Moral, Existential, and Civic Arguments

Warren A. Nord

in Does God Make a Difference?

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199766888
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895038 | DOI:
Moral, Existential, and Civic Arguments

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Chapter 5 argued that a good liberal education must take religion seriously. This chapter considers three other kinds of arguments for requiring students to study religion. First, schools and universities have a responsibility to educate students morally, both by locating them in traditions and by enabling them to think critically about those traditions, and this can't be done without taking religion seriously. Second, a good liberal education will provide opportunities for students to explore those existential questions about the meaning of life that are inescapable for thoughtful human beings, and this can't be done without taking religion seriously either. Third, there are a set of related civic arguments for requiring some study of religion: students must understand religion to be thoughtful; justice requires that schools and universities take religion seriously; political liberty is incompatible with secular indoctrination; and both civility and respect for other people's rights require that students learn about their religions and religious liberty. Finally, the chapter looks at some remarkable, widely endorsed, common-ground statements that address the importance of studying religion.

Keywords: American education; liberal education; public schools; religion; religious studies

Chapter.  9367 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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