AP/SOCI 3630 6.0A
The Sociology of Education
February 5, 2014
Religion, Spirituality, and Education
RELEVANT TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Religion- A Set of organized beliefs about the supernatural or spiritual world and
their associated ceremonies that guide people’s behavior and joins them into
communities of believers.
Faith- A belief system based on conviction that does not require objective
evidence to substantiate its claims.
Fundamentalism- Movement suggesting that a return to past practices is
necessary to confront the challenges that contemporary society faces.
- Upholding traditions and maintaining the “true faith”.
- Often linked to religious intolerance, but not necessarily to using violence
to achieve goals.
Agnosticism and Atheism
• Agnostic: impossible to know whether God exists, but does not deny the
• Atheist: someone who denies the existence of any supernatural beings or
• The concept of religiosity- the quality and degree of being religious
• We need to distinguish between:
- Religion as a marker of identity
- Religion as a belief system.
• Religionism describes an adherence to a particular religion.
The ‘Faith’ alternative
- Diversifies religious perspectives
- Ignores power relations.
- Ignores politics of religion, e.g., colonialism, fundamentalism, etc.
The concept of secularism
• The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs
or public education.
• Negative Secularism
• Positive Secularism • Secularization: the process by which some societies move away from
explanations based on religion to ones based on science, rationality, and
- Secularization of culture.
- Secularization of religion.
• Spirituality is that which is integral to our embodied humanity
• It is mediated through diverse experiences that connect us to the sources
of our vitality/aliveness
• Spirituality has to do with experience
• With being fully alive
• Relationship (with self, others, world, creator).
• Transformation in our body, on the earth, in the world.
• In more general terms, it has to do with: love, care and compassion, an
appreciation of beauty.
• Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers re