It doesn’t have to be a debate


Religion has been deeply ingrained in human culture as far back as history can record, and very likely earlier than that. In some parts of the world, where religious debate leads to bloodshed, men and women are willing to give their lives for their beliefs. In America, religion is thankfully not a source of bloodshed, but it is certainly prevalent enough to cause controversy.

One debate that seems to continuously pop up is whether creationism, which suggests that all life is the result of intelligent design, should be taught in schools to replace the academically cemented theory of evolution. Scientists, of course, reject this notion, while creationists (a.k.a. Christians) fervently push their agenda at every opportunity.

The problem is that both viewpoints operate under the assumption that one belief is correct and the other is not. Although evolution seems like a logical belief, one that is based on more than 150 years of scientific study and research, it is still just a theory. Christianity is simply a collection of beliefs based on an old book written by unknown authors.

If both creationism and the theory of evolution are explained in this way, there is no reason why both cannot be taught in schools. Neither of these beliefs should be taught as anything more than what they are. Kids should be educated that some people believe in one thing, and the reason for that belief and the rationale behind it should be presented as such.

So, what happens if a child asks if God is real? The response is simple: some people believe he is. If a child asks if Jesus is the son of God, tell that child historians know there was a man named Jesus who was crucified by the Romans early in the first century, but the only document that claims him to be divine is a book written by an anonymous source.

The same can be said of evolution. If a child asks if evolution is real, the answer is that some people think so, and here is why. Present facts, not beliefs, and let the students decide for themselves what they believe.

Both religion and science are part of human culture and should be taught to expand a child’s knowledge of the world around them. It is when the classroom becomes a church, and the blackboard an altar, that a teacher deprives a student of the gift of original thought. That is not education, it is coercion. A child’s mind is very impressionable; forcing ideas into a child’s head is not only unethical, it is abusive. A parent may choose to raise his or her child how they wish, but the public school system should be more responsible.