tt.humanist :: forum :: commentary :: religion
"Religious instruction" is not caring for our children!
Professor John Spence, in his column "Caring for our children" of 21.06.2007, raised certain queries about the TT Humanist Association’s objection to compulsory religious instruction in schools. Our concern is that, in surveys of many different societies, high religiosity strongly correlates with social dysfunction, including greater intolerance by individuals and groups. In Britain, which Professor Spence cites as an example, compulsory religious instruction has not resulted in any increase in religious tolerance, especially amongst that country’s ethnic minorities.
Professor Spence also questions our statement that religion “might even be harmful to intellectual development, since higher religiosity is correlated with lower academic achievement, in both the sciences and the humanities”, asking for evidence and saying he doubts this is the case in Trinidad and Tobago. Some relevant studies are Terman (1925), Stark (1963), and Larson and Witham (1998). These studies mostly refer to the United States, but that country also has the highest religiosity levels among developed nations.
No study has been done for Trinidad and Tobago, and the only available statistics are from the Central Statistical Office, which classifies 1.4 percent of the population’s religious affiliation as Not Stated. An audit of the entry forms of UWI students, however, shows the Not Stated proportion as 14 percent. And, within our Association, over 90 percent of our members are in professional and technical fields.
T&T Humanist Association