Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity Course - The Open University


2 locations available
Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


Discover why religion is important for understanding and engaging with global challenges.

Consider the ways religion affects personal and political decision-making

Religion not only influences personal behaviours and ethics, but it’s also relevant to international conflicts and domestic policy decisions. On this course, you will gain a broader understanding of why religion matters in society and in different cultures.

You will understand the concepts of religious literacy and religious diversity, both within different societies and religious traditions themselves. You will also use case studies to explore Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and indigenous religious traditions in both historical and contemporary contexts.

What topics will you cover?

  • Week 1
    Introduces the idea of why religion and religious literacy matters.
  • Week 2
    Looks at how religion has changed and how it has been used to promote change.
  • Week 3
    Explores the relationships and differences between religion and culture. Reviews how religion and violence have developed.
  • Week 4
    Discusses (with examples) interactions with religious spheres outside your own.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.

  • Available now
  • 2 November 2020

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Identify and describe the principles of 'religious literacy'.
  • Reflect on the boundaries between religion and culture.
  • Evaluate the extent to which religion inspires ways of life including ethics, social activism and extremism.
  • Apply the principles of 'religious literacy' to case studies.
  • Develop confidence in interacting with those who have different beliefs and practices.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone who may interact with a religiously diverse public in their personal or professional lives. This includes police, civil servants, teachers, journalists, council workers and parents.

Who will you learn with?

Suzanne Newcombe

I'm a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University. I've been researching the fascinating interplay between religion and the wider society for over twenty years.

Graham Harvey

I'm Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University. I research among Indigenous people and Pagans - with particular interests in rituals, performance and climate disaster.

Hugh Beattie

I am a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University. I have a particular interest in Islam and the culture and history of the Muslim-majority world, especially Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

  • Established in 1969.
  • Location: Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking: Top 510

Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Join this course



$259.99 for one year

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Last updated Sep 2020

About the School

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses.

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses. Read less
London , Aberdeen , Auckland , Baltimore , Barcelona , Bath , Bathurst , Bergen , Biel/Bienne , Birmingham , Bracknell , Brisbane City , Cambridge , Cape Town , Clayton , Crawley , Charlottesville , Delhi , Dublin , Dundee , Durham , Edinburgh , Enschede , Exeter , Fiesole , Geneva , Royal Borough of Greenwich , Grenoble , Groningen , Hawthorn , Hsinchu , Jerusalem , Canterbury , Hong Kong , Lancaster , Leeds , Leicester , Leuven , Madrid , Makati , Manchester , Melbourne , Ann Arbor , Milton Keynes , Montreux , Murdoch , Norman Gardens , Norwich , Oxford , Padua , Paris , Darling Heights , Reading , Rehovot , Seoul , Sheffield , Slough , Southampton , Glasgow , Guildford , Sydney , Taipei , Tokyo , Trondheim , Uppsala , Warwick , West Lafayette , York , Chicago , Newcastle , Coventry + 70 More Less
Visit the school’s website