The dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to the stolen generation is a continuing effect. Dispossession means taking away what was there, in this case when the white settlers came to Australia they took everything from the Aboriginals including their home and families. The stolen generation began at the beginning of the European Colonisation. Colonisation was soon established and it removed all Aboriginal people from their own land and destroyed their sacred sites. Aboriginal girls were forced to serve as domestics and they were even sometimes forced to double up as sexual partners. Aboriginal boys were forced to work as stockmen. Soon came another policy that forced all aboriginal people to reject their own religion and accept and follow Christianity, this policy was known as missionisation. Young aboriginal children were taken away from their parents and their aboriginal families and they were separated from their siblings, every person was sent somewhere else. An example of this is the first video which is about the rabbit proof fence, as seen in the video when the white person came he tore up Aboriginal families, you are able to see how the mothers reacted which gives us the meaning that the parents especially the mothers were badly affected by this. This was known as the stolen generation, it destroyed aboriginal family and cultural life. Aboriginal people and especially the children were moved to stay in missions which were run by some churches and to reserves that were run by the government. Segregation destroyed the spirituality of the aboriginal people and it destroyed their religious links. The aboriginal children of the stolen generation that stayed in the missions and reserves were forced to forget everything from their community and their family and they were forced to dress, talk and act like white people. As seen in the second video, it shows us how the scene of the children being taken away from their family really affects everyone; the children that were acting that scene were crying and so were the directors, these shows us that till today people are being affected by this and are very emotional about it. The parents of the stolen generation were badly affected and this led to depression, mental illnesses, addiction to drinking and drugs and some parents died a lonely sad death. An example of this is in the third video the interview with Helen Moran, she said she had the idea that her father died a sad lonely death searching for his children, and Helen is still upset about what she experienced and especially how her parents were affected especially her dad. The European contact till today towards the Aboriginal spiritualities is a continuing effect of dispossession in relation to the stolen generation.
Part B: Using the source above, examine the relationship between Aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions in the process of Reconciliation.
The process of reconciliation is the relationship of aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions. Reconciliation is the process where Aboriginal people and non-indigenous people in Australia make a move into the future based on a new relationship that involves important things like understanding, respect and common acknowledgment. This means that the injustice in the past including the dispossession of land and the stolen generation, must be dealt with in order for the Australians to live in peace. Reconciliation was created in order to help and repair the Aboriginal spirituality. The Aboriginal thinking has been negatively impacted by the western Christian missions. Many Aboriginals became nominal Christians because there was nothing they could do. In aboriginal theology there is a liberal tradition, it involves dependence, and social structure of the western church. When Pope Paul II came to Australia and visited Alice Springs, the Roman Catholic Church showed great support for reconciliation, and it was able to make lots of positive movements towards the Reconciliation process. Also in 1998 the Anglican Church of Australia showed its support towards reconciliation and they were also able to encourage many enterprises to help in the process to achieve the reconciliation. The Aboriginal story-telling theology accepted the important links between stories and biblical scriptures and it also kept the traditional and cultural theology. This theology has been used by many theologians; they use this theology because they are able to make it relevant to their everyday life. An example of this is as seen in the artwork from the Lutheran Church of Australia, it shows that the Aboriginals were forced to become Christian but it also shows us the meaning of the cross being white which represents the white religion and the use of bush tucker and the darker drawings around the cross represent the aboriginal traditions and by both being combined together it creates wholeness that the aboriginal accept because one of their tradition is being put with one of the white traditions. On behalf of the Jews the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies have also shown their support to the aboriginal reconciliation, because they know exactly how the Aboriginal people feel. The Jews and the Aboriginals have both experienced the same injustice and suffering in the past generations and they are working forward together towards reconciliation. The attempts towards reconciliation by all the different religious traditions have helped to bring agreement towards the Christian and aboriginal religious ideas and most importantly the religious traditions in the process of reconciliation.
Part C: Using examples, evaluate the importance of ecumenical developments and interfaith dialogue in Australia.
Ecumenical development and interfaith dialogue is very important in Australia. Ecumenism is concerned with the common values and teachings that are the same across many different churches in making up the Christian world. Ecumenism focuses on many things, three important ones include: uniting all Christians from all different communities, cooperation across the different communities and it focuses on things that are common across all the communities. Ecumenism was found in the early 1900’s, but it didn’t come into effect until the 1960s after the World Council of Churches was formed in 1984. The World Council of Churches is an important example that was used for the importance of ecumenical developments. The ecumenical development was a big movement in the Christian church which caught everyone’s attention across all communities. In 1948 the world council of churches had its first conference which brought together the Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic bodies. The world council of churches had its fourth meeting in 1968 and it was seen in that conference that the Protestants, Orthodox and the Catholics were working together. The calling of the ecumenical movement is to transform the earth into a living house of God. The Catholic Church referred to the ecumenical movement as activities planned and undertaken to show Christian unity. An example of a church that has been a participate of the ecumenism is The Orthodox Churches. They refer to it as a discovery of the shared history of all Christians. In the third meeting of the world council of churches which was in 1961, the Orthodox Church said that the ecumenical movement is a search to reintegrate the Christian mind and recover the Apostolic Tradition. Two examples of a modern day ecumenical movement are the great formation of the Uniting Church in Australia and the week of prayer for Christian agreement. The National Council of Churches in Australia is an example of one common state-based ecumenical council that tries and aims to speak common concerns to the government about important issues that strongly affect Christian life. There is a network in Australia that has 16 Christian churches as participates, this network is the NSW Ecumenical Council. The aims of the network are to promote the idea of Christian churches working together. The core force for the NSW Ecumenical Council is the unity and the important truths of God in Jesus Christ. In the National Council of Churches Australia there have been many churches that have joined but have failed because they weren’t able to accept the ecumenical dialogue that churches have put forward doctrines and there have been disagreements. Some of these churches include: Baptists and Pentecostals. Interfaith dialogue is the movement between different religious traditions and groups to a achieve peace between the different beliefs. It is important for the interfaith dialogue to be a positive relationship, and there needs to be a good relationship with the religious traditions themselves for it to work well. When conflicts arise through the interfaith dialogue, the way it is resolved is by the leaders from the different traditions meet together and talk about their faith and they try to work things out and sort out the misunderstanding. The most important things about interfaith dialogue include: it’s important that the dialogue starts when people meet, dialogue depends mostly on trust and common knowledge between everyone, dialogue makes it easy to share in the community and finally dialogue becomes the standard reliable witness. Interfaith dialogue has its boundaries of its significance and value. It was said by Dr Gerard Hall SM, who is a catholic theologian, that we all live in a democracy which means everyone has a right to both follow and defend their beliefs and practices, even though they may be considered wrong by other people. Dialogue among people who have different traditions in Australia is a very important social structure requirement because Australia is a multicultural and multi-religious society. Dialogue between religious traditions makes a perfect dialogue between Christian groups. An example of this is the catholic church’s commitment to maintain an open dialogue with other faiths, this occurred in 1992, it was brought up by the Bishops’ committee for Ecumenical and interfaith relations of the Australia Catholic Bishops conference. An important achievement by the council is the set of guidelines for the Christian teachers and preachers; it was created to help them deal more with many passages that are in the new testament that have been used wrongly towards the Jews. These guidelines were developed with the help of the heads of many different churches, some including: the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Uniting Churches and the Lutheran church. An example of a major independent interfaith association that is in Australia is the World Council on Religion and Peace, this interfaith association is made up of legislative bodies from many major religious traditions. Interfaith dialogue had led to the formation of an annual Australian Multifaith Advisory Forum, that has been represented by 17 faith communities and it has been suggested that in parliament in the beginning of everyday there should be a rotate in interfaith prayers regularly. The best and most important religious improvement in Australia is the growth of ecumenism, and a growth in love, and cooperation between the Christian churches and most importantly dialogue and the cooperation between the many different Christian communities.