The increasing plurality of religions and world-views in western society has major implications for religious communication in both public and private settings. This study is an important step in an exploration of the consequences of this religious plurality for religious education in primary education. The chief concern of this study is the following question: To what extent is a pedagogic model in which pupils are encouraged to participate in an interreligious dialogue adequate for coping with this religious plurality? To address this question, the author discusses the following research questions: what are the cognitive, the affective and the attitudinal effects of the interreligious model for religious education, and can this model be legitimised?
These questions are considered in the context of a discussion of the meaning of religion and an elaboration of the aim of religious education within the context of a secularized and multicultural society.
This article analyses Indonesian students’ preferences for different types of religious education, with the help of their personal characteristics and inter-group attitudes. We investigate a comparative understanding of Muslim, Christian and Hindu students of different types of religious education. The comparative measurement of different models of religious education shows that the mono-religious model consists of all aspects of religious education. A remarkable result is that in all models, the attitudinal aspect (sometimes together with the affective) is the most dominant aspect. The cognitive aspect is absent in the inter-religious model. On average, all Muslim, Christian and Hindu students prefer the mono-religious over the inter-religious model. For the mono-religious model, the negative evaluation of religious plurality is the strongest predictor; and indeed, is the only aspect to contribute to the preference for the mono-religious model among Muslims. The attitude towards pluralism is the most important predictor of the preference for a mono-religious model among Christians. This result is in contrast with our hypothesis. As for Hindu respondents, the centrality of own religion has the most positive correlation with the mono-religious model. Pluralism is the most influential factor for the inter-religious model among all groups.
This introductory article for this special issue of the Journal of Empirical Theology, sketches the political and societal context in which the Swiss National Research Programme on “Religion, State, and Society” was developed and gives a general overview of this research programme. First, it introduces recent developments in Switzerland’s religious landscape and illustrates their relevance for the development of a broad state-funded research programme on religion. The authors reflect on Switzerland’s understanding of religious neutrality which has been both questioned and reactivated due to increased religious plurality in Switzerland. While interdisciplinary approaches open new possibilities for research on religion, theology seems to be perceived as manifesting an ‘ecclesiastical captivity’. Consequently, theology clearly plays a secondary role in interdisciplinary research programmes. The impending marginalisation of theology, even in the realm of its main research competence, is forcing theological disciplines to position themselves in a new way.