Education

Here in the U.S., religion is not often taught in public high schools, and it certainly is not taught in an attempt to make students more religious. And yet many high school students are religious, and their religious backgrounds are increasingly become more diverse.

Teachers in high schools face the question of religion every day. There are the obvious challenges such as whether creationism should be taught in a biology class. But then there are more subtle questions. Should religious symbols in the classroom be allowed or prohibited? How can a teacher encourage religious freedom without discriminating against religious minorities and those who are not religious? What distinction can or should be made between teaching high school students about religion versus teaching them to be religious?

The religion program at Luther College provides students with tools to deal these types of questions. It offers courses that explore the nature of religion and religious identity. We train students to be sensitive towards the needs of members of a variety of religious traditions as well as towards students who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist, or naturalist. The study of religion makes teachers more aware of their own religious commitments and at the she time more sensitive towards the religious commitments of others.