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Should religion be involved in publicly-funded schools?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,615 times Debate No: 8784
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)




Religion has no place in publicly-funded schools. Convince me otherwise.


I would like to thank my opponent for what seems to be both our first debate on this forum.
Any conflict regarding the definition of a word shall be resolved with the assistance of the following site:

To be brief, if we were to look at the three types of Gods in religion:
1. Deistic: A God which creates a universe and retires. This God never intervenes with human affairs.
2. Pantheistic: A God only in the poetic sense. The God of Einstein when he said "Did God have a choice in creating the universe?" This God can be human nature, natural selection, or even Planck's Constant.
3. Theistic: A God which creates a universe and intervenes with human affairs. A created God like Yahweh, Ammon-Ra, Zeus, Apollo, and many others.

In the case of religion in public schools, a religion which worships a deistic God is simply off-the-island in the first round as there would be no educational value or any education concerning the culture of others. However, a religion with a God in the Pantheistic sense should be taught as apart of science and literacy classes. For example, Richard Dawkins' book "The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing" is an epitome of the ability of scientists and science writers. In the case of the theistic God, we must keep the English Bible in our education as it is a major source of our literary culture.
Here is a list of biblical or Bible-inspired phrases we use in our modern discourse provided by the God Delusion, also written by Richard Dawkins:
Be fruitful and multiply. East of Eden. Adam's Rid. Am I my brother's keeper?. The mark of Cain. As old as Methuselah. A mess of pottage. Sold his birthright. Jacob's ladder. Coat of many colours. Amid the alien corn. Eyeless in Gaza. The fat of the land. The fatted calf. Stranger in a strange land. Burning bush. A land flowing with milk and honey. Let my people go. Flesh pots. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Be sure your sin will find you out. The apple of his eye. The stars in their courses. Butter in a lordly dish. The hosts of Midian. Shibboleth. Out of the strong came fourth sweetness. He smote them hip and thigh. Philistine. A man after his own heart. Like David and Johnathan. Passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen?. Ewe lamb. Man of Belial. Jezebel. Queen of Sheba.
And the list goes on. An ignorance of the Bible would surely limit one's appreciation for English literature. However, education about religion on publicly-funded schools mustn't stop there. Literature of the monotheistic Bible should be taught alongside the contribution to literature by the Greek religions (Zeus, Apollo, etc). I am willing to bet the shirt on my back, that the Bible and Greek religions have a strong influence on French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and other European languages.
The conflict between science and religion is more than noteworthy in science and perhaps history classes. To understand the history of the theory of evolution one must learn the disapprobation (I wish to use this word loosely) of it by many people at the time.
It would be in the direction of insensible but far from it, to discontinue teaching feats such as Michaelangelo's painting on the Sistine Chapel or the music of the Baroque period.
In Canada, one of the most famous charities, World Vision is a Christian relief charity. As a secularist, I do support this as it is a very simple way to donate or sponsor a child if I do choose to do so. Notably, this charity keeps less of your dollar than UNICEF, according to many Chartered Accountants of Canada. If for some reason a school decided that they wish to donate to a charity and religion was completely barred from schools, then it would be much more difficult to find a charity as many major charities are openly religious ones (World Vision, the Salvation Army, Compassion International, etc).
In microcosm,
Debate Round No. 1


I apologize for not being specific enough in my original comments. The subject I am proposing is whether there should be public schools dedicating curriculm and school activities to theistic religious purposes, such as worship, prayer, and the observance of religious values, morals, etc.
I find no question in the matter that the Bible has influenced English literature and language. The Bible can be studied as pure literature, and what I am opposing the viewing it as divine, the work of God, or the absolute truth.
On the matter of science and religion, teaching religious alternatives to scientific theories ( I am referring to crreationism obviously ) gives credit to those religions, and equates them with factual science. This can be seen as government intellectual subsidization of religions, violating constitutonal secularism, and putting non-scientific ideas in a science class.
If a school wishes to donate money to a charity, that is unacceptable use of taxpayer funds as the school money is meant only for the school. If a school is attemptng to collect money for a religious charity, then that too is a violation of constitutional secularism, and the government has no right to influence citizens into donating to religious causes.


I would like to thank my opponent for his response.

It should be palpable that classtime should not be compromised for superstitious rituals no matter what they may be. However, as the topic is "Should religion be involved in publicly-funded schools?" it should remain that way and any specifics shall be in sections of our rebuttals.
I think it was on a Simpsons episode which a superintendant inspects a school and the principal references God in an announcement and this superintendant shouts out something along the lines of "This is public school! God has no place in these walls!" The religious "alternatives" should be taught, but not along side Darwin's theory of evolution but as apart of law classes to help students better understand the issue of science versus creationism.
If a school wishes to donate money to a charity, money it originally given to it by say a government, whether federal or provincial (In a country with provinces of course) then that would be academic high treason. But if this school were to run fundraisers in support of these charities then that is certainly not a violation the non-existant "constitutional secularism" in Canada, Poland, and many other countries. The first line of the Constitution Act of 1982 of Canada states:
"Whereas Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law"
Source of Constitution Act (Charter of Rights and Freedoms):

In the preamble of the Polish constitution:
"We, the Polish Nation - all citizens of the Republic,
Both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty,"
Source of Polish Constitution:

My opponent preachs as if religion dictated morals in both the first and last paragraphs. I would like to drone off a bit and elucidate this misconception.
If we were to take a verse out of Bible or the Quran which says something like "Stone the girl if she is not a virgin on her wedding day" we would know that no sane person would do such a thing. However, if we were to ask a Muslim or a Christian why they don't follow this, they will respond with either "That's in the Old Testament!" (I will come back to this) or "That's a metaphor!". But that is precisely my point, we have a criteria for choosing our morals and this criteria must be secular. The Ten Commandments, which I am almost certain that my opponent and anyone reading this and I have heard more than too often is what many theists say they live by and ergo do not see a need to reproduce a copy of here. I am more than blissful that they do not only live by these commandments. Let's look at what the Ten Commandments are missing, it's obvious that these Commandments say nothing about rape, child slavery, genocide, or genital mutilation. In verse 2 of the following chapter of Exodus 20-40, God tells Moses and his followers the conditions in which they can buy or sell slaves and the rules for the sale of their daugthers. The verses which follow continue with more grotesque "morals". It should be self-evident that religion is not a source of morality and it should be considered libel against humanity to insinuate such a delusion.
Debate Round No. 2


If religious alternatives are not taught beside Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, where will it be taught? Will your next argument appear on youtube instead of the assigned slot on this webpage? If not taught side by side, the conflicting ideas will be both portrayed as true, and thus there will be inconsistency and fallacy, in addition to confusion.
Constitutional secularism, maybe not present in your examples of Poland and Canada, exists in places such as France, Turkey, Belgium, Brazil, or the United States, as the concept of La�cit�, where state-sanctioned religiosity would be illegal.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
Religion is a source of morality just as Objectivism or Utilitarism are. Morals are not absolute, and are subject to debate and change. Whether or not an idea is a moral idea is not based by the quanitity of its followers. Morality, as defined by, is " a doctrine or system of morals. " According to that religion, "Stone the girl if she is not a virgin on her wedding day", is still a moral judgement, as not being a virgin on that girl's wedding day is considered immoral, and punishable by stoning. Whether or not it is put into practice is irrelevant.


My opponent has seemed to ignored my response towards creationism in class. I will repeat myself, creationism should be taught in law classes to assist students in better understanding the controversy over science versus creationism. Any thinking person, would see how false creationism is and to impute that more people would view it as true if not taught side by side is an insult to intellect.

Yes, The US does have a constitutional separation between church and state and so does the Czech Republic. However, not all countries do have a separation between church and states and several of the ones that do bend over backwards for faith. The prime example, being the United States has ruled in Feburary of 2006 that New Mexico is exempt from the law against hallucinogenic drug. The members of Centro Esp�rita Beneficente Uni�o do Vegetal believe that they can understand God better by drinking hoasca tea, one of the ingredients of this tea is an illegal hallucinogenic drug.

Moral, as defined by

mor⋅al  /ˈmɔrəl, ˈmɒr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [mawr-uhl, mor-] Show IPA
Use moral in a Sentence
–adjective 1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.
6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
7. of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
8. resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.

I must also point out that you have quote mined on the definition of morality. As defined by

mo⋅ral⋅i⋅ty  /məˈr�lɪti, mɔ-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [muh-ral-i-tee, maw-] Show IPA
Use morality in a Sentence
–noun, plural -ties for 4–6.
1. conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2. moral quality or character.
3. virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
4. a doctrine or system of morals.
5. moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.
6. morality play.

So yes, we choose the morality we follow. However, "stone the girl if she is not a virgin on her wedding day" is not a moral judgment. In his book, Breaking the Spell, Daniel Dennett speaks of two types of explanations the first one being a Skyhook. A Skyhook is a great hand that reaches out from the sky manipulating things, it looks like this skyhook is explaining something but it actually isn't as it lacks an explanation its self. The opposite of a skyhook, is a crane. A crane builds up by gradual degrees. The doctrine "Stone the girl if she is not a virgin on her wedding day" is a skyhook, it lacks an explanation. It doesn't answer the salient question "Why is premarital sex wrong". However, this is a religious doctrine and religion by definition lacks evidence.
The quantity of followers of a doctrine does in a sense dictate the moral value of the doctrine. I will catergorize memes into two groups. Pleasant and unpleasant memes. Pleasant memes are appealing to people and are socially acceptable and therefore would increase an organism's chance of mating. Unpleasant memes are socially unacceptable and unappealing to people and would decrease the chance of an organism mating. If a pleasant meme were to enter a population then the organisms in the population living by this meme would be considered more pleasant and therefore would increase the chance of the organism mating. If parents passed on these memes then their offspring would have a higher chance of mating and thus become favoured by natural selection.
I don't have the slightest clue how say flying a plane into a building or stoning a girl to death on her wedding day because she is not a virgin because you were instructed to by an imam or by a holy book would be considered "moral". It should be self-evident that morality does change with time and public opinion.
Debate Round No. 3


That ruling for the Centro Esp�rita Beneficente Uni�o do Vegetal was obviously in violation of the constitution, and the constitution being the supreme law of the nation, this ruling was unlawful.
What the definitions you provide culminate in is that morality is the rules of right and proper conduct. The ideas with what is right or wrong changes with general ideas of public opinion. In the Mongolian nomadic tribes during the rule of Genghis Khan, it was probably accepted that killing another human being was not inherently wrong. In Nazi Germany, killing someone of inferior race would not be perceived as wrong, it could be possibly perceived as the right thing to do. In the Islamic Republic of Iran homosexuality is perceived as wrong, and in 2008 Hamzeh Chavi, 18, and Loghman Hamzehpour, 19 were hanged for it. Stoning a girl on her wedding day would be perceived as a moral judgement, as she was judged based on the assumption that her actions were contrary to the accepted moral standard, and had to be "corrected". Flying a plane into a building and killing thousands of people could be perceived as moral, because if your religion decrees non-believers to be punishable by death, and you see as what your religion decrees to be right, then killing non-believers would be a moral act. Every religion has a system of morals and what is right or wrong conduct.
"The quantity of followers of a doctrine does in a sense dictate the moral value of the doctrine"
There is a very large group of people. They believe that eating babies from a rival group of people is the right thing to do, as eliminating the offspring of the rival group will perpetuate their own survival by eliminating the competition for resources. The group will become larger and mating will become easier. Eating babies is a pleasant meme. There is a large group following the doctrine. Is eating babies morally valuable?


Please do remember we are arguing the place of religion ib publicly-funded schools.

Also, next time please provide evidence of an event occuring by providing a link to the newspaper or news broadcasting station.

"Every religion has a system of morals and what is right or wrong conduct."
You mean right for certain religious groups is different from right for everybody else? How could be right for someone and wrong for someone else? Something's either got to be right or not.

Correct as defined by
–verb (used with object)
1. to set or make true, accurate, or right; remove the errors or faults from: The native guide corrected our pronunciation. The new glasses corrected his eyesight.
2. to point out or mark the errors in: The teacher corrected the examination papers.
3. to scold, rebuke, or punish in order to improve: Should parents correct their children in public?
4. to counteract the operation or effect of (something hurtful or undesirable): The medication will correct stomach acidity.
5. Mathematics, Physics. to alter or adjust so as to bring into accordance with a standard or with a required condition.
–verb (used without object) 6. to make a correction or corrections.
7. (of stock prices) to reverse a trend, esp. temporarily, as after a sharp advance or decline in previous trading sessions.
–adjective 8. conforming to fact or truth; free from error; accurate: a correct answer.
9. in accordance with an acknowledged or accepted standard; proper: correct behavior.

Right as defined by
1. in accordance with what is good, proper, or just: right conduct.
2. in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle; correct: the right solution; the right answer.
3. correct in judgment, opinion, or action.
4. fitting or appropriate; suitable: to say the right thing at the right time.
5. most convenient, desirable, or favorable: Omaha is the right location for a meatpacking firm.

A pleasant meme, is one like holding the door for someone or saying thank you.
A meme like the consumption of babies would reduce the probability of an organism to mate with members of the other tribe and any other tribe which does not follow this meme.

In microcosm regarding publicly-funded schools, both debators agreed towards the continuation of religious education within literature, history, and arts. However, time compromised for religious rituals and worship is flatout dishonest and a violation of constitutional secularism in some countries.

This was a horrible debate.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GodlessTemplar 8 years ago
"Religion shouldn't be involved in any school in the world. Keep your mythology out of my science class."

It should be offensively palpable that no one is implying that it should be in science classes. That statemenet above is perhaps the fatuous and irrelevant.
Posted by GodlessTemplar 8 years ago
Creationism is not science. It is in the direction of a mindshrinking falsehood but far from it. Evolution by natural selection on the other hand, is science. To make this simple, one is science and has overwhelming evidence in favour of it but the other lacks any evidence and should just be regarded as a hypothesis.
Posted by KeithKroeger91 8 years ago
Why does it have to be either or? Why cant Publicly funded schools teach both religion and Darwinism? The fact is that the majority of people who actually fund the schools happen to be Christian. So I believe that the schools should at least teach the Christian point of view.
Posted by Brock_Meyer 8 years ago
"This was a horrible debate."

I completely and utterly agree. I vote for ties in every category.
Posted by Volkov 8 years ago
Sure, make religious philosophy/history/cultural impact an optional class for people to take. Don't mix it with science and other subjects that it should rightly stay out of.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
We should be able to take a course in religion, so yes.
Posted by atheistman 8 years ago
Religion shouldn't be involved in any school in the world. Keep your mythology out of my science class.
Posted by giantrobot11 8 years ago
I failed to properly specify what I meant as the subject, I apologize.
Posted by welldonesteak 8 years ago
Very nice debate topic involving Darwin's theory of evolution...Can't wait to see who wins this one :)
Posted by GodlessTemplar 8 years ago
I made a mistake on mine, at the bottom of my first post it says:
"In microcosm," and ends there. I apologize as I did this on Microsoft Word 2007 and did not copy all of it and did not proofread it at the review screen.
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