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Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth

Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives


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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Part I - Catholic and Protestant Studies 9


Part I Catholic and Protestant Studies Gloria Durka 1 Theology of Religions: Through the Looking Glass of US Roman Catholicism A looking glass can be both a mirror and a window. Using the image of a triptych mirror, I begin by considering the unique history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States with a view to recognize what it can suggest to others about the shared common task of repairing the world and promoting human f lourishing through an adequate and appropriate theol- ogy of religions. First, I invite us to look at the centre panel to take note of the present context. Then to understand how we arrived at where we are, I brief ly consider the left-hand panel of the past. Finally, there will be a brief glance at the third panel to help imagine some possibilities for the future of theologies of religion from the perspective of religious education. The context: a view of the present US Catholics are struggling between vestiges of the insularity and rigidity of immigrant Catholicism and postmodern religious pluralism. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, such struggle led to a pervasive anti-intellec- tualism which af fected US Catholicism. But things are changing today. Religious educators especially are striving to remain responsive to the specific living culture in which Catholicism resides and the global society of which it is also a part. Both the United States and the US Catholic Church are undergoing a significant demographic shift. Aptly described by church...

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