I don’t see any good reason why philosophy and theology shouldn’t be taught in the class rooms as early as 3rd or 4th grade(or maybe when students are proficient enough in reading). This information should be given to all children so they could have a comprehensive understanding about these subjects and not some a shallow understanding that comes from a biased source(i.e. churches, religious books, and ill informed parents). This is a practical step to break religious dogmas, that have a hold on a good portion of the world, without secular views being misconstrued as dogmatic.
I propose that we have these subjects mandatory in class rooms around the country. I would like any ideas on how to get this done and if there is an organization that is already trying to do this please tell me.
i’ve always believed that philosophy should be taught in school, as early as kindergarden. it doesn’t have to be complicated; it can just be logic at first. kids will just soak it up and learn how to think and judge for themselves. theology, i agree, should be taught in later grades, as a history of world religions, and the nature of theology as part of their philosophy class. after all, theology does fall under philosophy. i want philosophy taught in school, every year. the Great Books program should be instituted as well, and seminars where children would be encouraged to contemplate and discuss in a civil manner. i wish that i had had that type of education, instead of discovering philosophy at age 38. i had a lot of catching up to do, and still do.
ignoring philosophy in grades K-12 is a great disservice to our future citizens. it would inspire them, give them confidence in the outside world, a sense of control and a lessening of teen angst and confusion. this is what i believe. there is nothing better than philosophy to teach to young minds; they are wide open to it. their questions should be encouraged; all the “why"s treated with respect. “because” and “because i said so” just won’t do, and that’s what most of them get at home.
It would be interesting to see if any significant changes in development were to develop from logic training while the brain is still forming. It’s not all there until, I think, the mid-late teens or even the early 20s (which would seem to explain a lot of young adult behavior—the whole “mortality” thing must not be there until the very end of the process).
My only real reservations with making theology part of the early school curriculum is abuse and sorry instruction in general, but I don’t think it’s a very good reason not do it. It’s not like the issue goes away if that particular opportunity isn’t there for proselytizers who would take advantage. In fact it might push that kind of shite more to the surface so more of it can be dealt with appropriately.
The effects of adding both topics or either to the early curriculum would be very interesting in any case—probably very productive, though I also expect the results of effective reasoning and theological training would be unpopular with those who are best at the wildly demonstrative histrionic schtick, so the din of anxious bleating and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth would likely be quite intense ... at least for a while.
skepticx — The effects of adding both topics or either to the early curriculum would be very interesting in any case—probably very productive, though I also expect the results of effective reasoning and theological training would be unpopular with those who are best at the wildly demonstrative histrionic schtick, so the din of anxious bleating and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth would likely be quite intense ... at least for a while.
i believe very strongly that philosophy in grades K-12 is essential to producing rational minds. despite the din it is sure to cause — needlessly, i should think — it seems like a good cause to adopt. i, having no children, am in almost the same position as was Michael Newdow in his pledge of allegiance case, although he does have a child whose main caretaker is, unfortunately, her mother. the court said he had “no standing.” they’ll snatch at any straw.
so i can’t start a cause celebre re: philosophy in the classroom, but i can participate in any other way, and would be delighted to do so. IMO, i do have standing, as i have to live with these future citizens in my society, and i want them to be reasonable, rational people. i’m selfish that way. i hate being literally surrounded by unthinking ignorance. i wear my Richard Dawkins “God Delusion” t-shirt with pride and without fear, because no one bothers to read it. those that try are stumped by all the “big” words. again, lol.
theology is IMO also essential, because i read Sun Tzu — know thy enemy. children (at a later age than K-3) need to understand these confusing issues, and why none of them can be right, because they can’t all be right, but it is possible for them all to be wrong. they need to understand that possibility. (of course, one of them might be right, in which case i’ll despair at the ultimate emptiness of a universal meaning, so trivial and small that would be.) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy said it best — Don’t Worry. but i do.
do you think this project is something that the Four Horsemen — or some others of their standing (if indeed there be any) — could incept? i am thinking of Project Reason in particular; it seems so much up their alley. i’d love to work on such a project. it would be so beneficial to our future citizens. and a giant leap for mankind.
I completely agree that philosophy and theology should be taught in schools. I believe Daniel Dennett spoke of this at TED. The only problem that confronts the belief that these things should be taught in school is that philosophy and theology can vary so much. For example, there are a myriad of different philosophies and even theologies in Christianity, the same applies for various other religions.
philosophy and theology can vary so much. For example, there are a myriad of different philosophies and even theologies in Christianity, the same applies for various other religions
of course, a curriculum would have to be drawn up. just the basics, at first. like i said before, what’s simpler than logic? it’ll help them when the confusing part begins. they should read the old and new testaments and the qur’an, so they understand there’s more than one view, as well as to see how evil and bloodthirsty all of them are. naturally, we wouldn’t express it in those terms, or we’d be crucified. lol
then the main books of other western religions, and the eastern ones as well, like the tibetan book of the dead. just read the books in a straightforward manner; no interpretations—if that’s possible.
there’s so much they need to be exposed to, so they won’t be confused—or certain —later in life. they must be taught to be curious, to ask questions, and not to be afraid to say “I don’t know” when they don’t know.
Although, I do believe that it is absolutely necessary to educate and promote awareness on subjects such as religious dogma and philosophy, I don`t think it is the best way to decrease the level of religiosity, especially the level of fanatic and fundamental religiosity. If this idea was proposed on a state level or federal level it would be attacked. Another point that needs to be made is that almost every Christian, even moderates, are well aware of the contents of the Bible. The only reason they believe in this nonsense is because they rationalize their faith. I think it would be more effective to promote reason than to discourage religious thought because almost automatically religious people will categorize as secularists attempting to rob them of their faiths.