This pioneering handbook proposes an approach to pluralism that is relational, principled, and non-relativistic, going beyond banal calls for mere "tolerance."
The growing religious diversity within societies around the world presents both challenges and opportunities. A degree of competition between deeply held religious/worldview perspectives is natural and inevitable, yet at the same time the world urgently needs engagement and partnership across lines of difference. None of the world’s most pressing problems can be solved by any single actor, and as such it is not a question of if but when you partner with an individual or institution that does not think, act, or believe as you do. The authors argue that religious literacy—defined as a dynamic combination of competencies and skills, continuously refined through real-world cross-cultural engagement—is vital to building societies and states of neighborly solidarity and civic fairness.
Through examination, reflection, and case studies across multiple faith traditions and professional fields, this handbook equips scholars and students, as well as policymakers and practitioners, to assess, analyze, and act collaboratively in a world of deep diversity.
The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
Table of Contents
1. Rethinking Religious Literacy and Pluralism: Crossing Cultures, Making Covenants, and Engaging Globally
Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover
Part I: What is Religious Literacy For? Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Covenantal Pluralism
2. Covenantal Pluralism: Toward a World of Peaceable Neighborhoods
W. Christopher Stewart, Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover
3. Covenantal Pluralism: Perspectives from Jewish History and Thought
4. Fratelli Tutti, Lessons Learned from Interreligious Action, and the Catholic Church
Maryann Cusimano Love
5. Are Calvinists for Pluralism? The Politics and Practice of a Protestant Possibility
Robert J. Joustra and Jessica R. Joustra
6. Deed Over Idea: Toward a Shared Caliphate
7. Hinduism, Insular Pluralism, and Religious Literacy
8. The Elephant in the Room: Buddhist Religious Exclusivism and Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism
9. Isomorphism, Syncretism, and Poly-ontological Dynamics: The Implications of Chinese Religion for Covenantal Pluralism
David A. Palmer
10. On Neutrality and the Nones: Secular Humanism, Covenantal Pluralism, and "Religious" Literacy
PART II: Who Needs Religious Literacy? Perspectives on Professional Fields
11. Religious Literacy and K-12 Education
Benjamin Pietro Marcus
12. Religious Literacy and Higher Education
13. International Studies, Religion, and Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy
James K. Wellman, Jr.
14. Religious Literacy in Development and Humanitarian Relief
15. Religious Literacy and Diplomacy
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca
16. Religious Literacy, Chaplaincy, and Spiritual Care
Wendy Cadge, Carolina P. Seigler and Trace Haythorn
17. Corporate Religious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as Covenantal Pluralism
Brian J. Grim and Kent Johnson
18. Religious Literacy and Social Services
Chelsea Langston Bombino and Stanley Carlson-Thies
19. Religious Literacy and American Journalism: A Charge to Public Service
PART III: Where Can Religious Literacy and Covenantal Pluralism Make a Difference? Case Studies and Practitioner Perspectives
20. Engagement & Embrace—from Apartheid to Democracy: A Reflection on Rupture and a Toolkit for Transition
21. The Secularism Paradox: Living with Deep Difference in the Middle East
22. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism in Laos and Vietnam
Stephen Bailey and Hien Vu
23. Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy, Competencies, and Skills: An Indonesian Experience
24. ‘Salad Bowl’ Secularism: India’s Covenant to Preserve Pluralism
25. Religious Literacy and Pakistan’s Pluralist Potential
Minhas Majeed Khan
26. Geo-Religious Literacy, Orthodoxy, and Plurality in Russia: Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism
27. Transition and Transformation in Western Europe: Possibilities for Covenantal Pluralism
28. Religious Literacy, Racial Literacy, and Latin America’s Overdue Reckoning with Deep Diversity
Raimundo C. Barreto
29. Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy and Pluralist Leadership in the United States
30. Understanding—and Bridging—Religious Liberty Tribalism: A Case Study in Talking About Muslims’ Rights with Christian Conservatives in America
Asma T. Uddin
31. Seeking a Virtuous Feedback Loop: Robust Pluralism and Civic Engagement in the United States
32. Fairness as a Path Forward on LGBTQ Rights and Religious Liberty
Shirley Hoogstra and Robin Fretwell Wilson
33. From the Pulpit to Pluralism: A Personal Reflection
Bob Roberts, Jr.
Chris Seiple, Ph.D., The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, is president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, USA, and principal advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust’s Covenantal Pluralism Initiative. A former U.S. Marine infantry officer, he has served as a senior fellow for Comparative Religion at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, as senior advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Evidence-Based Summit on Strategic Religious Engagement (2020), and as co-chair of the U.S. secretary of state’s “Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group” (2011–2013).
Dennis R. Hoover, D.Phil., Oxford University, is editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs; research advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust’s Covenantal Pluralism Initiative; and senior fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, USA. He is co-editor with Mariano Barbato and Robert Joustra of Modern Papal Diplomacy and Social Teaching in World Affairs (2019); editor of Religion and American Exceptionalism (2014); and co-editor with Chris Seiple and Pauletta Otis of The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (2013).