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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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The themes covered in this book relate to a spiritual depth that is beyond the reach of knowledge and competence. Without this spiritual depth, interreligious religious pedagogy and religious didactics seem superficial. Therefore, we have decided to end the book with a conversation with a shaman who, we believe, expresses our concern very well:

Question: Why should one take a spiritual path if one ends up with the knowledge that one knows nothing? Shaman: There is a beauty in this kind of ignorance. It is a conscious ignorance and not an oblivious one. And over time, you get to a point where you indulge in the idea that you do not know anything. You have evolved so far that this ignorance is actually a pleasure because it leaves you open to constantly expanding your perception. It’s like a dance, at the same time solidified and open. It is really an interesting dance, because it is a skill. Anyone can learn a skill, but this type of skill is very hard to learn because it is so contrary to our usual way of thinking. You must know that you basically know nothing and be satisfied with it. That way, you always stay open to the mystery. In my opinion, that’s what every good spiritual path should teach.1

1 Kalisch, Sven, Religion und Gewissheit. Anmerkungen zu einem epistemologischen Problem und eine schamanische Lösung. In: Werbick, Jürgen, Kalisch, Muhammad Sven, and von Stosch, Klaus (eds.), Verwundete Gewissheit....

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