October 11, 2010
Rel 150; T/R 1045-12:00
Relativism is the theory that truths, values, and norms are different for different people, depending on their cultural, economic, political and religious backgrounds. The theory of religious relativism requires students to tolerate other people’s religious beliefs and practices, at the same time recognizing their own beliefs and practices as just one system in a world of diverse, yet equally legitimate, religious systems. In todays society we see an array of people practicing, preaching, and learning religion. We find people everyday that recognize their own beliefs to be beliefs and nothing more but we also see people who consider their beliefs to be the truth and hold that truth to be the highest. I believe it is entirely possible for us to step outside of our own belief system and to tolerate and understand other people’s religious beliefs. I believe religion teachers exemplify the theory of religious relativism the best. Religion teachers can very well believe in Christianity, Buddhism, or Hinduism but they recognize other religions as well. Religion teachers don’t preach to their students, they merely explain each religion and the background behind it no matter what they themselves believe in. The teachers’ purpose is not to preach to the students. The teacher simply provides an overview of each type of religion in a non-biased way.
The academic study of religion requires us to adopt relativism as part of our methodology so that we can appreciate every religion we learn about. Methodology is the process and a way of searching and receiving knowledge. Relativism is needed. I think my beliefs have affected the way I study religion this semester. I don’t call myself a Christian or Catholic but I do believe in God. That’s about as far as my religious beliefs go. I don’t hold my religion or beliefs to be the highest and I don’t think they are superior to all other beliefs or...