Letter: Religious perspectives can interfere with knowledge

Religion—Karl Marx’s “opiate of the masses”—and a thing in which people still somehow believe in.

As most of us know, Carleton University was founded on secular principles, but does that mean religion cannot be a part of the school foundation or modern curriculum?

Yes, that’s exactly what it means! Religion should have no influence on what is studied, except for religion because it is a piece of human history. Negative and positive aspects of human nature rely on the understanding of religious doctrine and dogma.

Being a heavily-lapsed Catholic—basically an agnostic—I see religion in a negative light. However, I do have some form of respect for those who still somehow keep their beliefs and moral principles from declining platforms of worship.

Even though I believe them to be naïve and ignorant to some degree, I see their stubborn beliefs containing sentimental consciousness, which I feel I do not nor will not ever have.

But can religious perspectives be deemed appropriate in the classroom? I say as long as it does not interfere with your critical thinking and rational, then sure—believe in whatever the hell you want.

However, school is not about belief, it’s about knowledge. 

But if those who are spiritual and/or religious wish to interfere with those who choose not to be, then obviously problems will arise. And can someone please tell me what the fuck does it mean to be either religious or spiritual?

I think religion can be in the classroom as long as it does not interfere with the truth, or the empiricism of what is being learned. A few examples: an evangelical Christian takes a biology class and tries to debate the professor on evolution, using fallacies of logic every step of the way. Or if you’re in a geography class and some dummkopf tries to proclaim that the earth is really 6,000 years old.

Here we have an issue: people’s learning capabilities are being interfered by nonsense on undebatable topics. In lectures or discussions of history and philosophy, religion is perfectly acceptable to be discussed, as long as it is a part of the course. Religious beliefs and ideologies hold no real influence in classrooms of objective, scientifically-discovered facts about the physical world.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with those who believe in a religion; in fact, I would consider it quite pragmatic—if their view on reality is proven right. A philosophical argument called Pascal’s wager, asserts this belief: it is better to believe in God not knowing the outcome of death rather than not believe.

However, I choose not to take Pascal’s wager on the topic because some people just can’t nor will believe.

University is supposed to be a place of ideas, and if someone cannot tolerate the somewhat rational beliefs of others, then they cannot really understand and learn from other people.