Culture, tradition and faith: Overview

Religion and culture can contribute positively to the lives of people across the world. This module examines how some religious and cultural practices enhance human life and how some are misused to deny rights.

  • The notions that particular gender practices are 'timeless', part of our 'culture' or theologically ordained, are often cited as reasons to deny human rights that perpetuate gender inequality. However, neither culture nor religious practices are static or homogenous. Each religious practice has multiple variants on imagining the masculine and feminine and, the relationship between the two. 
  • Culture and tradition are open to re-interpretation, reinvention or re-imagining.
  • There is an element of conflict between actual practice and theological positions. Particularly in the context of gender inequality and sexual diversity, it is important to become aware of how religious and cultural practices are utilised to perpetuate harmful norms and, strengthen patriarchy and men's control over women.
  • People must be encouraged to contextualise cultural beliefs and challenge harmful cultural practices.