Is Our Current Education System At Odds With Religiosity?

The referred article claims that studies have shown that increased exposure to analytical thinking may weaken ones’ tendency to be religious, or, to have faith. They also found that “each extra year of schooling led to a decline of four percentage points in the likelihood of identifying with a religious tradition”. The article also claims that the studies explain the increase in non-affiliation with any religion in Canada, which increased by twelve percent between 1971-2001. Based on this article, it would seem that the education system is actually playing a role in the removal of religion from our society – at least in diminishing it. This seems to be occurring because it is focused on analytical thinking, and is shutting out theological thinking. From these studies, it would seem that these two paradigms – analytical thinking, and faith-based thinking – are in opposition to one another.

One question to be asked is why the school system, which was at one point almost entirely theological, has become almost entirely analytical. According to Thomas S. Kuhn, it is because analytical thinking currently has consensus support. Consensus support, he says, is what causes analytical thinking to be viewed as the correct method of discerning truth (or, learning). That is to say, the reason the current school system emphasizes analytical thinking as the correct method of discerning truth, is because that is what is currently supported in our society. He suggests that it takes a scientific revolution to change this perspective, or rather, to cause a paradigm shift – which is what arguably had occurred historically, when the education systems shifted their focus from theological truths to analytical truths. As these are two (seemingly) contradicting methods of discerning truth, it makes sense then, that, at this point, one must almost entirely replace the other in the school system. If the school system is to focus on analytical thinking in the way that it currently does, it leaves very little room for theological thinking, and according to this study, will lessen the amount of religiosity in our society.

One may wonder whether this is at least somewhat intentional by our government, or, if it is merely by chance. Evidently, based on the format of the current school system, our governments’ belief is that religion is not meant to be in schools. Perhaps, though, this is a representation of a larger view – that religion is not meant to be in society. On the other hand, it could very well be the case that our government believes that religion just does not have a place in the school system – but the intention is not to say anything about religion on a larger scale. No matter the intention, based on what the article has said (and the studies it cites), our school system is playing a role in lessening the amount of religiosity within our society.

-A.E. #349 #uwreligions


2 thoughts on “Is Our Current Education System At Odds With Religiosity?

  1. I found reading this blog to be very intriguing because it talks about a possible cause of the decrease of religion in individual’s lives. I think it is very probable that education is the route cause of this. When we are instilled with analytical and practical ways of thinking at an age, when you are easily influenced, these ideas are bound to stay with you through adulthood as well. To succeed in the workforce today, a lot of jobs need an analytical way of thinking. This would mean that the analytical approach to education is actually benefitting the future of children when they reach the real world. The only thing it would affect negatively is the spiritual aspect of an individual’s life. Weather or not this is necessary to have in adulthood is definitely up for debate and based off of opinion. Does teaching an analytical perspective in school raise a generation that is more practical and hence more prepared for the real world? Or does it raise a generation that doesn’t think outside the box and can only answers that have definite answers? In my opinion, both of these perspectives are correct. What the education system needs is an equal balance between the two. That would produce the most well rounded individual and in turn allow for neither way of thinking to die out. To be successful one must exhibit both traits in my opinion. In terms of politics, I hold the same view. One must exhibit both traits to properly govern. If we instil this in individuals at a young age, the more likely the government will also start having these traits.


  2. The article and this blog post are really interesting! The phenomenon of declining religiosity in schools is something I wasn’t really aware of before reading this. I think this commentary makes a lot of good points but the idea that shifting towards analytical thinking in schools was an intentional move by the government raises questions for me. Like you said, analytical thinking as the main way of learning is due to consensus support which means its prevalent in society. I don’t personally think the government had much of a part in changing the curriculum of the Canadian school system, but rather it is just a reflection of changes that are going on in society as a whole. The idea behind public schools is that they’re a secular institution where students of all different religions can go and learn critical thinking. For those parents/students who want to be taught from a theological perspective, there are religious schools. I’m curious what purpose you think it would serve for the government to intentionally phase out religion from the school system? This is a well-written and interesting commentary that caught my attention and got me thinking. Good read!

    #349 #uwreligions

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