Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 1 24 is considered important because as pupils recognise differences and similarities with the Christian tradition they are better equipped to defend their own Christian faith. The teachers experience a dilemma that is related to the absolute truth claim: they strongly wish for pupils to believe or start believing in the God of the Bible like they do, yet they also feel that the school is primarily a formative community (rather than a faith community), in which the development of autonomy is important. Within orthodox Protestant schools, there is also diversity of opinion regarding views that are important to the school and its constituency, even when people formally share the same religious identity. As with other Christian schools, teachers sometimes feel inhibited to talk about these differences within the school. The diversity within orthodox Protestant schools is also evident in the sociology of law research of Rijke (2019). He finds that internal diversity has increased in recent years, and as a result clashes are more likely to happen within the school around teachers’ identity-based recruitment policies. These clashes arise particularly when people already work at a school, then, for example, become members of a different church denomination or start unmarried cohabitation. Rijke (2019) characterises these clashes within orthodox Protestant communities as similar to the clash that can also be seen at the societal level between secular liberals and orthodox Protestants. In the European context, the REDCo12 research project was conducted on the ideas of 14-16-year-olds on the multicultural and multireligious society (Knauth et al., 2008; Valk et al., 2009). In the sub-study that focused on religious education teachers in secondary education, the Dutch researchers concluded that the personal biography of teachers, more than their professional biography, influences how they view diversity and what they aim for in religious education (Van der Want et al., 2009). Bertram-Troost (2011) identifies some lessons that can be drawn from the above-mentioned research for investigating religious diversity in secondary schools. She notes that there is no single definition of ‘religious diversity’, and that it is therefore important to define the concept in the research context plus always check how this is interpreted by participants. This seems to be in line with what becomes clear in the previous discussed studies, namely that not only does external religious diversity—the different religious and non-religious worldviews manifested within society—play a role, but that religious differences also emerge within schools, for example due to different church denominational positions. Therefore, in current research I will pay attention to the individuals’ perceptions about religious diversity and religious others (cf. Section 6.1). 12 Religion in Education. A Contribution to Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in Transforming Societies of European Countries.