Young people need religious education

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008

"Dead eyes see no future." The photo in the March 30 edition of the Empire of this phrase on a young woman's arm says it all - hopelessness, despair, the overwhelming sense that there is no meaning in life and that the only thing to look forward to is more sadness, more frustration and more pain.

These feelings and thoughts are not new to humanity; human beings have been struggling to deal with these feelings from time immemorial.

The search for answers to these kinds of thoughts has always been the larger purpose of the world's great religions: Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Young people need to be given a fighting chance against being overwhelmed by these kinds of negative feelings and thoughts. With this in mind, I suggest that Juneau-Douglas High School offer a survey course in world religions.

Such a course should be taught from an academic perspective. It would focus on the essential content of the major religions and the role each has played in the ethical development of Western and Eastern cultures.

Young people must be provided with at least some exposure to answers that have been traditionally given to the kinds of existential questions that are taking too many down a one-way path to self-destruction.

Jack McGee


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