Should Greek Mythology Be Taught In Public Schools?

If religion is not supposed to be taught in public schools, how is it that Greek Mythology, as well as other mythologies, are taught in public schools?

Is Greek Mythology a religion? Was it a religion? Should it or any mythology be taught in public schools?

I propose that if mythologies can be taught in public schools, then so too should other “mythologies,” be they about Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, etc., be allowed.

(Note: the word “mythology” does not imply the story is false.)

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13 Responses to Should Greek Mythology Be Taught In Public Schools?

  1. aposteriori2 says:

    I have always thought that anything and everything should be taught in public schools…..now, I fully expect that I will end up eating these words with further scrutiny and discussion of this initial reaction – but that is the gist of where my head is at….I thought that the range of what I was exposed to in 13 years of public school was ridiculous and I learned more on my own from 18 yrs to say 20 yrs old from researching and reading and exploring stuff than I did the whole time….there is no doubt that the basics were taught – but I can clearly remember learning the same useless things over and over – perhaps at different educational levels – for my entire public school experience……shouldnt we have learned that there were Satanic cults or that there was some evidence that people practiced Satanic things? why the hell shouldnt we have known that? I, to this day, have no IDEA what, for instance Zoasterism is ….and there may be a good reason why, but there also may be some kind of truth or idea or reality there that would help piece together the puzzle of life

  2. aposteriori2 says:

    One more thing – I have always thought that one of the readings in church should be from the writings of the Saints from over the years….I have heard the A,B and C cycles of the scriptures all my life and, though I value them, truly feel that the church is rich in diversity and with a wealth of experience and information and truths from those that the church itself has acknoleged as Saints! This goes along with the EVERYTHING should be taught in school basic framework of my brain!

  3. aposteriori2 says:

    ok just ONE more thing before I eat lunch – theories that are considered DISPROVEN by the scientific community and ones that are disputed and considered controversial should be taught as well – there is a WEALTH of education to be gained from this area – what a great way to teach people to think critically – many many areas are treated too politically and people are taught as if they are fragile and unable to process things critically – this is also one of the problems with sensorship….if I grow up learning that all these bad words will hurt me just by being SAID in my presence, then I will learn to think of myself as fragile and unable to competently deal with and process things in this world – I wish I would have thought of this aspect of censorship the other day in my kitchen when we were talking about music and tv ratings!

  4. hypothesis says:

    I agree to some extent.

    I always thought that with the world’s religions being at the center of many of the events of history that it is impossible to truly teach history while ignoring the beliefs of the people’s involved.

    Then again, it would be hard to teach “everything,” so it would have to be narrowed somehow. I’m just saying excluding religion under the false guise of “separation of church and state” is erroneous and negligent.

    So, should Greek Mythology be taught in public schools if other mythologies are not allowed?

  5. aposteriori2 says:

    I dont think that it WOULD be hard to teach everything – if the lesson plans focused on information analysis and critical thinking and evaluation of theories and system theory and basic awareness skills (for lack of a better word)…..”if information overload was a reality , everytime you walked into a library, you would die” David Allen
    Learning HOW to think and not WHAT to think – learning to keep your head reasonably free from fixed conceptions to be able to critically process information and to assess it for truth and meaning
    Your question is limited and becomes moot – EVERYTHING should be taught in public schools – dont let “them” divide and conquer!!!!!!

    Mark

  6. hypothesis says:

    Learning how to learn is fundamental, no doubt about it. Once a person learns how to learn, then EVERYTHING is theoretically accessible to the student.

    But literally teaching EVERYTHING in public schools, or any school for that matter, is not practical and dare I say, not possible?

    Even when choosing schools of higher learning, students base part of their decision upon what particular universities and/or colleges excel or specialize in certain fields of education.

    I suppose at this point we’d have to define “EVERYTHING,” no?

  7. aposteriori2 says:

    Think of it like a Mind Map or better yet – Hyperlinks on the internet – the student sets the path and then it expands out – ok, ok EVERYTHING is hyperbole – but it is the difference, in my way of thinking, between rote learning – the kind that is more and more used because of NCLB testing and teachers FEARS about meeting the standards because of the PRINCIPLES fears about meeting the standards because of the SCHOOL BOARDS fears about meeting the standards because of the LEGISLATORS fears about meeting the standards because of the VOTERS fears about funding for the schools – and once again, a major system made up of almost EVERYONE at one point in their lives or another – that is driven now by FEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that people think about fear related to consumer goods and we talk about that a lot – what about the FEAR that EVERYONE is now hooked into in the current education system!

  8. hypothesis says:

    Alright, as long as we are not talking about literally EVERYTHING, then I agree.

    I believe the federal government should stay out of education. I believe that people at the local level can best decide what to teach their children.

    So what about the schools-of-choice option? Does this cause educators and administrators to teach out of fear of competition from the school down the road or in the next city? If so, is that a good thing?

  9. bella says:

    Greek mythology provides a student with more vocabulary. It provides a student with a sense of culture and customs of Greece back then. Greek mythology makes a student more observant and appriciative of the world around them, especially the infulence of mthology in the world today. Greek mythology is like history, it is very unusual to see people today worship Zeus, hermes, etc. Greek mythology provides humor, friendship, love, and values to the reader. If a commercial comes on that has something to do with Greek gods such as a chocalate commercial, you might look dumb if you question out loud what it is about. Many schools are named after Greek mythology heroes. It brings the students to have good behavior because the stories show the effects of lies, treason, etc. on a person. Since public schools cannot say to model a person in a certain religion, they show you by teaching about Greek mythology. And as i said there aren’t people out there worshipping still greek gods. Take it from a student who knows. Take care.

    • Benjamin Steele says:

      I hope you don’t mind my resurrecting an old discussion.

      Obviously, you actually teach students everything, but I agree with the basic argument. An education should be broad and diverse. For a society to function optimally, it’s best if the citizens have a shared knowledge base and a shared ‘language’ of theory and ideas.

      One problem is what topics to teach in what class. Religion relates to almost any subject as religion has been a part of every aspect of society. Even many early religious beliefs were based on the scientific observations of the day. Science has since changed, but religion and scince have been informing eachother for the entire history of civilization.

      However, there is a difference between a respectable scientific theory agreed upon by a consensus of presentday scientists and a religious theory that conflicts with present scientific knowledge. I’d be fine for Creatoinism to be taught in a class about the history of science, but Creationism has no place in a class about contemporary science. Then again, it would be helpful if contemporary science was somehow taught in connection to the history of ideas behind the development of scientific knowledge.

      I personally learn better when subjects are connected, but public school never taught that way. Everything was taught in separate classes. Even within specific classes such as history, the events of history were too often taught as isolated. I never learned how history relates to present society which is one of the most important thing any student could learn.

      Most things I learned in school I’ve since not used and so have forgotten. Most of what I know now that is relevant to my life I’ve learned on my own.

      I wish I had learned more about politics in school. I did have one class in high school that focused partly on politics, but it wasn’t taught in a way that I could connect to and so it made no impact on me.

      What is the point of teaching things just to be forgotten? I don’t even feel like school taught me how to learn. Learning was just about memorizing, taking a test, and then forgetting again. It was all about grades and not about understanding, not about learning how to learn and learning how to enjoy the process of learning.

      Religion is one of the subjects that is directly relevant to many kids. They may learn something in Bible school, but I think it would be helpful in teaching religion in school. I think all of the major religions should be taught, and I think religion should be taught in correlation with mythology, philosophy, logic, and history. Kids should learn that the major world religions aren’t isolated entitites but have influenced eachother and inherited ideas and practices from previous religions.

  10. hypothesis says:

    “…especially the infulence of mthology in the world today.”

    Certainly the influence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is far greater in the world today than that of Greek mythology.

    “Greek mythology is like history…”

    The Judaism, Christian, and Islamic mythologies are also “like history.” Perhaps more so than Greek mythology.

    “it is very unusual to see people today worship Zeus, hermes, etc.”

    It is indeed. But by teaching it in public schools, the possibility of it being resurrected as a religion exists; see here from USA Today:

    “Zeus worshippers demand access to temple

    Posted 1/19/2007 1:14 PM ET

    ATHENS (AP) — After all these centuries, Zeus may have a few thunderbolts left. A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens’ 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece’s Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

    […]

    Peppa’s group, dedicated to reviving worship of the 12 ancient gods, was founded last year and won a court battle for official state recognition of the ancient Greek religion.

    Those who seek to revive the ancient Greek religion are split into rival organizations which trade insults over the Internet. Peppa’s group is at odds with ultra-nationalists who view a revival as a way to protect Greek identity from foreign influences.”

    source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-01-19-zeus_x.htm?csp=34

    “Greek mythology provides humor, friendship, love, and values to the reader.”

    “It brings the students to have good behavior because the stories show the effects of lies, treason, etc. on a person.”

    Many would argue that The Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, The Koran, The Vedas, and many others do as well.

    “And as i said there aren’t people out there worshipping still greek gods.”

    As the USA Today article shows, people may not STILL be worshiping Greek gods, but people are AGAIN worshiping Greek gods.

  11. Mike Hawk says:

    You’re a punk [… …..]. When teachers teach mythology, they dont preach it like […-…….] preists. Mythology is actually fun and intersting to learn about unlike boring […] Christianty or Islam. [….] your […].

  12. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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