Religious Pluralism is rooted in understanding, and respect and includes activities, reflection, and engagement that is more than awareness and education.
Religious pluralism in action is rooted in a reciprocity of relationships - students are not purely there to “get something”, but to understand that giving something in return is a critical part of the relational experience. Figuring out what that “giving” back can be a wonderful journey for students.
Interreligious dialogue and action are commonly rooted in finding commonalities amongst major world religious, amongst each other, and amongst experiences. Religious pluralism is rooted in a space that once commonalities are found and explored, there is now a space to explore and appreciate those deeper cultural and religious differences.
Religious pluralism utilizes a method that is rooted in speaking from one’s experiences (not as a representative from within a tradition) which fosters contextual and intersectional methods. For example, engaging in religious pluralism may include activities that explore the intersection of gender and sexual identities and religion or the intersections of race and religion.
An additional key component that is critical on the impact of religious pluralism is ensuring critical self-reflection is a key component to any programming. Critical incident journals, encouraging students to reflect on values, meaning, and identity are all great pedagogies to effect lasting change. Not only can you encourage critical self-reflection, but you can help students translate that reflection and those experiences into their day-to-day life. For example, if you have a nursing student participating in your centre’s programming, encourage them to think about how their experience will impact their work as a nurse.
Social change is another area that religious pluralism is engaged in. When we think about issues of equity, justice, inclusion, and affecting cultural change that are all rooted in Canada’s model of a democratic, secular, and pluralistic society, engaging in religious pluralism to build a better world is critical in this process. Examining and dismantling Christian privilege and working towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities are two examples of how religious pluralism can effect social systems and structures.