Religious Studies Would Teach Society's Diversity

May 31, 2007


Source: The Dominion Post

Kiwi children should learn about different religions in school to reflect the changing make-up of New Zealand society, religious and civic leaders at a meeting to promote tolerance say.

Members of the New Zealand delegation at the third Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi said religious studies - as opposed to religious instruction - could be incorporated into the social studies curriculum or run as a subject in its own right.

Delegation member Paul Morris, a professor of religious studies at Victoria University, said such a move would help head off the potential for religious division as the number of New Zealanders from non-Christian religions - such as Muslims and Hindus - grew.

"We live in an increasingly globalised world. The idea of religious education is so that we understand our neighbours, the people we go to school with, the people we work with, and in order to do that, we need to know more about their faiths."