Lesson Plan: Comparative Religion
Explain that the belief of the public school system is that it should convey the positive social values that represent the Canadian multicultural society and are essential to the well-being of society, rather than teaching religion. Ask students to brainstorm what they believe these social values are.
Present students with the following topics:
- Holy Days
- Moral Guidelines (for instance, as found in the Ten Commandments, Gospel, Buddha's Eightfold Path, and Hindu Code of Manu)
- Views of the After-Life
Have each student choose one of the topics and explore, in detail, how it relates to at least five major religions. Students should conduct their research using the entire topic Religion in the Classroom on the CBC Digital Archives website, as well as any other resources they wish. From their research, students will write an expository essay to share their findings about commonalities in major religions.
Students should make clear notes as they research, and be sure to cite all sources used. Using their notes, students should complete an outline and draft of their essay, edit their work, then complete a good copy of their essay.
Provide students with time to complete their work, to edit it and have it peer-edited, and to make any necessary revisions. After the essays are completed, discuss with students the conclusions they made in their essays regarding what the major religions have in common. Then discuss if any of these commonalities should be taught in the classroom. If so, discuss how and when they should be taught.
Resources for this topic
Haig A., Ed. The Freedom of Religion (First Amendment in the Classroom, No.2). Chicago, IL: Neal Schuman Publishers, 1987.
Sweet, Lois. God in the Classroom: The Controversial Issue of Religion in Canada's Schools. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1998.