unit 1: world religions. why study world religions?

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Unit 1: World Religions

Unit 1: World ReligionsWhy Study World Religions?Why Study World Religions?Since the purpose of the social studies is to provide students with a knowledge of the world that has been, the world that is, and the world of the future, studying about religions should be an essential part of the social studies curriculum.- A Position Statement of National Council for the Social Studies (1998)Abington v. Schempp (1963)United States Supreme Court declared that study about religions in the nations public schools is both legal and desirable.Ones education is not complete without a study of comparative religions or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historical qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, where presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistent with the first Amendment. (Justice Clark)Abington v. Schempp (1963)Whether or not the Bible is involved, it would be impossible to teach meaningfully many subjects in the social sciences or the humanities without some mention of religion. (Justice Brennan)Another additional thought.We will run into World Religions many times throughout this course. One of my hopes would be that any understanding you gain from learning about these religions will also help you better understand the events that have happened during the periods that we study.My goals for this unitGive a historical background for the development of each of the 5 major world religions (Though Confuscianism could go into this category as a 6th, unfortunately we only have time to study the other 5).Give a background of the core beliefs of each religionGive an idea of where each religion has had a region of influence historically.My goal is NOT to make you (1) religious, (2) irreligious, or (3) force you to believe anything that you do not want to believe. Consequently

I am happy to talk about my own thoughts and opinions before or after class or school if you are interested, but I will not delve into them in class, as I want you to gain a historical appreciation for each of the world religions so we can see their impact on history. Any questions before we begin?