There’s one point that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and people of faith can agree on: the lack of any religious education in the classroom is leading to the complete ignorance of religion.
The ACLU who routinely sues American schools over what it sees as conflicts of the separation of church and state, even agrees that the teaching of world religions is beneficial in education.
“It is both permissible and desirable to teach objectively about the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries,” the ACLU said in a statement.
It is now possible in the United States to go from first grade all the way to a doctorate degree without taking a course in world religion. Many students go all the way through the school system without an understanding of even the most basic tenants that separate one religion from another.
Although students learn about a wide range of fiction material in their English studies courses, they are prohibited from studying any faith-related materials. Schools avoid such subjects out of fear of legal issues.
When it comes to religions outside of Christianity, most Americans don’t even understand the basic teachings of Islam, Judaism or Buddhism. However, some argue that the religion definition given to Buddhism is technically incorrect, since it worships no deity, and is, therefore, more of a philosophy. This only furthers the idea that most Americans don’t possess the religious knowledge to even realize such an argument over Buddhism exists.
A survey of American students conducted in 2005, revealed that only 36% knew what Ramadan was, and among those who did – 17% thought it was the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Even among the faithful, they don’t understand their own religion. A study found that most Methodists aren’t even aware of who founded the denomination.
Many Americans believe that people who wear turbans are Islamic. But in fact, turbans are also worn by Sikhs, who practice the monotheistic religion of Sikhism that originated in India.
The biggest problem with religion and students not being educated in its basics is that a lack of understanding toward a variety of religions can lead to prejudice, fear, and discrimination, rather than the ideas of love and tolerance that most religions teach.