I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate, welcome him to this site, and to the wonderful world of debating. I'll try to be brief with this first round.
The role of education
The goal of education should be to teach kids things that are important. We want to pass on to the next generation the skills and knowledge that we take for granted, enabling them to be good & useful citizens in the future. Whatever skills they'll need in their life to succeed, we might as well teach them while they're young.
Religion is mental exercise
When we talk about religion, we are describing a uniquely human experience - something that challenges us to conceive of how things operate that are outside of our physical world, and in the realm of the metaphysical. Questioning those assumptions that underlie our experience of reality itself would therefore seem to be the ultimate exercise in critical thinking, which is a vital skill in everyday life. We need critical thinking, for example, to understand when we might be being lied to.
Religion teaches morals/values
While other subjects help expand a young person's boundaries and allow them to do more, religion is different in that it tries to restrain people, and prevent them from doing things. That means young people develop a keener sense of self-control than merely resisting food etc when they're younger - they actually learn how to apply self-control to new or unfamiliar situations, with the example of religious dogma to guide them.
Many kids go to church to learn some of the basics about religion, if they can avoid falling asleep. But religious studies typically goes further, not only exploring the key points of the faith in sermon-like form, but going in depth into some key aspects, looking at the philosophy behind religion and other religious viewpoints. In our secular society, religious studies helps us to see what other faiths believe and develop a sense of empathy towards them, fostering religious cooperation as opposed to conflict.
Potentially, through religious education, more people would come to learn about religion and discover the various benefits of religion in their own lives - such as a sense of community and spiritual fulfillment. And perhaps even a means to the afterlife. That's all good as it means the churches are better able to help as much of society as they can.
I was religiously educated in school, and even though I ultimately turned out to be an atheist, it was still a very useful experience. I'm very proud to affirm this resolution.
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2015-08-18 00:15:26| Speak Round
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