Religious knowledge systems is one of the two new areas of knowledge for 2013 (along with indigenous knowledge systems), and the fact that it was only recent included prompts us to consider the nature of the knowledge it represents. Clearly, not everyone is religious, and even those who are are deeply divided in terms of their belief system, with different religions offering very different interpretations of the earth’s divine origin, and the most effective route to eternal salvation. The OED says…
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion; a particular system of faith and worship: the world’s great religions; a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion: consumerism is the new religion
Given that religion represents such an important part of so many lives, it does provide us with an opportunity to learn about different ways of thinking, and how global societies and individuals are so diverse.
Knowledge questions include: What are the arguments of those who say ethics and religion are inseparable? To what extent are religions supported by ways of knowing other than faith? How similar are the world’s religions? Is it possible to possess both a scientific and religious outlook on the world?