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Faith dialogue as a pedagogy for a post secular religious education

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Inter-faith or inter-religious dialogue takes place for a range of reasons and comes in many guises, from the reconciliatory encounter to ease rivalry, to an engagement with the other in an exploration of the meaning and purpose of the human condition. This article examines the process of dialogue in a religious education context and proposes a dialogue that it is not simply a cordial meeting or the development of sympathetic knowledge and understanding of another’s beliefs but a dialogue that entails the recognition of self facing the other eliciting a willingness to be drawn out of the protective defence of the same into what de Certeau calls ‘the never-ending, yet life-giving journey which makes faith credible.’ In such encounters there is always a risk, a risk of assimilation into sameness through self-effacement or domination. Dialogue in this positional article entails the exploration of the relationship which the space between self and other reveals and supports. This article wishes to explore faith dialogue, not only between peoples of religious faith, but also to include those for whom faith is what Fowler calls a ‘human faith,’ a faith outside any religious tradition. In contemporary Western society young people witness the encounter between religion, agnosticism and atheism in global and local contexts where such encounters are often confrontational and imply a desire for domination or even annihilation. A religious education faith dialogue pedagogy proposes the development of skills and attitudes that teach pupils how to respond to beliefs different from of their own while developing an articulation of their own.
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Keywords: inter-faith dialogue; pedagogy; religious education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Education,University of Roehampton, London,UK,

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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