View Full Version : Member Feedback Needed: Religion Curriculum Directory Listings

02-14-2014, 08:33 PM
We're considering adding some religion-overview curricula to our curriculum directory. Here's the feedback I would appreciate from as many of you as feel like weighing in...

1) First of all, do you like the idea? Or do you prefer to keep the directory completely free of even secular programs that give overviews of religion or religious history?

2) If you DO like the idea, do you think it should be categorized:

In social studies/history?
In electives?
In it's own separate category (World Religions, or something similar?)

02-14-2014, 10:10 PM
If religious materials are going to be included for anything, I'd love to see them flagged as such. It would make it easier to avoid such items. :)

02-14-2014, 10:20 PM
I would welcome some information on resources designed to teach my kids about the different religions in the world. I consider it part of social studies, actually. There is a difference between learning about religion as an outsider with an anthropological interest and learning about one in order to practice it. I think my kids would be a lot less likely to consider turning to religion in the future if they were taught about it objectively as part of a social studies curriculum. As it is said, there is no better way to become an atheist than by actually reading the bible!

02-14-2014, 10:58 PM
I'm confused. Are these religious materials or materials about religions? I'm okay with either, but I think they should be marked differently... Like, if a Christian math curricula was in the directory, I would want it flagged with a note as to why (because it's easy to secularize or because there's no religion in the math program, even though the language arts one does, or whatever). If it's materials about world religions, then I would think it should be under social studies. However, I'll note that while I'm aware of a ton of great books for teaching world religions, I don't know of any neutral curricula on the subject, though perhaps there is something.

02-14-2014, 11:18 PM
I found this one to be neutral. World Religions: Gabriel Arquilevich: 9781557346247: Amazon.com: Books (http://smile.amazon.com/World-Religions-Gabriel-Arquilevich/dp/1557346240/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1392437852&sr=8-3&keywords=world+religion+curriculum)

02-14-2014, 11:56 PM
I think having curriculum about religious history or world religions would be great (if I'm reading that correctly). I would think Social Studies would be a fine place to put it.

02-15-2014, 01:33 AM
I like the idea of including curriculum that includes a religious overview of multiple religions. It would work in the social studies. I think studying Bible (or the Bhagavad Gita for that matter) as literature or one that is a survey of the world's religions to be important. This is something that we are already incorporating into our own curriculum. (Also religion has such an impact on history, that dealing with it directly helps explain many things.)

If the materials is addressing the issue of religion from a place of faith, in that the consumers of the materials are believers, then the materials should be labeled as such. In fact, I think it would be helpful to have a list of suppliers of curriculum that are religious and/or offer both. For example Math U See has secular and religious curriculum. It would be helpful to know that from the list, because when I was looking through some of their curriculum I realized that I needed to look more closely because they have both.

02-15-2014, 02:46 AM
We study world religions so I would be fine seeing a category here that includes resources for that subject.

You could always separate it out from other social studies subjects (and call it Religion or World Religions) if you think the idea of including the subject might be controversial. This might make it easier for people to find it or avoid it, as they see fit.

02-15-2014, 07:16 AM
I'm all for including material about religions, as opposed to religious material. Both of my teens are agnostic/atheist but enjoyed learning about various religions last year. We included it under social studies--more specifically world history.

We used The Great Courses World Religions DVD set in addition to tons of reading material and some documentaries on Netflix. This was all geared to high school level. If you end up putting a category in the curriculum directory, I'd add specifics to it!

02-15-2014, 07:34 AM
I believe studying religion is almost necessary to studying world history. I am not sure how you would teach about the middle ages, middle east, the holocaust, or 9/11 without it. To completely understand most of the key points in history there are usually one of three things motivating it; greed, religion, or revenge. Or sadly a combination of all three. Are there not a lot of secular materials on this subject? If there isn't, I may just of found a way to use my degree and speciality. I love to write on history and religion and this would be a great chance for me to combine my loves.

Norm Deplume
02-15-2014, 08:38 AM
1. Yes I like the idea.

2. I think "religious studies" as its own category would be fine, but it would also make sense as a subset of social studies (religions are very social, after all!).

02-15-2014, 08:42 AM
As it is said, there is no better way to become an atheist than by actually reading the bible!

Just a pedantic quibble, but the old canard that reading the Bible makes one an atheist simply isn't true: check out this Pew study (http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux/) for the actual numbers on US religious mobility and who moves where. The numbers show that Protestants (who place heavy emphasis on bible reading) lose affiliated members at a lower rate than Catholics (less emphasis), and that the unaffiliated (including atheists) who become affiliated over their lifetimes, tend to become Protestants. Of Christians who leave, being "unhappy with teachings about the bible" is only a mid-ranked reason, and since the survey allows multiple reasons, probably was the sole reason for very few people. Meanwhile, 5% of unaffiliated who become affiliated cite "biblical/scriptural" reasons for doing so among their reasons.

The key findings on the reasons for people entering and leaving the unaffiliated group:

"About half of those who have become unaffiliated say – in response to the survey’s yes-or-no questions – that they became unaffiliated, at least in part, because they think of religious people as hypocritical, judgmental or insincere. Large numbers also say they became unaffiliated because they think that religious organizations focus too much on rules and not enough on spirituality, or that religious leaders are too focused on money and power rather than truth and spirituality. Another reason cited by many people who are now unaffiliated is the belief that many religions are partly true but no single religion is completely true. Fewer people, however, say they became unaffiliated because they think modern science proves that religion is just superstition, indicating that the belief that science disproves religion is a less important reason for becoming unaffiliated than disenchantment with religious people or institutions.

At the same time that the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown, the Landscape Survey also revealed that the unaffiliated have one of the lowest retention rates of any of the major religious groups, with most people who were raised unaffiliated now belonging to one religion or another. Those who leave the ranks of the unaffiliated cite several reasons for joining a faith, such as the attraction of religious services and styles of worship (74%), having been spiritually unfulfilled while unaffiliated (51%) or feeling called by God (55%)."

So reading the Bible is not the best way to become atheist or unaffiliated. /quibble

02-15-2014, 09:27 AM
By the way, I would not describe material giving an overview of world religions as "religious" the way the link at the top of the page implied...

02-15-2014, 09:37 AM
I found this one to be neutral. World Religions: Gabriel Arquilevich: 9781557346247: Amazon.com: Books (http://smile.amazon.com/World-Religions-Gabriel-Arquilevich/dp/1557346240/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1392437852&sr=8-3&keywords=world+religion+curriculum)

Bart Ehrman has also written a supposed freshman semester textbook about the Bible (http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Historical-Literary-Introduction/dp/0195308166/) from a secular/historical perspective - easily usab;e by a teenager with good reading skills over a year.

02-15-2014, 09:48 AM
As long as whatever it is is in its own category. Please.

I know I am not alone in spending many resentful hours sniffing out a religious leaning in my kid's potential study materials. That sh**can hide!

02-15-2014, 07:46 PM
btw, my father became christian after reading the bible . . . he said he was told that you'd be saved when you got to (idk, some chapter or something) and it was true.

so under social studies is fine by me if we're talking world religions, but i thought you had a policy of only including curriculum, not books, and we seem to mostly agree there are only books about world religions, not curriculum. except I guess currclick, but its kinda dry imo

02-15-2014, 08:05 PM
I do like the idea. I grew up in a non-religious family. When I got to college, not knowing much about the Bible meant that there were a lot of allusions in Western history and literature that I was missing. I like the idea of covering the major religions for cultural literacy. (I've been thinking about attending our local UU church for their religious education program, but I'm also interested in materials I could use at home.)

As far as categorization, I think any of those options would be fine by me.

02-15-2014, 08:43 PM
Yes, that's a good idea. In fact, I've thought the same thing too and bought World Religions:Beliefs and Traditions from Around the Globe (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/world-religions-robert-pollock/1113892428?ean=9781435111158&x=31201502) book that I found in Barnes and Noble website. Planning to put it in our Social Studies curriculum someday (maybe after we're done with US History).

02-16-2014, 06:00 AM
Sorry if I've not been clear, folks. I really was trying to. This is NOT "Christian" or "faith-based" curriculum of any sort, but rather curriculum that would give a secular perspective on world religions. Picture a college course on World Religions, for example. Just curriculum that gives an overview of religion.

02-16-2014, 11:39 AM
Totally cool with that. Thanks for clarifying, Topsy. :)

02-16-2014, 04:57 PM
Yes, I think it's a fabulous idea, and absolutely appropriate for a secular site. It can be difficult to find religious studies curriculums that aren't written from the viewpoint of a specific religion.

I think social studies would be an appropriate place to put it, but don't have strong feelings about that.

02-17-2014, 11:45 AM
We have taught the roots of and the basics about world religions in a comparative religion sort of manner, as it applies to history. I don't know how you can explain cultures and history without some understanding of the beliefs and religions. We plan to continue this, so I would find a list of resources helpful.

02-17-2014, 08:17 PM
Im all for world religions. I think it's needed for history later down the line. Social studies category?

02-18-2014, 08:26 AM
Materials about religions -- yes; materials which tell me that carnivores ate grass when they lived in the garden of Eden -- no.

02-18-2014, 01:55 PM
Thanks so much to everyone for your feedback. Based on your responses, we will soon be adding some religion overview curricula to the Social Studies/History section of the directory. As usual...couldn't do this thing without all of you!!! :_applaud:

02-18-2014, 03:12 PM
I think that sounds like a fantastic idea. :)

02-23-2014, 07:34 AM
So, you're going to include a subject of "religious studies" or "comparative religion" along with things like philosophy, under a larger Social Studies header? That seems quite reasonable for a secular site.

I was wondering for a moment whether you were going to include reviews of creationist science curricula, Rod and Staff, etc, and was thinking what a tangled mess that might be, having to place an asterisk next to those, while still listing them under Science, and Language Arts...and then having the discussions of whether Creation Science is really science and whether it ought to be listed there.

It would be wise not to overlap niches with The Other Site, because filling separate niches which are not otherwise filled elsewhere, is a major reason for this site's success as well as the other's.

02-23-2014, 01:54 PM
By the way, I would not describe material giving an overview of world religions as "religious" the way the link at the top of the page implied...

Nor would I. As an education and Social Studies major, a World Religions course belongs in the Social Studies category and is NOT religious in nature. However, a curricula such as Abeka, does belong in the religious category because the provider itself is religious in nature *and* their religious beliefs come through in the material.

I would be perfectly fine with the World Religions type of material (there is also a curriculum that teaches the literature of religion, that is to say, the beauty in the King James language, the breakdown of the sentences, studying the literature aspects of the bible (the stories); but this curricula is not religious in nature) but would not be fine with religious material list. There are already thousands of sites dedicated to that type of material, please keep this site secular.

02-23-2014, 02:53 PM
I'm OK with religious materials being included, as long as they are marked as having religious content. I also think it is important to distinguish those materials that teach about religion (such as one would find in history) from those materials that are religious in nature (which should be clearly marked, perhaps in red). But I think including them is a fantastic idea, actually, because some people might actually desire them for a particular study (i.e. - world religions).