So, I'm going into my sophomore year of High School in a couple of days. One thing that I noticed in our freshman Global curriculum last year was the overwhelming amount of religion that was taught. We pretty much covered every belief system, from Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, to Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, to Hinduism, and even ancient beliefs such as Animism. However, not once was there any mention of atheism in our curriculum. When I asked my teacher if we were ever going to learn anything about atheism, he gave me a short background on how it came to be, and the only reason he actually knew this was because he's just very knowledgeable, even on things he doesn't need to teach us. It's obvious that atheism is nowhere to be found in our curriculum. It wasn't even in the index of our 1000+ page textbook! I understand that theism has played a huge role throughout history, but I'd think even primitive forms of atheism would exist within the same curriculum that is complete enough to contain Animism. As you can see by the Wikipedia page, atheism does have a considerable history.

I'm not asking for a full- fledged, two- month- long lesson plan like Christianity got. While atheism might be older, atheists tended to lay low until about the 18th century, and thus, information about them was harder to find. I would like to spend a little bit of time on the subject of atheism in class, however (at least as much as we spend on Animism), and I mean real curriculum- based material, not the stuff that my teacher happens to know off the top of his head. What does everyone else think? Is what I'm asking for reasonable?

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It's reasonable, I like the idea of educating students on beliefs around the world. I for one find it a very interesting topic, I took a mythology and a world religion class as an elective while I was in high school and I enjoyed both classes thoroughly. They never touched upon atheism or agnosticism, probably because it would cause too much of a stir at the next PTA meeting. Oddly enough the only time I was ever taught anything about anti-theism/atheism/agnosticism in school was in my Art class. We were studying portraits of the 18th century, and many people in the portrait were holding their hand in a particular way, and our teach told us that this was a symbol of anti-theism. The only symbol I can remember is a hand gesture that looked like the Vulcan symbol (yes from Star Trek), except it was held over the heart. So if you see any painting with a person holding their hand in that manner over their heart, that person was either an atheist, or they just hated christians.

I also find it odd that they never teach you that some of our founding fathers were not Christians. Same goes for many authors we all know and love, I believe Voltaire and Oscar Wilde were both atheists, but I'm not 100% sure. I know they were not theists.

We have a long way to go...
I'm pretty sure I read once that Voltaire was actually a theist, but I could be wrong. I think he believed in God, he just thought the church was corrupt.

Nope, aside from that one conversation with my teacher in the beginning of class one day where he told me a little background on atheism, the word "atheism" was never used once in our classes throughout the entire year. It makes me very sad. :(
Your teacher might be willing to show A Brief History of Disbelief( in class. This web site says it is not available in DVD, but it appears that the episodes are available on the internet.
There was virtually no benefit. My class doesn't pay attention during lessons. I think only about five people actually heard the word "atheism."
Wow, you had some great religious studies there, I envy you! Even without atheism, you should consider yourself happy to not only study the major religions like is common in many countries, or even more common, Christianity only those countries where the church still has close ties to the government like Poland. I mean, would have prefered to slavely studied Christianity for one year? Obviously there is enough information about the religion to dedicate your whole life about it, and that's sadly what some schools still do today. It's common to mention Islam, Judaism, Hinduism far less (I don't think we ever studied Hinduism in my religious class back then at the gymnasium, which can be considerate your college level) and even lesser practiced religions will not even be mentioned.

On the other hand, regarding atheism in religious class, many people don't consider it a religion or should even be categorized in that group just because it's on the opposite side, but rather belongs into philosophy class then.
And I did enjoy studying them a lot. If I'm going to refute beliefs, I'd definitely want an extensive knowledge on them. However, we're not studying religion specifically, it's "belief systems," which religion is a subcategory of. Atheism could probably be covered under belief systems.

Ugh, a year of studying Christianity. Don't get me started on how much I would hate that. :(
Well, maybe you study on a too low level yet to actually start discussing the religions in detail. Of course religious class often just makes you study the systems, but to understand the faith behind it is crucial too I think, or the knowledge will just pass by.

I wouldn't mind one year, assuming my teacher isn't a pro Christian fundie asshole but can actually swallow some critique :P
Try 9 years.

I prob wouldn't mind 9 years either, at least I would maybe get enough motivation to read the Bible :P Well tbh, I was considering picking up a theological education at uni, no kidding!
I'm thinking it probably wasn't mentioned because atheism is not a religion.
Oh i can see it clear as day. If atheism were taught in a classroom down here, some woman in a minivan would come roaring into the parking lot and then demanding to speak to the principal. She'd ask "What's this crap about teaching atheism to my son, huh?! what's going on here?!" She would have the belief that she is an authority on the subject, and try to use volume over reason. She'd threaten the school with a law suit, and then maybe call the school staff a few names. Afterwards, she'd drive recklessly, thinking that everyone should not be in her way. oh yeah, i'm not referring to the original poster's mom.


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