Discovering Religious Diversity series

Classes ➞ Religious Diversity ➞ Discovering Religious Diversity series

• DISCOVERING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY series:

Exploring the diverse belief traditions contributing to New Zealand society.

The Discovering Religious Diversity series:

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions in this introductory series of Term courses. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. The first two Terms focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while the second two Terms focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of this four-Term series, we explore both Western and Eastern Traditions. In the second half, we look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. The second half of this series focuses on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involves a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

Any Term course can be taken independently of any other Term course. There are no prerequisites for any of the Religious Diversity courses.

Registration for all 2020 Term 1 courses is now available!

RD101: “History & Development: Western Religions”

Offered: 2020 Terms 1 & 2 – Te Awamutu

This eight-session course begins with “An Evolutionary History of Religion and Religious Behaviour” which encompasses the dawn of early human spirituality through to the emergence of polytheism and the Neolithic Revolution. Subsequent sessions focus on the rise of monotheism in Ancient Mesopotamia (including Zoroastrianism). In subsequent weeks, we will explore the history and development of the Western religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Other Western Religious traditions (e.g. Bahá’í Faith, Secular beliefs) will be viewed in the “Other Isms” course, offered as a part of the “Contemporary Issues in Religion” series.

This course is currently being taught in Te Awamutu as four class sessions per Term throughout 2020. While 2019 Term 3 focused on the Evolutionary History of Religion and the Rise on Monothesism, and 2019 Term 4 focused on Judaism, 2020 Term 1 focuses on Christianity and 2020 Term 2 will focus on Islam.

Registration for this course in Te Awamutu can be found on our Registrations page.

RD102: “History & Development: Eastern Religions”

Offered: 2020 Terms 3 & 4 – Te Awamutu

This eight-session course looks at the rise of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the history and development of the Eastern religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Other Eastern Religious traditions (e.g. Sikhism, Jain Faith, Chinese and Japanese religions) are examined in the “Other Isms” course, offered as a part of the “Contemporary Issues in Religion” series.

The Discovering Religious Diversity series is currently being taught in Te Awamutu as four class sessions per Term and will be offered there in 2020 Term 3 with a focus on the Indus Valley Civilisation and Hinduism, and in 2020 Term 4 with a focus on Buddhism.

RD103: “Contemporary Practice: Selected Topics 1”

Offered: Term 3 – Hamilton

The second half of the Discovering Religious Diversity series (usually offered during Terms 3 and 4 in any given year) focuses on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involves a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do. During this Term the following topics are covered:

Week 1: Image and Iconography; Week 2: Sacred Time: Cosmology & Creation; Week 3: Sacred Time: Calendars, Holy Days & Festivals; Week 4: Sacred Spaces; Week 5: Prayer and Worship; Week 6: Food and Ritual; Week 7: Sacred Clothing; and Week 8: Sacred Music.

RD104: “Contemporary Practice: Selected Topics 2”

Offered: Term 4 – Hamilton

The second half of the Discovering Religious Diversity series (usually offered during Terms 3 and 4 in any given year) focuses on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involves a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do. During this Term the following topics are covered:

Week 1: Rites of Passage: Birth and Coming of Age Ceremonies; Week 2: Rites of Passage: Marriage; Week 3: Asceticism, Monasticism and Renunciation; Week 4: Sacred Journeys and Pilgrimage; Week 5: Going Beyond: Esoteric Traditions & Mystical Experiences; Week 6: Ethical Ideologies; Week 7: Rites of Passage: Death and Bereavement; Week 8: Interfaith Perspectives on the Golden Rule.


CURRENT OFFERINGS (2020 Term 1):

This series of classes is only currently being offered in Te Awamutu throughout 2020 and in Hamilton during Terms 3 & 4. Courses in our other Contemporary Issues and World Religions series are currently being offered in both Hamilton and Tauranga in 2020.

TE AWAMUTU classes in this series meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays during school Terms from 6:30-9:00pm for a total of 4 sessions per Term. As a part of the ongoing series of classes on the “History and Development of the Western Religious Traditions” in our Discovering Religious Diversity series, our 2019 Term 4 sessions focused on “Judaism” while our 2020 Term 1 Classes examine “Christianity.” 2020 Term 2 will continue with “Islam” while Terms 3 & 4 in 2020 will focus on the History & Development of the Eastern Religious Traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism.

  • 2020 Term 1 classes are held on 19 February, 4 March, 18 March and 1 April 2020.
  • Classes are held at St John’s Anglican Church, 162 Arawata Street, Te Awamutu

HAMILTON: Info on 2020 class offerings in this series for Terms 3 & 4 will be posted soon.


Please note that updated Cost and Registration information for 2020 Term 1 classes can be found on our Registration page.


page last updated on 24 January 2020