24 October 2008

Ask Sarah Contd.

Question 3
Hi Sarah, I am in the World View Course on Globalization. I have hundreds of questions, but one on a personal level. What are some of the major religions in New Zealand and how have they influenced the customs you are learning about? Thank you Sarah.

Bridget L. Grady
Assistant Principal, Sand Ridge Elementary

Amazingly Insightful Answer 3
Hi Bridget,

As I'm sure you are aware, the role religion plays can vary wildly from nation to nation. Whether it is a central, driving factor influencing all aspects of life or more of individualized choice of lifestyle, the religion of a country helps define and shape a nation's culture. As far as New Zealand goes, religion seems to fall in the latter category. While Christianity is, technically, the predominant religion (see demographic breakdown below, courtey of the World Factbook), it doesn't seem to hold a major place in public life (obviously it may for particular individuals, however). The attitude here is very much one of "live and let live." New Zealand is very good about making sure everyone has the chance to live the life they want, unfettered and without discrimination. However, the "let live" part is also fiercely protected. Yes, you can live how you want, but your life choices are not allowed to be impressed upon others or affect their life in any way. It's very much a keep it in your own backyard type of thing. Really, it's not much different from the US in that way. They just don't have a Constitution spelling it out; it's something that's intrinsically understood.

CIA World Factbook NZ Religion breakdown: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, other 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26% (2001 census)

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