Summary and Conclusion

The Religious Literacy Project represents the following methodological and analytical assumptions about religion:

  1. There is a fundamental difference between the devotional expression of a religious worldview as normative and the study of religion which recognizes the factual existence of diverse devotional assertions;
  2. Religions are internally diverse;
  3. Religions evolve and change;
  4. Religious influences are embedded in all aspects of human experience;
  5. All knowledge claims (including religious ones) are socially constructed and represent particular “situated” perspectives;
  6. There is nothing inevitable about either violence or peace; both are manifest in three intersecting formulations: direct, structural, and cultural and both are shaped by conscious and unconscious human agency where religious influences are always operative. 

The country and religion profiles represent these assumptions as do the materials constructed for teachers. We believe that these foundations provide the best tools to understand the complex roles that religions play in human experience, and understanding them will help diminish the negative consequences of widespread religious illiteracy.