Hanna de Jong-Markus

Distinction, Identification, and Recognition 6 113 Distinction The teachers expressed beliefs that mainly highlighted distinctions between themselves and religious others, which contained the subcategories of anxiety for the religious other, feeling sorry for the religious other, the importance of clarity, and a duty to spread the Biblical message. First, the teachers regarded religious others with anxiety and caution because of stories about Islamic radicalism, earlier unpleasant confrontations, or the idea that (radical) Islam could become predominant in the Netherlands. Jan, for example, realized that he was occasionally suspicious when he saw Muslims and that he thought about radical Islam. Second, they highlighted the importance of being clear about the differences between the Christian faith and other religions because the differences were, indeed, serious. Some added that if a Christian was insufficiently resilient, he or she could be negatively affected by ideas from religious others. Others mentioned that they wanted room to live out their Christian norms and values. Some declared that this clarity should not reduce love for the other, with the distinction being between rejecting the religious other’s ideas, not rejecting them as people. Third, the teachers felt sorry for the religious others because the latter did not know God and, therefore, would not live with God in eternity. For example, Emma said that she felt sad when people did not accept the biggest gift they could get, namely, the gift of belonging to God. Some explicitly added that it would end badly for the religious other. For example, Daniël said, “If Muslims, for example, think that they will go to heaven and they commit a suicide attack, then I think that they will not go to heaven. I feel sorry for those people. They do their best for their religion, whilst in fact they will be disappointed.” Fourth, the teachers saw it as their duty to spread the Biblical message of salvation. Therefore, they believed that they had a responsibility to show their faith “in words and deeds.” We encountered this belief in the previous section, where Emma was quoted: “It is God’s instruction for us: ‘Proclaim your faith and share it as much as you can with others.’” Identification There were also beliefs related to the teachers’ identification with the religious other. In this category, we distinguished between two, sometimes highly related, subcategories: having shared norms and values and having a shared position in contemporary society. Because the religious other had comparable or desirable norms and values, the teachers could relate to and learn from them. Henk, for example, said, “Take humanists, for example. They treat the creation much better than the average Christian.…Then I think: ‘Well, we can still learn a lot from other religions about how to live.’” The orthodox