Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma

Warren A. Nord, Author
Warren A. Nord, Author University of North Carolina Press $36.95 (502p) ISBN 978-0-8078-4478-6
Hardcover - 502 pages - 978-0-8078-2165-7
Hardcover - 919 pages - 978-1-4696-1745-9
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Nord argues for the teaching of religion in public schools and universities, not to indoctrinate students but to help them take religious worldviews seriously in the pursuit of knowledge. His reasoning is convincing, but his writing is laborious and repetitive. To put his proposals in context, he attempts to summarize all relevant Supreme Court rulings, religion's role in the intellectual history of Europe and the United States, and major contemporary philosophical movements and worldviews. Three long chapters, more than a third of the text, are devoted to such background material, much of which is summarized again in later chapters. The end result is a thin argument with more background than development: require courses in religious studies, but don't institutionalize school prayer. Nord directs a program in the humanities and values at the University of North Carolina. While his historical knowledge is broad, he appears not to have concrete information about contemporary U.S. secondary education other than that gleaned from having analyzed the textbooks used in North Carolina schools, and he seems ignorant of current experiments in teaching religion and values in schools. (May)
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