Promoting inter-spiritual education in the classroom: Exploring a concept at the heart of the perrenial philosophy as a useful strategy to encourage freedom of religious practice and belief
de Souza, Marian. (2011) Promoting inter-spiritual education in the classroom: Exploring a concept at the heart of the perrenial philosophy as a useful strategy to encourage freedom of religious practice and belief. Journal of Religious Education. 59(1), pp. 40 - 50.
|Authors||de Souza, Marian|
The beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed the emergence, globally, of multi-faith, multicultural and multi-linguistic societies which, in some ways, have ‘grown’ more inclusive and interactive communities with increased tolerance levels. Nonetheless, recent global events in the political, cultural and religious spheres have resulted in division, discrimination and distrust, often between different religious groups.
This paper argues that what is needed is an inter-spiritual education for all students, one that promotes dialogue and engagement and which reflects the perennial philosophy, as discussed by Huxley (1945) where two thought patterns prevail in all the main religions: the esoteric and the exoteric. The first subscribes to the metaphysic of a divine Reality at the core of being; it is the spiritual, almost secretive face of religion and is practised by only a few adherents. The second is the exoteric form which is the public form by which the religion is usually identified, that is, through its rituals, practices, architecture and so on. Arguably, it is this form in today’s world that tends to exclusivity; it provides a boundary around its followers which promotes a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Thus, the exoteric form encourages divisiveness but the essence of esoteric thinking is connectedness. Education programs that address these two dimensions may lead to a change in consciousness where respect for and acceptance of the Other is paramount and, therefore, such programs may be more appropriate for the contemporary world. However, there is, first, a brief discussion of the context that seems to call for a program in interspiritual learning.
|Journal||Journal of Religious Education|
|Journal citation||59 (1), pp. 40 - 50|
|Publisher||Australian Catholic University|
|Open access||Open access|
|Page range||40 - 50|
|Research Group||School of Education|
|Place of publication||Australia|
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