September 28th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

My Take: Why American public schools need religion courses

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Who knows more about religion - the arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens or Islam basher Rev. Franklin Graham?  Most likely the unbeliever, according to a U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

In this, the first major study of religious literacy among American adults, Americans as a whole flunked, answering correctly 16 of 32 questions about Christianity, the Bible and the world’s religions - for an embarrassing score of only 50 percent.

Atheists and agnostics, however, got 21 right, better than both Jews and Mormons, who rounded out the top three groups of scorers. Although this result (67 percent right, or a D by my calculations) was nothing to write home about, it was 5 correct questions above the national average.

If nonbelievers were the thoroughbreds in this race for religious knowledge, Roman Catholics, with fewer than 15 right answers on average, were the mules. In results that will surely prove to be a thorn in the side of Catholic educators, fewer than half (42 percent) of the Catholics surveyed were able to name Genesis as the first book in the Bible. Ouch!

Still, the big story here will likely be that those who think religion is a con know more about it than those who think it is God's gift to humanity.

As the author of the 2007 book "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn't" and as an adviser to this Pew study, I wasn’t surprised by these results. I do hope, however, that this dismal data will serve as a spur to action.

In "Religious Literacy," I described our collective religious ignorance as a civic problem of the first order. How to hold politicians who pin their public policies to the Bible without knowing something about that text?  And how to make sense of religious conflict in the Middle East without knowing something about Judaism, Christianity and Islam?

Believers and nonbelievers obviously disagree on the virtues and vices of religion. But all careful observers of the world should be able to agree on this: From time immemorial, and for better or for worse, human beings have been motivated to act politically, economically and militarily by their gods, scriptures and priests. Without making sense of those motivations, we cannot make sense of the world.

It is time to address our national epidemic of religious illiteracy. I have called in the past for mandatory public school courses on the Bible and the world's religions to remedy this problem. The time for such courses is now.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture & Science • Education • Islam • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion

soundoff (546 Responses)
  1. nana

    Why is Franklin Gramham discribe as an "Islam Basher" but the arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens isn't a "christian or religious BASHER" Guess it's easy to see the bias in this article right from the beginning!

    September 28, 2010 at 2:20 am |
    • sockeyerama

      Because Hitchens is an equal opportunity basher. He frowns upon all sorts of religions. Since you refer to him, I’m surprised you don’’t know this. What? You haven’t read his books? Maybe you’ve just heard, at services, that he has bashed Christianity. Wait – could it be that you’re Christian? I know – it’s just a gift. This would argue for education in religious as well as anti-religious studies.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • peace2all


      Because....... Franklin Graham, as I understand it has made overt hate-mongering comments regarding Islam.... While Christopher Hitchens has not made overt hate-mongering comments regarding Christianity.... He just doesn't believe in it..Period.

      Hence.... Graham=Islam basher..... Hitchens does not = Christianity basher...


      September 28, 2010 at 2:43 am |
  2. (oo)

    religion should be taught in Sunday School at the church. who cares who people scored on questions regarding religion. the last I checked, such knowledge doesn't help land you a job or get you into college.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • DS

      Making religious studies mandatory would provide employment for the teachers, beyond that I agree with you. It is worthless

      September 28, 2010 at 2:22 am |
    • Q

      Education isn't solely about preparation for the work force but also serves to enhance a student's ability to reason and assimilate new information (e.g. assessing political issues, etc). I find no value in religious practice, however, I agree with the point of the opinion piece in that an objective presentation of comparative religious beliefs/practices would serve to better frame current and historical events. An additional benefit is that pervasive mythologies are routinely referenced in classical and pop media (e.g. Old & New Testaments, Greek Gods, etc). Without some understanding of these mythologies one could not grasp the meaning of text referencing a "sisyphean task" or whether or not one is their "brother's keeper?". Furthermore, examining the distribution of world religions can only help underscore the fact that people are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc primarily due to the happenstance of their genealogy and/or geography.

      September 28, 2010 at 3:03 am |
    • peace2all

      @ Q

      Beautifully said my friend.....


      September 28, 2010 at 3:05 am |
  3. Jay Sosnicki

    Organized religion has no place in government or in public schools. EVER. It's private, for home consumption, and between the individual and whoever/whatever he/she thinks his maker is.

    Can we all please just mind our own business? There was a time when talking about one's faith – much less broadcasting it to the world at large – was as vulgar as talking about money. We could use a bit of that in 2010.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • sockeyerama

      Hey Jay: Well what if you find yourself in the upper reaches of the Amazon, and you happen along some local Jivaros? Yes – those very Headhunting Jivaros! What if they hand you a warm murky drink? What if they offer you a maiden? Your knowledge of their religion and your reaction to their “hospitalities” could be crucial to your survival.
      Nobody is suggesting you convert.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:29 am |
    • peace2all

      @Jay Sosnicki

      Wow... Jay.... Sorry to disappoint, but world religion courses already ARE being taught in public schools to some degree or another... and depending on age...college, they are taught for sure.

      They are important to learning and understanding and how Religions influence politics, cultures, economics, etc....

      We are not talking about converting anybody.... or making the courses about influencing someone one way or another.

      Something to think about....


      September 28, 2010 at 3:35 am |
  4. DC

    Even though I do not buy into it, I made it a point to learn about three of the world's major religions; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Since religion is such a powerful force that wars have been fought in its name, I feel it is important to understand what it is.

    Because I have seen how powerful religion’s grip can be on a person I am not going to discus my conclusions. I do not want to start any debates of that nature. The point that I want to make is I feel it is important to understand the different viewpoints and how they affect world events.

    However, unlike the author of this article, I do not feel religious study should be a mandatory part of education. I do believe it, like the study of art and the humanities should be highly encouraged. But forcing these subjects down an uninterested student’s throat would be more harmful than ignorance. All making these studies mandatory will accomplish for such people would be to instill a hatred of these subjects.

    This hatred, along with the knowledge gained, could be used to stir up conflict and discord in a world that already has seen enough suffering.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:13 am |
    • peace2all


      You seem to make 2 contrasting... or... maybe more accurately 2 conflicting arguments. On the one hand, you are already discussing just how absolutely relevant and important it *is* to understand and be educated on world religions as to the profound and unavoidable effects they have on our culture, politics, economics, the world....!

      I absolutely agree with that....

      But, you then go on to say 'don't teach' because... (paraphrasing you)... "it would be forcing these subjects down an uninterested student's throat..etc..etc.."

      How do you know that they would be uninterested....? Like ALL students, some have interests in some courses over others. Math, Science and Critical Thinking and Logic Classes are arguably the most important classes to be taught, and we "shove' those courses at our young adults whether they like it or not, because it is needed.

      I would assert, as we are in agreement of the absolute importance of World Religions to be taught.... Let the youth be 'EDUCATED'....

      My opinion....


      September 28, 2010 at 2:23 am |
    • DC

      @peace2all - the reason why I take my position is I had religion forced upon me. The resentment this caused first caused me to condemn it completely. I saw, and suffered first hand, the results of someone in authority being blinded by the book. No choice, no options, I was expected to accept the dogma without questioning. This was enforced by ample application of the razor strap.

      It took me a decade before I could even begin my comparative examination; even though I realized how important it was that I do so.

      For this reason, I believe the study of religion should be highly encouraged, but not required. To force it upon someone in order to graduate is not only ineffective; it also is a violation of the separation of church and state.

      By the way, my conclusion after my three year examination is there are a thousand ways unto God. The correct path is the one that works for the individual.

      September 28, 2010 at 3:50 am |
    • peace2all


      1) I totally get where you are coming from.... Yep, forced on me too..... but, I however took an interest and really made me curious about my world and other cultures and religions. So, I would say, at least for me... I am a 'counter-example' to your experience.

      2) One could also make a case about 'any' subject being forced on someone.... some will like it(whatever subject) some won't... But, that does not negate the absolute necessity for Education on the importance of this topic.

      3)Separation of Church and State........ Yep, i am with you there my friend. I guess, I am not seeing this as 'converting' someone to a certain religion, especially if it is taught neutrally as a Comparative World Religion Class-- Especially the effects on politics, economics, multi-cultural understanding- I believe the benefits would far outweigh any negatives.

      4) You ended with....."There are a thousand ways unto god, the best path is the one that works for the individual"--I am not sure why you wrote this..... but, respectfully staying on point here.... It seems to me that your last statement would help people learn and begin the process of deciding what 'path' works best for them.... right....?

      Just my thoughts obviously.... thank you for discussing this issue with me...


      September 28, 2010 at 4:07 am |
    • Frogist

      @DC: I strongly disagree with you on the education of the arts and humanities. These are very underestimated areas of study that have been shown to greatly improve a person's view of the world. There are studies that actually correlate increased brain function with the exposure to music and art. But even beyond that art and music require introspection, critical thought, and an appreciation of beauty in many different forms – all of which are essential in coexisting in the world.
      Many subjects I disliked, and felt was forced upon me, was because of my teachers. Teachers who encouraged curiousity and effort in their particular subject were always the subjects I enjoyed the most. The ones who cared less about these things were the subjects I felt were forced upon me. I particularly dreaded history and math classes and so had a distaste for both subjects which I thought would be of no use in practical terms. But then I had a very patient and understanding teacher who made me interested in math for the first time. And in college I had a very learned and humorous professor who made history a joy and a revelation. So what were once burdens became enlightening subjects through teachers that I will always be grateful for.

      September 28, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  5. Michael

    Yeah the last thing we need is public schools teaching fairy tales... ehm religion. I don't pay taxes for my child to be taught some fairy tales that add no value to his life or learning experience. The last thing we need to be doing is adding to our educatoin system. We should be figuring out what the... is wrong with it in the first place. Considering all in all that the US is lagging behind all the other modern nations in the western world in education already. This is a very sad fact and will hurt us in the future if we don't do something now to change it. This is going on and we got people worried about well are the kids being taught about Santa Claus... Oh sorry, I meant god, got my discussions mixed up.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:06 am |
    • Frogist

      @Michael: I disagree that knowledge about what some poeple consider a huge part of their lives and a significant part of human history and culture as being of no value. As you said the US is lagging behind other modern nations, why should we keep ourselves even further behind by denying education on any subject matter? Religion obviously plays a huge role in how the world functions, it couldn't hurt to understand how different religions compare to one another.

      September 28, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  6. Murray

    Why should the classes be on 'the Bible and the world's religions'. Surely any education on this subject should have no bias. It is only through impartial education that people can make informed decisions about their choices. From knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes acceptance.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:03 am |
    • peace2all


      I could be wrong, but I don't thing that it was mentioned that the course would be called ..."the bible and other religions"

      Am I wrong on that one....?


      September 28, 2010 at 3:29 am |
  7. William Bergmann

    "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism." [Einstein]

    "Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

    The sooner we stamp out religion the quicker we will progress in the future.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  8. sockeyerama

    I think it was the summer of 1984, and while bobbing in the tidal currents of Bristol Bay waiting for the commercial salmon run, a crew member ran across a news article describing a wave attack of Iranians into the wetlands of the Basra-Baghdad waterway. Twenty-five thousand were killed within a few days and a Soviet journalist reported, among many other grim scenes of violence, the obliterated shallow boats fitted with Honda outboards and countless corpses scattered along the shores. Honda engines? Were they four-cycles? What a waste! Well – no chance of getting one, of course, but what kind of venom could have fueled these Arabs to charge each other knowing that death was all but certain? Well, turns out, they weren’t all Arab. It seemed that old hostilities between the ruling Iraqi Sunni and the Persian Shiite played a major role in the feud. Later, in 1990, we were getting a good hoot over “Tahrirolvasyleh”, Ayatollah Khomeini’s daily guide for safe and careful mating with lionesses among many other questionable behaviors. Again, we found that this was a Persian Shiite leader giving the kind of advice that was not generally available to the Sunni youth of Iraq. My point? Anyone with even the most passing, primitive and maybe even perverse intellectual curiosity in say, good outboards or bizarre practices, would have happened upon the important distinctions between Sunnis and Shiites. And yet, only a couple months prior to George W’s shock and awe invasion of Iraq, an advisor was shaken to find that he was oblivious to these critical distinctions and hastily tutored him with a Cliff Notes primer before he sent us off to war. The catastrophic consequences of this ignorance have hobbled us throughout the war and the current failure to form a viable government is deeply entangled in these religious differences. So why not have religious studies as a normal part of the curriculum along with such subjects as anthroplolgy, criminology and folk dancing?

    September 28, 2010 at 1:56 am |
    • peace2all


      Didn't read 97% of your post.... But, I caught the last sentence or so... which, I believe is in favor of teaching and 'educating' our youth in World Comparative Religions......Yes....?

      If so... agreed...


      September 28, 2010 at 2:14 am |
    • sockeyerama

      Don't blame you. Just writing to write.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  9. Muneef

    Hi there have enjoyed your conversations although wish to help you with any thing in religion but not sure of your true interest but if was in your place I would read the stories from Adam &Eve to Prophets and messengers of God stories with their own people and morals behind it, but look door the books who shows respect to them since some have been manuplited in disrespect to them and then were ever these stories are found in Bibles in Quran it doesn't matter only then you will know what is required from you since there is no other way to learn about the message of God sent to us through his messangers. And do not disbelieve in religion and God as the Anti-Christ army are leading you to. God Bless.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • sockeyerama

      I’m with you brother! I happen to be a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac. I too, stay awake at night pondering the existence of Dog.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • peace2all


      Hey there.... We have talked before.

      Muneef.... It seems to me from your posting, and granted, i understand from past conversations, that English is not your original language..but you are getting better.

      So, if I am understanding your post...... It seems that you are pushing 2 of the monotheistic religions...with an emphasis on Islam.

      Again, this article is about a Comparative World Religion Course that would not only include Islam, but other Religions as well.


      September 28, 2010 at 3:25 am |
    • Muneef

      @peace2all. Remember you well friend, I passed this remark to those guys since they said not knowing how to start learning religion so gave them the shortest cuts and offered my help but of course meant of the 3 religions since the stories of the prophets are to us derived from the Quran.

      September 28, 2010 at 4:01 am |
    • peace2all


      I understand now... I just wanted to make sure that you understood that it just wasn't about teaching Islam and Christianity and Judaism, but other World Religions....

      Peace to you friend....

      September 28, 2010 at 4:43 am |
    • Muneef

      @peace2all. Seems although you told me it is non of the 3 religions but @Reality. He always bring them all to discussions?
      Any way what other religions are there that are considered as International religion like the 3R?

      September 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      @peace2all. Forgot yes satanic religion is as international as those 3R of God!

      September 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • peace2all


      Hello there.....!

      While @Reality brings in the 3R... If you notice from his post's he also basically criticized all of them, 'especially' ISLAM. That is his right and opinion to do so.

      I also did mention the 3 major R's as you called them. And then you asked... "What other International Religions are there besides Islam, Christianity and Judaism...."

      Well, I believe you most likely know the answers to that question.... and if not, you certainly have the ability to look it up....right


      But, just encase I will leave you with at least 'one' of the other major religions of the world..... Buddhism.

      Now, please come back to me... and let me know what you found out as far as 'other' respected religion's outside of just Islam, etc...



      September 29, 2010 at 1:16 am |
    • peace2all


      You mentioned 'satanic religion'.... I am not sure if you are being sarcastic, self-righteous, or you just don't truly get it....

      But, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.... Please re-read my post to you above, and come back to me please with other World religions.... Or... not, if you don't know any..... It's o.k......

      Hope that you are doing well...


      September 29, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  10. Gary

    The day of your death you will know if you are right or wrong!!

    September 28, 2010 at 1:42 am |
    • Biscuit

      You see, this is a big load of bull. If you're right, then you get the chance to tell me that "I told you so", however, me as an athiest, doesn't quite get the same chance. If I'm right, then who is there to tell? Quite honestly, I could care less. Just live life without having to think about the afterlife. Just be a good person, treat people as you want to be treated and what could be more like heaven?

      September 28, 2010 at 1:49 am |
    • peace2all


      You said...." On the day of your death, you will know if you are right or wrong..!

      Let me ask you...... Right or wrong about what *exactly*....?


      September 28, 2010 at 1:58 am |
    • Yakobi

      The Bible says the only sin that is not forgivable is denial of the Holy Ghost.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • peace2all


      And..... what does your comment have to do with what @Gary posted .....?


      September 28, 2010 at 2:12 am |
    • Munir Munshey

      Wonder who is this guy, Holy ghost.

      The original Greek says Pneuma Hagios, the Holy spirit. Spirit often refers to a man, so Holy ghost means a holy guy, or maybe a specific Holy guy. I understand since nowadays “ghost” sounds so eerie that scholars prefer “holy Spirit” to it.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:23 am |
    • peace2all

      @Munir Munshey

      I... am not wondering who this 'holy ghost' guy is....or isn't...

      I am curious as to the relevance of @Yakobi's posting in relationship to our post to @Gary...


      September 28, 2010 at 3:03 am |
    • Joe

      You won't know anything, you'll be dead!

      September 28, 2010 at 5:41 am |
    • Val

      That's what you THINK!

      September 28, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • peace2all

      @Joe & @Val

      You 2 work it out.... and come back to the rest of us and let us know what the *real truth* is please.....


      September 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Biscuit

    I'm an atheist 100%. No certainty there. However, my son, who is 10, is finding his own way. I encourage this. I believe that religious education within schools would help him find HIS path, but I fear that the zealots would try and force their beliefs upon him. Fortunately, we have several friends, of several various religious backgrounds to give him the experience of their beliefs. Ultimately, I believe he will discover that it's all nothing but a whole lot of hot air, but I believe he has to discover that for himself. If he chooses otherwise, it's up to him and I will respect that.

    In this country, there HAS to be a separation between religious education and religion. This is a different issue than religion being taught in schools. We just have to set up a system where it's safe to do this. This is a job of a parent. Help their child find THEIR OWN WAY! Rather than force what *we* believe on them.

    In my opinion, religion is an outdated concept, that has no place in society any more. But thats *MY* beliefs but it's even more important to me that my child forms his own beliefs.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:41 am |
    • peace2all


      Very well said my friend....


      September 28, 2010 at 1:56 am |
    • mark

      I commend you for your views and how you are letting your son find his own way. I am doing the same with my kids.. .though I'm similarly athiest.. or maybe agnostic is a better word..

      September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  12. Munir Munshey

    Religions as well as the philosophies that preach that religion is a cancer need to be taught. Most people are curious, to say the least, about their origin as well as the purpose of their being. Youth is when most indulge their curiosity, and schools are there to quench their curiosity. Therefore, anything that attempts to answer this basic curiosity must necessarily be taught in school. A comparative study of all religions and Atheism should be taught in schools.

    Presently, only the mythology of ancient age is taught. No wonder most kids grow up without a pur[pose inlife.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:37 am |
    • peace2all

      @Munir Munshey

      I am in agreement with you overall... I am not sure if teaching Comparative Religion courses will =people having a purpose in their life, as quite assuredly, more and more people are *not* deriving purpose from any particular religion.

      But, i do agree that it should be taught as literature and myth... NO religious agenda necessary...


      September 28, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Munir Munshey

      I agree wholeheartedly. The idea of education is not to give or impart a particular purpose of life. The purpose of education should be to let people find a purpose of life. Let not people have a religious debate, but rather a purpose debate, and not exactly a debate, but rather a quest.

      September 28, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • peace2all

      @Munir Munshey

      I am all about ALL people finding, searching, even creating their own 'purpose'...... agreed...!


      September 28, 2010 at 3:01 am |
    • Munir Munshey

      The biological and the physical laws seem to reign supreme when observed from this side of death. Who knows what, if anything, exists on the others side. But it seems logical that all human beings would be subject to the same rules. Maybe a person’s beliefs and consequently his deeds get incorporated into the DNA changing it in as yet undiscovered manner. And that might make a difference when the “powers that be” on the other side of death resuscitate each human from one speck of his DNA.

      Else, death is the final and ultimate equalizer.

      September 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Munir Munshey

      Well.... It is as I am gathering from your post... merely philosophical speculations on the topic of any possible 'life after death' scenario.

      You said...."It just seems logical that the 'same rules' would apply to all human's.. etc...etc..."

      My friend, this is where I can't comment any further..... because, again I don't have 'any' idea whether your logic based thoughts on a topic as the here-after have any meaning or validity. Again, mere speculation.

      And...just to be clear, I am not negating your possible assertion... you could be right.


      September 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  13. shawn Blumenfeld

    Basic theology ,correct? Base religious beliefs from all cultures? THEN I would absolutely agree because this would help gain understanding of each belief the history and how it started when it started. I would consider this a major point in how to communicate with others to go along with languages ,social studies and history. This is an absolute.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • peace2all

      @shawn Blumenfeld

      As you stated it ... I agree.. Pure education with no (religious) agenda would be great. I am all for education... I am not for saying this religion..i.e...christianity is the (right) one, and all the rest are wrong.

      They should be taught in the context of literature and myth, while also taking into account their affects socially, politically, economically, etc...


      September 28, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  14. robert

    Jeez, the reason for more violence is more people. What does more people even mean? It means more need to split resources, more people in their own religious/spirital/etc. groups. Atheism has risen AS A RESULT of the last 100 years of violence as well as the expanding knowledge of the universe. What have all the wars of the last decade been fought for? Territorial issues (Sri Lanka) have some roots in religions, while some (Kashmir, Israel-Palestine) have been solely for religious issues. If the rise in scientific thought is causing violence, then it's because people seem to grow more and more afraid and upset as loss of belief.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:27 am |
    • peace2all


      The 'absolute believer's'..... i would agree with you are finding it harder and harder to maintain their 'fundamentalist' belief's.....most specifically in the world of Chrisianity... as Science begins to solve and discover more and more of who we are and our universe.


      September 28, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • Frogist

      @robert: I'm not sure you can characterise the Israel- Palestine conflict as purely religious. Sure religion is a prominent factor, but isn't it also a land dispute?

      September 28, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  15. tailgater

    throughout the beginning of this world religion has been the fall of all cultures and mankind.. we dont need it.. we need to be teaching SCIENCE and leave the rest to SCIFI.......

    September 28, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  16. Fakegod

    We should add study of Pastor Long & 4 twinks to the curriculum, so our students know religions are all scams.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • Johnny

      He made tons of money and lives a life of luxury, his Church pays no taxes and gets millions upon millions through donations. Now that is a successful businessman! Told my dad if I ever get enough money I'm opening up a Church, the money doesn't stop, how could you go wrong? But like plenty of other pastors... the little boys were more interesting that the fairy tales they share

      September 28, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • sockeyerama

      I'm sure Eddie (Daddy) Long took such courses. This is example of the value of such a curriculum. He's a multimillionaire because, among other things, he studied religion. Likewise, anybody who studies religion, is better prepared to deal with or avoid these types.

      September 28, 2010 at 5:37 am |
  17. iloveamerica

    People have gone too far. What's wrong with people becoming educated about the different religions of the world? It will open peoples' eyes to the world around them, making them more accepting of others. It's become so ridiculious that we weren't allowed to say the Pledge at school because it contains the phrase "Under God". The silent majority has to speak up and take back the U.S.! It's an amazing place to live! People need to stop manufacturing problems and become positive influences in their communities.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • peace2all

      @ iloveamerica

      I agree and concur about educating our children about ALL of the major and as many of the other World Religions as possible.

      However, I think you are beginning to mix ... pure, no-agenda-World Religion Courses, with...... being religious. Your comment about ..."One nation under (God)" concerning the Pledge......Which was written into the Pledge in 1954. Did you know that...?

      The Pledge of Allegiance originally *did not* contain the words..."under god"

      In my opinion you have begun crossing the line of pure education with (christian agenda or values)...to me, THAT is not acceptable.


      September 28, 2010 at 1:44 am |
  18. i nod my head

    I agree 100% with you Stephen!

    I think MOST of the of the bigotry and fear (don't mince words, that's exactly what it is) you see on forums across the internet to the schoolyard against believers of ANY faith results directly from this ignorance. Unfortunately, nowhere will you be faced with this lack of information more readily than in places of worship.

    America, let's get over our prejudices and arrogance and begin to not just mine for information but begin to understand it!
    I'm starting with myself... slowly one day at a time.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • peace2all

      @ i nod my head

      Very well said. I respect your willingness to learn about ALL religions...


      September 28, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  19. automagic

    I propose we add thorough study of Pastafarian to the curriculum, so that students can learn "the truth" ™ about our one true god.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  20. Fakegod

    Religions are all BS. Christians/Catholics are pedos, KKKs, bigots, gullible worshipers, and bottom-feeders such as Pastor Long & Haggard. Muslims are all wackos and terrorists. If all religions die, there will be no wars or another 911. Amen.

    September 28, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • SprDg3014014

      Thinking in terms of extremes is central to the problems in these groups as well as individuals. You do no one justice by joining the ranks of extremists, haters, and blamers.

      September 28, 2010 at 4:05 am |
    • peace2all


      It seems from your post that you are just as 'extremist' as the one's you are railing against....


      September 28, 2010 at 4:32 am |
    • Bill

      Fakegod ...
      If you believe terrorism is rooted in religious beliefs you are insane.
      it is rooted in hatred and fear.
      It's politics not religion.

      September 28, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • peace2all


      I get what you're saying... and.... I would just add a piece. Some 'religious extremist's' will look at the writings of the Bible or the Qur'an and 'interpret' those words very differently than say... someone who is more moderate, also excluding (psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies).

      The extremist's will in any religion, often in the name of their 'interpretations' from said religions go on to ....cause great harm, in the name of God... or Allah, etc....

      So, no... I would say, it is not 'always' for just political reasons..


      September 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.