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Beyond Intolerance

Towards a Paradigm Shift for Religious Pedagogy in Nigeria

There is no gainsaying the fact that the problem of religious intolerance has become a worldwide problem. In today’s pluralistic society, the ‘dialogical tension between openness and identity’ has become a major challenge for interreligious dialogue and peaceful co-existence. This tension is expressed in the question, ‘Can one maintain one’s own religious identity without one closing oneself off from the other?’ This question is central to the challenges posed on how religious education can contribute to sustainable peace in Nigeria and the world over.

In Beyond Intolerance, Stella Nneji critically assesses the various models of religious pedagogy (mono-religious, multi-religious and inter-religious) by asking how these models relate to the dialogical tension between openness and identity in Nigeria—a nation perceivably confronted with an enduring history of ‘post-colonial strife, religious intolerance and violence’.

The contention is that the ‘mono-religious and multi-religious models, which, while dominant in current practice and in academia, nevertheless fall short of expressing the authentic challenges and opportunities religious intolerance presents in Nigerian multi-religious/cultural context’.

In this connection, this book provides a clear notion of the theological foundation, principles, and framework of inter-religious education and a practical guide for authentic dialogue in a plural context. She calls for a paradigm shift for confessional religious pedagogy to a model of inter-religious learning as incorporated within the hermeneutical-communicative education.

On this basis, the book proposes a new model for the role of religious education in Nigeria. This model in a ‘critical-enculturated way, attempts to recognize the tensions of authentic religious difference, presupposing a broad spectrum of difference in the classroom in a way that also incorporates genuine religious encounters and expressions of identity’.