Our society and community, both on campus and the national level, struggle with understanding and appreciating the differences amongst societies’ members, particularly in regard to race, religion and ethnic background.
I truly believe that most of that divide and lack of understanding comes down to a lack of education and individual’s purposeful ignorance.
A few weeks back, the March for Humanity was held on campus at which speakers talked about commonalities amongst us and how despite our differences, humanity is much more closely related than different.
We all share a common humanity. As mentioned by Tom Ormond, Shippensburg University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the university and the education system as a whole serves a fundamental role of educating humanity and to bring about a society that is understanding and appreciative of one’s differences.
I believe that one of the main areas of contention and of deep misunderstanding in our world today is in regard to religion. Many people have misconceptions about others’ religious beliefs, based on a lack of education and fueled by the media, stereotypes, ignorance and hysteria.
The “Us vs. Theming” that is discussed by neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolksy is huge in America in regard to religion. Many Americans do not have an understanding of what separates Catholicism from Protestantism.
The West shows deep misconceptions on the beliefs of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and many other religions.
People hold their religious beliefs based firmly on developed reasoning and devote great portions of their time, money, and lifestyle to their religion.
It is truly shocking for a large percentage of the population to not understand the major religions of the world when it holds such a great weight in American and global society.
Education of world religions would help to ease the misconceptions and divisions in our society and would help to build up our communities based on understanding.
High schools and universities across the country, including Shippensburg University, should require a religion class that would educate students on the basic beliefs of all major world religions and their individual histories.
This class would be objective in nature and would delve into the beliefs of humanity today and how they have gotten to their current states. This general education requirement would better our campus, community, nation and the world.
According to a Pew Research Center report in June 2019, those who took a world religions class in high school or college answered 17.3 questions correctly compared with 12.5 among those who have not taken such a class on a 20-question religious understanding quiz.
A world religion class in high school and college would help create a more united and understanding community and campus.