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Teaching Democracy by Teaching Supernaturalism

Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra 2678, Australia
Religions 2019, 10(8), 482;
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magic and Supernaturalism Today)
This paper analyzes critiques of the supernatural by John Dewey, a celebrated American philosopher. Dewey rejected the supernatural on scientific and cosmological grounds, but his most significant critique was made on political grounds. In A Common Faith and other writings, Dewey suggests that supernaturalism erodes democracy by promoting a dualism between religion and science which depreciates the social values that religion originally promoted. Dewey’s claims are contextualized and then tested with reference to teaching supernaturalism in a university classroom. The author explains how the study of magic and supernatural mythologies can address real-world issues, turning attention squarely towards (not away from) history. This paper thus presents a counter-possibility: Can appreciation of the supernatural operate as a catalyst for intercultural learning and social empathy? Examples are given. A discussion of the civic function of wonder follows. View Full-Text
Keywords: supernaturalism; democracy; magic; John Dewey; education; pragmatism; teaching supernaturalism; democracy; magic; John Dewey; education; pragmatism; teaching
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Ghiloni, A.J. Teaching Democracy by Teaching Supernaturalism. Religions 2019, 10, 482.

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Ghiloni AJ. Teaching Democracy by Teaching Supernaturalism. Religions. 2019; 10(8):482.

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Ghiloni, Aaron J. 2019. "Teaching Democracy by Teaching Supernaturalism" Religions 10, no. 8: 482.

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