Hanna de Jong-Markus

Distinction, Identification, and Recognition 6 109 (except during missionary activities). Some teachers explicitly stated that they had little to no contact with religious others because they did not believe that religious others were present in the area where they lived or because they themselves worked in an orthodox Protestant setting. For example, Adam said the following concerning the possibility of inviting aMuslim into his classroom: “Where I live now, inmy neighborhood, I actually don’t know any Muslims.”62 Those teachers with little to no contact with religious others regularly considered this as a possible shortcoming. According to Floris, “It would have been interesting, but I have never come across any Buddhists or Jews.” Other teachers highlighted that it was impossible to have no contact with religious others. For example, Lieke said that “You do come into contact with non-Christians. For me, they are not remote, not at all.” The analyses revealed three types of evaluations applied by the teachers to their concrete interactions: whether it was pleasant and/or difficult, whether they got more insights into the ideas of religious others or themselves, and whether they deliberately referred to God or faith. First, most teachers found the interactions pleasant because they experienced an open atmosphere in which they could share their thoughts. Femke, for example, said, “We sometimes share dinner with Buddhist colleagues of my husband.…It is very special to hear how they do things, and to share how we do things, and to talk about that. These are very enjoyable, interesting conversations.” At the same time, some teachers believed that the interactions were challenging, as they found it difficult to be the only Christians in certain situations or to give the right answers or reactions. There were also situations in which they had experienced a hostile attitude toward the Christian faith. Others revealed that they found it painful to realize that religious others did not acknowledge Jesus as their Savior. Jasmijn, for example, said, “When I see on television that young people die, I think: ‘And now?…If you didn’t believe, you will now discover that it is actually too late.’ I find that very difficult.” Second, some teachers believed that they gained more insights into the ideas of religious others—entering new worlds or discovering new knowledge—by interacting with them. Luuk, for example, highlightedhaving gainednewknowledge as a result of such interactions: In my youth, I had a prejudice against religious others and Moroccans.…I was not happy with that because, when I grew older, I felt that every Moroccan had his or her own personality, like every Turkish person and every Surinamese person, and that there are a lot of differences between them. But that only started to develop when I [interacted with them] myself. 62 All names and other details that could make the data traceable to the participants were pseudonymized to preserve the participants’ confidentiality.