By François Brune
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Theological ethics, for example, cannot avoid the specific issues facing our society and can find community partners with whom to work collaboratively on service projects, political activism, or other types of engagement. Courses on Religion and Culture, World Religions, and Spirituality can also attend to how religion and spirituality enter into public life. Courses that focus on religious traditions other than those with which students and faculty personally identify can bridge differences and work to develop empathy and understanding.
Such complexity, we recognize, represents an intrinsic good in the civic sphere, conducing to critical discernment in the use of news sources, the capacity for reasoned debate, and the acknowledgment of alternative perspectives. It serves as a foundation for the three subsequent objectives; it also draws strength from them, insofar as the acknowledgment of multiple frames of reference, experiences of empathetic accountability, and reflection on motivated Discourse, Democracy, and Civic Engagement 15 action tend to complicate existing views and, thus, provide fodder for greater complexity and more elaborate cognitive procedures.
60 Nussbaum presumes, and many scholar-teachers would likely affirm, that multicultural education represents a genuine encounter with difference. 62 At the same time, experiences of relationship and community across boundaries of difference can serve as the impulse to recognize the realities of social location, to confront privilege, and to construct more complex capacities for reasoning and discourse. 63 4. ” But, too often, a gap remains between notional command of political issues or intellectual acknowledgment of social privilege and taking concrete action to address them.