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Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth

Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

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Edited By Jeff Astley, Leslie J. Francis, Mandy Robbins and Mualla Selçuk

Religious educators today are called upon to enable young people to develop as fully-rounded human beings in a multicultural and multifaith world. It is no longer sufficient to teach about the history of religions: religion is not relegated to the past. It is no longer sufficient to teach about the observable outward phenomena of religions: religion is not restricted to practices, artefacts, and buildings observable in the outside world. It is also necessary to take seriously what religions believe about themselves, and what religions believe about other religions.
Seen from the inside, religions deal in the currency of truth. For the religions themselves, truth matters. Truth-claims can lead to harmony and peace, but they may also engender discord and violence. What ultimately counts is how one set of truth-claims confronts or embraces the truths claimed by other, different voices. Therefore those who teach religion cannot avoid dealing with the theology of religions.
In this collection of original essays, religious educators shaped by both Christian and Islamic worldviews discuss the problems and opportunities that now face educators and believers alike, as they are confronted by the challenge of teaching religion and teaching truth. The discussion nurtured at the sixteenth conference of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values is here developed further, to stimulate wider reflection and shape good local practice.

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Preface ix

Extract

Preface World events at the dawn of the twenty-first century have clearly laid to rest some of the overblown claims of the secularization theorists of the 1960s. Belief in God is not dead, and religion has not retreated to the personal domain and given over the public square to the exclusive claim of secular voices. Rather, the importance of religion is again recognized as a matter of public significance and social concern. In this context the role of religious educators has also grown in public significance. Today religious educators are called upon to enable young people to develop as fully-rounded human beings in a world, and often in a nation or local society, that is thoroughly multicultural and thoroughly multifaith. No longer is it suf ficient to teach about the history of religions: religion is not relegated to the past. No longer is it suf ficient to teach about the observable outward phenomena of religions: religion is not restricted to practices, artefacts, and buildings observable in the outside world. In this context it is also necessary to take seriously what it is that religions believe about themselves, and what religions believe about other religions. The theology of religions is what ultimately matters in understanding and interpreting the re-emergence of religion in the twenty-first century as a matter of public significance and social concern. Seen from the inside religions deal in the currency of truth. For the religions themselves truth matters. Truth-claims can lead to harmony and to peace, but they...

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