The Religious Diversity Centre is pleased to announce it’s 2018 evening classes in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga beginning the week of Monday 12th February 2018.

Exploring the diverse religious traditions contributing to New Zealand society”

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions and ‘isms’ throughout 2018. Each 2018 Term will have a different focus and cover different material. Terms 1 and 2 will focus on the history and development of the world’s main faith traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 will focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions.

In the first half of the year we will explore the history and development of each of the world religions, focusing on the Western (Abrahamic) Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2.

In the second half of the year, we will look at Selected Topics in Comparative World Religion, focusing on a different topic each class, examining how each religion approaches that particular topic.

Such a pedagogy allows adult learners to perceive the similarities between the major religious traditions rather than the differences promulgated by the media (the main method through which we perceive religious others). Please note that all classes are taught objectively.

Detailed Syllabi will be available at the start of each Term. Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

Each 2018 Term will consist of 8 weekly classes:

Term 1: Western Religious Traditions: We begin our study with the Rise of Monotheism and the origins of religious belief in ancient Mesopotamia, including Zoroastrianism. We then turn our focus towards the history and development of the Western (Abrahamic) belief traditions, which include Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We’ll end our discussions with other religious movements (e.g. the Bahá’í faith), and the moral and ethical secular ideologies of Atheism, Agnosticism, Rationalism and Humanism.

Term 2: Eastern Religious Traditions: Beginning our study with the earliest origins and evolution of religious behaviour, we then turn our focus towards the history and development of the Eastern Religious Traditions. We will explore the rise of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Indian traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. We will then switch our focus to both the Chinese religious traditions (Folk religion, Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese Buddhism), followed by an exploration of the Japanese religious traditions (Shinto, Shingon, Tendai, Nichiren and Zen Buddhism).

Term 3: Selected Topics in World Religions: Week 1: Foundations & Founder Figures; Week 2: Sacred Texts; Week 3: Image & Iconography; Week 4: Prayer & Worship; Week 5: Sacred Time; Week 6: Sacred Spaces; Week 7: Sacred Music; and Week 8: Sacred Clothing.

Term 4: Selected Topics in World Religions: Week 1: Food & Ritual; Week 2: Rites of Passage: Birth & Coming of Age Ceremonies; Week 3: Rites of Passage: Marriage; Week 4: Sacred Journeys & Pilgrimage; Week 5: Rites of Passage: Asceticism & Renunciation; Week 6: Rites of Passage: Death & Dying; Week 7: Esoteric Traditions & Mystical Experiences; Week 8: Religious Fundamentalism & Extremism.

For class locations, times, dates and registration information please see our website at