Freirean critical pedagogy’s challenge to interfaith education: what is interfaith? what is education?
Byrne, C 2011, 'Freirean critical pedagogy’s challenge to interfaith education: what is interfaith? what is education?', British Journal of Religious Education, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 47-60.
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Interfaith education has been boosted recently by the imprimatur of current and previous political world leaders. However, a critical analysis of what makes good interfaith education is yet to emerge. Indeed the attention may distract from the effort needed to ensure positive outcomes. This paper questions whether the uncritical nature of some interfaith education initiatives encourages the continuation of cultural and theological bias. Critical social theorist Paulo Freire viewed education as an opportunity for social evolution. His pedagogy of freedom relied on the idea that no knowledge is out of bounds and that such freedom nurtured the security to greet difference with humility. This paper examines some Australian approaches to interfaith education in light of Freire’s challenge. It questions the persistence of an Abrahamic skew and calls for a more critical approach to differences of belief.