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The Multi-Ideology Society

Tuesday, 18 May 2010  | Margaret Holt

In any society we desire respect and tolerance between all people and all ideologies and this respect and tolerance is something that should be nurtured not only from what may be a perceived majority to minority groups but in reverse and between all groups.

The question of whether “God created the heavens and the earth” should be taught as a belief system in schools is a case in point. Should not allowing this belief to be taught in schools alongside science even be considered, particularly in Christian schools and other schools of faith? Is this not imposing one ideology over another and violating the rights of people to choose what they believe?

As a society becomes more multi-cultural and more varied in its ideologies it brings unique challenges. It is often easier to have a ‘cohesive whole’ where everyone is perceived to hold to the same ideology. The danger of this is, of course, not everyone in a society ever does believe the same thing and this leads to misunderstanding and persecution of anyone outside the dominant group.

As we welcome more people of varying ideologies to Australia we have unique opportunities and challenges to build an open society that has to be more tolerant because it is so varied. The perceived dominant group may feel threatened and minority groups may come dealing with issues of persecution and feeling constantly that people are against them. We have to allay the fears of all groups. There will always be ‘teething problems’ but if we persevere the result will be worth it!

The Christian community has a wonderful opportunity to lead the way in not only showing respect and tolerance but also the most important thing – the love of God for all people.

Living in a multi-ideology society is upholding the rights of everyone to choose what they will believe and in whom they will believe without harassment and ridicule from other groups or people. Surely this is what we should be upholding and working towards when we speak of respect and tolerance between all people in a society?

Margaret Holt, a nurse and midwife, worked in the Middle East for 5 years, initially with Bedouin then with Iraqi refugees. She still returns to the region for short-term stints and also works with refugees here in Australia and with Barnabas Fund in aiding suffering Christians around the world.


Geoff Boyce
May 18, 2010, 10:54PM
I thought this was an interesting idea and I appreciate the motivation toward inclusion - of the "freedom of religion" implied. The word 'ideology' though, seems to me to have connotations of a worldview grid that may be imposed on others. I'd be interested in what others think about the use of this word.

Others may also be interested in a project which is developing momentum, prompted by similar motivation:

Geoff Boyce
Stuart Piggin
May 19, 2010, 5:44PM
I accept that it is important to respect minority groups, but it is also important to describe our society accurately. We are not primarily a secular society nor a multi-faith society, since the majority to not align ideologically with either. We are not a Christian society either because we do not live up to Christ's standards, but we are a highly 'Christianised' society in our values, and it would be good if more Christians worked out the implications of their faith for the way we should relate to people of all faiths and none. This will include love and acceptance and also a clarity about what faithfulness to Jesus means in the public square.
Geoff Westlake
May 20, 2010, 4:29PM
Protection and Education. That's what http://www.faithfriendlyaustralia.org charter seems to be about. They're both fine! Protect people's freedom of religion (within the law) and educate people about how people's worldviews affect their behavior. Please!
I don't mind what terminology is used, as long as we understand that everyone has a value-assuming worldview/ideology/faith, including those who claim no religious faith (secularism is still a religious faith anyway (coming from the word ligio-ligament, how we make connections about the world.)
But please, let's not allow secularism the high-ground. I advocate for separation of secularism and state.
January 1, 2011, 10:30AM
Of course we live in a world of many ideologies. Christians in the West seem to be fighting a rear-guard battle in terms of school sylabuses/i instead of concentrating on the germs of faith. If we preached what we believe i.e. the Cross & Resurrection with no apologies we may not be in the position we are at the moment. Christians in Australia are no longer the dominant belief force . Christianity definitely has the biggest impact on the way our society has acted in the past even although some people do not recognise their Christian heritage,

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