Book: Textbook Gods
Chapter: Bad Religions and Good Religions: The Representation of Religion and Religious Traditions in a New Swiss Textbook
Over the last couple of years, the religion education of all pupils in Swiss public schools has been more and more institutionalized. This situation has led to a growing market of teaching materials, which all claim to serve as guides for the compulsory new school subject, which has to be a “Religionskunde.” One of these recently published textbooks is the “Sachbuch Religionen. Hinduismus, Buddhismus, Judentum, Christentum, Islam,” which was developed by a team of Christian theologians and scholars of the study of religions. This chapter focuses on the question of how religion and religious traditions are conveyed in this book. Who is speaking? Which fictive readers are addressed? What are the general aims of the texts? Which implicit valuations shape the representations of the different religions? The chapter argues that the images of religions conveyed by this textbook promote similar stereotypes as were recently identified for Swiss media and public discourse.