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Teaching Interreligious Encounters$
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Marc A. Pugliese and Alex Y. Hwang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190677565

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190677565.001.0001

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Maintaining Neutrality while Teaching Religious Studies

Maintaining Neutrality while Teaching Religious Studies

(p.65) 5 Maintaining Neutrality while Teaching Religious Studies
Teaching Interreligious Encounters

Robert McKim

Oxford University Press

I present what I consider to be a weighty set of arguments for the view that instructors in religion at secular public institutions should be neutral in their approach to the truth of the claims of religious traditions they interpret and discuss—a view that I refer to as neutralism. Neutralism has much to recommend it, and from the point of view of religion instructors at secular public institutions there is much that is appealing about it. Then I explore some reasons why neutralism needs to be qualified. The most important reason arises from the fact that the norms within some academic disciplines in religious studies legitimate either (a) defending claims that count for or against the truth of substantive religious claims or (b) arguing explicitly for the truth of substantive religious claims. I consider how best to combine neutralism with recognition of these other disciplinary norms.

Keywords:   neutralism, teaching religion, disciplinary norms

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