Comments about ‘Religion in public schools: America is religious, but also illiterate of religion’

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Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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Leesburg, VA

Totally in agreement with the article.
Being religious without knowledge is just being superstitious.

This apply to any movement of ideas i.e. politics, philosophy.

It is interesting to see when people accuse others of being "islamist" or "socialist" or something else, as if following those ideas were somehow negative, instead of "just" a different perspective of the world.

I find particularly clever the last line of the article.

American Fork, UT

Religion can be fully embraced without knowing anything about it. That's how it divides us, because we can use it, and do use it, to our own ends.

Springville, Ut

Why is America illiterate in religion? Because we fear indoctrination by our evil government and their pawn teachers who will surely doom our children.

Why is Utah the leader in this illiteracy? Because too many LDS parents make up visions in their heads that their kids will be corrupted to believe their religion is wrong. In other words, these parents feel that the only way to have good values and be a good person is to be a member of the same religion. You're raising great missionaries, folks!

layton, UT

RE: The Quran is the holy book of Islam or that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist.

Christians, and Jews believe that God created all that exists ex nihilo (out of nothing). Mormonism is quite different in its cosmology, claiming that God fashioned the universe out of preexisting material. God is eternal in some forms of LDS theology, but so is preexisting matter, including the material used by God to create human beings.

Ecc 12:7)… the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

In (2Tim 1:9 & Titus 1:2)God existed before time, implying he created time.
… God who gives life to the dead and Calls into Being things that were not.(Romans 4:17 NIV

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

As a college professor I can tell you that secular religion course are only opposed by a handful of people. You can talk to any number of instructors who teach these courses and they all have stories about phone calls and threats from ministers or atheists. As the article points out, its usually the "risk adverse" administration who buckles under.

There are some things worth fighting for and this is one them. I don't think we should let a radical set of bullies keep students from learning about and appreciating the religious traditions of other people. I grew up in an environment where I lived and went to school with people from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds. It greatly enriched my life. I hope the rising generation can have the same opportunity.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I took a World Religions course at BYU of all places. Not one mention of LDS theology the entire time. We talked about all the major world religions. It was taught by a guest professor from China I believe. I wonder if BYU still offers this course or whether it has relented under "pressure". The climate of BYU was actually more liberal a generation ago in regards to its educational approach. Let me know on this one because I'm curious...

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I remember seeing a study fairly recently that found that atheists and agnostics know far more about religion than religious people. Interesting.

Portland, OR

BYU has always had good classes on world religions. As an Asian Studies major in the 1970s, I had good grounding in Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism, as well as the folk religions of China, Korea, and Japan. Islam is also well-covered. Hamblin and Peterson guesting today for the DN are both scholars of Islam at BYU.

Come to think of it, more to the point of this article, I had world religions at Provo HS in my senior year.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The purpose of religion is to enslave the minds of men. It’ much cheaper than military conquest, all you have to have is a good story about life after death. The reason to enslave the minds of men is to garner and control the wealth of the world.

Death being the ultimate fear in all of life is a natural part of living. In humans it makes them vulnerable to the tales and imaginations of unscrupulous charlatans with ulterior motives. The beneficial peace and comfort is gained simply by believing, it matters not whether the story is true or not.

Logic should tell us that all religions cannot be true because they are all different. Being different should tell us that some are lies. While the stories cannot all be true, they could all be false.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Baccus0902, Leesburg, VA, says: “Being religious without knowledge is just being superstitious.”

How does one acquire knowledge about religion. Is there any thing in this world that would actually be a verifiable truth about religion?

The Deuce
Livermore, CA

To: Ultra Bob - Cottonwood Heights, UT: I believe you have missed the point of the article. Understanding beliefs and faith that influences human behavior is one of the best ways to understand how we can work together. Ignorance of a person's belief system (religion) leads to much misunderstanding. Take a look at the Middle East if you need an example. This type of class should be mandatory for all high schools and colleges. We just may find ourselves better understanding the world around us.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The Deuce.

My problem with the point of view of this article and many of the posts is that I don’t believe that religion had any thing to do with "the classic events in American history — the Revolution, the Civil War, the New Deal, the Reagan Revolution or the Middle east, or the Wisconsin teachers Union or the Occupy Wall street. I believe all wars are economic wars. They may be fought under religious banners but the true purpose is always the struggle to be successful winners in the commercial competition of people.

The revolutionary war was about who would get to make the rules and collect the taxes of commercial business rather than being about religious freedom. The colonies were more concerned about keeping their religious monopolies that about individual freedom. Because he who controls government controls wealth. When I read the Declaration of Independence, I see a recruiting poster written more to Americans than the King.

Does the class in religion include the religion of non-belief? Or is it just another part of the campaign to keep religion in general in it’s unjustified position of importance.

Leesburg, VA

Ultra Bob,
As in any wave of ideas, there certain aspects that you can verify. Most religions attempt to give answer regarding meaning, can you verify that empirically? I would say, No! However, it is interesting and relevant to know how people arrived to those answers.

Personally, I am fascinated by the subject of religion (even though I follow none)and is illuminating to see the similarities and differences. Through out history religion has given hope to many, also religion has been used as excused for conquest and the erasing of cultures.

Obviously religion fills a void in human beings, and people do many beautiful and horrible things motivated by religion. Such a force should be studied and hopefully understood. With Earth becoming smaller, intercultural exchanges become more prevalent. It would be intresting to know how other people answer the same questions we have.

The Deuce
Livermore, CA

To: Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT - you do make a good point regarding the economic motivation for war. I also agree that there are times when religion is used as an excuse and rally point for such action. I would also agree that a class discussing all religions should also provide the point of view of those who do not believe in any religion. Again, by understanding the belief systems of others, helps us to work better together. The class mentioned in the article does not try to prove one belief system over another, buy simply to understand what the belief system is. Relgious values do and will continue to drive the actions of people in this world. You can either bury you head in the sand and pretend religion doesn't mean anything, or you can try and understand how relgion works in the lives of others around the world.


Sounds alot like Utah. Alot is know about religion but very little is known of Christianity.

Provo, UT

15 years ago I tried to establish a section for religious books in our high school library when I learned that such a section would not be against the law. I had approached the leaders of 10 major religions in Salt Lake City to donate five of their best books about their faith. They were all willing to donate. Then the anti-God folks got wind of the project and threatened to sue. I suggested they choose five books and add them to the section. But the project got scuttled by the district administrators who didn't want to be the first in the State to try such a project. I still think it would be valuable and give students the opportunity to explore more than the latest vampire novel.

Huntsville, UT

I don't see any problem teaching a course on world religions in public schools. The problem is that Christian Americans only want their religion taught.

Charleston, SC

@TimpClimber, You should have asked for the books to be shelved where they belong: Fiction.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

The more I've studies religions around the world,
the more I've realized we are ALL Children of the same God.

Burying one's head in the sand is a closed mind, hard-heart and stiff-neck.

Layton, UT

The bigotry of some is pretty clear by their comments here. So this comment's addressed to those folks who are attacking Utah, the Mormons or religion in general.

First. You clearly didn't read the article. The article does not mention that Utah is worse than any other state, despite comments claiming that this is so. In fact, it appears to be the opposite, in that one of the schools that implemented a world religions course was based in Utah.

Like with most topics, the commenters don't actually read the articles, want to complain about Utah, its people, the Mormons, and join the discussion with their preconceptions blazing. Why even read the Deseret News if you're going to disagree with things that you haven't even read?

Stop picking fights with the Mormons and find a life that doesn't rely on tearing down others in order to have a life. Then maybe religious tolerance will mean something to you.

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