Hanna de Jong-Markus

Distinction, Identification, and Recognition 6 117 for example, and were also shown in the long quotation. This ambiguity shows the specific identity of espoused theology and lived religion and/or the tensions that inevitably come with interreligious dialogue (e.g. Moyaert, 2011). Our results confirm that one cannot conclude from a school’s official denomination what people think about religious others. We should be aware of the existence of varied beliefs about religious others among teachers in OPPSs, perhaps also among orthodox Protestants, in general. It would be worth investigating which beliefs are dominant and how they affect teachers’ practices. Cameron and colleagues (2010) argue that people’s espoused theology might be less developed than their actual practice and that its relation with people’s practices is not always clear or coherent. In the introduction, we addressed the importance of knowing teachers’ beliefs about religious others, as this might give an idea about whether education in strong religious primary schools supports the need for tolerance and social cohesion in society. Our results indicate that, although there are some beliefs that stress distinction, there also regularly are expressions of recognition and identification. It, however, is striking that teachers not always canexplainhow (aspects of) their beliefs relate toeachother; hence, the ambivalence in their beliefs. The foregoing raises the question about what level of consistency in teachers’ espoused theology should be pursued. In practical theology, a certain degree of inconsistency in lived religion (beliefs included) is seen as a given. Furthermore, there is a distinction between ordinary believers and academics or professional ministers of religion (McGuire, 2008 in Ward, 2017; Ward, 2017). Teachers are not academics, but the systematic religious instruction in schools, besides the religious socialization within families, is important (MacMullen, 2004). The teachers in our study acknowledged that they had a specific role in the understanding of religion (Markus et al., 2019). However, the ambivalence in their beliefs seemed to contradict this systematic religious instruction. This is all the more questionable because pedagogical theory emphasizes that contrasting beliefs should be brought in line with each other to enhance the quality of education (Bryan, 2003; De Ruyter, 2007). Because of their profession as well as their task in contributing to social cohesion, we could expect more coherent theologies from teachers than from, for example, parents. Therefore, we consider it valuable that teachers are stimulated to actively discuss contrasting beliefs and to then bring them in line with each other. This can even take a form of acknowledging the insolvability of a precise balance between particularity and diversity, as described by Moyaert (2011). This also means that there needs to be room for teachers to confront their espoused theology with formal and/or normative theology and that the variations among teachers receive the necessary attention, since beliefs about religious diversity within schools are not as homogenous as one might expect. Further research should show whether and how these beliefs show up in educational practices.