Episode 9 – Religious Diversity

Interviewees Tony Coady, Monima Chadha and Bronwyn Finnigan show how we can live in a society with competing moral codes and differing religious views.

Teacher Notes

Content overview

This episode begins with a discussion of why a separation of church and state has been historically valued. It explores the effects of stereotypes and over-generalising, and the effects of religion on establishing secular ethical values. The episode also addresses how religions can divide society, and the dilemmas we face when religious practices run counter to secular ethical principles, or to the ethical principles of other religious groups. It concludes on a distinction between tolerance and acceptance of other religious beliefs (or no religious belief).

Links to Ethical Capability

• Investigate why ethical principles may differ between people and groups, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU015)

• Investigate the connections and distinctions between and the relative value of concepts including fairness and equality, and respect and tolerance (VCECU019)
• Explore a range of ethical problems and examine the extent to which different positions are related to commonly held ethical concepts and principles, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU020)
• Investigate how different factors involved in ethical decision-making can be managed by people and groups (VCECD023)

Complementary curricula

Victorian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship
Victorian Curriculum: Intercultural Capability
VCE Global Politics
VCE Religion and Society

7-10 HSIE Syllabuses
HSC Studies of Religion
HSC Society and Culture

Questions and discussion points

  1. Is there truly a separation between church and state in Australia?
  2. To what extent is Australia’s secular culture affected by the historically Christian culture in which the basis of many secular values were established?
  3. Is it enough in a pluralistic society to merely tolerate people’s belief in other religions (or no religion), or should we also respect them? What is the difference between tolerance of and respect for other religions?