Religious Education is Bad

Religious Education is Bad

Wow, how can religious education be bad?!

Almost all educators would agree that teaching critical thinking skills to our students is paramount. Religious education is contrary to that very basic premise of teaching and learning.

Religion is false–The world was not created in 6 days. The earth is certainly more that 6,000 years old. Sacrificing a person by killing him on an altar or a cross is pointless. There is no evidence of heaven or hell. Noah couldn’t have built a boat that could contain all the species of the earth and provide the food, temperature, and habitat so those specimens could survive. I could go on and on. The point is, these things are false.

In a typical Catholic school, students are required to take a full-year religion class every year. A common response to an objection to this is, “You could just consider it a ‘history of religion’ class.” Even if one were to consider this a history class, consider that this consumes one class period per day, every single day of a young person’s education. In our local Catholic school, there are 7 class periods per day. One of those class periods is religion. Thus religion fully consumes 1/7 of the child’s day. But, it is more time consuming than just that. There are prayer services, masses, discussions about the masses, prayer in every class,  opportunities for confession, religious retreats, etc. Altogether religious education and influence consumes at least 20% of the time and possibly as much as 25%. This is huge and this is damaging. It is damaging because it is false.

myth quoteIf our objective is to educate, we must be very careful to teach things that are true. A child may take a religion class that teaches creationism while taking a science class that teaches evolution. We teach contradictory information in the same school. Creationism is easy to destroy academically because there is no evidence to support it. The official position of the Catholic church is that the creation story is just that, a story; evolution is scientific fact. From my experience, the official position does little to dissuade zealous religion teachers from teaching fundamentalist religion anyway.

If this were not bad enough, there is little time left to teach the actual content the student needs to know. I have been involved in many academic competitions.  Quite often, religious schools compete with private academies. The academies tend to beat the religious schools. Why? Because they spend more time on mathematics, science, biology, physics–actual science. If religion consumes 25% of the time, 75% is left for actual academics. Students from competing schools can spend 100% of the time on academics. This places religious students at a tremendous disadvantage in the competition. More importantly, it places them at a disadvantage in life–for all the same reasons.

The good news is that religious education is in decline because people are smarter now than ever before. They do not have to rely on the wisdom of the priest. Information about every imaginable topic is available on the Internet. A simple search in Google, “God is false” or “bible false,” will yield a plethora of information that would keep an apologist busy for weeks trying to counter.



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