Vicki Janson

2019 Independent Candidate for Deakin

The Christian faith has uniquely shaped the lives of Australians in the public, private and corporate domains of our culture. With Christianity playing a lesser role in formal education resulting in reduced religious literacy, the DIDUNO Network offers a great resource for teachers and parents to explain the historical connection of Christianity to contemporary Australia. By exploring how the Christian faith has impacted traditions, education, innovations in business and commerce and the generous spirit of volunteerism evident throughout the nation, DIDUNO makes the Christian faith relevant to young Australians. It fills an essential gap in both cultural and linguistic understanding.

As Behavioural Scientist Clay Routledge, who spent nearly two decades conducting research in existential psychology notes, “Perceptions of meaning in life influence a wide range of life outcomes. People who have a strong sense of meaning in life, compared to those who lack meaning, are less vulnerable to mental health problems, more responsive to treatment when they do face mental health problems, better able to cope with trauma and loss, less inclined to abuse drugs and alcohol, less likely to desire, attempt, or die by suicide, less hostile and aggressive towards others, physically healthier, and live longer.”[1] In short, meaning matters.

About 500BC the Chinese Philosopher Confucius wrote, ‘When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom.’  Misrepresenting words, changing their meaning causes chaos and duplicity. Education should bring meaning to life and DIDUNO assists with that.

Meaning is embodied in language and Aussie English includes many colloquialisms which find their origins in the Christian Bible. These include escaping ‘by the skin of your teeth’ (Job 19:20), ‘A leopard can’t change its spots’ (Jeremiah 13:23), ‘like a lamb to the slaughter’ (Isaiah 53:7), ‘Nothing new under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and ‘the writing is on the wall’ (the story of Daniel 5:1-31).  Bringing understanding to how the Bible has shaped Australian language and culture, and how the Christian faith motivated its settlers and innovators is a valuable contribution to the social capital of future generations.

I commend the work of the DIDUNO Network to all as they resource teachers to give meaning to the life Australians inherited through the Judeo-Christian heritage.