round No. 3
Holliekat

Con

Holliekat forfeited this round.
Lupricona

Pro

Extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
Holliekat

Con

Holliekat forfeited this round.
Lupricona

Pro

Arguments extended. I thank Con for the debate, and am sorry to see a couple of forfeited rounds.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Samiam 2 years ago
Samiam
@Landonwyn, you bring up a good point. I'm still a student in high school and I know that even though my town is very heavily Christian (for a while, our little 3,500 person town had the
Guinness world record for the most churches per capita), it was encouraged for us to learn about various religions. In fact, our freshmen and sophomore English classes focus on portraying other cultures and religions, while American Christian literature is only focused on in the junior English.

I think that the best way for public education to address religion is to encourage discussions without favoring any particular viewpoint. After all, a school that chooses to ignore all aspects of religion is advocating atheism, which is a belief structure in-and-of itself. I think there should be more projects like the one I remember from 7th Grade social studies: everyone in the class was assigned a different religious viewpoint and created a presentation to inform the class about that particular religion. It was great because while the news and American culture is inundated with information about Christianity and (sometimes false) Islam, it was the first time that I was exposed Sikhism or Shinto and I have thought that it was a great way to generate interest. Kids should be taught young about a variety of religions, because a child who grows up with access to one set of beliefs (whether it be a religion or atheism) will not gain the knowledge necessary to make a decision regarding religions. Sorry for ranting, I just really like to talk :)
Posted by landonwynn 2 years ago
landonwynn
An interesting premise by the instigator in the original post is that belief in God is a religion that must be countered with teaching about other religions. There is never any clarification as to which religion the teacher espouses. Belief in God is an arbitrary term that can refer to the specific deity of a vast number of religions. Furthermore, the absence of religion from school curriculum is the establishment (or enforcement) of a State authorized belief system that religion has no public value. This is, in other words, the very establishment of religion that the so-called "Separation of Church and State" community seeks to avoid, as religion does not need to evoke the divine to exist (See dictionary for definition of religion).
Posted by The_Spanish_Inquisition 2 years ago
The_Spanish_Inquisition
I was wondering if the devious Leprechaun had read C.S. Lewis recently because he makes a very similar argument in his book, Mere Christianity. You have broadened this debate into much more than religion in school--it now spans the entirety of mankind, all asking the same question: "Is religion real?". You've provided a devilishly good answer, old chum!
Posted by Samiam 2 years ago
Samiam
Lupricona, that may be the most diabolical and wonderful turn of an argument I have ever seen :). I thought you were going to pursue the argument that, as it was a personal gift, she was merely expressing her right to free speech and wasn't pushing religion onto the child. However, your argument was perfect :) thank you, I think I might use that idea at some point. Great job!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
HolliekatLupriconaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
HolliekatLupriconaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I disagree with Pro's arguments, but they are the best in the debate. I don't see reasons from Con as to why teaching a religion is specifically harmful, at least not one that specifically makes a teacher a worse source for providing this information than other students. Pro's argument that Con's morality is so subjective and relative that it should not be regarded as anything but a hypocritical vantage to decree what others should and should not be allowed to do with limited reason at best is well-taken, and it stands as the main argument in the debate with almost no response. Hence, Pro takes it. Conduct goes to Pro as well due to the forfeits.