I HEARD of a woman who complained of “Christian indoctrination” at her daughter’s religious education classes and wanted the classes stopped. The woman said she wanted her child to be a “free-thinker”, but perhaps only on her terms.
What is so frightening about religious education?
The essence of every religion is to answer: “Why do I live?” Surely it is a duty of parents to give children opportunities to understand the divine spirit within them. We should at least teach our children the fundamental idea of human equality common to most religions.
In practical terms, knowledge of the psychology of religion is vital in understanding our modern global society and the history of ethics. What is the point of letting the kids watch morally suspect drivel such as Big Brother while keeping them ignorant of spirituality, one of the great life forces?
Let’s teach the kids something about Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, atheism and the rest, and not spare the critical examination. Let them openly debate and dissect the lot and make up their own minds.
Unless our children are exposed to spiritual truths they may live as if they will never die; and die as if they never really lived.
Exposed to spirituality, they may discover life is sometimes ravishingly and maddenly beautiful.
They may better understand that pain and joy both come with life, and how we respond to what happens around us shapes who we become.
They will learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.
They may learn to forgive by practising forgiveness. And they may discover that, as writer Virginia Woolf said, the whole world is a piece of art and we are all parts of that work.
Best of all, our children may find there is a far deeper reality to humanity. And that the vital ingredient — the essence of us — is that mysterious element called soul that distinguishes us from all other beings on the planet.