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Religious Education I

Session Chair: Wanda Alberts | Monday, August 24, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Ana Raluca Bigu

Redefining Religiosity in a Dynamic Post-Communist Landscape: Adaptation and Resistance in the Romanian Orthodox Religious Education Textbooks

Twenty five years after the fall of Communism, the Romanian Orthodox RE textbooks acknowledge the evolving diversity of the Romanian religious landscape, but identify this dynamic as a threat and react to the perceived change by displaying several strategies of resistance. This claim is documented by an in-depth content-based analysis, employing a mix of qualitative techniques, of 13 Orthodox RE textbooks, from preparatory class to the last year of high school. Within these strategies, the Orthodox textbooks will use factual inaccuracies and biased interpretations, scapegoating, but also a stereotypical image of other faiths in order to create a distorted view of other denominations and, thus, to justify the Orthodoxy’s claim of a perceived threat. The research will document several cases of derogatory and stereotypical treatment of other denominations, but also will detail on how the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox textbooks are trying to adapt to these new religious realities.

Karin Flensner Kittelmann

Religious Education in Sweden

The paper discuss the scope of neutrality in the context of non-confessional integrative RE in the Swedish pluralistic classroom practice. In the classrooms, individuals who identify with diverse religious and non-religious outlooks of life, with different understanding of what religion and being religious might mean, meet. How does this influence the construction of RE? What discourses of religion becomes hegemonic in the classrooms? The paper is based on findings from participant observation of RE lessons at upper secondary schools. Discourse analyses is used as theoretical and analytic approach. The findings indicates a hegemonic secular discourse in the classrooms, which influenced the classroom practice and the talk of religion, specific religious traditions and believers of different faiths. Simultaneously there were a spiritual and a national discourse of religion that in some respect challenged the hegemonic discourse, but also enforced it.

Etin Anwar

Peace education in Indonesia: Resisting youth religious radicalism

My paper examines how Muslim and Christian communities, secular and civic organizations and the state deal with youth religious radicalism and how they educate about peace among youth of diverse social, religious, economic and political backgrounds in Indonesia. I will study efforts to resist the youth religious radicalization. The efforts to eradicate youth religious radicalism vary from character building by the Asia foundation, the promotion of peace in schools by Peacegen, interfaith schools by Interfaith Dialogue Institute, character education by the Maarif Institute, and the youth radicalization by LaKIP. In my paper, I propose to integrate the virtue of co-existence into youth wholesome worldview and to consider it as a civic, religious and moral duty for youth and individuals to have. The inclusion of coexistence as character will hopefully bridge the transition youth needs to experience in strengthening their roles as peacemakers in Indonesia.

Samsul Maarif

The Need for Interreligious Approach for the Indonesian Religious Education

This paper will discuss the necessity for inter-religious approach in teaching religions in Indonesia. Echoing Sterkens (2001), this paper will argue that interreligious approach is necessary for multicultural society, like in Indonesia. Interreligious approach is an alternative to mono-religious approach, dominantly used in religious education of Indonesia. It is to conceptualize the curriculum of religious education for religious tolerance and multiculturalism. This paper will also show a program called “Teaching Diversity” conducted by CRCS, Universitas Gadjah Mada in high schools as a practical example of interreligious education. The program included both class meetings and excursions. As observed and evaluated, the program successfully transformed students’ prejudices and stigmas against the differences to sympathy and appreciation. This paper will finally argue that interreligious is the most effective approach to contextualize religious education in Indonesian multicultural society.


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