• Raajveer Singh Bisht

Education and Religion

Can Religion and Education reconcile in this rapidly changing world?

The greatest contribution that organised religion had in the ambits of history is the creation of a backbone over which education could be imparted. Be it in the monotheistic religions of medieval Europe and Northern Africa or the polytheistic cultures and religious pantheons of Asia, Polynesia, Central Africa and the Americas almost every religion helped create an organised and regulated platform from which education could be imparted in a uniform manner. Churches and Cathedrals became breeding grounds of revolutionary thinkers either by virtue of their positive effects or their negative.

However rationality and the Renaissance became the banes for religious education and rapidly brought to the forefront the growing divide between theological doctrines and empirical scientific theories. In India this led to massive reforms of the Hindu religion with various different branches emerging such as the ‘Arya Samaj’ much in the same way as the older Chaledonian Christianity divided into its Greek Orthodox and Catholic forms both of which further divided with the emergence of Cathar Christianity for example.

As religion attempted to evolve to keep pace with science, the modern liberal thinkers steamed ahead further and further until finally religion found itself out of the picture with the introduction of secular national education.

India perhaps remains the greatest example of the two very distinct forms of education,available in modern secular nations, national education that is to a larger extent agnoistic in its approach to modern science and religious education which at least in public perception remains both primitive and sometimes outright fundamental.

A major question that now rises is whether any middle ground could be found between the two. Unfortunately theological claims of factuality are destined to clash with the science which is characterised by rapid and radical change with new theories coming and going almost constantly. Thus, behind the ongoing struggle between religious education and secular education lies a much greater and more complex war between two old rivals; religion and science. Both of these colossal entities are not only almost complete antitheses of each other but also major players in the development of humanity as a whole.

Questions which define our species and our perception of the world hang in precarious balance. This meager student however can offer one awfully simplistic remedy. The need of the hour is the recognition of faith as a personal force of nature but also as one which is best left out of public policy and national programs. Education is the bedrock on which any nation, big or small determines its future outlook towards the universe as a whole.

Shedding dogmatic theological doctrines from the bronze ages is the way forward, the time has come for rationality and the scientific method to be no long muzzled by a theocratic mafia, one which threatens nations and societies with blood and fire unless they are allowed to remain in positions of absolute authority and power.

Until this is achieved we are almost voluntarily restricting the progress that mankind can make and are allowing us to be dictated by the minority which is today hanging onto their tomes with desperation and trying to tighten their leash on human society.

The time is now and it is up to our generation, as future policy makers and shapers to bring forth this change or see the whole of humanity chained to the dark ages.

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