• The Open University

Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity

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

4,871 enrolled on this course

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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 join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

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

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

    1969
  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020
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Access thousands of courses

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course

$54

One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Limited access to course content for 4 weeks

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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