Encountering Religious Pluralism in School and Society

Thorsten KnauthDan-Paul JozsaGerdien Bertram-TroostJulia Ipgrave (Hrsg.)

Encountering Religious Pluralism in School and Society

A Qualitative Study of Teenage Perspectives in Europe

2009,  Religious Diversity and Education in Europe,  Band 5,  416  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  23,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-6972-3

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Europe's religious plurality has filtered into the consciousness of the younger generation. They recognise the importance of getting to know about a wide range of religious traditions and worldviews and many consider school to be an excellent venue for this learning. In the present volume we present an empirical qualitative study of religion in the lives and schooling of young people in Europe. The participating countries are Russia, Estonia, Norway, Germany, England, The Netherlands, France and Spain.

For the first time, large-scale qualitative findings are presented on the importance of religion and attitudes towards religious diversity and religious education among European school students. The national findings are set out individually, integrated into bi-national studies focusing on the contextual setting, and finally brought together into a European Comparison that highlights the commonalities between the positions expressed by the students. The data reflect a wide range of perspectives on religion and religious education, show the plethora of opinions and priorities, and, in spite of all the evident variety and difference, reveal a basis of shared fundamental positions among young people from across Europe. The students surveyed in all eight countries take a balanced perspective. They understand the conflict potential inherent in religion as well as the difficulties that religions have relating to each other and that some societies have dealing with religious plurality. It also became clear that problems of stereotypes, prejudices and even racism and exclusion have not yet been resolved for young people in Europe. But students also recount positive experiences, often when recalling opportunities for interreligious dialogue both in and outside of school. This gives them hope and trust in the peacemaking potential of religion that can find its expression in a harmonious, respectful relations, in positive encounter and dialogue. They desire this peaceful coexistence and welcome everything that can further this goal. It is in this context that they consider the importance of religious education in school.