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Daniel Pearson Studies Of Religion

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The influence of religious beliefs on Aboriginal cultural identity is quite profound the religious beliefs they hold influence everything they do from rituals to environmentally sustainable hunting techniques. These actions all stem from the Dreamtime stories which promote good stewardship of the world, this encourages environmentally sustainable land practices in a way that is in conjunction with the environment not in competition with it. The Dreamtime mythology also gave the Aboriginal a strong sense of purpose and meaning which led to a strong sense of right and wrong this led to a non-hedonistic culture free from directionless nihilism.

The Aboriginal religions were less formalized and institutionally backed then there western counterparts and stories were mainly kept within a small group of people as they had limited interest in spreading their beliefs to surrounding aboriginal territories. This fostered a live and let live attitude when concerning other peoples behavior this attitude of not concerning themselves with formality led to British to assume that no religion was being practiced this could not be further from the truth as there were very widespread spiritual religion and creation stories practiced throughout aboriginal culture aboriginals also lived more off the land than there European counterparts. This led to aboriginals having limited access to the benefit of the industrial revolution and even when the industry was brought over to Australia aboriginal peoples had limited access to these resources as they mostly lived inland far away from ports and urban areas. Nature was often involved in Dreamtime stories e.g Tiddalick the frog, the rainbow serpent, Sisi these stories led to a respect for creation so hunting to extinction and mass livestock slaughter practices were almost non-existent as they went against the morals of the stories that were passed down. Which given extreme importance throughout the generations of aboriginal people.

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The influence of the catholicism on the identity for Catholics was quite large as they were discriminated against for the beliefs they held. Their catholicism would have told them ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.Matthew 5:10 NIV would have encouraged Catholics to be steadfast in their beliefs. As well as encourage the Catholics to keep striving to do what they perceive as righteous as they would have a reward in heaven the Catholics were also generous and help start charities.Such as st vincent de pauls which was a catholic charity established on the 5th of March 1854 the reason the Catholics were generous which largely because of their religion stating that .’ If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person’? 1 john 3:17 the Catholics believed they had an obligation to help the poor and those in need this gave the Catholics an identity through god to serve their fellow man. Catholics also were different from the predominant protestant as their marriages would have had to be conducted in the Anglican church to be considered legitimate this meant that a large number of Catholics were uncomfortable as it would have gone against their beliefs. This attitude of avoiding doing things that are against gods commands was directly influenced by the passage “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin’ James 4:17 the identity of Catholics was extremely influenced on their religious beliefs that they held so heavily that Catholics choose to do things that would have them vilified by the protestant majority. Catholics were also prevented from holding parliamentary positions or any position of high status and protestants were well within their rights to choose not to hire catholic purely based on religion. Instead of having an anarchist coup the Catholics decided to opt for petitioning governments to change laws this showing of restraint was deeply influenced by their catholic values of peace.(notable exception of the IRA)

the way indigenous Australians religious beliefs shaped the experiences is hard to be understated their beliefs they’re beliefs weren’t formal so why would they’re people group be their religion this contributed to a lack of formal claims to land. This was very handy for the settlers who wished to claim territory since aboriginal religious beliefs were largely nature-based and this was a large part of their cultural ethos this led to them being exploited by the colonist with a declaration of terra nullius which is Latin for “nobody’s land” which it was as far as the British were concerned. Since there was no formal land usage as the British would have understood formal land usage this impacted aboriginals greatly during times of colonization. It is fair to say their religion deeply influenced their culture and their outlook on life their practices made them be viewed as primitive and inferior according to the social Darwinism mindset that was so prevalent in western culture at that time.This lead to discrimination against the Aboriginal community was common places this led Aboriginals to be on average poorer than their non-indigenous counterparts. and they were not even allowed to vote for people who would change this as voting rights were not extended to all aboriginals until 1962. Aboriginals also in large part lived off the land more than non-indigenous peoples as the Dreamtime stories emphasized a connection to country and their environment this led aboriginal peoples to lead more traditional lifestyles.

The influence religious beliefs had on Catholics was extremely significant as we mentioned before the devout beliefs of Catholics alienated them from their largely Anglican society. As I also mentioned the largely Anglican-British majority treated the Catholics poorly and with suspicion as there was still no love loss between the two sides with British viewing the Irish Catholics as pesky rebel heretics and the Irish Catholics viewing the British as invading oppressors an example of anti-catholic bigotry was that of the kelly family who was Irish Catholics who was oppressed by the British police of whom the vast majority protestant their of because of their differing beliefs they were kept under a state of constant suspicion and both formal and informal surveillance those from those who did not conform to those religious beliefs. This caused them to be viewed as outsiders which lead to fear of Catholics which lead to anti-catholic bigotry which was brought to Australia on the First Fleet and remained a core element of Australian culture for almost 200 years. It was undoubtedly the communal division in the working class for much of this period. The divisions were so entrenched that they persisted for decades after the worst of the bigotry had receded. Anti-catholic bigotry was a direct product of British imperialism. Ireland was England’s first colony and where the English ruling class perfected its techniques of social control, As is commonly the case with bigoted ideas, they took on ideas very much shaped by class – The catholic in Australia, were overwhelmingly working-class and were portrayed as lazy welfare cheats, drunken, dirty, uneducated, violent, criminal, stupid, with hordes of kids.


  2. JENS KORFF, C. S.
  3. Voting rights for Aboriginal people
  4. In-text: (Jens Korff, 2020)
  5. Your Bibliography: Jens Korff, C., 2020. Voting Rights For Aboriginal People. [online] Creative Spirits. Available at: [Accessed 11 March 2020].
  6. Anti-Irish racism in Australian history | Red Flag
  7. In-text: (armstrong, 2020)
  8. Your Bibliography: armstrong, m., 2020. Anti-Irish Racism In Australian History | Red Flag. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 March 2020].

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Daniel Pearson Studies Of Religion. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Daniel Pearson Studies Of Religion.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
Daniel Pearson Studies Of Religion. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Daniel Pearson Studies Of Religion [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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