A Framework for Better Questions

Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen

in No Longer Invisible

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844739
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950331 | DOI:
A Framework for Better Questions

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Three different types or styles of religion—historic, public, and personal—need to be distinguished in order to understand religion in contemporary America. Historic religion is organized religion (e.g., Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) in the traditional sense of the term. Public religion refers to the religious dimensions imbedded in the nation’s social norms and public discourse. Personal religion entails the ideas, values, and practices that define individuals as moral and spiritual persons. This chapter articulates two key questions related to each of the three types of religion—one focusing on ideas and the other on practices – that highlight religion’s significance within higher education. The key historic religion questions focus on religious literacy and interfaith etiquette. The public religion questions ask how a given society defines what counts as knowledge and how religious (and secular) practices shape civic engagement. Questions related to personal religion focus on the role of convictions in the teaching and learning process and on how colleges and universities can help students build meaning and purpose into their lives.

Keywords: historic religion; public religion; personal religion; organized religion; civil religion

Chapter.  5215 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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