Religious studies can help foster good values

I support the idea of religious studies in public education ("Religious literacy can add to common good" by Rev Dr Yap Kim Hao; last Tuesday).

It can be a part of the school curriculum, or as an optional enrichment programme.

Religious guidance plays a significant role in the inculcation of good moral values in the young. It will motivate and steer a person towards righteousness and virtue.

All major religions command their followers to do good and abstain from evil.

Therefore, people of various faiths should seek understanding and common ground, without looking too much at the differences in religious beliefs and practices.

A holier-than-thou attitude should be avoided.

The teaching of comparative religion in tertiary education should be encouraged as it will help to foster a better understanding of the community as a whole, as well as more mutual respect.

Nevertheless, we have to bear in mind that religion, as with any other good thing, can be misused. There will, unfortunately, always be a group that seeks to exploit it to achieve certain interests.

Syed Alwi Altahir

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Religious studies can help foster good values'. Subscribe