Finns study religion, evolution and sexuality

March 9, 2008 Katja Presnal

How we are suppose to make educated choices, if we are not taught all the choices available?

There are a few things many people think children shouldn’t be “exposed” at school. In Finland, they think children should learn about everything at school and have a wide knowledge of not just of their corner of the world, but the world in general.

The subject matters in this post are very controversial to many, and this post is part of explaining why Finnish children are the smartest in the world, according to PISA testing.

RELIGION AT SCHOOL

90% of Finnish people are Christian. The country’s national holidays are Christian Holidays. The crimes done during Christmas will get double punishment.

The Christianity is taught in every school, starting from first grade, but most people do not go to church on a regular basis. The president doesn’t preach Christian issues in her speech, and never says “God bless Finland”.

The religious education is not mandatory, parents can also choose a “life studies” instead of religious studies for their children. The difference between the two is that Christian base values and the history of Christianity isn’t taught as deeply in the “life studies” as in religion classes – in both classes Finnish children are also taught about all the other main religions of the world. In fact when I went to school in Finland, my religion teacher was an atheist – an atheist with a vast information of all religions. She was never trying to tell us, which one would be better than another.

In Finland it is considered civilization to know about different cultures and religions of the world, and thus be part of everyone’s education. Even Christianity is never taught “this the way things go” and “this is the right answer to… ” – it’s more like “we Christians believe…, but many other people believe…”. Leaving it to the students to make their own assessments and decisions. Hare Krishna is discussed the same way as Christianity, with the same respect. Maybe it is the respect the students get that makes them smarter – teachers are not just trying to teach them the one and only way things are, but they encourage individual thinking and problem solving.

According to a study made in Princeton University “more religious students are more satisfied with college, study more, and have higher college
GPAs”, and maybe including religion in the school system in the US would make a difference too. Knowledge also increases tolerance towards different religions and races. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said, “[i]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.”

EVOLUTION THEORY

Surprisingly for a Christian nation, Darwin’s Evolution Theory is taught at Finnish schools and given as much if not even more time as for Adam and Eve.

Evolution, Creek philosophers, world history including Roman history to industrial history and history of China to memorizing American presidents – all taught in Finnish schools.

SEX EDUCATION

Finnish schools offer sex education and it shows in the teenage pregnancy rates. While people opposing sex education at schools might now think “I knew it! The teen pregnancies must be high when sex education is offered”, think again.

The whole point of sexuality education is to teach adolescent to make informed choices about their actions. Sex education also teaches teenagers to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Wouldn’t you want your child to be protected from these?

Sex education helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases. The teen pregnancy rate in Finland is 20 teenager pregnancies per 1000 teenage girls (2%), while the same rate in the United States is four times more, close to 80/1000 (8%). The teen abortion rate in Finland is 9,5% compared to 29,2% in the United States. Abortion is legal in Finland with strict regulations.

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Sources:

Religion at America’s Most Selective Colleges

Adolescent Pregnancy by Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development , World Health Organization, Geneva

Teen pregnancies in the US

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

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