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The Open University

Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity

The Open University via FutureLearn


Consider the ways religion affects personal and political decision-making

Religion not only influences personal behaviours and ethics, but it’s also relevant to international conflicts and domestic policy decisions. On this course, you will gain a broader understanding of why religion matters in society and in different cultures.

You will understand the concepts of religious literacy and religious diversity, both within different societies and religious traditions themselves. You will also use case studies to explore Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and indigenous religious traditions in both historical and contemporary contexts.

This course is for anyone who may interact with a religiously diverse public in their personal or professional lives. This includes police, civil servants, teachers, journalists, council workers and parents.


  • Why religion matters – religious literacy is important
    • Why does religion matter?
    • What is religious literacy?
    • Why religious literacy matters
    • Internal diversity
  • Change and choice in religion
    • Dynamic and changing religions
    • Religious resources for change
    • Defining ‘religion’ and the modern state
    • Religion, law and choice
  • Religion/culture and religious violence
    • Religion/culture – all aspects of being human
    • Religion, conflict and internal diversity
    • Religion and violence
  • Engaging with confidence
    • When different worlds collide
    • Principles of interaction
    • What would you do?

Taught by

Suzanne Newcombe


4.4 rating at FutureLearn based on 91 ratings

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