Based upon my understanding of our readings so far, I believe religious literacy is the continually developing understanding of how religion and religious practices have developed throughout human history. It also is an understanding of the historical impact and influence of religion on society, politics and culture.
I have come to realize that I am very limited in my religious literacy. I believe there is a higher power that connects all of us but I can't really articulate my beliefs beyond that. I have never consistently attended any church services. My father was raised Catholic but chose to leave the church as an adult and consequently we never attended Protestant or Catholic services on a regular basis. As a child, I attended a couple of vacation Bible schools with a close friend and member of our hometown’s Lutheran church. Unfortunately I remember very little of what we learned in those classes. As an adult I was married in an Episcopal Church (my husband’s mother was raised Episcopalian) and attended a few Sunday services prior to the ceremony. I have not developed an understanding of the basic tenents of any religion and rather have experienced several different Protestant religious ceremonies. Overall, I believe I am a religious illiterate and have much to learn.
I believe it is important for educators and other school staff to develop religious literacy to help us to be more responsive to our students. Students are more likely to develop positive relationships with teachers that they feel respect and care about them. As a teacher it is imperative that I show my students respect all the time and one way to show that respect is to express and interest in their personal lives. Often times, religion and religious holidays are a big part of their personal lives and it will help me to better understand where my students are coming from if I have a better understanding of a variety of world religions.
My overall goal for the course is to develop a basic understanding of the religions we will be learning about throughout this week of study given that I am basically illiterate when it comes to religions.