By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Religious Literacy

Here is a link to a transcript from a PBS program, Religion & Ethics. It's an interview Bob Abernethy had with Professor Stephan Prothero. The interview discusses the idea that Americans are becoming illiterate as far as the Bible and religion are concerned. Young people in particular do not recognize the place of religion in history and world events, nor do they even recognize Biblical or other religious references in literature and other writings.

Professor Prothero believes that American schools should teach required courses in the Bible and in world religions. His idea is not to proselytize, but rather to just get people familiar with the contents of religious books and beliefs. The interview also contains comments from others, some of whom disagree with Professor Prothero. It's an interesting interview and one that provokes thought.

What do you think? Are people (Americans, young people, any people) becoming less and less knowledgeable about religion and scripture and the influence those things have on culture around the world? Why do you think that is the case? Would required classes in any part of K-12 be a solution or would that create more or other problems? Is this something that should stay at home and in churches? What about those who don't go to any church and whose parents don't teach any religious material at home (and perhaps aren't familiar with it themselves)? Is this any different that teaching other subjects? I'd really like to hear some viewpoints and ideas about this--it's interesting.

At the end of the program, Bob Abernethy says this:
And a footnote to our story: One frequent question about requiring a course in religion is what course now required should be dropped to make way for it? The runaway favorite choice, we found, is math.

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Anonymous Barb said...

It would seem to be a part of basic literacy to know the stories of the Bible as we are a Judeo-Christian religion. They can also learn of other faiths. There was a cartoon series on PBS called the "Book of Virtues" that would weave Bible stories as well as other inspirational tales to teach children values.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, I think people miss out on a lot of meaning in what they read and hear if they aren't familiar with religious references. I remember that cartoon series--I can't remember for certain, but I think it might have been based on William Bennett's Book of Virtues which contains numerous stories and folk tales that teach and inspire children (and adults!) to develop various virtues.

3:23 AM  

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