Long ago, grammar school education beside reading, writing and arithmetic included religious instruction. The kids were separated into the two prominent groups – catholic and protestant and received enlightening coaching. At some point however because of cultural diversity, the ministry of Education had to come up with something that would be suitable to the different religious backgrounds of the children that now populated the classrooms…religious instruction became an introduction into religious philosophies. A good move since it also enhances the chances of tolerance and respect from the impressionable ages.
Of course not all countries follow this plan, in Greece for instance, the Education Ministry is still linked to the Greek Orthodox Church, which up until a few years ago, was a major decision maker into what or how something could be taught in Greek Schools.
Religious freedom is a privilege in a civilized country, as it should be and people of different faiths should be able to practice their beliefs unhindered and without infringement. But neither the leaders nor the followers should be allowed to campaign or advertise for their personal causes. We have seen too many wars fought and too much blood shed over religion throughout the centuries, and that unfortunately is not something of the distant past, but an on going fight in many regions of the world.
Karl Marx said that Religion is the opiate of the masses(which could be interpreted to mean that it is a source for abuse). Religion is a power, built on a hierarchy and its own code of ethics. Their leaders are humans, who all too often have exploited their positions to enhance(enrich) their absolute power at the cost(personal/financial) of their followers. Who has not heard stories about Bhagwan, Jim Jones, Waco, Texas, or for that matter the suicide bombers, …the translation of religious freedom gone terribly wrong.
Or to quote Ron Hubbard, If you want to make a little money-write a book. If you want to make a lot of money-create a religion!!! Selling products to their followers to become BETTER is not exclusive to Scientology and it is not a new scheme…the sale of indulgences – the get out of purgatory card – by priests, widely practiced in the 15th Century.
Information is available everywhere, for those who are interested to change their faiths, or denominational groups – we do not need more people ringing door bells with the good word, booths with translated Korans, signs with JESUS SAVES nor THE END IS NIGH…