> I wish we weren't so afraid of religion that we eliminate it
completely from our dialog and our curriculum.
I certainly don't think that we should remove it from our dialog.
Religious beliefs are a (significant) part of our (all-too-)human world.
How can we understand each other if we don't talk about our beliefs.
But, as far as being in the curriculum, unless you're thinking of a
class like "Comparative World Religions", religious instruction is, or
should be, being handled by the churches and temples. There are already
religion-based (private) schools. And there the instruction should
remain. Public schools are for the academics, in which I include all of
the arts and humanities.
It sounds like we need to let "God" back in school and promote the
Thing is, we can promote the "Golden Rule" without resorting to the
authority of "God". First of all, most religions have principles very
similar to the Christian Golden Rule. Second of all, it either makes
good rational sense (on one level) or no good sense at all.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Now, that's fine and rational if you want to be treated with respect and
compassion, etc., and so you should treat others the same way. In other
words, this works if we are all the finest achievements of the human
race. Oops! We aren't, are we?
But, what if you're a masochist? Does that mean that you should also be
And, judging by what's been going on in the Catholic, and now I hear of
other, churches, I guess having "God" in there is no guarantee of good
It still comes down to personal beliefs and ethics, personal integrity
and personal choice, whatever you base it on.
I have heard of a variation which goes something like, "Do unto others
as they would have you do unto them." Or, treat people the way they
want to be treated. Same problem, though. Should I abuse masochists
just because that's how they want to be treated?
Or is it simply just rational and beneficial to treat people, including
yourself, as a human being with respect, compassion, authenticity and
acknowledgement, and hope that others will treat you the same way?
So let's teach people to understand why it's good and rational to behave
this way toward people; not something in which they have to have a blind
faith or the threat of punishment from a superior being, but something
they understand and have freely chosen because it is the right thing to
do. If the tenets of our religions' moral and ethical codes cannot
stand on their own feet without appeal to a higher force, then they have
little if any validity.
Do you understand? These tenets are not right just because God, Jesus,
Buddha, Yahweh, or Allah said so. They're right because they are
rational, compassionate and acknowledge personal dignity and integrity.
If God told you to kill your neighbor, would that make it right? Of
course not. We lock people up who do and then say that. We say that
they hear voices and are psychotic. Still, it did work for St. Joan
d'Arc, didn't it?