In the field of religious guidance our performance has been quite weak.
Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani, while expressing the reason for the inclination of some of the youth towards false spirituality, pointed out that if the situation today is compared to that which existed before the Islamic revolution, the spiritual progress achieved is very high, yet if it is compared to the level that was expected, it can be said that the expectations are much higher than what has been achieved.
In evaluation of the present situation of religious education of Iranian children and youth, the high ranking professor of advanced Jurisprudence and Principles of Jurisprudence in the Islamic Seminary of Qum said: “If the present position is compared with the conditions prevailing before the revolution, there is no doubt that the advancement made in the religious guidance of families and schools has been enormous. Yet if this situation, after taking into consideration the passing of three decades after the revolution, is compared to the expected level, it can be said that the expectations were much higher than what is presently found.”
We are still utilizing traditional and outdated methods in religious education
He added: “Today, what exists in society is a bare minimum of religious education which is conducted directly and through out of date and traditional methods, whereas indirect and modern methods for such are available that need to be implemented by families and the educational system in order to achieve the desired level in this field.
Regarding the influence teachers and instructors can have on the religious training of the child, the head of the Porch of Wisdom Institute said: “The family and teachers both play their own respective roles in children’s religious education and in fact, supplement each other; one can prepare the grounds for the other, but still, in this domain, the family plays the pivotal role.
Ayatullah Hadavi also stressed: “Of course, it is the family that sets the stage for the development of the personality of the individual, therefore, if a family pays proper attention to religious education, it can effectively influence the thought and spirit of the child, paving the way for teachers to impart religious education to the child more easily and in efficiently.
He also stressed the role of teachers in the enhancement of religious education for the children, adding: “In the past, we have seen that when some of the children of families who have not taken religious education seriously, join a school with an educational setting, where competent teachers are available, the morals and demeanor of such teachers influence the child to become interested in religious education, so much that not only does the child become active in this domain, but he influences his family to become active as well.
The link between religious education and the increase or decrease of crime
The professor of advanced Jurisprudence and Principles of Jurisprudence of the Islamic Seminary in Qum pointed out the ramifications of neglecting the religious education of children saying: “If we do not pay attention to the religious education of the child, he/she will not be familiar with religious concepts in thought, ideology and behavior; such ignorance and lack of development in their personality on the basis of religious values will make their future behavior different from what a religious person normally shows. It is also possible that as a result of deficient religious awareness and/or beliefs, he/she may fall into serious behavioral vices in life, such as moral corruption and the like.
Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani also stated: “The level of crime and moral turpitude in a society is the criteria for evaluating how much importance has been given to religious education; the less the crime and moral corruption in a society, the more it shows that attention has been given to religious teachings and education. The opposite of this equation also holds; the more the corruption and crime, the less the attention that has been given.
The media, one of the most contributive elements in the arena of religious education
Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani stated that religious education is not limited to the family and official educational systems; rather, today the media is one of the most active factors in the domain of religious education. He added: “Today, media such as television play an essential role in developing the personality of our child who spends hours in front of it throughout the day.”
Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani goes on to say: “The improvement of religious awareness in society, the family, among teachers and in the media, while taking into consideration the ability of Islam to adapt to different conditions along with focusing on the characteristics of the audience are the keys to our success in religiously training our younger generation.”
The reason why some youth are drawn towards cults who promote false spirituality is rooted in their childhood religious upbringing
His eminence counted improper religious education during childhood as a strong factor for the potential inclination of the youth towards false spirituality and further added: “The foundation of the child’s personality is formed during the period where he is present in the family, and then in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten; if this foundation is strong, it is for certain that during adolescence when the inclination towards spirituality is revived in him, it will have the proper direction and will result in spirituality and morality taking root in him. On the other hand, if this foundation is not strong, then deviant inclinations will develop in him.
Ayatullah Hadavi, head of the Porch of Wisdom Institute, emphasized: “Of course, this does not mean that all those who were not imparted suitable religious education during their childhood will certainly deviate during their adolescence. It is possible that someone during his childhood receives weak religious education, but later, during his adolescence, happens to come across individuals with strong religious personalities who bear a correct understanding of the conditions of their time, and this directs them in their youth and adolescence towards correct religious thought.
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