Religious Literacy in Non-Confessional Religious Education and Religious Studies in Sweden
Nyckelord:RELIGIOUS LITERACY; CURRICULUM STUDIES; RELIGIOUS EDUCATION; ETHICS; LIVED RELIGION; CRITICAL RELIGION
The guidelines for religious literacy of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) argue for a generic understanding of religion as internally diverse, historically dynamic, and embedded in cultures. However, analysis reveals that religious education curriculums in Sweden tend to emphasise religious literacy as a means to diminish prejudice and conflict. Religious education (RE) is seen as giving students the ability to live in an increasingly multi-religious and multi-cultural world. In this paper I argue that fostering religious literacy at all levels of education requires curriculums that include the central elements of the AAR guidelines and adopt a more critical stance towards the concepts ‘world religion’ and ‘religion’. I question the place of ‘ethics’ in RE and religious studies, especially as ethical models, since this blurs the boundaries between religious and moral education. Ethical models are better suited to the upper secondary school courses in philosophy. The idea of progression from the concrete to the abstract elements of religion must also be challenged. To be able to achieve the goals stipulated in the curriculums, and to avoid reproducing wrong understandings of religiosity, the school subject RE should be more closely embedded in contemporary research.