Friday, March 14, 2014

Teaching practice in colleges

Interesting article and interesting comments following, both pro, con and otherwise.

"I think religion should be taught in college. I’m not talking about “religious studies,” that is, the study of the phenomenon of religion. I’m talking about having imams, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other clerics teach the practice of their faiths. In college classrooms. To college students. For credit. I think religion should be taught in college because I believe it can help save floundering undergraduates. I’m not talking about “saving” them in Christian sense. I’m talking about teaching them how to live so they do not have to suffer an endless stream of miseries."

"...So religion is in part knowledge-how. But this raises another question: Should we consider knowledge-how appropriate for the college classroom? Judging by current practice, there is no question that it does. Every professor of the performing and fine arts teaches knowledge-how. Dancing, singing, playing, writing, drawing, painting, and sculpting are knowledge-how, and they are all well established parts of university curricula. And why not include engineering? You can either build it or you can’t. Or mathematics? You can either solve for X or you can’t. Or chemistry? You can either synthesize it or you can’t. Any discipline that teaches students how to do something in the world rests to some degree on knowledge-how.

Teaching Religion vs. Teaching About Religion

You might be convinced that undergraduates are suffering, that religion can help them, and that religious knowledge-how can be taught in the university. You are almost ready to believe that we should teach religious practice in college. Yet you still have one reservation. It looks, you say, like teaching religion in college mixes church and state in an unconstitutional way. If it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, it’s out.
That’s what I thought a number of years ago. Now, however, I don’t. Teaching religious practice in college is constitutional because it not proselytizing, but rather teaching about religion."

For the article see: