Hanna de Jong-Markus

General Conclusion and Discussion 8 141 religious other, and whether there is a link between God and the religious other. Society was especially mentioned when teachers identified themselves with religious others, as based on having certain norms and values or being part of a religious minority they felt a shared distance from society. Tensions and contradictions in teachers’ beliefs76 As stated, the teachers make decisive statements about the uniqueness of the Christian faith and the urgency of acknowledging Jesus as Saviour. At the same time, especially when it comes to concrete encounters with religious others, they show more reluctance. This reluctance was sometimes generated by the belief that it is God’s work to accomplish the religious other’s acknowledgement of Him and that it is not proper Christian behaviour to judge someone’s eternal destination. This reluctance also had to do with hesitation, which was expressed in vacillation, in searching for what to believe about religious others, or in dissenting voices. Since the three ways in which religious others are perceived (distinction, identification and recognition) contain contradictory elements, they are also a reflection of inconsistent views. Tensions or contradictions in teachers’ beliefs also emerged at other times in the interviews. The cohesion between the different pedagogical environments, for example, is valued partly because it would be good for children from a pedagogical angle if they experienced the same norms and values at home and at school. However, for pupils from non-Christian families to whom this cohesion does not apply—at least not to the same degree—it appeared that the desire to socialise children into the Christian faith prevails over the pedagogical appreciation of cohesion between pedagogical environments. I also noted inconsistent views of teachers regarding their roles. They describe their responsibility as enormous, albeit not the biggest. And while teachers sometimes oppose ideas of parents and suggest that parents lack nuanced positions, they do take a reserved position in favour of parents and churches, because they want to consolidate the religious identity pupils develop at home. Lastly, teachers mention the value of OPPSs but they also mention disadvantages, like limited contact with people from other religious backgrounds, and children in homogeneous settings criticising each other because of small differences. They also say they have fewer experiences with religious others themselves because they grew up within the religious community, and that they sometimes miss that. These examples show that the normative basis and pedagogical 76 Mainly based on sub-studies 2 (see Chapter 4), 3 (see Chapter 5) and 4 (see Chapter 6), the central themes of which have already been mentioned previously in this Section.