A. THE TEACHING OF RELIGION SOME GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Published on
    16-Mar-2017

  • View
    216

  • Download
    2

Embed Size (px)

Transcript

  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Chicago Library]On: 12 November 2014, At: 06:05Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Religious Education: The officialjournal of the Religious EducationAssociationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/urea20

    A. THE TEACHING OF RELIGIONSOME GUIDING PRINCIPLESWilliam K. Frankena aa Professor of Philosophy, University of MichiganPublished online: 03 Aug 2006.

    To cite this article: William K. Frankena (1959) A. THE TEACHING OF RELIGION SOMEGUIDING PRINCIPLES, Religious Education: The official journal of the Religious EducationAssociation, 54:2, 108-109, DOI: 10.1080/0034408590540210

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0034408590540210

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information(the Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor& Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warrantieswhatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purposeof the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are theopinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor& Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should beindependently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francisshall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs,expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arisingdirectly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/urea20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/0034408590540210http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0034408590540210

  • forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f C

    hica

    go L

    ibra

    ry]

    at 0

    6:05

    12

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • III. Symposia

    A. THE TEACHING OF RELIGION

    SOME GUIDING PRINCIPLES

    William K. FrankenaProfessor of Philosophy, University of Michigan

    THIS SYMPOSIUM is to be devoted to adiscussion of questions relating to the aca-demic status of religion and its treatment incourses in the state university, and my taskis to state some guiding principles for deal-ing with and answering these questions, Ioffer the following:1

    1. We should try here to answer thesequestions, not on the basis of what the lawand courts say, nor on the basis of whatour predecessors thought, but on the basisof philosophical considerations about therelations of the state and its organs to reli-gion.

    2. By a "religion" we should not meanan ultimate attitude or belief of any kindwhatsoever, but only such ultimate attitudesand beliefs as are typified by the main or-ganized religions of history and their off-shoots. Some ultimate creeds are religionsand some are not. The latter are bettercalled philosophies of life then religions.

    3. Then the main philosophical princi-ple on which to rest our discussion is that itis desirable or right that the state shouldleave us free in the area of ultimate convic-tions, that is, should provide the utmostpossible "freedom of worship," freedom toworship as we please or not at all.

    4. And the fundamental points govern-ing our reflections on the treatment of re-ligion in state universities should be these:(a) a state university is an agency or organof the state for providing an education,liberal or professional, to those who wantit, (b) the state and its agencies must be

    1For a fuller statement of my position see "APoint of View for the Future," in Religion andthe State University, ed. by E. A. Walter, Univer-sity of Michigan Press, 1958, Chapter XVII.

    neutral with respect to the various religionsand also with respect to non- or anti-reli-gious convictions or philosophies, if it is toprovide the freedom just described.

    5. This neutrality should not take theform of an equal propagation of all of thevarious religions and ultimate positions, orof a selection of, say, three of them. Norcan it take the form of a propagation of a"secular" ultimate creed or of a scepticismabout all ultimate creeds. It should take theform of giving up the effort to inculcateor propagate religions and ultimate credosaltogether, as far as this is humanly possible.

    6. But, to quote J. S. Mill, while "it isnot the [state university] teacher's businessto impose his own judgment" it is his busi-ness to educate, that is, "to inform anddiscipline [the judgment] of his student."

    7. To inform its students fully the stateuniversity must offer courses which dealadequately, and not only incidentally, withreligion and other ultimate attitudes andbeliefs. Else it is simply omitting a largepart of the information which the studentshould have, whether he is himself reli-gious or not. For, even if they are not them-selves bodies of knowledge, religions areimportant subjects about which there canand should be knowledge. Thus a state uni-versity should offer courses in the historyof religion, of theory, and of philosophy,Christian and non-Christian; in comparativereligion; and in the anthropology, psy-chology, and sociology of religion. All ofthese courses should be as objective andscholarly as possible, else they do not in-form but either misinform or indoctrinate.And they should inform the student reliablyabout the beliefs and institutions of the dif-

    108

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f C

    hica

    go L

    ibra

    ry]

    at 0

    6:05

    12

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • SOME GUIDING PRINCIPLES 109

    ferent philosophies and religions. Coursesin art and literature have an important roleto play here in enabling a student to seevicariously what it is like to accept a cer-tain ultimate creed or belonging to a certainchurch.

    8. To discipline the judgment of thestudent means to develop in him certainabilities, habits, and skills, aesthetic, critical,imaginative, intellectual, moral, and profes-sional. It cannot for a state university in-clude the inculcation of a certain philosophyof life or religious belief; this it must leaveto other agencies (which should rather re-double their efforts to do this successfullythan press the state university to do whatit should not be doing). But the stateuniversity can do something by way ofhelping the student to arrive at an ulti-mate creed or to develop one which he hasalready arrived at, besides simply giving himrelevant information. Both in the coursesmentioned in (7) and in its other courses(as in art, literature, science, logic, andmathematics) it can discipline his mind forfeeling and thinking about ultimate issues.Especially is this true of courses in phi-losophy, which have precisely this function.Perhaps courses in theology can also be de-vised which serve this purpose without mak-ing any effort at indoctrination, but thenthey must be very carefully conceived andbe taught by the right kind of man (just ascourses in philosophy must be). If suchcourses can be devised, I see no reason why

    they should not include a course in revealedtheology, provided that the presentation isobjective and scholarly, that the student isleft entirely free about accepting the claimto revelation or not, and that what requiresan act of faith is not passed off as knowntruth or obligatory belief. To be acceptable,a course in theology would have to playdown the element of commitment and con-centrate on presenting an understanding ofthe content of the beliefs involved and on thelogic of the reasoning by which the beliefsare concatenated and developed.

    9. In doing all this the state universitymust be wary even of urging students tomake some "positive" commitment or otheron ultimate issues, religious or irreligious.It must remember that agnosticsm, positiv-ism, and scepticism are also legitimate posi-tions with respect to such issues. At thesame time, it must avoid propagating suchpositions itself in any official way.

    Without meaning any disrespect to any-one, I may express my position as follows:Castiglione remarks that in a Platonic loveaffair, if it is to be maintained at the properintellectual level, the lover must "be nolonger young" and the woman must keep"a certain difficult reserve." My point isthat, if the state university is to have a loveaffair with religion, as is proposed, it mustbe a Platonic one; she must play her part,but, even though her would-be lover is nolonger young, she must play it with a cer-tain difficult reserve.

    HOW RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES MAY TEACH RELIGION WITHIN THE

    CONTEXT OF A STATE UNIVERSITY

    Robert J. WelchProfessor in the School of Religion, State University of Iowa

    I PROPOSE TO SAY by way of introductiona few things about the theoretical justifica-tion of the teaching of religion (or better,of theology) in state universities. Theologyis an important and quite respectable disci-pline which cannot be ignored in a univer-sity without in some fashion sponsoring ig-

    norance, if only by sheer neglect. It is noton this point that we find serious disagree-ment among educators today and it is noton this point that those attending this con-ference would find their most frequent dis-agreement.

    On this point we have advanced measur-

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f C

    hica

    go L

    ibra

    ry]

    at 0

    6:05

    12

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

Recommended

View more >