Religious practices and traditions are embedded in the history and formation of every society the world has known. Religious beliefs are explicitly expressed in language, laws, ethics, standards of behavior, etc., and thus shape our understanding of the world around us.
Because of the pervasiveness of the influence of religion on societies, it is impossible to understand a specific culture or human cultures in general without considering the religious dimensions at work within them. Therefore, developing an understanding of and respect for different faith traditions is key to being able to engage with others to build community, solutions, and lasting peace.
What is Religious Pluralism?
GYLI’s religious pluralism curriculum is based on developing an understanding of common components of religious belief and practice among faith traditions and those aspects of religious practice that are unique to specific religions. But understanding is only the first step, it is through demonstrations of respect for religious traditions across societies that we set the basis for engaging with others and building community, solutions and lasting peace.
A Few Common Aspects of Religion:
Community: Faith traditions often develop around and through individual faith communities and specific place of worship. Community within religious faith thus refers to those who practice a specific religion within the same sacred space. This community may extend across the world as sacred spaces are replicated in new locations and practitioners join a faith. Additionally, faith communities can extend beyond the practitioners of a religion to include those who culturally identify but don’t practice a religion.
Rites of Passage: A ceremony, event or action that transmits the values, beliefs, symbols, behaviors, ways of living, and shared history of a faith tradition. These events often occur in adolescence and serve to reinforce earlier religious education and introduce young members of a community to the broader group of practitioners and welcome them into full religious practice.
Birth, Death and major life transitions: Many faith traditions have specific rituals surrounding birth, death and milestones in life such as marriage. During these major life transitions, people often turn to faith traditions to guide and shape their understanding. One important element of religious identity is for parents to decide which traditions they plan to pass of to their own children.
For more information on our Religious Pluralism Curriculum, and how it is presented and experienced within our programs contact us!