Letters & Opinion

The Benefit of Religious Knowledge in Schools

By Deacon Peter Fevrier(Family & Life Secretariat)

“Religious Knowledge can awaken students’ awareness and self-identity. It can empower the student with a true sense of dignity and the knowledge that he or she is worthy and a true child of the King.”

IGNORANCE of Sacred Scripture is ignorance of God. Therefore, if someone chooses not to study sacred Scripture, there can be no guarantee of one’s belief in God.

Religious Knowledge (RK) is about the acceptance, appreciation and understanding of the existence of God as Our Father the Creator. It is not about teaching religion, but a profound knowledge and understanding of the Sacred Scripture helps with the elucidation of the whole concept of faith and religion. Above all, knowledge of God through Sacred Scripture helps one understand the journey of life and the quest for individual salvation better since the real purpose of man’s life is to know God, to love God and to serve Him in this world so as to be happy with Him in the after-life.

Many students under pressure (reference the preparation for final examination CXC, may very often skip RK class to catch up with the various subjects, but we know that God controls everything so we should put God first in all that we undertake daily.

Religious beliefs give meaning to life. They answer man’s questions about himself and the world he lives in. This function of religion is important in relation to the frustration and confusion of this world. Social life is full of contradictions which threatens the substance or quality of our lives. So it seems that many facts of life are not clear to the ordinary person but through a system of faith or religion some things can be put into perspective. Take human suffering for example. Why should anyone suffer? Religion provides answers: suffering is sometimes permitted by God to test a person’s faith; it is a punishment for sins; suffering with fortitude will bring its reward in Heaven. People see the major function of religion as the provision of meaning to events that people do not expect or think can happen. Events that are frustrating and contradictory.

Religion provides answers by way of an integrated and consistent pattern of meaning, thereby allowing some level of emotional and intellectual adjustment which promotes order and stability in the society.

In the: “Elementary Form of the Religious life” first published in 1912, Social Scientist called Emile Durkheim presented what is probably the most influential interpretation of religion from a functionalist perspective. He argued that all societies divide the world into two categories: the sacred and the profane; or more simply the sacred and the non-sacred. Religion it is said is based on such a division: a unified system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things or things set apart as well as things forbidden.

It is generally argued that social life is impossible without shared values and moral beliefs which form the collective conscience. If these were absent there would be no social order, social control, social solidarity or cooperation. In short there would be no society. Religion enforces the collective conscience. The worship of God by people in society strengthens the values and moral beliefs which forms the basis of social life. By defining them as sacred, religion provides people with a greater power to direct human action.

Religious Knowledge (RK) can awaken students’ awareness and self-identity. It can empower the student with a true sense of dignity and the knowledge that he or she is worthy and a true child of the King. Let us now meditate on the following verses of Sacred Scripture to help us appreciate our mission in life. John 14:2: In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? Ephesians 2:4-6: But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16: Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus Christ.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins; He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Revelation 21:1-4: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away. Also there was no more sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

God Bless You!

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