Belief in Dialogue

Scotland is a small diverse country with many nationalities, cultures and beliefs.

It is committed to social cohesion, justice and equality.  This is exemplified by the inscription on the Scottish Mace which sits in the Scottish Parliament, clearly declaring to the world that our society is underpinned by the values of wisdom, justice, integrity and compassion.


Since the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, there has been a renewed sense of Scottish identity with greater opportunities for civic engagement through increased levels of consultation and better access to decision makers. This level of involvement in the future of our country is one to be encouraged.  

Traditionally and historically, Scotland has been a predominantly Christian society and, since the Reformation, predominantly Protestant.  However, Scottish society has historically also been a diverse one with many minority  beliefs having a long history of activity and membership in Scotland.  Modern Scotland is a multi-belief and multi-cultural country with its citizens subscribing to a wide range of traditions and beliefs. Some of these beliefs will be of a religious nature while others will be more philosophical and expressed through life stances such as humanism or secularism.

The vision that informs this good practice guide is one of a society in which Government and people recognise and appreciate that:

  • We share a common humanity and concern for the future of Scotland, beyond our differences.
  • Beliefs are important elements of a person’s identity.
  • All of the people living in Scotland have the right to their own beliefs and values. 
  • People have the right to speak from their value base when contributing to civic life.
  • Different religions and non-religious beliefs are to be respected as part of the diversity of society.
  • All the inhabitants of Scotland are inter-connected in a way that makes them inter-dependent.
  • There is a need to listen to one another for the sake of the common good.


The aims of the Good Practice Guide are to:

  • Help provide guidance on building good relations among and between belief communities.
  • Help develop multi faceted approaches to interaction and dialogue.
  • Promote the positive values of:
    • Listening to, understanding and respecting one another.
    • Behaving well towards one another.
    • Creating opportunities for dialogue, including dialogue about controversial and difficult issues.
    • Working together on issues of common concern.
    • Respectfully considering the views of all citizens.


On the Scottish mace are the words compassion, wisdom, justice and integrity.  These values upon which the Scottish Parliament was founded are the values that unite the political, educational, religious and non-religious sectors of society.  These values also influence the moral education of our children and young people, supporting them in developing and reflecting upon their own values and to assist in counteracting prejudice and intolerance.

Compassion, wisdom, justice and integrity are the values which underpin the philosophy and intent of this guidance document, and are a foundation for recognising and developing good relations.

Belief in Dialogue :