Education in schools can strengthen multi-culturalism and reduce extremism in
our wider communities, according to a new report.
The report found schools offering Special Religious Education (SRE), Religious
Instruction (RI) and General Religious Education (GRE) were ideal settings
"for children to develop an understanding of peace and tolerance.” The
goal of teaching students how to live harmoniously with others in a
contemporary and diverse society is a pillar of modern education, said the
report. "Multicultural education is a key instrument in achieving social
report was written by world-renowned academics Professor Zehavit Gross (the
UNESCO/Burg Chair in Education in Human Values, Tolerance and Peace at Bar-Ilan
University, Israel) and Professor Emerita Suzanne Rutland, of the University of
Sydney. The report highlighted the recent mass shootings in New Zealand, suicide
bombings in Sri Lanka and the San Diego synagogue shooting as potential topics
of discussion among students. For example, religious education teachers could
discuss the fear and concern which affected Muslim, Christian and Jewish
students in Australia, the report found. Removing in-faith education from
government schools detracts from the government's multicultural aims by denying
students a crucial avenue to explore their own religious identity and heritage.
The report found SRE and GRE played a key role in dismantling stereotypes and
strengthening social cohesion. Professor Gross said the belief that religion is
irrelevant in a postmodern world is a myth. "Religion continues to play a
major role in our public life and acknowledges the legitimate spiritual needs
of each individual." Professor Rutland said religious belief and
spirituality provide students with an anchor for their individual identities
and contribute meaning to their lives. A strong grounding in one's individual
identity, combined with knowledge of other religions, helps to combat extremism
by teaching respect for diversity. Christian SRE CEO Murray Norman said it was
vital students were provided with a safe place to explore their religious
August 22, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
many of you know, the 2018 New Zealand Census statistics were released earlier
this week on Monday 23 September. The released figures however, are always just
raw numbers of census respondents. In order to make some sense of these figures
I have compiled and published the attached chart, which should make it easier
for those of us interested in the religious demography of New Zealand to make
sense of the raw data. This includes portraying some of the intercensal growth
in the various categories.
hope that you will find this information useful.
remember that it is a first draft and I would warmly welcome comments and
suggestions for improvement. I am also preparing a written article to accompany
the Table, which will include additional analysis and summarise long term
trends. For the moment, in the interest of getting these figures circulated I
am just providing the basic information.
are interesting trends to note, such as the phenomenal increase in our Jain and
Sikh populations, along with a tremendous increase in those responding with 'No
Religion’ and ‘Object to Answering’. Both Hinduism and Islam also continue on
strong growth trajectories.
decline in those adhering to the numerous Christian denominations has slowed
down a bit in the recent Intercensal period (although adherence to Christianity
now only makes up for 37% of those stating a religious affiliation, compared
with 48% in the 2018 Census stats). Since the 2013 Census, New Zealand is no
longer a Christian-majority country, although it maintains its status as the
religion with the most adherents in New Zealand. Secularity is still in the
majority (48.2%). Buddhism has also has lost more than 9% of its 2013
surprising however, is the significant decrease of those stating adherence to
Judaism, which has lost 23% of its population over the course of the most
recent intercensal period (after remaining flat for the previous intercensal
period). This may be due to increasing antisemitism and a Jewish population
that may be increasingly unlikely to identify as such. This decline is indeed
newsworthy and I’ll be working on a statement in the coming days.
more work and analysis needs to be done on these statistics and figures, so
I’ll keep you posted as the research progresses.
you are distributing this PDF, please make sure to include both the chart on
Page 1 and the Notes on page 2, i.e. please do not simply print out the first
page and ignore the accompanying notes. If distributing printed versions,
please make sure to include Page 2 as the back side of a double sided
PDF is available for download on our website at <www.earthdiverse.org.nz/publications/>.
Todd Nachowitz, PhDDirector, EarthDiversemobile: +64 27 432 7590email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>bio: <www.waikato.ac.nz/staff-profiles/people/toddnach/>web: <www.earthdiverse.org.nz>facebook: <www.facebook.com/EarthDiverse>twitter: twitter.com/EarthDiverseSecretary, Waikato Interfaith
Council (WIFCO) / Te Tīaho Uenukuemail: <email@example.com>web site: <www.waikato-interfaith.org>facebook: <www.facebook.com/WIFCO>