Benjamin P. Marcus, a religious literacy specialist at the Religious Freedom Center, teaches that a person’s religious identity is formed in equally complex ways.
In this context, it is important for educators to understand how religious studies scholars investigate the ways in which individuals and communities construct their religious identities. Describing religious identity requires recognition of the historical, political, geographic and economic factors that shape the beliefs people hold, the behaviors they exhibit and their membership within multiple intersecting communities.
Image key: “Ex” refers to extraordinary experiences and “Or” refers to ordinary experiences. These direct experiences may reinforce or contradict a person’s experience with historical traditions. These encounters may inform whether a person’s religious identity is more rooted in belief over behavior, for example.