The ties that bind: the importance of religion and community to the non-religious

Petray, Theresa (2016) The ties that bind: the importance of religion and community to the non-religious. In: Cox, James L., and Possamai, Adam, (eds.) Religion and Non-Religion among Australian Aboriginal Peoples. Vitality of Indigenous Religions . Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, pp. 157-176.

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Religion plays a central role in the lives of many Aboriginal people, even those who identify as non-religious. This chapter explores the political, social, and kinship dimensions of religion based on ethnographic fieldwork in the regional city of Townsville, north Queensland. Many Aboriginal people in Townsville have lived through the mission era, or have immediate family members who grew up on missions and reserves. As a result, there is tension between respecting the beliefs of Christian Aboriginal people, and acknowledging the part that religion and clergy played in the extreme repression Aboriginal people experienced in the mission era. This is complicated by the relationship between churches and Aboriginal people as they fought for rights and equality. Regardless of personal beliefs, religion (in particular Christianity) pervades many aspects of life for Aboriginal people. Religion is used strategically, for political gains in contemporary activism. Religious institutions act as a social hub for the Aboriginal community, both as a physical space and through events like Sorry business. Religious ceremonies are an important space for renewing and strengthening social relationships, even by those who identify as atheists or agnostics. And it is central to many families, preventing many who are non-religious to fully disconnect themselves from religion. Religion and non-religion are thus difficult to separate fully.

Item ID: 40063
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-4724-4383-0
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 23:08
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441014 Sociology of religion @ 60%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4505 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community > 450524 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sociological studies @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society @ 100%
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