How will these resources help you? 

In an increasingly pluralistic world where multi-religious and multi-secular worldviews shape people’s lives, RE has a responsibility to explore the diversity and fluidity within and between worldviews (religious and non-religious) with students. The resources in this list illustrate how some members of various groups blend teachings, practices and aspects of approaches together to form their own personal worldview. The list recognises that there may be members within each religion or worldview that do not accept these blended worldviews, but it is hoped that the lived experiences of those represented will enrich discussions in the classroom. 

Religious affiliation in multi-person households – 2021 Census

Nearly 300,000 households with multi-faith people living alongside each other in England and Wales

by Aine Fox, published by The Independent, (2023)

The latest set of census data from England and Wales shows that we have greater religious diversity within households, and increasing numbers of multi-religious families. Spokespersons from the Church of England and Muslim Council of Britain are quoted as seeing this diversity within families as strength and a sign of greater acceptance and tolerance of difference within society as whole. The headlines from the data are summarised, but there is no data on individuals who describe themselves as being part of more than one faith or worldview. Students can explore this using more in-depth sociological data, such as the older report from the Pew Research Center in America (2009): Considering both sets of data will allow students to pose questions around religions, worldviews and family life and look at how members in these households blend these worldviews together. 

Shia Islam and Hindu

Uniqueness of Indian culture: Hussaini Brahmins are Hindus but observe Muslim traditions

by Syed Ali Mujtaba, published by The Siasat Daily, (2022)

As a Hussaini Brahmin, Junita Jhingran is part of a community that is neither orthodox Muslim nor orthodox Hindu, but incorporates aspects of both traditions into its worldview. Jhingran, a renowned classical music singer, is quoted as saying: ‘God made humans first but we divided ourselves into religions. The blood in the bodies of both the Hindus and the Muslims is red’. It is believed that there were over 1000 Hindu Brahmins living in Baghdad at the time of the Battle of Karbala (the site of the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein, who is revered within Shia Islam). Within Shia narratives, people from different religions were inspired by his story of sacrifice – Hussaini Brahmins being one such example. This shows that blending worldviews is not a new, nor uniquely western, phenomenon, offering a fascinating case study for students. 

Secular and Muslim

The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason

by Ali A. Rizvi, published by St. Martin’s Press, (2016), 9781250094445

Rizvi is a medical professional who was raised in a Shia Muslim household in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and now lives in Canada. This memoir recounts how he became an atheist, setting the geo-political context for his religious worldview in a post-9/11 world. Rizvi calls for acceptance of a secular yet Muslim worldview. He feels that culturally there are parts of him that will always be Muslim, and that he shouldn’t have to deny or remove those parts of himself just because he no longer believes in its metaphysical claims. Teachers may already be aware of and teaching about similar worldviews, such as secular Judaism or those who view themselves as 'culturally Christian' and Rizvi’s case study would complement discussions around this well. 

Jewish and Buddhist

American JewBu: Jews, Buddhists and Religious Change

by Emily Sigalow, published by Princeton University Press, (2022), 9780691228051

A sociologist of contemporary Jewish life, in this book Sigalow outlines the historical and modern day encounter between Judaism and Buddhism in America. Through present-day interviews and historical narratives, starting from the first American (who happened to be Jewish) who publicly converted to Buddhism in 1893 , through to the current day. Sigalow shows how it is American Judaism in particular that has embraced practices and principles of Buddhism and in turn helped to popularise meditation and mindfulness across the US. She notes that while older generations of Buddhists who are also Jewish did not like terms that combined the two religions for their identity, younger people embrace it as a blended identity. This case study will not only help students explore blended worldviews but also the relationship of Judaism and Buddhism to American culture and society since the turn of the 20th century. 

Further Materials

The basics of Christo-Paganism and me by Holly Wyrdwritere, published by Travelling a path between Church and Circle, (2015) Read this article
Why Christian Humanism?, published by The Christian Humanist, (2020) Watch this video
Why Shinto and Buddhism Live Together in Japan, published by The Japanalyst, (2020) Watch this video
Ruth Marx teaches Religion and Worldviews, is a Consultant for Religious Studies and PSHE, a Farmington Fellowship Scholar and a published blogger on Re:Online.

Text © Ruth Marx, 2023.