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Becoming Human

Fundamentals of Interreligious Education and Didactics from a Muslim-Christian Perspective

Edited By Zekirija Sejdini, Martina Kraml and Matthias Scharer

Religious and cultural diversity are increasingly visible today. At the same time, increased fear of the «other» has manifested, particularly of the Islamic religion. Islam today is considered a «problematic» religion. This attitude yields many challenges in universities and schools, particularly when it comes to religious education. The Institute for Islamic Theology and Religious Education and the Catholic Religious Education Department at the University of Innsbruck are addressing these challenges, having spearheaded a program of intensive cooperation in teacher education – including courses on pedagogy, religious didactics, internships, and evidence-based learning processes in schools and universities.

This research and teaching collaboration lacked an appropriate framework. This book provides a solid basis for interreligious pedagogy and didactics. Authentic interreligious cooperation begins by promoting intra- and inter-religious self-confidence and self-understanding. This required countless discussions among the authors, which yielded distinct viewpoints as well as commonalities. In this way the anthropological starting point for this book emerged and is expanded through a theological perspective on religious education and didactics. Various approaches and attitudes are developed and examined, including contingency sensibility, to support the competent planning, management, and evaluation of educational processes in pluralistic and heterogeneous fields.

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Chapter 1 Contexts We Move In



According to the religious pedagogical and religious didactic concept to which we feel committed, religious pedagogical and religious didactic teaching and research, as well as educational work, never occur in a ‘vacuum,’ but rather always in specific societal, economic, political, cultural, religious and historical contexts.1 Scientific religious pedagogy and religious didactics necessitate reflection on these contexts. Therefore, we will also undertake to contextualize our interreligious approach. In doing so, we are well aware that these contexts are not ‘reality’ per se, but rather are based on phenomena that are largely constructed. Hence, we cannot examine every detail of the current contexts, but instead will be content with a general overview and will orient ourselves in accordance with the currently predominant keywords of theory (the general perspective) and life practice (the concrete perspective).

In this section, we will deal with general contextual aspects, which, in our opinion, shape the current debate on religious education.

Christians and Muslims in Europe move – according to general opinion – in a secular space. But this phraseology is not clear, since the word ‘secular’ ←25 | 26→has a range of different meanings and connotations. Furthermore, there are different perspectives on the term ‘secular.’ Thus, at least among Christians and Muslims, some religious people also view themselves as secular. But the opposite is also the case. Some religious people distance themselves from the secular and perceive it as a ‘counterpart’ that is not compatible with their religious convictions. In...

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