Monday, March 2, 2020

Religious literacy - What is it?


Chapter Thirteen
What is religious literacy

In this sense religious literacy refers to the ability to understand and use in one’s day-to-day life the basic building blocks of religious traditions—their key terms, symbols, doctrines, practices, sayings, characters, metaphors, and narratives.

Prothero, Stephen. Religious Literacy (pp. 11-12). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

Religious literacy is knowing the vocabulary, understanding the key practices, understanding the underlying values, understanding the influence that religious belief has on culture, and understanding the key religious narratives which answer fundamental existential questions which all human beings have.

Without this understanding of religious beliefs and worldview we have great difficulty understanding ourselves, others, and the dynamics of the social and political world we live in.

The three basic existential questions are: Why was I born? What is the purpose of my life? What happens when I die? Religion attempts to provide explanations for these questions. If we are to be empathic, compassionate, and just global neighbors we need to understand how ourselves, and other people’s from different faith traditions understand and answer these questions. This understanding is what is meant by religious literacy.

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