Discourses of Religious Diversity: A Paradox?

By William Acres.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Discourses of religion run across a wide spectrum, introducing a notion of diversity which is both externally-defined (a social imaginary) and internally debated (a more theological construction). This paper holds to questioning the ambient ideas of neo-Durkheimian theories of religion and examines examples of religious diversity where diversity is both a problematic and a solution. These examples include religious education, identity, and immigration specifically in Canada where historical identities and diasporic influxes have formed a pattern of settlement and culture for over two centuries. What differs now is that the more traditional ideas of religious culture are being challenged by the identities of specificity, sometimes Muslim, sometimes Christian, sometimes secular. In conclusion this paper seeks to de-problematize these ideas of religious diversity by asking whether the discourse of community and religion in the coming decades might profit by opening to public discourse the nature of religion with a view to specific policies in the national and community contexts.

Keywords: Identity, Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Religions, Education, Collaboration

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.193-212. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 825.603KB).

Dr. William Acres

Professor, Theology and Global Studies, Huron University College, London, Ontario, Canada

Acres teaches Comparative Religions and History at Huron University College, a new position established in 2010. He is engaged in curriculum review and creation where religion is considered in its broader pluralist sense as part of a dynamic multicultural society, with interdisciplinary engagement. He is finishing ‘Exploring Religion: A Reader’ for Oxford University Press (2010) and has published half a dozen papers over the last eighteen months particularly on shifting paradigms in ‘World Religions’. At present he is turning the theory behind the reader and several other pieces into a full-length monograph which seeks to investigate the distortions of academic History in treating religion.

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