The Instigator
baker27b
Pro (for)
Winning
50 Points
The Contender
lola
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Religion should be taught in public school extensively.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,253 times Debate No: 1111
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (17)

 

baker27b

Pro

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

I am in college now, but when I was in High School I participated on our "In-the-Know" team. I went to a good public school. I lived in a good area. The kids were smart at our school and as a result our ITK team always did well (better than our football team many times). We were definitely at least an above average team, but every time we faced a Catholic school...oh man, it was never pretty.

Of course, my argument does not only rest on that anecdote, but I'll admit it did get me thinking.

Right now I am living in a dorm and one of my roommates graduated from a private Catholic school. One day I was looking through one of his old social studies binders and noticed an extensive amount of history. It was a wonderful resource and better than probably what most public schools provide. Of course, it did have some Christian spin to it when it judged certain historical occasions, but I will still say that it still provided an in depth look into history.

I was telling him how good the binder was and a conversation occurred. Somewhere in the conversation he said (and this isn't verbatim), "With religion out of our public schools, it's no wonder we have lousy Social Studies scores."

And that got me thinking. Here is a summary/ retelling of my thoughts after that:

I first thought about what is religion. I came up with the idea that religion is one trying to come to terms with the constructs of reality. Religion is trying to figure out where we came from. Religion is trying to understand how we should behave in this reality. Even dictionary.com defines religion as: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Looking at these definitions alone one can assume then religion is going to be a big part of people's lives. And history affirms this. Religion has played major roles in cultures, governments, wars, etc. It is in fact, a fundamental aspect of the human race.

Yet, when it comes to public schools, because of our lack of understanding of the Constitution and the desire to be "Politically Correct" we barely touch the topic of religion. I remember, my freshman year of High School, we talked about the major religions for probably a week. And for example, what I learned about Islam was very minimal (and dealt nothing with what is happening everyday in the news with their religion). This is a terrible mistake to make because through our education we should be studying how society works, yet without understanding one of the main driving forces of society, we will only get an incomplete picture.

Today we see so many people who do not understand other cultures and we can help remedy this by further teaching religions. We teach our students in-depth the ins-and-outs of the major religions in fashion a Preacher, Priest, Rabbi, etc. would teach about their own religions. Of course, this should never be done in a mandatory fashion, whereas our teachers would assuredly be telling our students they will go to Hell if they our sinners. But they should get educated on Judaism they way a practicing Jew would. This is my first point.

My second point is that by teaching religion it will also allow our students to expand their realm of thinking to the constructs of reality. In the early days of the American University going to church was mandatory and other religious facets were very incorporated in to the student's college life. It was thought that for one to have a complete education one would have to not only educate the mind, but the soul.

I believe that notion to be true. I believe that if one contemplates religion in the way that I have defined it, he gets a better understanding of reality. I am not asserting that to be educated, one has to be a deist or a theist, but that by questioning and thinking about the ground one stands on or the rules that society or "a deity" says you have to follow you will be more educated.

Doing this through religious study is a very practical manner. But sadly, our society puts off the heavy thinking to the latter years of human development and sometimes ignores heavy thinking all-together.

Here is the summary of my argument. We should teach religion because:
1) It helps us understand our complex society.
2) It allows our student to academically challenge the constructs of reality.
lola

Con

What religion would it be? you can't just choose to teach christianity and evolution, there are dozens of other types of religions out there, do you think we should pay billions of dollars and waste years of some ones life to teach them everything about every type of religion there is and ever was?
Debate Round No. 1
baker27b

Pro

First, I just want to thank you for taking up this argument. I do appreciate this and hope that we will both enjoy the debate process.

Now, I am going to go ahead and quote you. You say, "you can't just choose to teach christianity and evolution, there are dozens of other types of religions out there..." And I agree with that statement. I do want to disagree with the implication that I was saying that we should only teach Christianity...and discuss evolution or something or other.

I did talk about the desire to be politically correct, and that does often relate to Christianity, but when it comes to teaching religion, I believe we should teach it and others. I did not say we should only teach Christianity.

The second part of your rebuttal is, "do you think we should pay billions of dollars and waste years of some ones life to teach them everything about every type of religion there is and ever was?" I find that kind of funny because I look at our current system and see ton of waste because of our federalized education, but this isn't about that, so I will save that discussion for another time.

In the first part of that statement you talk about wasting resources in teaching religion. I do not think that educating our students on a subject would be "a waste of resources." We spend so much testing our students (and teaching for the test sadly) I do not think improving our student's social studies skills would be a waste at all.

The second part of that statement you talk about teaching every religion around and that causing some sort of mess. Previously I said, "We [should] teach our students in-depth the ins-and-outs of the major religions in fashion a Preacher, Priest, Rabbi, etc." The key word there is major. We should teach to our students the prevailing religions of society. And that wouldn't be hard to do. Our schools do it already in other areas.

We don't teach everything thing that happened in history. Or every theory in science or math. Our schools determine what is the most noteworthy thing to teach and setup a curriculum. As for teaching religion, they would only need to keep doing what they are doing. Academically sit down and determine what should be taught in regards to what will best benefit the student in his educational process.

I think that answers your questions, and I wait for your rebuttal.
lola

Con

lola forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
baker27b

Pro

Happy New Year!!!

You do make a good point in Round 2, but unfortunately I think that proves my side of the argument to be correct.

Here is the summary of my argument. We should teach religion because:
1) It helps us understand our complex society.
2) It allows our student to academically challenge the constructs of reality.

And I think that it should also be pointed out that the education of certain subjects has been suppressed in the past and this suppression of information has never been good. We should never keep knowledge a secret-- especially in a free society. Our schools should teach our students all that is important and possible to give our students a good grasp of the world around them. Once they have that information-- it is their choice to whatever they want with it. I would argue that the more educated person is usually the one that contributes the most to society.

It is hard to make an argument with no rebuttal to what I said...I hope the former parts of my argument are good enough.
lola

Con

lola forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Stoogy 9 years ago
Stoogy
i think that if religion is taught is should be taught in connection with a greater idea such as; this religion with these attributes contributed to this aspect of society. i do not think that religion should be taught mandatory with no other purpose than to gain more knowledge about that religion because i view religion as a private matter and would prefer that someone with that goal perform it on their own time. in addition to that, and responding to baker27b notion that judaism and other religions should be taught in the same that fashion of someone planning to practice that religion, that would take up too much time if teachers are expected to teach the multitude of major religions. i have a friend who has recently converted to a mormon and it is not a process that could be covered in the alloted time given in school if someone wanted an in depth understanding of the religion. if such a scenario would transpire i would imagine there would have to be a religion 101 course versus social studies. the high school i attended did highlight noteworthy religious events that have effected history and society, and i do not ask for more. anything beyond that i think should be a personal journey.
Posted by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
Another note that I forgot to mention: to me, the key element to teaching religions in school would NOT be to expect the students to follow any religion in any way (such as Christian extremists seem to be worried about) but instead to teach what the religion believes in such as stories from each holy book and why they are important. Understanding is the key, not agreeing.
Posted by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
Bravo baker for providing what I think to be one of the most thought-out and well-stated arguments I have ever seen on here. I was worried this was going to be a Christian ranting and then discovered myself to be completely agreeing with you, especially on what you said about Islam and our world state today. It supports the idea that if we do not understand history we are doomed to repeat it. I do find that it is crucial not to only understand the event but to also understand the feeling and motive behind an event (just as for a lot of religious wars). Again, congratulations and I only wish it hadn't been such a one-sided argument.
Posted by Farooq 9 years ago
Farooq
I agree with lola, but anyone who thinks baker lost this debate is awfully thick. Maybe lola shouldn't have fofeited so many rounds :)
Posted by baker27b 9 years ago
baker27b
seth-

I'll be honest-- I skimmed that whole thing, but I read that last paragraph. Sometimes other Christians want me to bang my head against the wall.

But we have to guard against that type of ignorance and not let our school children suffer because of it. And hopefully, a broader education will eventually help eliminate most of this ignorance.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
baker27b -

While there is sometimes some overreaction to the Establishment Clause on the part of some administrators or government officials who unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of religious individuals - it's rare. That's not really what I was talking about though.

My aim was only to defend political correctness because there have literally been cases of Christian fundamentalist parents objecting when comparative religions courses are taught in schools. Here's a great example:

http://www.annointed.net...
Posted by Tboyd110 9 years ago
Tboyd110
to message is to the contender you need to be quite becuz religion should be taught in these public schools. one reason is becuz these students do not need to grow up not knowing anything about a religion besides the one that there family tells them. what if they got an asignment to do for one of the ot of school area's and its on religion and you don't know anything on that religion.
Posted by baker27b 9 years ago
baker27b
My previous comment was to Seth and not Kels. But I do want to say thanks to Kels1123 for her support.
Posted by baker27b 9 years ago
baker27b
I will agree with the notion that a lack of resources do hinder our ability to expand and teach in certain areas. But I think your point about Christian fundamentalism speaks to my point. It is a fear of Christian Facism that we tend to over-react and take the 1st Amendment to an extreme. We too often use the 1st Amendment as reason to eliminate any signs of religion from the public scene. There is no provision that says there cannot be aspects of religion in our governing bodies, but we assume this. I do want to say however, there is Christian Facism out there and I in know way endorse it. I am a Christian myself, but I do believe there is the "Religious Wrong."
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
Just to make a quick point, I went to a Catholic school , actually I went to all Catholic schools besides kindergarten and I actually learned about all religions there and a tolerance for all religions there. I think no education on religions can actually cause more religious intolerance than learning about religion. To keep all religion out of school only fuels more ignorance.
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 11 months ago
U.n
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by dmls1120 8 years ago
dmls1120
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by stevor 8 years ago
stevor
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by buttercupx224 9 years ago
buttercupx224
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by CharmingAnecdote 9 years ago
CharmingAnecdote
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Kierkegaard 9 years ago
Kierkegaard
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Miserlou 9 years ago
Miserlou
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by TeaandScarves 9 years ago
TeaandScarves
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by jonma1688 9 years ago
jonma1688
baker27blolaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03