Should Public Schools Teach Religion to Kids?

Reader question: My kids are in a public elementary school that teaches them about religion. I’m concerned about this. What if anything should public schools teach our children about religion?Rabbi Rami responds: By way of answering this question I need to ask and answer three others: Why must we teach our children about religion; What must we teach children about religion; and How must we teach our children about religion.WHY?We must teach our children about religion for three reasons. First, human beings are intrinsically religious: for thousands of years we have inquired into the meaning of life, often expressing our thoughts in the form of religious myth, ritual, and theology. Teaching our children about religion helps cultivate the art of existential inquiry: learning to ask and answer the core questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? and Why?Second, human beings often use religion to justify warring against one another. Teaching our children about the human origins of religion helps them to resist religiously sanctioned violence.Third, our children live in a world wher …

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Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has...

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