Need for those who can teach religious pluralism

Religious communities tend to remain in their silos and congregate in different places for their regular worship and religious festivals.

Whose duty and obligation is it then to provide comparative religious studies in the community?

Inter-religious dialogue, even if it is extensively promoted and practised by religious organisations, cannot meet the requirements of promoting religious harmony.

Some attempts in our educational system to engage in the study of religions have proven to be unsuccessful as the teaching is done mainly by volunteers from each faith.

We have problems in training teachers who champion religious pluralism as we have no curriculum development that teaches comparative religious studies.

There is an urgent need to take this issue more seriously.

If we want to co-exist in peace and harmony, we cannot just promote religious understanding without putting greater effort into educating our people to embrace the differences of other religions, while at the same time acknowledging the distinctiveness of their own.

Yap Kim Hao (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'Need for those who can teach religious pluralism'. Print Edition | Subscribe