By Claire White, Associate Professor in Religious Studies at California State University, Northridge, USA and author of An Introduction to the Cognitive Science of Religion.
One of the challenges facing Americans today is establishing religious tolerance. Where do we begin? One place to start is in the classroom. A new academic approach to the study of religion, known as “The Cognitive Science of Religion” (CSR), affords educators a new theoretical framework to teach students about religion. CSR counteracts the excessive focus, in cultural studies approaches, on documenting the seemingly endless diversity between and within traditions. Instead, it offers a scientific approach suggesting that core features of belief transcend our differences and stem from universal features of the human mind expressed through different environments. Consequently, this focus on transcending differences can provide a new framework that educators can use in the classroom to facilitate religious tolerance. Read more