• The Open University

Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity

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

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Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

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 introduces the idea of why religion and religious literacy matters.

Week 2 looks at how religion has changed and how it has been used to promote change.

Week 3 explores the relationships and differences between religion and culture. Reviews how religion and violence have developed.

Week 4 discusses (with examples) interactions with religious spheres outside your own.

When would you like to start?

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  • Available now

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.

  • Established1969
  • LocationMilton Keynes, UK
  • World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

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