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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 2 Anthropology-Theology-Education: Our Agreed-upon Foundations



After having analyzed the context, and against the backdrop of that analysis, we want to reflect on the anthropological, theological and educational theoretical foundations that shape our approach and concepts. Our consideration of the context heightened our sensitivity to the fact that inequalities and imbalances permeate us, and our contexts, and that this can also happen in religious communities and religious education.1 Thus, we are challenged to critically scrutinize our language, our categorizations and our differentiations for their integrating or excluding impacts.

For this reason, in the first section (‘How Do We Understand Being Human?’), we begin with an anthropological trait that characterizes and unites all of us – whether we are Christian or Muslim, people without a denomination or atheists: ‘simply being human.’ At the same time, we are, as human beings, defined by values and worldviews and, in this respect, aligned with the transcendent. In other words, we are, in this sense, ‘religious’ people, and our anthropology (our image of humankind) and theology (our understanding of God) shape our values and our worldviews. We will illustrate this interconnection in the second section (‘How Do We Understand “God and the World”?’). Finally, in the third section (‘Theology as Science from a Religious Pedagogical Perspective’), we will discuss the understanding of education.

There are many different approaches to the humanity of humans. As pedagogues and didacts of religion, we take a religious pedagogical theological perspective. This raises the question of which...

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