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60 minutes
  • Religious Literacy
  • Educator

  • Identify and critique common understandings of religions as belief systems
  • Explain an alternative approach for understanding religions and religious identity

  • Explore the U.S. Religious Landscape using the interactive tools from the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life. To get started, choose one of the Beliefs and Practices at the bottom of the page. As you explore, consider the following questions:
    • What connections do you find between particular beliefs and/or practices and other identity markers?
    •  In what ways do gender/age/class etc., all of which are forms of belonging, affect observance of various beliefs and practices differently?
    • How does looking at the data through the lens of different beliefs or practices change your understanding of the traditions in this survey?
    • How do your own identity markers affect your approach to religious identity or lack thereof?

  • Why is it insufficient to think about religions only as belief systems?
  • Given an example of a belief, behavior, or community of belonging associated with a religious tradition that might not be apparent when using a beliefs-focused definition of religion.
  • What are the benefits of using this more complex model of religious identity when integrating religion into your curriculum?

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