Introduction

Islam and Christianity are two important religions upon which education can be based. By “Islam” and “Christianity” we mean both Islamic texts such as the Holy Qur’an, and “traditions” (narrations) and the viewpoints of Islamic scholars, and Christian texts (i.e. the Holy Bible) and the viewpoints of Christian scholars. Since Islam and Christianity have been considered religious schools, their similarities, not differences, have been emphasized in this book.

Religious foundation of education in this book includes:

1. Ontology

2. Effect of ontology on education (ontology and education)

3. Epistemology

4. Effect of epistemology on education (epistemology and education)

5. Axiology

6. Effect of axiology on education (axiology and education).

Ontology consists of such topics like God, world, anthropology (which in itself consists of topics like, the goals of man’s creation, man’s personality, man’s freewill and determinism, and man’s responsibility). The effect of ontology on education consists of such topics like definition of education, goals of education, teacher–oriented or pupil–centered education.

Epistemology consists of such topics like status of knowledge and cognition, tools and stages of knowledge and cognition, sources of knowledge and cognitions, and obstacles of knowledge and cognition. The effect of epistemology on education consists of topics like teaching methods and instructional contents.

Axiology consists of the meanings of values, virtues and happiness, the hierarchy of values, and discussions about absolute or relative being of the values. The effect of axiology on education consists of discussion about educational values and the role of the teacher and student in teaching them.

We can consider the six above-mentioned branches for each philosophical educational school. A philosophical educational school is in fact a collection of ideas which have similarities from philosophy and education points of view.

As said, each philosophical educational school can be based on different foundations, the most important of which can be the religious foundations. In other words, we can extract some points from Islamic and Christian texts, which can be considered the basis or foundation of education, i.e. the mentioned six branches, and this will form a very important religious foundation of education.

It should be noted that it is very difficult to find some quite similar ideas in the six above mentioned branches. That’s the reason why there is a great difference between the writers of different books regarding which scholar or philosopher belongs to which school (for example, see: Ozmon & Craver, 2000; Kneller, 2001; Ebrahim Zadeh, 1990; Gutek, 2001; Khalili Shavarini, 1999; Amuzeger, 2000; Sheari Nejad, 1998; Nikzad, 1992; Popkin & Stroll, 1991; Forughi, 1996; Shariatmadari, 1998; Shariatmadari, 1985).

This differentiation is sometimes so difficult that some writers have rarely tried to mention the names of several philosophers under a particular philosophical school; rather, they, in most cases, have tried to describe the viewpoints of the philosophers independently (e.g. Naqib Zadeh, 1996, 1999 has mentioned only “pragmatism”).

It is probably due to this difficulty in the differentiation of various philosophers from various schools that there has been a great difference among the viewpoints of the writers (e.g. see Amuzegar, 2000; Ozmon & Craver, 2000; Gutek, 2001; Shariatmadari, 1998; Kneller, 2001; Ebrahim Zadeh, 1990; Sheari Nejad, 1995), i.e. one philosopher has been attributed to different schools in different books.

It is also probably due to the above fact that some writers believe that the educational views represented by some educational philosophers are not directly resulted from their philosophical views. Therefore, such writers have not used titles such as “effects of ontology, epistemology and axiology on education” (such writers as Gutek, 2001; Amuzegar, 2000; Nikzad, 1002; Shariatmadari, 1998; Shariatmadari, 1985; Naqib Zadeh, 1996; Naqib Zadeh, 1999; Kneller, 2001; Ozmon & Craver, 2000).

But, there are also some writers that have used the phrase “effect of ontology, epistemology and axiology on education” (e.g. Ebrahim Zadeh, 1990; Khalili Shavarini, 1999), although the educational views of educational philosophers can’t be completely and accurately considered as the result of their philosophical view concerning ontology, epistemology and axiology, on the other hand we can’t deny the effect of each of these on education completely, or, at least, deny the relationship between ontology, epistemology, axiology and education for every educational philosopher or religion.

That has been the reason why we have used both phrases and items: “effect of ontology on education” and “ontology and education”, etc.