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HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion

Religion and Belief Systems in Australia post-1945

Contemporary Aboriginal Spiritualities
1. Aboriginal spirituality as determined by the reaming
Discuss ho Aboriginal spirituality is determined by the Dreaming
ceremonial life
obligations to the land and people
!he reaming is the foundation of Aboriginal spirituality" pro#iding a basis upon $hi%h &inship
systems" traditions" rituals and %eremonies are built.
"inship is a %omple' system of belonging and responsibility $ithin a %lan based on familial
and totem relations that go#ern daily Aboriginal life by determining %lan issues. !he dreaming
has in itself pres%ribed the peoples &inship ties and permeates throughout the system by(
assigning responsibilities to transmit &no$ledge of the dreaming from elders to
younger generations
pro#iding the basis on $hi%h aboriginal so%iety is stru%tured on) maintained sin%e the
beginning of the reaming
defining spiritual and temporal identity to the aboriginal people
*inship is also e'pressed through Totems $hi%h identify one+s &inship line and
pro#ide the indi#idual $ith a dire%t lin& to sa%red matters.
Ceremonial life#
!he %omple' and spiritual %ore of the reaming and reaming stories for ea%h group is
re%ognised and re#ered in %eremonial life" en%ompassing performan%e of rituals at sa%red sites"
the dra$ing of sa%red symbols and %orroborees.
Rituals heighten the presen%e of the reamings(
,in& the present $orld to the reamtime
Art is used to %ommuni%ate the dreaming(
-y pro#iding maps of the land) %lans" sa%red sites" $aterholes et%.
Used to pass on sa%red &no$ledge
Stories des%ribe the Aboriginal la$ and lifestyle(
es%ribe ho$ an%estral beings mo#e through land %reating nature
.ro#ide foundation for Aboriginal e'isten%e by e'plaining %reation and sharing ho$
dreaming shapes daily life
Used as a form of oral history
Totems represent indi#idual as they e'isted in the dreaming(
/orm of animal" plant or natural phenomena
,in&s indi#idual and an%estor spirit
!otems %arry %eremonial responsibilities 0balan%e rights1
$bligations to land and a people#
,and is of great importan%e be%ause(
Aboriginals belie#e that people $ere %reated from the earth $hi%h has e'isted sin%e
the beginning of time and that it is therefore the sa%red motherland" 23y Country+
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
reaming is ine'tri%ably %onne%ted to the land be%ause(
!he land is the %onte't of the reaming stories" a %onstant around $hi%h their
spiritual $orld re#ol#ed.
,and pro#ides the foundation for Aboriginal beliefs" traditions" rituals and la$s
An%estral beings d$ell in the land and therefore(
!he people ha#e a responsibility to &eep and respe%t the land
6.g. 7f tra#elling" the aboriginal people must be %areful not to enter the sa%red
spa%es of other %lans. !his sho$s the inter%onne%tion that e'ists bet$een
obligation to the land and a people.
6.g. !he people of 8est Arnhem ,and" in the 9!" belie#e that the 3i3i ro%&
pi%tures $ere painted by !he 3i3i Spirits thousands of years ago. !his allo$s
them to understand the relationship they ha#e $ith the reaming" their %ountry
and their an%estor spirits. !hese relationships determine responsibilities
bet$een people.
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
2. 7ssues for Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to(
- !he effe%t of dispossession
- !he ,and Rights mo#ement
Discuss the continuing effect of dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to#
Separation from the land
Separation from !inship groups
%he Stolen &enerations
Separation from the land#
7nterfered $ith rituals and %eremonies $hi%h follo$ed reaming tra%&s 0paths that
follo$ the Spirit An%estors as they %reated the lands%ape1 that pro#ided the people $ith
a physi%al %onne%tion to the reaming. :ut of %onte't the ritual;%eremony is
meaningless and the people be%ome mispla%ed spiritually and psy%hologi%ally $ith no
home and no stable base of life.
!he land is the %onte't of the reaming stories" a %onstant around $hi%h their spiritual
$orld re#ol#ed. Remo#al from this land $ould then be li&ely to %ause a se#ere
disruption to the normal pattern and pro%esses for handling traditions
.hysi%al presen%e in the %ountry $as important to the people in &eeping the lore
0stories" songs" dan%es" art" %ustoms1 ali#e and passing it on. !he lore is related
land $ere their shared personal property" perhaps the most important 2permanent+
and 2tangible+ %onstant in their nomadi% life.
Separation from !inship groups#
*inship groups are #ital in the aboriginal %ulture in that they tie %lans and families
together" allo%ating roles and responsibilities $ithin a %ommunity.
Separation from &inship groups" $or&ing systems" then meant that the aboriginal
so%iety lost its point of fi'ture and e#ery personal affiliation be%ame lamed.
!he %omple' interrelationship of so%ial status" personal identity and health must be
borne %onstantly in mind. 8hen the &inship system is destroyed it members ine#itably
suffer from psy%hologi%al distress su%h as $ithdra$al and depression $here the
indi#idual has suffered a loss of identify this e'tends to the brea&ing up of %ommunities
and a spirit of solidarity.

%he Stolen &eneration#
Aboriginal %hildren $ere for%ibly remo#ed from homes by go#ernment offi%ials to be pla%ed in
missions or reser#es su%h as the Cootamundra <irls+ Home bet$een the 1=44 and 1=>4+s as
$ell as being adopted or fostered into $hite families if the %hildren $ere 2half %aste+.
Separation from elders( no generation to pass &no$ledge" language and traditions to.
!his results in a loss of identity and self esteem the Aboriginal %ulture deteriorated
*inship ties $ere bro&en resulting in a loss of identity $here the young indigenous
generation is lost in-bet$een t$o opposing %ultures in a struggle to find balan%e 0see
Protection Policy:
Remo#al of Aboriginal %hildren from their families under the preten%e that they $ere
li#ing in an 2un%i#ilised+ en#ironment follo$ed by pla%ement into missions and
Assimilation Policy:
1=?1( /or%ed integration of Aboriginal peoples into $hite so%iety through
abandonment of their traditional beliefs and pra%ti%es.
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1!":
7ssued the 2-ringing them home+ report $hi%h told of the horrifi% %onditions
Aboriginal %hildren $ere for%ed to fa%e
$utline the importance of the folloing for the 'and Rights mo(ement#
)ati(e %itle
!he ,and Rights 3o#ement and the reaming(
A series of go#ernment de%isions in response to land %laims $hi%h e'plored the right
of Aboriginal peoples $ho had maintained %ontinual %onta%t $ith their traditional
lands for hundreds of years before settlement
-oth a religious and politi%al mo#ement
Aimed to se%ure the inherent rights of Aboriginal peoples to their land so that their
religious and %ultural integrity is preser#ed.
)ati(e %itle#
9ati#e !itle is the %ommunal or indi#idual rights or interests of Aboriginals in relation to
traditional land and $ater
(1#": !he 9ati#e !itle A%t #alidated the e'isten%e of non-7ndigenous interest in land
su%h as freehold leases and other grants and li%enses. 7t a%%epted that 7ndigenous
peoples $ho had %ontinuing interest in the land had rights to the land. 8here both
7ndigenous and non-7ndigenous people had interest in the land" the A%t pro#ided an
appropriate forum for dealing $ith this.
Allo$ed Aboriginal people %laim o$nership of traditional land under 29ati#e !itle+
$ith proof su%h as
7n order to %laim 9ati#e !itle" must meet 2 prere@uisites
1. ,and must not be o$ned by anyone else
- !his in%luded go#ernments and indi#iduals
2. Aboriginal people must sho$ a traditional and ongoing %onne%tion $ith the land
sin%e 1>55
- !his $as #ery hard to pro#e $ithout legal papers and %ontra%ts
Aery small portion and per%entage of Australian land is o$ned by Aboriginal people
through 9ati#e !itle be%ause(
3ost land is already o$ned by other people or institutions
7nsuffi%ient proof %ould be pro#ided
!his %ase $as initiated by fi#e indigenous plaintiffs" led by 6ddie 3abo" from the 3urray
7slands in the !orres Strait the 3eriam .eople suing for land %laims.
Bune (1$"" High Court of Australia ruled in fa#our of 6ddie 3abo( Aboriginal and
!orres Strait 7slanders had a %ontinuous lin& $ith the land and %ontinued to pra%ti%e
la$s and %ustoms asso%iated $ith the land before -ritish %oloniCation.
:#erthre$ the legal fi%tion terra nullius% a%&no$ledging that Australia $as o%%upied by
Aboriginal people in 1>55 $hen -ritish settlement too& pla%e.
Claimed o$nership of land under the 29ati#e !itle A%t+ $hi%h e'isted sin%e 1>55"
3abo raised a$areness of its e'isten%e and this $as a step to the passing of the &ati'e
Title Act 1#
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
!he 8i& %ase %on%erned land that $as subDe%t to pastoral leases.
(1!" !he High Court of Australia de%ided that nati#e title rights %ould %o-e'ist $ith
the rights of pastoralists. -ut $hen pastoralists and Aboriginal rights $ere in %onfli%t"
the pastoralists+ rights $ould pre#ail.
Analyse the importance of the Dreaming for the 'and Rights mo(ement
,and is at the heart of the reaming and all relationships $ithin Aboriginal %ommunities are
determined through relationships $ith the land.
!he de%laration of terra nullius made by the $hite settlers denied foundational
prin%iples of the Aboriginal belief systems
Aboriginal spirituality is founded on the people+s ine'tri%able %onne%tion to the
land. !hey are part of the land and the land is part of their being
aily life" Rituals and Ceremonies refle%t and re#ol#e around the land and are
dependent upon it to be $hole" $ithout it these pra%ti%es %annot be obser#ed
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
Religious e,pression in Australia - 1945 to the present
E. !he religious lands%ape from 1=F? to the present in relation to(
Changing patterns of religious adheren%e
!he %urrent religious lands%ape
$utline changing patterns of religious adherence from 1945 to the present using census
Chur%h of 6ngland 0Angli%an1 de%reased from E=G of population in 1=F> to 15G in
Catholi%ism has risen from 24G in 1=F> to 2?G in 2446
Christianity has de%reased" yet remains most popular religion in Australia 06FG
!raditional Chur%hes 0.resbyterian" Congregational" 3ethodist1 e'perien%ed
do$nturn losing 1?G sin%e 1==6
9e$er .ente%ostal Chur%h had 2?G in%rease sin%e 1==6 but also the largest numbers
of s$it%hers in and out of the faith
-aptist" Catholi%" :rthodo' Chur%hes had signifi%ant in%reases of up to 5G sin%e
$ther Religions#
:ther Religions in%reased from 4.?G of population in 1=F> to ?.6G in 2446
,arge" rapid gro$th in other mainstream religions
-uddhism 02.1G1
Hinduism 04.>G1
7slam 01.>G1
Budaism 04.FG1
Hinduism gre$ fastest" %losely follo$ed by -uddhism and 7slam and lastly" Budaism
!raditional Aboriginal religion de%reased losing E4G of pra%titioners bet$een 1==6 and
9o religion(
7n 1=F>" 4.EG of the population identified themsel#es as ha#ing no religion" lasting
until 1=>1 $hen it rose to 6.>G suddenly
!oday" 26G of population identify themsel#es as ha#ing no religion
29ot stated; inade@uately des%ribed+ 11.1G in 1=F> stayed nearly the same at 11.>G
in 1==6" and today" 11.2G despite population doubling sin%e 1=F>
Account for the present religious landscape in Australia in relation to#
Christianity as the ma.or religious tradition
Denominational sitching
Rise of )e Age religions
Christianity as the 3aDor Religion(
Still main religion in Australia 06EG of population1 due to histori%al fa%tors
/irst fleet arri#al brought maDority of Angli%an settlers as $ell as
.resbyterians and 3ethodists. :nly 14G $ere Catholi%
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
.ost first fleet settlers $ere predominately Angli%an ma&ing population
almost e'%lusi#ely Christian
7mmigration Restri%tion A%t 01=411 allo$ed 6uropean immigrants only"
bringing maDority of Christian adherents ensuring the demographi% stay the
same for at least ?4 years
6ffe%ts of 3igration(
After 881" further migration from 6urope en%ouraged sa$ more Christian adherents
After 882" other 6uropean nations en%ouraged to migrate to Australia 0i.e. <ree%e1
brought other Christian denominations to Australia su%h as 6astern :rthodo' 0i.e.
<ree& :rthodo'1
8ith the rela'ation of the 8hite Australia poli%y in the 1=?4+s and its abolition in
1=>E" Australia has seen in%reasing di#ersity of faiths" ho$e#er most remain -ritish
and therefore Christian
7nstitutionalisation of Christianity(
7nstitutionalisation of Christianity $ithin Australia has made it the predominant
religion in Australia
6arly settlers $ere Christian and it $as these people $ho enfor%ed la$ and
go#ernment $hi%h is based upon Christian ideals
.ubli% holidays are based around Christian %alendar" 6aster and Christmas
Chur%h s%hools and uni#ersities ha#e in%reased
Christian Charitable foundations su%h as St Ain%ent de .aul ha#e had signifi%ant
8ide range of Christian boo&s" magaCines" $ebsites further promoting Christianity
throughout Australia
Signifi%ant !rends(
Christianity de%reased due to introdu%tion of other mainstream religions due to
,arge" traditional Christian %hur%hes su%h as Angli%an and Uniting ha#e lost large
members due to ageing population and lo$ birth rate" s$it%hing and mo#ement to 2no
Smaller" traditional Christian %hur%hes su%h as .ente%ost and -aptist are steadily
Catholi% remains steady due to immigration
6astern :rthodo' members are rising due to immigration and it is these Chur%hes
$hi%h ha#e a 2young+ profile
.ost-8ar 7mmigration(
9umber of people fleeing destroyed %ountries and immigrating to Australia after
882 %hanged the Christian fa%e of Australia
Assisted .assage S%heme implemented to en%ourage -ritish migration to Australia to
in%rease population" and $as then spread to other 6astern 6uropean %ountries
7n%reased Roman Catholi%s and 6astern :rthodo'
3ore %ommunities" %hur%hes" s%hools and other so%ial fi'tures had to be built
for the in%rease of ne$ religious adherents
After882" Be$ish population began to in%rease e#ident that the Be$ish population in
Australia $as #ery small before 882" %onsisting of Be$s only from the first fleet
Hungarian re#olution" e'pulsion of Be$s from 6gypt in the SueC %onfli%t and
South Afri%an apartheid sa$ rise in Be$ish
1>G of Be$ish population arri#ed after 1=54
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
1=>4s and Aietnam 8ar(
.rior to the 1=>4s" the main religious adherents $ere Christian
Abolition of 8hite Australia poli%y in 1=>E sa$ Australia be%ome a multi%ultural
so%iety $ho a%%epted many different religious adherents
Aietnam 8ar displa%ed more than 2 million 7ndo-Chinese people" 124444 %ame to
Australia for refuge
,arge in%rease in -uddhism and Hinduism 0Aietnam" Cambodia" 3alaysia"
7n%rease in Roman Catholi%s
Changes to 7mmigration ,a$s(
.rior to 7mmigration Restri%tion A%t 01=411" there had been a mere FE44 Hindu+s
li#ing in Australia" 1==6 there $ere 1F5444 Hindu adherents
Abolition of 8hite Australia .oli%y sa$ a rise in multi%ulturalism $ithin Australia
and a $ider a%%eptan%e of other religious traditions
7slam in Australia(
7slam first introdu%ed to Australia in 1552 $hen thousand of %amel dri#ers from
Afghanistan" .a&istan and the 3iddle 6ast %ame to Australia to $or& on telegraph
lines and rail$ays
7mmigration Restri%tion A%t did not allo$ them to be%ome %itiCens
/irst maDor influ' of 3uslims arri#ed $ith !ur&ish Cypriot 3uslims fleeing 882
refugee %amps
Signifi%ant members started to arri#e $ith ,ebanese 3uslims fleeing %i#il $ar
7n 2446" the fastest gro$ing sour%e of refugees $as from Sudan
7ra@ $ar has seen an in%rease in refugees from Afghanistan and 7ra@
i#erse religion" e'panding from 64 different %ountries of both Sunni and Shi+a
>2G of 3uslims under the age of E?" 2G o#er the age of 64
3u%h higher birth rates than general population and o#er 1;E $ere born in Australia
so religion is e'pe%ted to rise
enominational S$it%hing(
S$it%hing from one se%tor ; denominate of a parti%ular Chur%h to another to suit
lifestyle and feel %omfortable and $ell %atered for
Contrasts to histori% patterns $here families remained $ith the one denomination for
many generations
Signifi%an%e of lifetime loyalty to one parti%ular %hur%h diminished due to gro$ing
indi#idualism $ithin li#es
7n%reased proliferation of finding meaning in life to %ater for different tastes and
indi#idualisti% lifestyle
Christian Chur%h enominational S$it%hing(
.ast t$o de%ades has seen dramati% s$ing a$ay from liberal %hur%hes to the more
.ente%ostal Chur%h gre$ by F2G from 1=56-1==1
.ente%ostal Chur%h gre$ by 2?G from 1==6-2446
- :nly a small per%entage of those numbers $ere from people $ith no
%hur%h ba%&ground
.ente%ostal Chur%h has gro$n in popularity be%ause(
.eople s$it%hing here to reli#e older and more traditional religions
.ente%ost allo$s for bored de#otees to be%ome e'%ited about religion
8ho s$it%hes and $hyH
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
.eople under the age of F4 s$it%h as they are less li&ely to #ie$ a lifetime of loyalty
to a %hur%h as important" $hereas people o#er 64 do
Christians are more li&ely to s$it%h denominations than any other religious faith as
they mo#e to e'plore and see& stronger Christian faiths" reDe%ting light <od
!rends sho$ a s$ay to more %onser#ati#e %hur%hes throughout the 8estern
$orld due to sense of e'%lusi#ity that these %hur%hes pro#ide greater demands
on members and stronger %ommitment re@uired e.g. .ente%ostal %hur%h
S$it%h to %onser#ati#e %hur%hes %an also be e'plained by the fa%t that <od is
presented as being %losely in#ol#ed in human life as $ell as ha#ing more
dynami% ser#i%es on offer
Conser#ati#e %hur%hes aggressi#ely e#angelisti% $ith su%%essful %on#ersion
Conser#ati#e %hur%hes ha#e also lost many members out of the Christian faith all
together" $ith .ente%ostal %hur%hes losing the greatest amount
/amily brea&do$n and enominational s$it%hing(
Children of di#or%ed parents 6FG more li&ely to %ease identifying $ith family faith
than those $ith non-di#or%ed parents
/ollo$ing patterns found(
Catholi%s are 2 times more li&ely to s$it%h to a moderate .rotestant
denomination and 2.? times more li&ely to s$it%h to a %onser#ati#e .rotestant
.rotestants are t$i%e as li&ely to s$it%h to Catholi%ism
- :#erall" due to the see&ing of a stronger religious %ommunity
9e$ Age Religion(
iffer from traditional %hur%hes as they la%& any single unifying %reed or do%trine
9o Holy te't" no %entral organisation" no formal leadership
/astest gro$ing religious faiths in 2441 %ensus" in%reasing by 1F4G sin%e 1==6
9e$ Age pra%ti%es be%ame popular from 1=64+s to 1=>4+s as a rea%tion to the failure
of Christianity and Se%ular Humanism to pro#ide spiritual and ethi%al guidan%e for
the future
Roots of ne$ Age pra%ti%es tra%eable in many religious origins in%luding Hinduism"
8i%%a" 9eopagan tradition
3o#ement began in 6ngland $here many of the abo#e religious origins $ere
$ell established and @ui%&ly be%ame international
-asi% -eliefs(
(onism) all that e'ists is deri#ed from single sour%e of di#ine energy
Pantheism) all that e'ists is <od) <od found $ithin self through entire uni#erse
Reincarnation) after death" reborn to li#e a ne$ life as a different human being
*arma) good or bad deeds $e do throughout life a%%umulate to determine if $e are
re$arded or punished in our ne't life
Aura) energy field surrounding the body $hi%h determines indi#iduals state of mind
or physi%al health
+ni'ersal religion) <od is per%ei#ed as the 2mountain+ $hi%h all religions see& to
rea%h" there are many different paths to rea%h Him
Age o, Aquarius) notion that 6arth mo#ed into the planetary %onstellation of A@uarius
in the nineteenth %entury $hi%h %aused the gradual ushering in of a ne$ $orld order
$hi%h banishes $ar" disease" pollution" ra%ism" po#erty
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
9e$ Age pra%ti%es(
3editation" astrology" di#ination" holisti% health 0a%upun%ture" message1" %rystals"
%hannelling the dead" feng shui
Reasons for gro$th in popularity(
isillusionment $ith <o#ernment by many after Aietnam 8ar led to further
@uestioning of traditional authority stru%tures su%h as the %hur%h
Christianity $as seen as failing to pro#ide spiritual or ethi%al guidan%e
3edia began to release stories of Catholi% %hur%h %lergymen in#ol#ed in se'ual abuse
<ro$ing emphasis of autonomy and indi#idualisti% lifestyle throughout so%iety $ith
more obligation on fulfilling and satisfying the needs of self rather than the
.eople %urrently see&ing spiritual insight as a rea%tion to the unsettled and turbulent
nature of the times $e li#e in
9e$ Age Religion itself says popularity is a result of the Age of A@uarius and the
%oming of the utopian $orld
8hat is Se%ularismH
!he stan%e of stating 29o religious affiliation+ or people $ho ha#e 2inade@uately
des%ribed+ or 2not stated+ their religious belief
Se%ularism is to be free from religion or spirituality
Se%ular systems are based on reason" fa%t and s%ientifi% analysis and therefore differ
from religious systems $hi%h are based on di#ine light and spirituality
Se%ularists belie#e poli%ies and de%isions made by go#ernments should be %ompletely
separate from religious influen%e $hi%h they belie#e has the right to Deopardise the
freedom and rights of %itiCens
Reasons for popularity(
Se%ularism is a &ey feature of demo%ra%y and therefore %hampions the notion of
freedom from religion
:ne theory suggests popularity has in%reased as ideals of se#enteenth %entury
enlightenment are being reintrodu%ed.
-elief in supernatural" spirituality or di#ine is best %omprehended through
reason" s%ien%e and logi%
Another theory states that se%ularism has in%reased due to so%ial %hanges that ha#e
o%%urred post Aietnam 8ar.
,ed to @uestioning of many go#ernments and related authorities in%luding the
/inal theory states that traditional %hur%hes $ere beginning to be #ie$ed by some as
part of an 2unholy trinity+ $hi%h only had self interest in mind
Se%ularism and Religious intoleran%e(
isen%hantment $ith traditional religious %hur%hes %ombined $ith %hanging
#ie$points on religion in re%ent de%ades has led to religious intoleran%e
Religious intoleran%e is #ie$ed as ha#ing the po$er to lead to so%ial
estrangement or at $orst" Holy $ar
7nfluen%ed by the many $ars throughout history $hi%h ha#e been %aused by the basis
of religion
Se%ularism and the indi#idual(
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
1=64s and 1=>4s sa$ nearly all Australians being affiliated $ith a religious
denomination and Sunday Chur%h $as seen as an integral %omponent of life
!oday ho$e#er" there is less emphasis on %onforming and more emphasis of the
autonomy of the indi#idual for freedom and rights
7n%reased freedom has seen in%rease in se%ularism
Religion no$ #ie$ed as a personal and pri#ate de%ision
Humanist so%ieties(
3ilestone for se%ularism in Australia $as the introdu%tion of the Australian Humanist
So%iety in the 1=64s follo$ed by the formation of many Humanist groups throughout
3ade great impa%t on se%ularism in Australia
Right to be married by %i#il %elebrant rather than a %hur%h %lergy be%ame offi%ial
in 1=>E- today ?4G of people married by %i#il %elebrant
Steady de%line in %hur%h attendan%e and %lergy re%ruitment figures
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
F. Religious dialogue in multi-faith Australia
6%umeni%al mo#ements $ithin Christianity
7nterfaith dialogue
!he relationship bet$een Aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions in the
pro%ess of Re%on%iliation
Describe the impact of Christian ecumenical mo(ements in Australia
%he )ational Council of Churches
)S+ 0cumenical Council
!he 9ational Coun%il of Chur%hes 09CCA1(
6%umeni%al organisation bringing together a number of Australian %hur%hes in dialogue
and pra%ti%al %ooperation
-egan $ith Australian Committee for the 8orld Coun%il of Chur%hes $hi%h de#eloped
into Australian Coun%il of Chur%hes and then into 9CCA in 1==F
:riginally" the mo#ement $as for Christian unity $ithin Australia bet$een Angli%an
and .rotestant %hur%hes only
1=64s" 6astern and :riental :rthodo' %hur%hes Doined
1==F after opening of Aati%an 77" Roman Catholi% %hur%h Doined
!oday 1? different %hur%h #ariants apart of 9CCA
3ore %onser#ati#e" e#angeli%al denominations su%h as -aptists and .ente%ostal
%hur%hes ha#e failed to Doin 9CCA due to(
Relu%tan%e to a%%ept #alidity of e%umeni%al dialogue $ith %hur%hes possessing
do%trines at #arian%e $ith their o$n
7mpa%t of 9CCA(
Helped %reate positi#e relationships throughout many 6astern and 8estern %hur%hes
$hi%h %ontinue to last today through dialogue and pra%ti%al %ooperation so there is no
%onfli%t or tensions bet$een Christian denominations
9CCA $or&s through a number of %ommissions" net$or&s and programs in%luding the
Christian 8orld Ser#i%es 0C8S1 $hi%h is responsible for international programs su%h
as 3a&e .o#erty History and the 9ational .rogram on Refugees and ispla%ed .eople
9.R. helped to resettle and prote%t hundreds of refugees in horrifi% %onditions
from %ountries su%h as Afghanistan" 7ra@ and 6ast !imor
Assisted asylum see&ers by %reating 2Houses of 8el%ome+" offering 6nglish
%lasses and free a%%ommodation
9CCA sponsors 9ational Aboriginal and !orres Straight 7slander 6%umeni%al
Commission 09A!S76C1
Represents 7ndigenous Australians from Christian faiths
Aims to support indigenous issues" re%on%iliation and edu%ation $hilst helping
sustain Aboriginal spirituality and theology
9CCA Spe%ial proDe%ts(
-u.ilee campaign) debt Dusti%e for impo#erished nations
Sa,e as Churches pro/ect) %onfronts reality of se'ual abuse by %lergy and %hur%h
0ecade to O'ercome 1iolence (0O1") de#eloping interfaith relationships for faiths to
li#e in harmony together
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
9CCA is a founding member partner in Australian national dialogue bet$een
Christians" 3uslims and the Be$ish
see2s to understand 2ey concepts in each religion that ha'e led to misunderstanding
9S8 6%umeni%al Coun%il(
6stablished in 1=F6 to be the instrument through $hi%h its member %hur%hes %elebrate
and manifest their unity to understand ea%h others faith
Affiliated $ith 9CCA
!oday possesses 16 member %hur%hes" but" li&e 9CCA %onser#ati#e %hur%hes ha#e
refused to Doin
Sponsors a #ariety of so%ial and %haritable initiati#es o#erlapped by the 9CCA
6.g. the promotion of the Christmas bo$l throughout 9S8 $hi%h helps to
support thousands of people in needing %ountries su%h as the 3iddle 6ast"
Afri%a and Asia at Christmas time
So%ial Busti%e .rogram(
!hrough its so%ial Dusti%e program" the 9S8 6%umeni%al Coun%il also see&s to address
issues of Dusti%e and e@uity for all people espe%ially A!S7
3inistry and refugee .rogram helps asylum see&ers" refugees" immigrants and
,o%al 6%umenism 7nformation *it pro#ided by the 9S8 6%umeni%al Coun%il %ontains
strategies and resour%es to guide people to $or& e%umeni%ally
0(aluate the importance of interfaith dialogue in multifaith Australia
7nterfaith ialogue in 3ulti-faith Australia(
Australia is a multi%ultural so%iety and $hilst this is positi#e" it %an lead to many
misunderstandings and %lashes in belief" parti%ularly throughout religious faiths
Australian Christians belie#e Besus Christ is <od and the 3essiah" Australian
Be$s belie#e Besus Christ $as a prophet and that %alling him <od is
blasphemous $hilst Australian 3uslims belie#e Besus Christ $as a minor
Clashes in belief ha#e been the result of mu%h blood shed" $ar and #iolen%e throughout
!he role of 7nterfaith ialogue(
7t is $hen representati#es from different religious traditions meet together pea%efully to
tal& and e'%hange information about their respe%ti#e faiths and %lear up
9ot about debate or attempts to proselytise
:ne e'ample $as the Australian 9ational ialogue of Christians" 3uslims and Be$s in
244E by the 9CCA
.urpose $as to pro#ide opportunities for faiths to build understandings and
harmony $hilst %larifying issues
7nternational ialogue(
7n e%ember 244F" 1F %ountries $ith ten interfaith delegates met in 7ndonesia for the
purpose of friendly dialogue.
8as initiated by /oreign 3inister" Ale'ander o$ner $ho stated that religion may $ell
be the &ey to 2%ra%&ing the global tensions problem+
Cebu ialogue(
3ar%h 2446" delegates from 1? different %ountries met in the .hilippines for Cebu
dialogue and %on%luded that(
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
7nterfaith dialogue builds upon understanding" good $ill and relationships
7nterfaith %ooperation plays a %entral role in fostering pea%e and se%urity
7nterfaith dialogue is essential in de-lin&ing religions from terror
3ade a %all for religions to re%ognise pluralism" multi%ulturalism and pea%e and to
de#elop openness and respe%t for other faiths" traditions and %ultures
Religious leaders(
r Ameer Ali 0.resident of Australian /ederation of 7slami% Coun%ils1 stated that
interfaith dialogue $as essential to 2understand ea%h other+
Ar%hbishop <eorge .ell made a point that interfaith dialogue is something that needs to
be done no$ $hile pea%eful relationships are still possible before there is a %lash
,imitations of 7nterfaith ialogue(
-elief that there is a point $here important differen%es %annot be o#erloo&ed
Contro#ersy that some people are trying to 2$ater-do$n+ and distort their religious
beliefs in a desperate attempt to re%on%ile bet$een other religions
3any belie#e that a <od %annot be re#italised to be right for all
0,amine the relationship beteen Aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions in the
process of Reconciliation
8hat is Re%on%iliationH
Re%on%iliation is the term gi#en to the pro%ess $hereby A!S7 0Aboriginal and !orres
Strait 7slander1 people and non-A!S7 people %an mo#e into the future $ith a ne$
relationship based on mutual re%ognition" understanding and respe%t
3ista&es of the past su%h as dispossession of land and the stolen generation must be
a%&no$ledged and dealt $ith for harmony to e'ist
Re%on%iliation therefore en%ompasses issues su%h as ,and Rights" 9ati#e !itle as $ell
as initiati#es designed to help psy%hologi%al trauma of A!S7 people thereby healing
A!S7 spirituality
Re%on%iliation is a long pro%ess $hi%h began $ith the 1=6> referendum allo$ing A!S7
people the right to #ote and the Australian go#ernment the authority to ma&e la$s in
the interest of A!S7 people
3ost %hur%hes ha#e helped fa%ilitate re%on%iliation
Catholi% Chur%h and Re%on%iliation(
8hen .ope Bohn .aul 77 #isited Ali%e Springs in 1=56" he stated 2there is the need for
Dust and proper settlement that lies una%hie#ed in Australia+
Sin%e then" Catholi% Chur%h has made many positi#e mo#es to$ard
1==5" Doined $ith other %hur%hes to issue a statement %alled 2!o$ards Re%on%iliation in
Australian So%iety- Re%on%iliation and Aboriginal Australians+ $hi%h argued for the
settlement of differen%es bet$een A!S7 and non-A!S7 people
CAR7!AS Australia has %alled for more assistan%e to A!S7 due to the ongoing
psy%hologi%al trauma of the .rote%tion and Assimilation .oli%ies
Catholi% -ishops Conferen%e Australia established a %ommission %on%erned $ith
relations bet$een the %hur%h and Aboriginal Communities
9ational Re%on%iliation 8ee& sees a $ee& of Catholi% 7nitiati#es promoting
re%on%iliation parti%ularly regarding Aboriginal health
.ope -enedi%t+s re%ent address to Australia" en%ouraging ongoing help for A!S7 people
Angli%an Chur%h and Re%on%iliation(
Angli%an Chur%h e'pressed its support for Re%on%iliation at the 1==5 <eneral Synod
and en%ouraged a number of enterprises designed to fa%ilitate the pro%ess
Cynthia Chan 2445
HSC Stage 6 2 Unit - Studies of Religion
.ro#ides funding to 9ational Aboriginal and !orres Straight 7slander 6%umeni%al
Commission 09A!S76C1" gi#ing a #oi%e to A!S7 people and helping rebuild A!S7
Angli%are Australia and the Angli%an -oard of 3issionaries formed the Angli%an
Re%on%iliation 8or&ing <roup $hi%h pro#ides a%%ommodation" health %are" family
support for A!S7 %ommunities
Steps ha#e been ta&en to support training of A!S7 people
9ational trust fund for A!S7 -ishops has been established
Return of land to lo%al A!S7 %ommunities at a dio%esan le#el
Uniting Chur%h and Re%on%iliation(
Uniting Aboriginal and 7slander Christian Congress" !o$ns#ille $or&s $ith A!S7
people to promote healing and reparation of past $rongs
Uniting Chur%h 9ational Assembly made formal apology to A!S7 people to poli%ies of
the past and made a pledge for a better future
Iueensland -aptist Con#ention Annual Assembly" 1==> released a statement
en%ouraging re%on%iliation by a%&no$ledging past $rongs
!he 9CCA and Re%on%iliation(
9CCA a%&no$ledged that many of its member %hur%hes played a part in the stolen
7ssued a publi% statement on the 2-ringing !hem Home+ report ma&ing
re%ommendations in support of Re%on%iliation
!he 8ee& of .rayer for Re%on%iliation(
8ee& of .rayer for Re%on%iliation began in 1==E $ith the e'press goal of pro#iding
interfaith $ee& of prayer" thought and refle%tion $ith the %ommon goal of
7n%ludes all faiths" in%luding 7slam" -uddhism and Hinduism
7s done to 2de#ote time to prayer" thought and refle%tion on the soul of a nation and the
relationship bet$een 7ndigenous and non-7ndigenous Australians+
Christianity and Aboriginal !raditions(
Attempts at re%on%iliation by #arious religious traditions ha#e helped to bring out
a%%eptan%e of syn%retisation of Christian and Aboriginal religious ideas
6.g. 3any Aboriginal %lergy in%orporate 7ndigenous symbols and rituals from
their o$n %ulture to e'press Christian %on%epts
Use 7ndigenous %o%onut mil& instead of $ine and damper or yam instead of
Christian stories often retold $ith an 7ndigenous slant 0instead of fire" they
tal& about fire sti%&s1
Red o%hre used instead of ashes;oil on forehead
.rayers able to be told in 7ndigenous languages
Cynthia Chan 2445