Teaching the History of religion has caused me much anxiety in the past few days. What am I allowed to say? What is taboo? I figured that as long as I’m not preaching a religion at the kids or forcing them to join a religion, then I’m in the clear…right? Trust me, I’m the last one to try and convince anyone to join a certain religion.
I’m just stating the facts. My goal is to show the kids that religions share the same characteristics. They all have someone or something to worship. They have some kind of belief system…most of the time, those beliefs are written in a holy book of some sort. Symbols are involved. Houses of Worship are involved. Yada, Yada, Yada. The most important aspect I want them to know is the effect the spread of religions had on the world…what’s so wrong with that?
After teaching the top five religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, I figured I could assign a project that highlights what they know about religions.
Create Your Own Religion
Your Religion must include the following:
- A founder – (write a biography)
- Holy Book w/ set of Beliefs (create a book)
- God(s) to worship
- “Get the Word Out” – How will you spread your religion? – (PPT preso orPoster/flyer/sticker)
They must choose 3 of the following to add to the requirements:
Symbol(s) of the Religion – Draw a symbol and explain what it means
Area of the World – Draw a map or shade a pre-existing map
History of Religion – Timeline with 10 dates and events
Afterlife – RAFT – Tell a story of what happened to someone in their afterlife – Minimum 3 paragraphs
VIPs (priest, rabbi, monk, etc…) – 3 VIPs and their roles.
Place of Worship – Google Sketch Up or Handmade house of god
Now…I thought this project was pretty good. It had some technology. It would show that the kids understood what religions consist of and how religions spread. I’ve been advised against using it. Tell me why? Am I forcing kids to join a religion? Am I subconsciously show kids how easy it is to create their own religion? Are parents going to be scared that their child will ditch their religion and start to worship this “fake” religion? I don’t think so.
I just don’t know why teachers are so scared to teach the history of religion…just don’t tell kids that they need to follow your religion and you should be in the clear.
Of course this is coming from someone who is not extremely religious. I won’t share my beliefs with you because there are just somethings you don’t talk about at the dinner table, but I can’t comprehend what the big deal is. Please tell me.