So Harvard has now entered the debate on requiring a class on religion. A recent Newsweek article titled BeliefWatch: Harvard’s Fuss over Faith recounts this: “all students should be required to do coursework in an area called “Reason & Faith.” “Religion is realpolitik, both nationally and internationally,” the report said. “By providing [students] with a fuller understanding of both local and global issues involving religious faith, the courses are intended to help students become more informed and reflective citizens.”” This sounds exactly like the type of education I had in mind the essay teaching kids about religion.
Needless to say there was a big fuss – this one from the scientific faculty of the school who effectively got the class removed to be replaced with something pathetically titled “What it means to be a human being”. Give me a break. When are we going to stop being afraid to education our kids about the wider world of religion? People seem to be either too scared that it will undermine their own religious teachings for their children, or undermine the great scientific discoveries that have and will continue to enlighten us. The only time something or someone has that power is when you offer it. Our fear of addressing this topic gives it the very power we don’t want it to have.
I applaud the move to start a requirement of this sort and am saddened by the lack of support that it has especially among the educated.