• The Open University

Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity

Discover why religion is important for understanding and engaging with global challenges.

4,393 enrolled on this course

Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity

Consider the ways religion affects personal and political decision-making

Religion not only influences personal behaviours and ethics, but it’s also relevant to international conflicts and domestic policy decisions. On this course, you will gain a broader understanding of why religion matters in society and in different cultures.

You will understand the concepts of religious literacy and religious diversity, both within different societies and religious traditions themselves. You will also use case studies to explore Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and indigenous religious traditions in both historical and contemporary contexts.

What topics will you cover?

WEEK 1: Why religion matters - Religious literacy is important

· Why does religion matter?

· What is religious literacy?

· Why religious literacy matters

· Internal diversity in religion

WEEK 2: Change and choice in religion

· Dynamic and changing religions

· Religious resources for change

· Religious identity and choice

WEEK 3: Religion/culture and religious violence

· Religion/culture – All aspects of being human

· Religion and violence

WEEK 4: Engaging with confidence

· When different worlds collide

· Principles of interaction

· What would you do?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify and describe the the principles of 'religious literacy'
  • Reflect on the boundaries between religion and culture
  • Evaluate the extent to which religion inspires ways of life including ethics, social activism and extremism
  • Apply the principles of 'religious literacy' to case studies
  • Develop confidence in interacting with those who have different beliefs and practices

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone who may interact with a religiously diverse public in their personal or professional lives. This includes police, civil servants, teachers, journalists, council workers and parents.

Who will you learn with?

I'm a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University. I've been researching the fascinating interplay between religion and wider society for over twenty years.

I'm Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University. I research among Indigenous people and Pagans - with particular interests in rituals, performance and climate disaster.

I am a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University. I have a particular interest in Islam and the culture and history of the Muslim-majority world, especially Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

  • Established

    1969
  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

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  • Access to this course for 6 weeks

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  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year

Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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