Religion and Spirituality

Edited by:
Martin Dowson, Australian College of Ministries
Stuart Devenish, Booth College

A volume in the series: International Advances in Education: Global Initiatives for Equity and Social Justice. Editor(s): Elinor L. Brown, University of Kentucky. Rhonda G. Craven, University of Western Sydney. George McLean, Catholic Universities of America.

Published 2010

Religion and spirituality make critical contributions to an inclusive vision for the welfare of minorities, the marginalized and other disadvantaged groups in societies and cultures around the globe. Religious movements and spiritual traditions work to improve social outcomes for disenfranchised groups by enriching educational, political, and social agendas, and by providing a wide variety of justice-driven programs and services. Values underpinning these services include the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life, the foundational role of families and communities, the transformative power of learning, and the advancement of shared personal and social rights and responsibilities. These values act as a counter-balance to other attitudes and values that may impede pro-social cohesion and development.

Drawing on diverse religious and spiritual perspectives and traditions, this new volume provides exciting and enriching examples of theory, research and practice that directly contribute to our understanding of how religion and spirituality promote and facilitate social justice and equity in diverse social and cultural contexts – with a particular focus on educational settings, contexts, processes and outcomes.

Religious communities invest heavily in schools, colleges and universities in the belief that these educational institutions enable them to inculcate into their membership the kinds of moral values and qualities that lie at the heart of their spiritual teachings. Looking beyond the sacred-secular impasse, religious organisations attempt to provide a "education for life" which draws from both the scientia of science and the sapientia of religion and spirituality. These depth-dimensions provide the pool of values which enable citizens to enact equity, mercy and justice in society in the name of God and for the sake of humanity. The chapters which comprise this volume demonstrate the possibility of a healthy integration between religion and education from a truly global, transdisciplinary and ecumenical perspective. From contexts within Asia, Africa, the USA and Australia, and from disciplines ranging from ethics to social work, from health to educational curriculum, from personal identity to community-consciousness; this volume makes a unique contribution to the theory and practice of the educational and religious inter-face. It is a contribution which holds a great deal of promise for being pro-humanitas.

Foreword: Religion, Spirituality, Education and Social Justice: An Historical Perspective, Stuart Devenish and Martin Dowson. Series Introduction. PART I: WORLD RELIGIONS. Justice in Islamic Spirituality: Implications for Individual Flourishing and Social Harmony, Bagher Ghobary Bonab. The Impact of Traditional Chinese Religions on the Social Justice Orientations of Chinese Christians, Denise Austin. The Contribution of Buddhism to Global and Regional Initiatives in Education, Trish Sherwood. Social Justice and Critical Thinking: The Contribution of Christian Perspectives on Education, Tony George. PART II: MEANING, MOTIVATION AND MATURITY. Religion, Meaning, and Motivation, Martin L. Maehr. Ethical Decision Making: The Contribution of Religious and Spiritual Values, Maureen Miner and Martin Dowson. Counseling and Social Justice: The Role of Spirituality, Emotional Intelligence and Mature Racial Identity, Sachin Jain, Martin Dowson, and Alicia M. Lacouture. PART III: TEACHING POLICY AND PRACTICE. Multieligiosity in Singapore: Implications for Educational Policy and Practice, Ee Moi Kho, Min Fui Chee, and Giok Ling Ooi. Spirituality and Students’ Experiences in International Service Learning Courses, Valerie C. McKay & Natasha Gaffoglio. Religious Values in the History Classroom: Promoting Civic Competence, Tolerance, and Social Justice, Michael Lovorn and Shawn Proffitt. The Benefits of an Integrated Sacred-Secular Approach Youth Worker Training, Phil Daughtry. PART IV: COMMUNITY SERVICE AND DEVELOPMENT. The Critical Role of Black Religious Institutions in the Education of African Americans, Elinor L. Brown & Nadia C. Gadson. African Spirituality and Its Implications for Heath, Education, and Community Well-Being, Steve Edwards and Jabulani Thwala. Community Service Orientations of Indigenous Peoples: The Role of Spiritual Values, Bill Lawton. About the Authors.

"As with all contemporary work on spirituality and religion, definitions are slippery and the editors have done well to leave the definitional aspect alone. Instead, the collection of essays offers an intuitive impression of the breadth of spiritual and religious experience that affect the pursuit of positive social outcomes. Similarly, there is a very broad definition of 'education' and essays cover formal institutional settings, creation of learning environments for personal spiritual development, and consideration of the place of education and social justice within spiritual experience and religious traditions. Overall, the collection achieves the editor's objective to “demonstrate the possibility of a healthy integration from a truly global, transdisciplinary and ecumenical perspective in education and religion” (xi)." Michelle Wade St. Mark's Theologican Centre Canberra in Crucible (Read full review)