In an era of crisis for the humanities and higher education, we have to be willing to fight for the values that matter to us. The rise in racist and bigoted attacks against sites of worship and schools in the United States renew our obligation to speak out against hate and violence.
Those who teach religious studies are uniquely positioned to be advocates for religious literacy that confronts ignorance and intolerance. We face big challenges in the 21st century and educators must adapt more quickly. The pretense of neutrality must be over. Our work has never been neutral. So I say we should advocate for the value of our work as a way to improve our world.
It is possible to be better than we are today. Religions do not idly value justice, mercy, compassion, tolerance, or love. Nor do such values belong exclusively to religion. Our world is a diverse network of individuals and institutions, all of whom participate in the shared labor of building our values. Religious studies cannot pretend to be free of it, so why not identify what of it you’ll embrace freely.
Interreligious studies is a model for teaching about religion in a new way. It is structural, skill-based, responsive, and focused on assessments that actively foster a fusion of personal growth and critical rigor. Read more about our Mission