Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Journal Entry #5

So I've been reading this article written by Patrick Fagan in 1996 about the positive impacts of religion on society. Something that stood out to me among the various findings and recommendations given by the author was one directed at concerning religious, or religiously affiliated schools: "Congress should: . . . Fund federal experiments with school choice that include religiously affiliated schools".

It is striking how much this recommendation contrasts this statement made in the "Campaigns" page of humanism.com:

"We can produce the arguments against 'faith' and sectarian schools and in favour of inclusive schools where children from families of all religions and none are educated together and learn about each other’s beliefs, but Local Authorities only consult and listen to the views of local people when making decisions about a new school in their area. So if you share our views, we hope you will get involved – our success depends on you!"

The main page of humanism.com also has a banner with this image:


So there's a big discrepancy in opinion here. On one side of it is Patrick Fagan, who defends the role of religion in society with specific, thorough evidence. He doesn't just show how religion helps people be happier; he goes down almost every indicator of a good life and shows how religious belief and participation is correlated with them, from strong marriages, fewer divorces, less suicide and drug abuse, better mental health, better physical health, and quicker recovery from alcoholism. On the other side of the argument, we have organizations led by intellectuals and individuals who truly believe that society is better without any religious influence at all. Can it be proven that students at religious schools enjoy the same social and personal improvements as those that were stated above by Fagan?

This strays from the topic I have chosen a tiny bit, but I'm interested in what the people who go to these religious schools have to say about this. I think I'll look up some religious schools in London and visit them while I'm there. It would be interesting to ask the teachers, students, and parents-of-students who attend there what they think about these institutions, and also to see if these positive social indicators are correlated with religious schools.

1 comment:

  1. Being at BYU all the time and stuff, it is really weird to actually meet someone who believes religion should be completely out of the public square. I mean, I hear that people like this exist, but to actually meet one? That's a different matter entirely.