October 8, 2014

"I was SHOCKED when my daughter showed me the pamphlet that she was required to make promoting Islam in a way 3rd graders could comprehend."

"As a mother who teaches her children that the One True Creator God is the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it made me sick to my stomach to see my daughter promoting another god (Allah) as the One True Creator on a pamphlet!"

The perils of trying to teach schoolchildren about religion. 

184 comments:

Shanna said...

Sounds a bit over dramatic (did they ask her to 'promote' islam or explain it?), but the pictures of the assignment had been taken down, so I'm not sure what the school was actually teaching.

damikesc said...

These schools wouldn't teach the same crap about Christianity.

They'd also be FAR less likely to gloss over the issues with Christianity that they do with Islam.

As somebody asked "If criticizing Muslims about abusing children is 'Islamophobia', then what does one have to support to be 'pro Islam'?"

Our obsession with criticizing Western culture ONLY is a major problem. Western culture is, literally, the only one who'd tolerate the bullshit the bitchers and moaners like to profess loudly about the culture.

How many Islamic states would teach about ANY OTHER FAITH the way this school is "teaching" about Islam?

St. George said...

Islam teaches that Muhammad is "the seal" of the prophets...the receiver of the last, final, and best word.

How preposterous that Jesus who preached love would be superseded by a military commander who ordered the deaths, actually beheadings, of hundreds of captives.

rhhardin said...

They should teach islam along with the organized crime lesson.

You have to keep the believers in line.

PB Reader said...

When it comes to "God" these Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe in the same deity, but they differ in the importance they place on Jesus and Muhammad.

chuck said...

The perils of trying to teach schoolchildren about religion.

Sounds more like the perils of sending children to the public schools. When they aren't being led into demonstrating for the teacher's union they are being indoctrinated with the latest PC nonsense infecting the educational establishment.

traditionalguy said...

It is untruth in labeling to pretend Mohammed is a prophet sent by the God of Abraham. He was used by Satan for the sole purpose of blocking all faith on earth in Jesus as the sacrificed and resurrected Son of God.

damikesc said...

How preposterous that Jesus who preached love would be superseded by a military commander who ordered the deaths, actually beheadings, of hundreds of captives.

Even more preposterous is how mohammad would ask God who was right in various disagreements and mohammad was, amazingly, ALWAYS right.

Every single time.

It's impressive, really.

Bob R said...

Mandatory government schools aren't really compatible with a free society.

Henry said...

Read the article, folks.

Alexander said...

Meanwhile in Hamtramck, MI, the locals enjoy the delightful melodies of the Muslim call to prayer five times a day. Over in Dearborn, they ban church bells for noise pollution.

So yeah, if I too were a dhimmi living in Michigan, I might have a concern or two as to what the local government's motivations were.

MadisonMan said...

The perils of trying to teach schoolchildren about religion.

More like the perils of parents who fly off the handle for no good reason.

Lyssa said...

I'd be interested to know if there were any similar projects related to their study of Christianity (or any of the other religions) and what they were.

I would object to the creation of a pamphlet, for an of the religions, though - pamphlets are traditionally used to propagandize and sell, not just to neutrally inform.

That said, I agree that her reaction appears over the top.

Ann Althouse said...

@damikesc The school WAS teaching about other religions. The principal said: "“The assignment was to cover the five major world religions: The religions included Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam."

The woman just blew a gasket over Islam.

The Godfather said...

The article is not clear about what the pamphlet was supposed to "teach" a 3d grader about Islam. A 10th grader ought to be able to describe for such a reader factual information about Islam or any of the other major religions without proselytizing, pro or con. To do this, he might write that Muslims believe that Allah is the one true God; he would not write that Allah IS the one true God. The mother's complaint would be valid if the assignment required the latter, but not if it required the former.

I wonder whether it would have satisfied the assignment if the student had written that Islam was originally spread across northern Africa and the middle east through military conquest and forced conversions?

Shanna said...

Read the article, folks.

I read it. It was short on details of what the school was actually teaching on Islam. Until I get more details, I'm going with overreaction, since they were teaching other religions.

There are certain religions you need to be aware of to understand history and current events. Judiasm, Islam and Christianity are among them, but you have to teach from a history standpoint rather than religious one.

Dr.D said...

The point of the lesson was to make sure that the students had a thorough grasp of muzzie propaganda. You would not want the students to loose their heads (literally) if the muzzies come to dominate their community, would you?

It is utterly absurd to say that the moon god of arabia is the same as the Holy Trinity. Somebody needs to do some homework!

Ann Althouse said...

Explain it to a third grader is a device to get the students to explain it in simple terms and to be nice about it (as opposed to emulating Christopher Hitchens).

Some people seem unable to distinguish between understanding a religion and believing it. Understanding a belief can involve putting yourself subjectively inside it, and this is a dangerous thing to ask other people's children to do. But "explain it to a third grader" is a pretty moderate alternative to inviting students to really try to imagine actually believing this other religion.

chillblaine said...

For the lesson to be a credible assessment of Islam, the pamphlet should have asked the third-graders to imagine being forced to wed a creepy old guy.

Ann Althouse said...

They were kind of writing a comic book with the basic elements of the religion, believing in one God, having a particular holy book, etc.

Freaking out about it is sad, and we can see that the woman took down her postings. It does show something about the anxiety parents have that schools are undercutting the religion they are trying to bring their children up in. Schools should be sensitive about this, but not to the point of catering to a real fear of other cultures.

Ann Althouse said...

"To do this, he might write that Muslims believe that Allah is the one true God; he would not write that Allah IS the one true God. The mother's complaint would be valid if the assignment required the latter, but not if it required the former."

Not all parents are sharp enough to understand the difference, unfortunately. Part of cultural sensitivity is anticipating that.

And some religionists might have special requirements about what they can write. For example, some Jews won't write the word "God."

Henry said...

Alternatively, the high school could have taught world history with no religions ever mentioned. Marx would approve.

Howard said...

Typical defensive, insecure and ignorant teabagger reaction.

Crack is dead wrong about white supremacy (while being spot on about white racism and bigotry). If y'all were really on top (and knew it), it would be no thing. Instead, the reaction says you are Islam's bitch.

Shanna said...

Doesn't Common Core require you to write a bunch of 'practical' stuff like facebook posts and possibly pamphlets instead of critical essays? I was wonder if this kind of assignment is an attempt to hit those guidelines.

Some people seem unable to distinguish between understanding a religion and believing it.

Just teach this stuff like it's greek mythology that people still believe.

Alexander said...

Historical view, eh?

Wanna take bets on whether the class was taught that Mohammad showed tolerance by destroying the shrines to all other gods in Mecca? Was the class taught that Mohammad was down with marrying a child, but waited till nine to consummate the marriage cause he was just a gentleman that way and didn't mind the wait?

Somehow I doubt very much that a neutral, historically accurate take of the situation was employed here.

As for 'blowing the gasket'... to my knowledge, Buddhists and Hindus have taken no action to repress Christianity in the state of Michigan. Nor have they been going around beheading out citizenry and proclaiming an empire that will see all nonbelievers killed or enslaved.

And to any idiot that goes 'herpy doo, if you Christians so secure then why you worried about it...' You realize of course that the Christian world view recognizes that the world has evil in it, that people are not infallible and can be captured by temptation, and that we have a duty to actively resist? The idea that a Christian child could fall sway to a false doctrine is not inconsistent with Christian teachings. The battle for the soul of your child is no place for complacency.

Of course, as of now its still an abstract thing, isn't it? When it's *your* sons and daughters on the line, and not some poor asshole in Nigeria or Iraq or Michigan... that'll be different.

traditionalguy said...

Fence sitting from afar is an excuse that never works when you are under attack. It is like our 1960s saying, "what if they gave a war and no one came."

But what if they gave a war and only the other side comes?

Unknown said...

Blogger PB Reader, your comment
that "Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe in the same deity" is either fundamentally ignorant or profoundly disrespectful.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

I would have had great fun helping my child with this assignment.*

* With footnotes and citations because it's the truth.

Henry said...

Shanna wrote: Until I get more details, I'm going with overreaction...

Sorry, that made me laugh. I assume from your other posts that you mean that you're interpreting the controversy as an overreaction (pending more details), as opposed to going the full Alexander.

We could stay calm or we could panic. Panic!

St. George said...

I can't recall studying theology in third grade.

Seems like I was learning how to add, subtract, and write sentences.

You know, important stuff.

rhhardin said...

Some guidance on which are friendly religions and which are enemy ones might help.

rhhardin said...

Jews don't have to believe in God.

PB Reader said...

Blogger "Unknown": Judaism, Christianity and Islam are known as "Abrahamic religions" as they trace their origin directly from Abraham and his god.

Perhaps you should take that high school class or just read an encyclopedia.

chuck said...

Why are they teaching about religion in third grade? The whole thing smells of social indoctrination.

One could argue that it is the responsibility of the state to make the new man through education -- that was the totalitarian ideal -- or one could leave such things up to the people and their non-governmental organizations. I'd incline towards the latter.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

"The woman just blew a gasket over Islam."

Conservative Republican nutjob.

"Explain it to a third grader is a device to get the students to explain it in simple terms and to be nice about it (as opposed to emulating Christopher Hitchens)."

Blah - pure slander:

Hitch could describe transcendence (or any other subject) beautifully, but saw his calling to be critical because the topic (which includes slavery, child abuse, rape, and murder) most certainly calls for it.

Misuse Dawkins as your atheist whipping boy, if you must have one - I know how much y'all love picking on those you outnumber.

In America, that's usually referred to as "a fair fight"....

Shanna said...

Shanna wrote: Until I get more details, I'm going with overreaction...

Sorry, that made me laugh. I assume from your other posts that you mean that you're interpreting the controversy as an overreaction (pending more details), as opposed to going the full Alexander.


Ha! Yes, you are right, but it does sound funny.

Now if you want to talk about Ebola, that's a different story. I read The Hot Zone, after all :)

Anonymous said...

Lyssa wrote;

"That said, I agree that her reaction appears over the top."

Just imagine if the child had drew a picture of Mohammed in her pamphlet.

If you think the mothers reaction was "over the top" I wonder what words we could find to describe the reaction of Islamic believers had the child done that.

Fernandinande said...

Dr.D said...
It is utterly absurd to say that the moon god of arabia is the same as the Holy Trinity. Somebody needs to do some homework!


It's hard to tell the difference between fictitious things and imaginary things.

Mark Nielsen said...

What if one of the kids had included a drawing of Mohammed in their pamphlet?

Crimso said...

'Judaism, Christianity and Islam are known as "Abrahamic religions" as they trace their origin directly from Abraham and his god.'

While I don't dispute that this is what the encyclopedia might say, there are many adherents to all of those religions who do not believe that the others are legitimate. I know some Christians who insist that Jews are going to Hell. Nothing personal. Not really anything they can do about it. That's just how it is (unless they accept Jesus as their personal savior).

Elements of each of the Abrahamic religions are quite happy declaring theirs is the only true belief in God. As an agnostic, I don't care what any of them think. Just leave me alone. Or else.

Robert Cook said...

Hmmmm...maybe this mother should consider that non-Christians may be equally disgruntled or disturbed that their children be taught that the Christian god is the one, true god, and try to understand this is why separation of church and state is not anti-religion, but is protective of the religious (or non-religious) beliefs and sensibilities of all citizens.

Crimso said...

"Misuse Dawkins as your atheist whipping boy, if you must have one"

Atheists are as faith-based as any religion. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Of course, this direction of discussion will rapidly spiral into "cogito ergo sum."

The Crack Emcee said...

Howard,

"Crack is dead wrong about white supremacy (while being spot on about white racism and bigotry). If y'all were really on top (and knew it), it would be no thing. Instead, the reaction says you are Islam's bitch."

Sorry, Pardner, but you have it backwards:

We're fish, swimming in America's white ancestor's self-declared culture of white supremacy - denying the history (or ignoring it, or being ignorant of it) doesn't change it.

White racism and bigotry - and even the concept of "white people" - are the result of white supremacy. Not the other way around. Whites INVENTED it to make themselves feel big. Which is also part of their whole "fear" thing - in their hearts, whites are insecure.

As far as white fears are concerned, I see it in their eyes as I walk down the street, everyday. Whites are big-talking bunny rabbits, which is why they need to stay in groups, and be armed to the teeth, while blacks walk right up to the muzzle of guns, as individuals, and dare you to pull the trigger or else. We've, mostly, lost a fear of everything - thanks to whites.

Being a self-coddled race has not served whites well in The Courage Dept.,...

mccullough said...

I'd be interested in seeing the public school's teaching materials on the five major religions.

Kelly said...

Is religion something they should be teaching third graders? Shouldn't they be learning about the white privilage of the founders and the racism and genocide of Columbus? My daughter didn't learn about world religions until ninth grade world history,

Robert Cook said...

"Blogger PB Reader, your comment
that 'Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe in the same deity' is either fundamentally ignorant or profoundly disrespectful."


No, it's true they all believe in the same deity: the imaginary one.

Anonymous said...

Educating a dhimmi.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shanna,

"Just teach this stuff like it's greek mythology that people still believe."

Best advice I've read so far,...

Robert Cook said...

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Sure it is, until evidence is found. It may not be proof of absence, but it is evidence of absence.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alexander,

"Wanna take bets on whether the class was taught that Mohammad showed tolerance by destroying the shrines to all other gods in Mecca? Was the class taught that Mohammad was down with marrying a child, but waited till nine to consummate the marriage cause he was just a gentleman that way and didn't mind the wait?"

Some folks CLEARLY don't understand the concept of teaching 3rd Graders,...

Brando said...

Well, I'm convinced by this intelligent woman who clearly grasps the nuances of comparative religions and has made her case on that forum for reasoned debate--Facebook!

Clearly she has been tricked--maybe by Satan, as he takes many forms--into sending her daughter to what she thought was a public school but turned out to be a Muslim propaganda factory.

Telling kids that the God of Abraham is the same as the Allah worshipped by Muslims? This is worse than fusing Hitler with Stalin, which I call Stitler for my own reasons. Exposing this woman's daughter to such heresies is obviously going to lead her to become a suicide bomber, which will be hell for the next family reunion.

Todd said...

Based on the article, how does anyone know if the mother overreacted? The actual assignment was not included, nor were details of the assignment included.

The students were learning about the major religions and were given an assignment to create a pamphlet on Islam. That is really all that is known.

Did the students create pamphlets for all of the religions or just Islam? Were they told to simplify the description for all of the religions or just Islam? Details matter.

Depending on the details, I could see that the mother overreacted but depending on the details, I could see that she did not "riot" enough. The story is too poorly done to tell.

RecChief said...

Ann Althouse said...
@damikesc The school WAS teaching about other religions. The principal said: "“The assignment was to cover the five major world religions: The religions included Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam."

The woman just blew a gasket over Islam."

But then, which of the 5 openly advocates stoning and beheading nowadays?

Brando said...

"Not all parents are sharp enough to understand the difference, unfortunately. Part of cultural sensitivity is anticipating that."

So we have to dumb down the cirriculum for children because their parents are too stupid to not go into fevered overreactions?

If it's too much for this lunatic to bear, she can pull her kid out of the class and find a private school or homeschool. And God (or Allah!) help the poor kid who has a dolt for a mother.

Shanna said...

Well, I'm convinced by this intelligent woman who clearly grasps the nuances of comparative religions and has made her case on that forum for reasoned debate--Facebook!

I do feel a bit sorry for her. She probably just wanted to bitch to her friends online about an assignment she didn't like and it got picked up as a national story.

The Crack Emcee said...

Crimso,

"Atheists are as faith-based as any religion. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

But you still don't have any evidence,...

Mark said...

Reading comprehension is low among this crowd. All these people taking the third grade bit from the quote and just leaping to conclusions with it.
This is a parent going off their rocker and now a ton of muslim haters leaping to their side.

Altbillies at their finest.

Kirk Parker said...

Unknown,


"Blogger PB Reader, your comment
that 'Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe in the same deity' is either fundamentally ignorant or profoundly disrespectful.
"

Those aren't the only alternatives!

For all we know, PBR is following in the same vein as the Apostle Paul did in writing I Corinthians 8, where he asserts that there really is only one God, but that others' beliefs in that regard may be faulty.

Brando said...

"Based on the article, how does anyone know if the mother overreacted? The actual assignment was not included, nor were details of the assignment included."

I based my diagnosis on her use of Facebook and her quotes.

Sure, it's possible there's some secret Muslim teacher who is trying to convert the students--such a thing isn't inconceivable. But if she's going to go public with her accusations levelled at the school, and all she has is that they told her kid that Muslims worship the same God (which is technically true, as Mohammed built off the Jewish and Christian traditions), and nothing else, I'm going to stick with my assumption until more is revealed.

Julie C said...

Okay this was an assignment for high school kids, not third graders.

I'd be more annoyed by the juvenile arts & crafts element of the project not the subject matter.

The Crack Emcee said...

RecChief,

"Which of the 5 openly advocates stoning and beheading nowadays?"

All of them.

Man, it must be tough to go through life wearing blinders,...

Brando said...

"I do feel a bit sorry for her. She probably just wanted to bitch to her friends online about an assignment she didn't like and it got picked up as a national story."

Maybe so, but after years of Facebook posts going viral (and in some cases leading to job loss, criminal charges, etc.) you have to expect an inflammatory charge like that to have legs.

I guess my thing is, what's so objectionable about the assignment? Kids should be exposed to other religions, cultures, and histories. If a teacher is crossing the line by introducing bias--e.g., "Communism was a great ideology, brought down only by imperialist powers"--then take it to the school administration or board of education, and if you get no relief, go to the media. But nothing she's posted even indicates bias, unless you think the only thing kids should learn about Islam is that it's evil and false because we have just the God of Abraham.

Imagine a teacher trying to teach THAT to students, and how well that would go down!

Todd said...

Brando...

Based on following all the working links, the only details on the assignment I could find are:

The objective of a world religion project was for high school students to synthesize the main concepts of Islam into a pamphlet, Graham said. The assignment rubric states that the student’s “pamphlet should be targeted towards elementary students,” meaning the information should be explained in a way that a third grader could understand.

So it seems the students were learning about all 5 religions but only creating a pamphlet on Islam. The pamphlet was to be constructed in such a way as to explain Islam to a third-grader. I could see a parent preserving that as promoting Islam as there appears to have been NO assignments to demonstrate understanding of the other religions.

Also, the HuffPo is SUCH a fair and balanced news outlet. They would never dream of selecting a story and presenting it in such a way as to ridicule a mom who expresses concerns when a school lesson appears (to her) to cross the line. She posted her story on Facebook, FACEBOOK. I am sure she did not think it would go news viral. If nothing else, it looks like she learned how to use Facebook privacy settings.

John Lynch said...

If schools are supposed to keep religion out then they should keep religion out. That's the deal.

April Apple said...

Leftwing insanity in charge of preaching to our kids.

Sleep well.

Lucien said...

Focusing on the fact that the assignment was given to 10th grade students to write briefly as if their audience were third grade students I'd be interested in what the teacher's plan was after the assignment was done.

It would seem like a good way at getting at what the students thought was really important about the religion, and what they chose to leave out, and the different choices made by different students, as well as what disputes or controversies they did or did not include because of the intended audience. (For example would the difference between Shi'a and Sunni make the cut?)

Michael said...

Crack
"As far as white fears are concerned, I see it in their eyes as I walk down the street, everyday."

HA! That is what you get for living in a liberal paradise where the people all love the black race but are scared shitless of blacks. I look in the eyes of dozens of black people every day, even as I say hello or ask how they are doing, and they neither see nor reflect any fear at all.

Or maybe it's the scowl or crazy look. People are scared of crazy people regardless of their color.

jacksonjay said...

Is 3rd grade too young to learn about pedophilia?

Brando said...

Todd, I agree that this story raises more questions than answers at this point, namely was every student asked just to do a pamphlet on Islam rather than any other religion? Why was Islam selected?

In my high school (which was mostly Jews and Christians) they didn't teach us a lot about Christianity and Judaism, but spent more time on Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism because it was presumed most of us already knew more about our own religions (and perhaps thought there'd be more objection from parents if "our" religions weren't taught accurately). Religion is always going to be a touchy subject, particularly for public schools which have less leeway in teaching it due to First Amendment concerns.

Sure, it's possible that this particular school was teaching Islam in a biased way that runs afoul of the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment. I'm skeptical that a public school would do something like this, considering the obvious reactions from parents, and this woman's quotes in the article aren't making her case.

Maybe as you suggest the Huffingon Post is grossly misquoting her, but if that's not the case then she is overreacting and doing her own kid no service. What's the harm in learning about other religions? Better she get some exposure at a young age when the parent has more influence than for her to pick it up later in life and join some cult.

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

Allah is the construct of the mind of a mad man. "He" bears no relation to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Allah didn't even give man free will.

Brando said...

"If schools are supposed to keep religion out then they should keep religion out. That's the deal."

School's aren't supposed to refrain from teaching kids about world religions, they're supposed to not support any religion or religious belief (this isn't a strict rule, of course--I remember Christmas and Hannukah decorations in my public school growing up--and this was in the early '90s).

If the teacher was promoting Islam, that's barred. If the teacher was teaching students ABOUT Islam, that's fine. The gray area--"is she promoting it while teaching about it?"--is the question here.

n.n said...

They already preach a pseudo-scientific faith. A natural philosophy studied in a universal frame of reference. The scientific domain is necessarily limited in time and space. The accuracy of human perception and physical evidence is inversely proportional to time and space offsets from the present.

Freder Frederson said...

These schools wouldn't teach the same crap about Christianity.

Didn't you bother to read the article. The class was about all five of the world's major religions (and that includes Christianity).

Terry said...

Match the three major Abrahamic religions and the way that their followers are justified to God:

A) Judaism
B) Christianity
C) Islam

1)Belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour.
2)Following the laws of Leviticus
3)Cutting off the heads of unbelievers.

Todd said...

Brando, I agree with everything that you are saying. If it was a misunderstanding on the mother's part, it does sound like she over reacted.

Just not enough info to tell BUT there is a bias in the education system. Get burned enough and you naturally start to flinch. That can sometimes make you look like an idiot but it does stop you from getting burned so much.

jacksonjay said...

"Not all parents are sharp enough" to understand the reasons for a child-bride.

Unknown said...

PB: Neither Islam nor Judaism acknowledge Jesus Christ as God. Neither Judaism nor Christianity acknowledge God speaking to Mohamed.

Alexander said...

Well then, clearly the solution is to protest on the grounds that the school is promoting five religions over all other religions, and get it kicked out that way. After all, where are the druid pamphlets?

And if we agree that we are allowed to 'teach' but not 'promote' a subset of all religious beliefs, then why the arbitrary number "five". Why not three.. or, oh I dunno.. one?

Let's teach the history of one religion, Christianity. Let's not promote it of course - let's just teach it. Of course, let's make sure that it's in a way that is nice and safe to 3rd graders - right?

Yeah, that won't cause a protest.

Unknown said...

PB, after "Perhaps you should take that high school class or just read an encyclopedia" I figure profoundly disrespectful. I'm trying for that to not be mutual, but it's difficult.

Ann Althouse said...

"If schools are supposed to keep religion out then they should keep religion out. That's the deal."

No, that was never the deal. Even in the main school prayer cases in the early 60s, it was clear that it is fine to teach about religion.

How can a person be educated and not know what the religions are?

Shanna said...

And if we agree that we are allowed to 'teach' but not 'promote' a subset of all religious beliefs, then why the arbitrary number "five".

Any number would be arbitrary, but they have clearly attempted to choose the most widely known/practiced religions worldwide. This makes sense as far as understand history and current affairs. A child who comes out of school unaware that these religions exist is missing a huge chunk of historical knowledge. How can you teach the crusades without mentioning the pope? How you can you teach the holocaust without mentioning judiasm. I suppose you could teach the history of india without mentioning the hindu religion, but it certainly gives a fuller picture to do so.

But the devil is in the details here and we basically know no details. So who knows.

jacksonjay said...

I wonder if Twitter Chick knows about Aisha? You know the chick who finally read the Koran and found answers to her childhood questions about morality? Probably another twisted interpretation of Islam.

Ann Althouse said...

School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp (1963)(Supreme Court, rejecting prayer in public school):

"It is insisted that, unless these religious exercises are permitted, a 'religion of secularism' is established in the schools. We agree, of course, that the State may not establish a 'religion of secularism' in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus 'preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.' Zorach v. Clauson, supra, at 314. We do not agree, however, that this decision in any sense has that effect. In addition, it might well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion 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 historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment. But the exercises here do not fall into those categories. They are religious exercises, required by the States in violation of the command of the First Amendment that the Government maintain strict neutrality, neither aiding nor opposing religion."

Anonymous said...

Clearly, whatever the schools in the United States are teaching about religion, they aren't teaching it correctly.

Too many in this thread think that the Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in the same god.

That shows a lot of ignorance towards those three faiths.

Seeing Red said...

If all 5 religions are getting pamphlets, it's ok. If not, they knew what they were doing.

Browndog said...

I just love it when secularists tell me, as a Christian, that I worship the same God as muslims.

...I'd rather rot in hell.

Alexander said...

That's utter nonsense. Clearly, generations of Americans and Europeans somehow managed to be well educated and produce the very society that the Easterners have flocked to without getting the fly-by version of a 3rd grade level two-week session on Eastern Religions. Don't know how they managed, but they did. It may be worthy of study, but arguing that it is necessary? Hardly.

Or does a western education also require a knowledge of eastern literature, philosophy? Can we call ourselves educated until we have read The Tale of Genji? Must we be able to recognize the similarities and differences of Aristotle and Confucius?

Never mind that a great deal of Michigan students have a better chance of ending up at prison than their high school graduation - maybe we better keep it simple and stick to the 3 R's. And hey, bonus for the multiculturalists - those numerals are Arabic!

garage mahal said...

We have taxpayer funded religious schools in Wisconsin. Why not a taxpayer funded Madrassa? I'm thinking I could make some decent bank.

The Crack Emcee said...

John Lynch

"If schools are supposed to keep religion out then they should keep religion out. That's the deal."

The most important observation made so far - including compared to my own,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

"HA! That is what you get for living in a liberal paradise where the people all love the black race but are scared shitless of blacks."

Utah is a liberal paradise?

Please, tell me more,...

Kirk Parker said...

Browndog,

You, too, need to reread I Corinthians 8.

jr565 said...

If you're going to teach Islam do it right. Tell the story about how Mohammad was criticized by a 92 year old poet in verse. He asked his followers who shall rid me of this insolent chap?
His followers then waited till he was asleep and speared him till dead.
Upon hearing this anoter poet, a woman with 5 kids also criticized the Prophet by saying ""‘You obey a stranger who encourages you to murder for booty. You are greedy men. Is there no honor among you?', and he then got his boys to murder her. A day later the murderer went to the kids and said he did it and "what are you gonnna do about it?" (paraphrasing).
The murderer then asked asked if he will suffer any repurcussions for murdering a mother with five kids. and the honorable Prophet said "two goats wouldn't butt heads over her death".
No big whoop.
And He's the most honorable of muslims. Murdering women and old men in their beds.
Make sure to teach that part of the story.

The Crack Emcee said...

Unknown,

"PB: Neither Islam nor Judaism acknowledge Jesus Christ as God. Neither Judaism nor Christianity acknowledge God speaking to Mohamed."

And none of them are bright enough to drop the whole stupid thing,...

jr565 said...

whatever you say about Christians, Jesus it seems was above reproach. Whatever you say about Muslims the honorable Prophet was a murdering warmonger.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse ,

"How can a person be educated and not know what the religions are?"

In 2014, THAT's the first sign of being educated:

Not having your mind filled up with desert-dwelling, ignorant, invisible-pappa-in-the-sky nonsense.

In the future, the educated will know nothing about any of it,...

Revenant said...

Strange that keeping religion out of public schools seems like a good idea all of a sudden. Fancy that.

April Apple said...

Our children need to be educated.
instead, they are being indoctrinated.

I don't recall any world religion classes in 3rd grade in the public schools. This is new, right?

jr565 said...

When Judas betrayed Christ he did nothing violent towards him. When people criticized the Prophet they wound up dead. Doesn't matter if they were old venerated men, or women with kids. You don't criticize the prophet.
And you wondered why Muslims got so incensed about cartoons that depicted the prophet in any way negatively and rioted and murdered? Now you know.

Crimso said...

"It may not be proof of absence, but it is evidence of absence."

Except that an atheist takes it as proof, which was the situation I was discussing. I don't fret over whether there's a tiger in the back seat of my car when I get in it just because I don't see one. My evidence about the tiger is much stronger than the atheist's about God, if only because of the nature of the "experiment."

"But you still don't have any evidence"

Do you agree with people such as Dawkins that the science is settled? Because that's basically what he's saying.

Again, depending upon the nature of the question at hand (tiger in back seat, existence of God), absence of evidence may or may not be considered evidence of absence.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

"School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp (1963)(Supreme Court, rejecting prayer in public school):"

Considering their rulings on things like Dred Scott, etc., I don't put as much faith in their perspective as you do.

What's-what in this country is still being defined.

Eliminating white supremacy will help,...

jr565 said...

You wonder why Salman Rushdie had a death sentence for saying the Prophet was less than perfect? Now you know why.

The Crack Emcee said...

Crimso,

"It may not be proof of absence, but it is evidence of absence."

Except that an atheist takes it as proof, which was the situation I was discussing."

You know as much about atheism as you do white supremacy - which ain't much.

Why do you bother?

Go read a book - preferably written by someone you don't agree with.

You might learn something,...

Shanna said...

This wasn't actually taught in 3rd grade, it was 10th, and for the record I doubt making a pamphlet for 3rd graders was much more educational then when I made a castle cake for some reason I don't recall in 10th grade. A lot of school assignments are stupid.

That doesn't mean the subject shouldn't be taught.

In 2014, THAT's the first sign of being educated:Not having your mind filled up with desert-dwelling, ignorant, invisible-pappa-in-the-sky nonsense.

Knowing that something exists is not the same thing as being taught to believe it. But how can you truly understand what is going on in the world without being aware of religion's existence? Should the students skip history and current events as well?

I mean, I suppose we could argue about how important history is, and what type of history to teach, but it would be a nice thing if, in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, students had some basic understanding of the history of the world. And you just can't do that without religion, whether you are teaching about Egyptian/Greek Mythology, or modern religion. Because you will be skipping the 'why' too many events.

jacksonjay said...

Schoolkids learn more "about" Caliphates or Crusades?

dreams said...

"The woman just blew a gasket over Islam."

I agree with Bill Maher that over 90% of them believe that you should be put to death for leaving the religion. I think she has a right to blow a gasket over Islam.

Political correctness is a killer.

jr565 said...

"whatever you say about Christians, Jesus it seems was above reproach. Whatever you say about Muslims the honorable Prophet was a murdering warmonger. "

The problem with too many Christians is they preach the Christian gospel, but don't live the Christian life (in other words are hypocrits). The problem with too many muslims is that they don't ignore their murderous prophet and aren't hypocrites to the faith.

paminwi said...

Here is a link to the actual content of the documents the mother saw.

http://madworldnews.com/school-assignment-islam/

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

"In the future, the educated will know nothing..."

Isn't it obvious why he's known as Crack?

Shanna said...

OK, I've actually read the piece of paper (do they not have textbooks anymore?) and first of all the writing is terrible:

"Thus, Islam is a total system of living. [snip] a Muslim is any person, anywhere in the world whose obedience, allegiance, and loyalty are to god, the LORD of the universe.

??

Brando said...

"Knowing that something exists is not the same thing as being taught to believe it. But how can you truly understand what is going on in the world without being aware of religion's existence? Should the students skip history and current events as well?"

It seems some commenters here would be just fine teaching kids nothing at all. Or, if they're going to learn about Islam, the only thing they need to learn is:

1) Islam is evil.

2) Mohammed was a pedophile rapist.

3) Islam is all about beheadings and stonings and killing anyone who is not Muslim, or is the wrong kind of Muslim.

4) Anyone practicing Islam is evil, or at best an idiot.

Granted, some of these may be trolls, but to the extent they're serious it's a good indication that too many Americans don't know enough about other religions.

Yes, yes, it would also be nice if someone would educate the people doing the stoning and beheading, as that's far worse than simply having ignorant notions about another religion. But then it's not America's job to teach the world, is it?

Jane the Actuary said...

Here's a link to a site which has the original school paper: http://toprightnews.com/?p=6335

yes, it's a far-right site, but the image is legit, don't you think? The assignment was very credulous. It doesn't say, "Muslims believe. . ." but "Muhammed was chosen by God" and received a revelation from God.

As I recall, a standard history book will always present Christianity as "Jesus died. After his death, some of his followers came to believe that he had come to life again." Sometimes they'll even say "the followers had visions" or the like.

This school handout, with its "factual" "Mohammed was given revelations" statements, is the equivalent of a textbook saying, "Jesus is the Son of God."

Incidentally, why did Facebook censor this image?

Quaestor said...

"The woman just blew a gasket over Islam."

Perhaps. However only Islam is currently waging "holy war" against whomever its leaders take a dislike to. All religions are equally false, but not all religions are equally dangerous.

Brando said...

"The problem with too many Christians is they preach the Christian gospel, but don't live the Christian life (in other words are hypocrits). The problem with too many muslims is that they don't ignore their murderous prophet and aren't hypocrites to the faith."

Both "faiths"--to the extent that you include their holy books and religious teachings since their relative inceptions--contain a lot of evil crap in there. If you ever read the Old Testament, it's largely an endorsement of genocide and an assortment of lesser evils.

So is the lesson that Christians are better off now that they don't take all of their religion literally, and too many Muslims unfortunately do with respect to their own?

Here's a simpler way to put it--any religion will be interpreted by its adherents, generally in a way that supports what those adherents want to do anyway. A lot of people are rotten and prone to do evil things, and if they can use their religion to justify it, they will.

If Islam made people evil, we'd be in a lot of trouble--there are millions of them in the U.S. and about a billion worldwide.

Quaestor said...

I wonder if any of those tenth graders learned anything about Salman Rushdie while studying Islam?

Todd said...

I also read the page at the link:http://madworldnews.com/school-assignment-islam/

It does not read like a "history text" but instead like a "Beginners Guide to Islam". There seems to be very little "history" in there. It may get more "real" in later pages but based on what is shown, that can't be known. If the other religions are described in the same "glowing" terms than OK, maybe not so bad but if the other sections are "just history", this is propaganda.

jacksonjay said...

Yeah Brando, you're right, Islam is the Religion of Peace. Brando, representing the Ben Affleck School of Althouse Commenting.

I proudly represent the Ayaan Hirsi Ali School of Althouse Commenting.

Anglelyne said...

PB Reader: Blogger "Unknown": Judaism, Christianity and Islam are known as "Abrahamic religions" as they trace their origin directly from Abraham and his god.

Lots of things with shared origins develop into different things. Islam and Christianity differ in their conception of the nature of God (among myriad other things). Platitudes about "sharing the same god" are trivially true and entirely uninteresting - so yeah, probably the level of "comparative religion" suitable for third graders.

Perhaps you should take that high school class or just read an encyclopedia.

Or, I dunno, various Muslim and Christian theologians and philosophers.

Shanna said...

If you ever read the Old Testament, it's largely an endorsement of genocide and an assortment of lesser evils.

I wouldn't say 'largely' although it is certainly a product of its time and includes things modern adherents have jettisoned.

But you are sort of missing the idea that the new testament is the important thing for Christians. The way I heard it, we were under law and now we're under grace and most of Christ's teachings were not of the fire and brimstone type, but love your neighbor as yourself and let he who is without sin cast the first stone. The tonal shift from the old to new testament is pretty important.

jr565 said...

How you should treat a religion is looking at the prophets. That gives you an idea of how people who practice said religion are SUPPOSED to act. In the case of Christ, (assuming he lived) he walked the walk as well as talked the talk.
Granted it's easier to be perfect if you are the son of god. But even liberals who are atheists, use his example of non violence as a model for existence. And despite saying they don't believe they adopt much of the morality to buttress their own.
The problem with Islam though is that the MOST devout, most perfect example of Islam was Mohammad. And he was a brigand and a murderer. No joke. He literally became powerful by raiding caravans and killing those he caught. He was more reminiscent of Genghis Khan than what we'd consider a religious person. (assuming a non violent humanistic religion as we in the western world are wont to do).

Quaestor said...

Brando wrote: Here's a simpler way to put it--any religion will be interpreted by its adherents, generally in a way that supports what those adherents want to do anyway.

Too simple. You're model doesn't explain the historical animosity of Christians towards the Jews. From the late 1st Century BCE Jewish colonies were founded all over the Mediterranean world where they prospered as citizens of the Roman empire. They lived in peace with their pagan neighbors. However, when those neighbors became Christian tensions that never existed before began to erupt, often into violence. The difference was a new ideology that blamed the Jews for the death of the founder of that ideology.

Sometimes religion is just a convenient excuse for evil deeds, and sometimes it's a prime mover.

Anonymous said...

"So is the lesson that Christians are better off now that they don't take all of their religion literally, and too many Muslims unfortunately do with respect to their own?"

Oh, but we do. We always have. Ever since Christ was born, lived, died and was raised to live again.

It's interesting that you appeal to the Old Testament but Christianity started in the New Testament. I suppose that didn't occur to you. Do you not stop to ponder that for a moment and wander, "What happened in the New Testament, via Christ's teachings, that would make a Christian as evil as a Muslim?"

You see, there are bad ideas. I'd argue Communism is a bad idea. However, I wouldn't argue that all Communists are bad people. I'd argue that Capitalism is a good idea, but not all Capitalists are good people.

You are, in effect, taking the fact that there are some good communists and some bad capitalists and equating the two ideas.

Absurd.

traditionalguy said...

The mis-branding is the happy faces on the joyful Islamic children. That just never happens unless an infidel is being slaughtered.

Allah is not a creator of anything except a perverted strict law that judges men using Moses' law but without an atonement sacrifice for guilt. It is an iron prison in a miserable existence under total guilt that can only be partially relieved by pride in killing infidels and stealing everything they have.

Brando said...

"But you are sort of missing the idea that the new testament is the important thing for Christians. The way I heard it, we were under law and now we're under grace and most of Christ's teachings were not of the fire and brimstone type, but love your neighbor as yourself and let he who is without sin cast the first stone. The tonal shift from the old to new testament is pretty important."

The tonal shift is evident, but it's not as though the New Testament is a total repudiation of the Old. They're meant to be taken together.

Though my point is that any religion can be interpreted and used by people to justify good and evil things--Christians don't exactly have a clean history on that one, and just because there's a lot less violent Christian extremism these days compared to Islamic extremism doesn't make one religion inherently "good" and one "evil".

Shanna said...

You're model doesn't explain the historical animosity of Christians towards the Jews. From the late 1st Century BCE Jewish colonies were founded all over the Mediterranean world where they prospered as citizens of the Roman empire. They lived in peace with their pagan neighbors. .

Actually I think this is awfully simplistic as well. What about the Roman/Jewish tensions, all that stuff with taxes and hadrian and the temple. Etc.

Brando said...

"You are, in effect, taking the fact that there are some good communists and some bad capitalists and equating the two ideas."

So Islam is inherently bad, Christianity is inherently good--is that what you're saying?

There's nothing wrong with believing one is right and the other wrong--that's in the nature of picking a religion. It is also find to oppose the imposition of one's religion on you--I don't mind some lost soul believing in Communism either, so long as they don't actually try and impose it on me.

There's a great deal in both religions that I oppose, and good elements of both as well. I'd say anyone could take either religion and interpret it to justify whatever they wish to do.

Brando said...

"Actually I think this is awfully simplistic as well. What about the Roman/Jewish tensions, all that stuff with taxes and hadrian and the temple. Etc."

Yeah--religious and ethnic persecution didn't begin with Mohammed. It's a human condition that goes back a long way.

Brando said...

"Yeah Brando, you're right, Islam is the Religion of Peace. Brando, representing the Ben Affleck School of Althouse Commenting.

I proudly represent the Ayaan Hirsi Ali School of Althouse Commenting."

That's a nice leap you took there. I argue that learning about other religions is a good thing, and that Islam in particular is not evil, and that makes me Ben Affleck?

As far as Ms. Ali is concerned, she is standing up to actual persecution committed by people of the Muslim faith. That's not the same as claiming all Muslims are evil and stupid.

Anonymous said...

"So Islam is inherently bad, Christianity is inherently good--is that what you're saying?"

Exactly.

Just like Capitalism is a good idea and Communism is a bad idea.

Even if you find you don't like some things in Capitalism and do like some things in Communism.

Taken as a whole, Capitalism is good, Communism is bad.

Anonymous said...

"Though my point is that any religion can be interpreted and used by people to justify good and evil things--Christians don't exactly have a clean history on that one, and just because there's a lot less violent Christian extremism these days compared to Islamic extremism doesn't make one religion inherently "good" and one "evil"."

Actually, yes it does.

"You could also say about the constitution of the United States and our first citizens, "Though my point is that any (constitution) can be interpreted and used by people to justify good and evil things--(United States Citizens) don't exactly have a clean history on that one,"

Somehow, I don't think you'd accept such nonsense from a progressive.

At least, I hope you wouldn't. Maybe you would.

Brando said...

"Exactly.

Just like Capitalism is a good idea and Communism is a bad idea."

Fair enough--I'm more agnostic-Christian myself so have little loyalty or animus toward any particular religion, but as far as I'm concerned better to let everyone practice what they want so long as they don't trample anyone else's rights, than to pick favorites.

Mary Beth said...

From the assignment:

III. ALLAH THE ONE AND THE ONLY GOD
Allah is the name of the One and Only God. Allah has ninety-nine beautiful names, such as: The Gracious The Merciful, The Beneficent, The Creator, The Al-Knowing, The All-Wise, The Lord of the Universe The First The Last and others.

He is the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the atheists, and others. Muslims worship God whose name is Allah. The put their trust in Him and they seek His help and His guidance.

IV. Muhammad
Muhammad was chosen by God to deliver His Message of Peace, namely Islam. He was born in 570 CE. (Common Era) in Makkah, Arabia. He was entrusted with the Message of Islam when he was at the age of forty years. The revelation that he received is called the Qur‘an, while the message is called Islam.


http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/islam/mom-furious-islam-part-world-religions-assignment-school

I don't know why HuffPo linked to the pictures on FB instead of using screenshots. It's easier to discuss the assignment if you know what it actually said.

Brando said...

""You could also say about the constitution of the United States and our first citizens, "Though my point is that any (constitution) can be interpreted and used by people to justify good and evil things--(United States Citizens) don't exactly have a clean history on that one,"

Somehow, I don't think you'd accept such nonsense from a progressive.

At least, I hope you wouldn't. Maybe you would."

How do you figure that example isn't true? Has our own constitution not been twisted to justify measures that it never should have intended? Are you totally fine with everything our government has ever done?

I'm not aware of any leftist or rightist who feels that way, but you may be the first.

Henry said...

eric wrote:

Actually, yes it does

Oh, joy, to be a Huguenot on St. Bartholomew's day in the morning.

Or a Cathar in Béziers.

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

dreams said...

Its politically correct to pretend that Islam is a religion of peace but it isn't, over 90 % of the moderates believe people should be put to death for leaving the religion. Remember on 9/11 when those in the US cheered the destruction of the twin towers, they were shown on TV cheering until the politically correct media buried the video.

Robert Cook said...

"...over 90 % of the moderates believe people should be put to death for leaving the religion."

That's an interesting statistic. Where did you find it?

"Remember on 9/11 when those in the US cheered the destruction of the twin towers, they were shown on TV cheering until the politically correct media buried the video."

How do you know who were shown cheering, or what they were cheering about? Anyone could take a video of a crowd cheering for their home team's victory, and show it six months later and label it as a crowd of terrorist sympathizers cheering for the latest terrorist outrage.

Robert Cook said...

""But you are sort of missing the idea that the new testament is the important thing for Christians."

In fact, without the New Testament, there is no Christianity. It is the key document for Christians, not the Old Testament.

jacksonjay said...

"That's not the same as claiming all Muslims are evil and stupid."

Looks you are the one leaping. Ms. Ali lives with the fear that many infidels and moderate Muslims live with. Theo Van Gogh was killed 10 years ago when he and Ali dared to question Muslims' treatment of women. Most of us have had quite an education in the ways of Islam. Bill Maher's postition in the Afflack meltdown was that a large majority of Muslims are Islamists and favor Sharia. Who among us is'nt "educated" in the ways of Sharia? Tell me Brando, what do you think of Sharia law and theocracy?

Drago said...

Cook: "How do you know who were shown cheering, or what they were cheering about?"

LOL

Yes, he's going with that one.

Robert Cook said...

"Except that an atheist takes (the absence of evidence) as proof, which was the situation I was discussing."

An atheist doesn't need to "prove" the absence of God, any more than one has to prove there are no elves and fairies; the believer has the burden of proving his presence. Or, the believer can keep his faith to himself and not bother others with his belief. Which is really all atheists want.

dreams said...

"How do you know who were shown cheering, or what they were cheering about? Anyone could take a video of a crowd cheering for their home team's victory, and show it six months later and label it as a crowd of terrorist sympathizers cheering for the latest terrorist outrage."

Its what I read. I see people in the media bending over backwards pretending that Muslims are peaceful and good citizens so I don't have any reason to believe your theory.

Brando said...

"Tell me Brando, what do you think of Sharia law and theocracy?"

You may find this hard to believe, but I am against both those things!

And yet I still can conceive of peaceful Muslims who aren't out to murder or oppress anyone, despite what Bill Maher thinks.

Smilin' Jack said...

""I was SHOCKED when my daughter showed me the pamphlet that she was required to make promoting Islam in a way 3rd graders could comprehend.""...They were kind of writing a comic book with the basic elements of the religion, believing in one God, having a particular holy book, etc.

If you want Islam to appeal to third-graders, you should emphasize that it lets you chop people's heads off. In a comic book you could have really cool illustrations of this. Half the kids would convert to Islam the next day.

Alexander said...

That's cool. I can conceive of unicorns.

I don't doubt that any *individual* can be reasonable and be a Muslim. I see no evidence that a *community* of Muslims will be anything but unreasonable.

dreams said...

"And yet I still can conceive of peaceful Muslims who aren't out to murder or oppress anyone, despite what Bill Maher thinks."

Based on what? Bill Maher based what he thinks on surveys.

Big Mike said...

And yet I still can conceive of peaceful Muslims who aren't out to murder or oppress anyone, despite what Bill Maher thinks.

I can't. Are the apparently mythical "peaceful Muslims" merely sitting on their hands? Or are they secretly aiding and supporting the extremists? What does seem to be the case is that the "peaceful Muslims," should any happen to exist, are doing nothing to stop their extremist brethren, nor to help anyone else stop their extremist brethren.

jacksonjay said...

Brando, we agree. Many Muslims do not believe in Sharia, stoning, beheading, amputations, pedophilia and the like. I too can conceive of peaceful Muslims who aren't out to murder or oppress anyone, BUT are scared to death of those who will. Now all we disagree about is the percentages.

"Just last April, the Pew Polling Company released the results of a worldwide survey of over 38,000 Muslims who were asked face to face about their views toward many of the characteristics of Muslim life. The segment of the report dealing with Egyptian sentiments reveals an almost three to one support for life under Sharia, the strict Islamist legal system."
Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/poll-egyptians-love-sharia/#FtBX3BMVp1TT0w0V.99

Read the poll results. It does address Muslim rejection of suicide bombings.

Brando said...

"Based on what? Bill Maher based what he thinks on surveys."

Based on personal experience as well as the relatively low crime rate among American Muslims, not to mention the millions living worldwide who are not engaged in honor killings and other forms of repression. But hey, who am I to argue with Bill Maher? He's been so correct on so many things, after all.

I realize I won't convince anyone who is determined to believe that the religion has turned all these people into oppressive monsters, so I'll agree to disagree.

Mark Caplan said...

Christians worship Jesus. Whatever God Jews worship, it most emphatically isn't Jesus. Muslims worship the God that dictated the Koran, which is obviously a third God distinct from the ones Christians and Jews worship.

Let's be honest and grownup and admit that Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship three distinct deities, if for no other reason than it's the simplest explanation for why the three faiths have been killing each other for two thousand years.

Crimso said...

"Go read a book - preferably written by someone you don't agree with."

Thanks for the advice, Rob Reiner. If you only knew...

Anonymous said...

"How do you figure that example isn't true? Has our own constitution not been twisted to justify measures that it never should have intended? Are you totally fine with everything our government has ever done?
"

Perhaps you missed my point.

Just because people have done things bad who are US Citizens, doesn't mean our Constitution isn't a good document. It doesn't invalidate our document.

Likewise, just because there are good Cuban people, it doesn't mean their constitution is just as good as ours.

Equivalency arguments are lame.

Wouldn't you agree our Constitution is superior to Cuba's?

And yet, the same arguments you're making about Christians and Muslims can be made about American's and Cubans.

Crimso said...

"the believer has the burden of proving his presence"

I strongly disagree. The believer is not believing at all if they have proof. I'm on the outside looking in, but it seems to me that the purest form of faith (and faith may be what God wants more than anything) is to see nothing but evidence to the contrary but still believing.

I'm quite aware that the burden rests on the one making the assertions. I point this out every time I've been told that I need to show evidence against AGW in order to not agree with it.

So, Dawkins asserts there is no God. The burden of proof is on him. I can only assume his evidence is that there is no evidence (if he's done some experiments I'm not aware of, do please enlighten me; Crack might believe otherwise, but I am teachable). I assert there may or may not be a God. I need offer no proof of any sort whatsoever. Dawkins may be correct, but I am indisputably correct.

Did X-rays spring into existence with their discovery? No? So if Isaac Newton would have rejected their existence based on your criteria (he would have had no proof), then he was right?

n.n said...

Actually, the burden of proving and disproving an article of faith rests with both the believer and disbeliever. Both parties are asserting claims in a universal or extra-universal frame of reference.

There are so few people who constrain their faith to the scientific domain -- in time and space. Supposedly "agnostics" respect this constraint, but true agnostics are few and far between. Anyway, there is a more objective treatment of faith, its value, and consequences, which does not require corruption of scientific integrity.

Crimso said...

I don't know if I'm a true agnostic or not, but I don't think scientists must necessarily be agnostic. Plenty of them have faith.

I also have nothing against atheists. If you believe there is no God, I can't say you're wrong. But if you tell me you KNOW there is no God, then I'll think you're every bit as full of shit as the person who tells me they KNOW there is a God. How does either person KNOW this?

Of course, as I warned, how can I KNOW anything exists other than myself? I guess even agnostics gotta have faith. IIRC, Popper wrestled with an issue along these lines in "The Logic of Scientific Discovery." Criterion of Demarcation.

Revenant said...

I strongly disagree. The believer is not believing at all if they have proof. I'm on the outside looking in, but it seems to me that the purest form of faith (and faith may be what God wants more than anything) is to see nothing but evidence to the contrary but still believing.

My usual response to that is that if I was created by a god with the hope that I would believe in him despite the evidence, giving me a rational mind was a bad call.

Revenant said...

But if you tell me you KNOW there is no God, then I'll think you're every bit as full of shit as the person who tells me they KNOW there is a God.

The man's body lay on the floor in a pool of blood. His severed head sat a few feet away, a blank expression on its dead face.

"This was clearly the work of aliens from the planet Zog," said Detective Smith.

"No it wasn't," replied Detective Jones.

"You're both equally full of shit," Detective Crimso chimed in.

Unknown said...

Revenant, after reading your comments I don't understand why you think you have a rational mind.

Crimso said...

"My usual response to that is that if I was created by a god with the hope that I would believe in him despite the evidence, giving me a rational mind was a bad call."

If there is a god, it probably knows better than to hope. As a friend likes to say: "Shit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first."

Unknown said...

Crack is high on Crack. It's permanently affected his brain.

Crimso said...

Every good detective knows to suspect everyone until they can be ruled out. Besides, in your hypothetical it is usually quite easy for the cops to figure out who did it within a very short period of time (though they may not be able to prove it).

Pondering the existence of God vs. whodunit. Both clearly equally intractable.

Crimso said...

Sorry Althouse. Back to the pamphlet!!!

Unknown said...

Robert Cook, if the comment re sourcing the Muslim attidtudes was real, see http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/

Revenant said...

Every good detective knows to suspect everyone until they can be ruled out.

Every good fictional detective. The good real-life detectives do not start with a list of all 7 billion people on earth plus all animals and plants and hypothetical aliens, spirits, and deities and then narrow down the list from there -- for the simple reason that it would take an infinite number of lifetimes to rule them all out, and detectives are mortal people with more than one case to solve. Good real-life detectives start with people they actually know exist, who could plausibly have been involved.

From a purely logical standpoint, sure, "X exists but is cleverly hiding any and all evidence of its existence" can never be ruled out. Being convinced that there are no gods is just as "irrational" as believing that Kennedy wasn't killed by homosexual psychic unicorns from Jupiter (who cleverly masked all trace of their involvement by erasing our memories of them).

But spending time worrying about literally unprovable hypotheticals is just just mental masturbation. It is "reason' in name only, and runs counter to the main use of our capacity FOR reason.

Unknown said...

Quaestor, re "From the late 1st Century BCE Jewish colonies were founded all over the Mediterranean world where they prospered as citizens of the Roman empire. They lived in peace with their pagan neighbors. However, when those neighbors became Christian tensions that never existed before began to erupt, often into violence. The difference was a new ideology that blamed the Jews for the death of the founder of that ideology."

You are ignoring that the Jews considered that what we call Christianity they thought to be what we would call a cult, and they (the Jews) tried to stamp it out. The crucifixion that is arguably the most important event in history was a minor data point for the Jews. The "tension" was between a religion that thought stoning apostates was required and the apostates who thought (following their own teaching) "turning the other" cheek was required. They were easy pickins until some of them got riled about it, a pretty human response. Honestly that's portably too simple too, but blaming the Jews for the crucifixion ordained by God and acting on it came much later. And as far as I can tell never was more than an excuse to rob from the rich (Jews) and give to the poor (attackers).

Bruce Hayden said...

Too simple. You're model doesn't explain the historical animosity of Christians towards the Jews. From the late 1st Century BCE Jewish colonies were founded all over the Mediterranean world where they prospered as citizens of the Roman empire. They lived in peace with their pagan neighbors. However, when those neighbors became Christian tensions that never existed before began to erupt, often into violence. The difference was a new ideology that blamed the Jews for the death of the founder of that ideology.

I think that it was a bit more political and messy than that. One problem was that the Second Temple had been destroyed, essentially destroying the way that the Jews practiced their religion. There were two major alternatives to this - one was rabbinic Judaism, and the second was the New Way, Christianity. Sure, the Jewish clergy of the time helped convict Jesus, and that led to his death. But, very quickly, this Jewish clergy was no longer really in power, given their dependence on the destroyed Temple. And, blaming all Jews was silly, since Jesus, the twelve disciples, the various Marys, etc. were all fairly devout Jews. Which is why I think that this schism and hostility between rabbinic Judaism and Christianity, in those early years was more about vying for legitimacy and adherents than any legitimate claim that the Jews killed Jesus.

Unknown said...

Revenant, scientific proof applies to science. Although many fields of study claim to be scientific, many are not. For example, fields like history cannot be proven using scientific principles -- all you can ever do is look at evidence generated by someone else. I went to college late in life and remember distinctly sitting in a general ed. Am History class where the professor was talking about Lady Bird Johnson's program to beautify America by removing highway billboards. He made some comment, I can't remember exactly what, and my first thought was, "That's not how I remember it." My second was, "This is a HISTORY class. I'm remembering HISTORY."

That does not mean the past does not exist.

There's a famous case of an atheist historian determined to use disprove Christianity. Being a historian, he knew what was acceptable to use as historical proof, and ended up "proving" Christ as a historical figure with the New Testament accounts as valid historical accounts.

Rational does mean scientific.

Revenant said...

You are ignoring that the Jews considered that what we call Christianity they thought to be what we would call a cult, and they (the Jews) tried to stamp it out. The crucifixion that is arguably the most important event in history was a minor data point for the Jews.

The problem is that all the evidence of these attempts to "stamp out" Christianity come from Roman Christians writing long after the events supposedly took place. They don't hold up well under scrutiny.

The story of the crucifixion, for example, was pretty obviously written to put a pro-Roman spin on events. The notion that Romans only killed Jesus because the Jews insisted is historically ridiculous -- that isn't how either the Romans OR the Jews did things.

Bruce Hayden said...

Christians worship Jesus. Whatever God Jews worship, it most emphatically isn't Jesus.

I think that depends very much on your brand of Christianity. My view is that traditional mainstream Protestants tended to worship the god of Abraham, but considered Jesus as an aspect of him, in the form of the Trinity (and earlier, many Christians wouldn't even go that far). But, notably, you would never pray to Jesus (or, any saint, etc.), but only to God. The difference with the Jews then is the acceptance of the Trinity, and that one part of it is Jesus. You could, and some do, look at this as whether or not someone accepts that this God has the three parts, or is singular. But, I think that many, if not most, Christians believe that they believe in the same God as the Jews.

But, that is where Islam comes in. They too profess to believing in the same God, but with different aspects revealed to them. Not surprising, since Mohammad appropriated large parts of his theology from both Judaism and Christianity, and specifically pointed out the relationship that he saw among them. Mohammad was seen as a prophet, in a long line of prophets, chronicled in the Old Testament (along with, as I understand it, Jesus). Mohammad was just the last of the line. Until you get to Joseph Smith...

Revenant said...

Revenant, scientific proof applies to science.

There's no such thing as "scientific proof".

If you mean "scientific methodology", you have it backwards. Anything which can be studied scientifically -- by examining evidence, forming and testing falsifiable hypotheses -- is "science". Anything which cannot, is not.

As for some unnamed "atheist historian" supposedly proving that the New Testament are valid historical accounts, actual historians of all sorts of religious and non-religious orientations long ago established that they aren't.

They do contain some historically accurate information, of course, but then so does "Gone with the Wind".

Bruce Hayden said...

At a high level, I don't see the problem of 10th graders learning about the religions of the world. My kid went through that at about that age, and came out just fine. I think by that age, they can handle this sort of information. I think though that my problem with the project is that it appears to me to be a politically correct whitewash of Islam, and, as such, does not do these kids much good. Rather, it minimizes the problems that Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. are facing today with Islam Jihad. Islam has seemingly picked up its war to convert the rest of the world to their religion, and we are, to some extent, ignoring that declaration of war.

Tofu King said...

"I also have nothing against atheists. If you believe there is no God, I can't say you're wrong. But if you tell me you KNOW there is no God, then I'll think you're every bit as full of shit as the person who tells me they KNOW there is a God."

This is a straw man. I am an atheist. I don't believe in any gods like I don't believe in other mythological creatures. Asserting there is no god is not relevant. If you don't believe in gods you're an atheist.

LL said...

A pamphlet geared toward 3d graders about Islam. Oh goody, it would be Itchy & Scratchy with a burqa or niqab.

Freeman Hunt said...

My second grader had to write a couple paragraphs about the basic tenets of Hinduism the other day. We're conservative, evangelical homeschoolers. Perhaps if I find some free time I'll get around to denouncing myself to the local newspaper.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh, she didn't go to the paper. She only posted it on Facebook, and things went from there. Sheesh.

Imagine if there was national news story every time someone posted something silly on social media. The Internet might break.

Jupiter said...

I think American 10th graders should be aware that there are slave markets -- now, today, in places you can find on Google maps -- in which girls their age are sold as sex slaves, after their parents and brothers have been killed. They should be aware that there are people in America who want to kill their families, and sell them into lifelong slavery to some ignorant, reeking savage. They need to know how to identify those people, and the so-called Americans who defend them. But I'm not sure a third grader is ready to learn about Islam.

Anonymous said...

"Schools should be sensitive about this, but not to the point of catering to a real fear of other cultures."

The Labour government in the UK has been so sensitive about the sensibilities of islam that they, sensible, covered up the rape of tens of thousands children. Nothing to blow a gasket over.
Now if it had been Obamaphones.

tim in vermont said...

Had they given my daughter, whom we raise Jewish, this assignment, It would have consisted of a picture of a scimitar, and the phrase "Convert or die!"

Henry said...

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world; over 2 million in the United States; over 2 million in Canada. The vast majority, by many many magnitudes, are ordinary, peaceful people. To ascribe fundamentalist zealotry to all Muslims is akin to ascribing Fred Phelpsism to all Christians.

Those of you who called in Bill Maher on your side, enjoy the bigotry of your bedfellow. He will not hesitate to smear your beliefs; just push the other hate button.

This thread started with poor reading comprehension and ended with innumeracy.

Unknown said...

Pots and kettles Rev.

How about CS Lewis as an atheist? Or Dr. Ordway? Or Philip Vander Elst?

Regarding some unnamed "actual historians" ...

History is not science, "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." (Pardon sloppy language re "scientific proof" vice).

BTW Oxford English Dictionary, scientific method: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses

History cannot be observed, measured, or experimented on, and does not have a fixed "meaning" (like natural laws, which are understood o be a truth with the SM a method for finding) in that different practitioners draw very different and contradictory conclusions about the same events in the past.

That does not mean the past does not exist, it means there are some aspects of existence that are not (at least currently) subject to examination under the scientific method.

Unknown said...

BTW Revie, atheistic historians proving there's no such thing as Jesus, yawn. They go the answer they started with.

Now an atheistic historian who in the course of his investigations BECOMES a Christian, now that's a story.

Anonymous said...

Henry: "This thread started with poor reading comprehension and ended with innumeracy."

Example of misreading;
"Muhammad was chosen by God to deliver his message of peace, namely Islam. He was born in 570 CE (Common Era) in Makkah, Arabia. He was trusted with the message of Islam when he was at the age of 40 years. The revelation that he received is called the Quran, while the message is called Islam"
"It means more than that; submission to the ONE GOD, and to live in peace with the creator within oneself, with other people, and with the environment" (very new agie that)
This is no theology, no description of a culture, it's propaganda.

And then further Henry;
"To ascribe fundamentalist zealotry to all Muslims is akin to ascribing Fred Phelpsism to all Christians."

So for Henry protesting a piece of pure propaganda equals saying every single muslim is a zealot.
It's Fawlty Tower like (Don't mention the war)

ken in sc said...

Middle School history books no longer say that Islam was spread by the sword. They say it was spread by trade. We had a so-called instructional coach who thought it was his duty to enforce PC doctrine. He would hide and listen outside classroom doors and recruit student spies to make sure teachers did not use non-approved phrases like 'spread by the sword'.