By Dan Arel
I was raised in a Christian home and was taught very little about other religions. I also attended a Christian school for a number of years where I was taught a great deal of misinformation about other beliefs, most of which revolved around their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Lord, or that even that some Christians who didn’t understand the Bible correctly and wanted to lead me astray from my faith, guaranteeing me a place in hell.
Had I not taken an interest in world religions later in life, I would not have questioned the misinformation I was given and would have a drastically different view, likely thinking the worse of other religions.
And so when I began researching subjects for my latest book Parenting Without God, one popular question from parents was how to teach religion, or whether they should teach it at all. Many felt religion was harmful to society so they should avoid the subject altogether.
It didn’t take long to discover that it is not only non-religious parents who confront this dilemma. Religious parents struggle with teaching their children about other religions in the same way. Christian parents, Muslim parents, Jewish parents, you name it, they all face a time when they have to address what others believe, and the common response I found was that they just tell their children everyone else is wrong.
Parents should avoid this didacticism because it relies on teaching our children what to think when we should actually be teaching our children how to think. As an atheist, I believe that Christianity is the wrong worldview, but simply telling my child this accomplishes nothing expect making him agree with me because he doesn’t know any better. Instead, I should foster his inquisitive mind and encourage him to learn and explore belief systems from around the world.
This approach encourages children to think critically by comparing and contrasting ideas. If they find religions with conflicting beliefs they can ask how both could be right, how both could be wrong, and how would you go about finding out the truth?
Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.