By Smith Baker
The education of various faiths in different schools and educational institutions is often carried out in a segregated environment which ensures that children and individuals of the same faith and religious background are grouped together. While the given educative scenario may seem to be feasible and highly productive from the teacher’s perspective, too often it is argued that this form of pedagogy does not result in peacemakers who are able to accept other faiths and grow as adults who have high tolerance for conflicting beliefs.
Educators around the world have therefore proposed a new pedagogical strategy for theology schools suggesting that instead of urging students to steep further into their own beliefs and faiths they should be introduced to a classroom setting that supports a multi-faith culture. Of course religion is one of the most ignored aspects in the American academia but given the immense need to nurture tolerant and peacemaking adults, this practical approach toward theology provides a unique and exciting way to handle the challenges being faced at a socio-political level.
Termed as an unorthodox approach, melding the education of different faiths and religions is an excellent way to preach peace and tolerance to our future generation. We live in an era that is dominated by a plethora of religious misunderstanding and theological strife. If schools and colleges were to adopt this approach, we will be providing the various religious communities across the globe to exist in harmony with each other. In addition, there is also a need to place meticulous focus on curriculum and course development and refinement in order to establish new certification programmes that introduce students to topics such as religious conflict resolution and theological ethics. Such programmes however cannot be run by a single faith and therefore will require a collaborative effort, housing the leaders from multiple sects under one roof.
Despite the numerous benefits of this proposed teaching methodology, the view has not been able to avoid considerable criticism and acrimony from various sects across the globe. A number of leaders in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic community have objected to the approach given the concerns that this educative stance may threaten to dilute their beliefs and the foundations of their faith. Many more have called for a critical review of the curriculum and suggest that the same will hamper adequate education in various institutes.
It is however worth mentioning that this approach towards religion and theology stems from the desire to learn. Melding together the studies and beliefs of different faiths is an excellent way to connect individuals across the globe at larger levels. The effectiveness of the approach however lies in how efficiently and how conscientiously it is executed.