It depends on the country and the mindset of the population. If the state spends money on education the state should decide on the curriculum and whether or not religion is taught. The state is also responsible to act on the wishes of the people so if the people by majority or some other means is against religious education in schools then the state should have it removed if it is offensive.
If the school is privately funded or funded by a Church then its the wishes of the Church that should prevail. The state has no right to say that a Church school should not provide religious education.
as in truth as we know it. ... ie that the world is round and has been around billions of years, and that our spiritual belief in the one god. then the child can make up there own mind which of these they take to, to dismiss one is teaching against what we believe
There is no magic formula. It all boils down to pleasing the majority eg if 80% of the pop is made up of Christians and Muslims then the school can opt to each both. It should be the choice of the individual school based on their population. If there are equal % of Muslims, Christians and Hindus, then the school can opt to teach no religion at all as it might be cumbersome to teach all three.
To be honest I really dont understand why all the fuss. A simple solution is allow students/parents to chose if they participate in religious education at all.
As for church schools, where Im from these produce the most successful students. So the state would be rather foolish to stop funding.
Should schools teach anything beyond the most basic disciplines? Ought schools teach critical thinking skills? Where does one draw the line? Since some wish to draw a hard-fast line betwixt religion and say, logic, for example, can we then have schools teach religion's replacement?
Originally posted by stoker as in truth as we know it. ... ie that the world is round and has been around billions of years, and that our spiritual belief in the one god.
Who's "we"? I don't believe in any gods. I'd like children in British schools to know that Christianity has been one of the main forces shaping British culture, but that could be taught in history lessons. If we are going to have Religious Studies lessons, they should be comparative, unbiased, and include the Greek, Norse and Egyptian pantheons on an equal footing with the Abrahamic and Dharmic creeds practised today.
No. It's naive. In my state in Australia, government had declared that all education had to be secular in order to receive funding. Obviously Catholics rejected this proposal, preferring their children to be taught in a Catholic school. The unfortunate consequence of this was that poor families had to pay exorbitant fees for a second-rate education in run-down schools. The children were ultimately the victims and their poor education only entrenched the sectarian division between the Catholic and Protestant communities. A better system, which is in place now, is simply to subsidise part of the costs of the school, excepting the religious activities of the school.
Furthermore, religious education is in itself a very academically rigorous subject. When I studied at a Catholic school, we looked mostly at biblical studies and church history, which are in fact important areas of knowledge -- irrespective of one's religious commitments. The state curriculum for example completely overlooks huge parts of history like the inquisition, the crusades and the whole reformation -- which ironically a Catholic education here does not. Religious education was never dogmatic (it had to be sensitive to the sizable proportion of those in the class who were not Catholic.)
Religious parents are taxpayers too and have the right to educate their children in the ethos of their choice. Religion isn't a separate academic subject taught in isolation from others; it is a worldview that orients one's entire approach to life in a particular framework.
Here in the U.S., public schools are primarily funded by local property taxes. In very religious areas, your proposal would have the effect of mandating that religious people pay taxes to fund a secular education. Do you also think that religious parents should be able to opt out of funding public schools, or have the option of having their property tax revenue go towards funding parochial schools?