Secular education


Secular education

Secular education is a term that refers to the system of public education in countries with a secular government or separation between religion and state.

While it is considered an important part of a democratic and free society, some may oppose secular education on the basis of theocratic beliefs. Others may oppose it on moral grounds, arguing that it hinders the development of socially-dictated character, generally based on a set of religious virtues.

A noteworthy feature of secular education is that of teaching subjects some religious adherents view as controversial. These subjects include sex education and extended science education; giving students more depth on biological theories and facts, especially evolution. This has placed secular educators at odds with many Christians, especially fundamentalist Christians, as well as religious dogmatists and social conservatives from other traditions.

A broader definition of "secular education" includes the total cultural education that a citizen is exposed to by growing up in a strongly secular society. This cultural secular education is a consequence of the environment of the society which typically includes exposure to other cultures and having a strong public secular education system that includes studying comparative religions, world history, and world mythologies beginning in elementary school. Examples of such secular societies are The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.

Secular education includes the study of public laws that protects their citizens against unfair preference and discrimination from a body of clerics, who are organized for the coercive purpose of performing an apostolic work, traditions of biased theological preaching and teaching passed down, and in certain serious offenses specified in sectarian laws affecting specific religious communities. This study of public law involves secular trends, the amending changes of public laws over a long period of time, generally years or decades.

An educational system considered highly secular would have to be the French public educational system, going as far to ban conspicuous religious symbols in schools.


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