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How Many Gods in Heaven? Young Children and Religious Plurality — Results of a Qualitative Study 1

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Abstract Multireligious contexts are considered a routine challenge for growing children today, yet very little is known empirically about how children deal with religious differences. Studies by developmentalists like David Elkind, fifty years ago, have not been followed up and more recent research on young children and religion has tended to centre on other questions. The article that follows is based on a study of 140 children (mean age 4.9 years) interviewed in the context of kindergartens in Germany. After describing their research procedures, the authors present results regarding knowledge, experience, attitudes, and linguistic skills in the context of different religions. Throughout the article, special emphasis is laid on the issue of God, or different Gods, as perceived by the children. The authors conclude by suggesting a number of educational consequences.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tübingen Germany ; 2: friedrich.schweitzer@uni-tuebingen.de

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