Radicalization towards all types of violence (jihadi, extreme right, anti-semitist etc.) and polarization are two major societal challenges that tear at the social fabric of Europe. Radicals incite baleful action by framing the status quo as “unjust,” “exploitative,” “oppressive,” or “heretical.” while polarizers work in the opposite direction, inviting society to show no mercy to the different and the differences. Overall, the two symbiotically feed each other and catalyze confrontation.
On another far corner of the field, the proponents of the secularization theory, which have been for long arguing the religions would finally disappear from the face of the earth in their battle with modernization processes, have proven to be wrong in their premise. Especially the turbulent Middle East and Europe in the last decade have clearly shown the religions do not disappear but persist, change and adapt to keep their important place among their followers.
Against this background, EDUC8 to Build Resilience Project or EDUC8, in short, was conceptualized to vehicle religious education and hence religion to counter pernicious effects of radicalization and polarization. The two-year project that started on 1 January 2020 has been funded by the European Commission. In the past 24 months, a pedagogically well-developed religious education curriculum that includes 45 books, 18 infographics, 18 factsheets, 96 videos have been prepared. The overall curriculum that has students and teachers of Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Non-Confessional Ethics as the target group is spread across five languages, namely English, Dutch, French, Slovenian and Greek.