Religious Expression 1. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term community. This refers to a group of people who are joined together because they share something in common. For example teachers, pupils, governors, cleaners, technicians, support staff etc. all help to make up our school community. b. Explain how having a religious faith might lead a person to wear special clothing. For many Christians their faith is expressed through what is worn and clothing reflects something important about their religion. Some Christians may wear symbols on their clothing, for example a fish which tells others about their faith and reminds them of the original meaning of the word for fish which is icthus, meaning Jesus Christ, God’s Son and Saviour. A priest will wear vestments to show that a ceremony is important, for example a baptism or wedding. Other Christians might wear a cross or a crucifix to show their faith. c. ‘People should go out and spread the Word of God’. Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)Some Christians may agree because they are convinced that they have a duty to go out and preach the message about their religion to others in order to convert them. This is because they believe they have a duty to lead others along that path to God. Jesus asked the apostles to spread the word “to all nations” and therefore all should be converted. This type of preaching is known as evangelism. (ii)Some other Christians may disagree because they believe it is better to keep their religion a deeply personal matter between them and God. They may express their faith through prayer, reading from sacred texts or meditating in a quiet place on their own and believe that others should be allowed to do the same. d. Explain from two different religious traditions how the work of a religious charity or organisation expresses faith through actions. Catholic view = The work of Cafod expresses faith through actions in many ways and lives out the parables of both The Sheep and the Goats and The Good Samaritan in all aspects of its work. Cafod works to promote human development and social justice through fundraising, long term education and emergency aid. One example of this was following the natural disaster in Haiti where Cafod supplied drinking water, food, clothes and beds. Their beliefs led them to assist with long-term aid as well, in order to get people back on their feet. Quaker view = Quakers try to live what they believe. For example their work on human rights is rooted in the Quaker testimonies of peace and equality. Quakers were instrumental in setting up Amnesty International to work for human rights, also the work of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, works on translating faith into action from grassroots to global level by the promoting and protecting of human rights. Quakers believe that they must act in ways that that are beneficial to others. It is therefore important for them to give their time and energy to others in the hope of creating a more just and peaceful society. e. ‘Evangelism is a good thing; how else would you know about religion?’ Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Some Christians may agree because they are convinced that they have a duty to go out and preach the message of God to others in order to educate and convert them. If Jesus had kept His message to himself then nobody would have learnt about Christianity, He had to teach people so that example should be followed, as Jesus said, take my message “to all nations”. Some Christians even believe that the only way to be saved (get into heaven) is through being a Christian because Jesus is ‘the way the truth and the life’ and it is only through Jesus that person may enter God’s eternal kingdom. Such people believe that evangelism is perhaps the most important part of their faith. However, not all Christians choose to express their religion through evangelizing to others. They believe that religion is a personal matter, between you and God alone, therefore they would feel it inappropriate to tell others about their religion. Liberal Christians are more likely to accept that people are free to find God in different ways; they may argue that Jesus never tried to convert Jews in his society, so they shouldn’t either. These types of believers are far more tolerant of the beliefs and practices of those from different faith backgrounds. In my opinion, we learn about religion through our upbringings, either at home, Church or school, therefore it is not necessary to try and convince others of the religious path they should follow, we will find that place as God guides us. However if someone was to ask me about my faith I would share it with them but certainly not try to force it upon them. 2. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term evangelism. This involves spreading a faith or religion to others. For example Jesus’ disciples spread the good news about Jesus after his death. This involves preaching and teaching. b. Explain how having a religious faith might encourage a person to take part in an interfaith organisation. Some Christians consider themselves to be part of a religious family/community and sharing beliefs is part of human nature. Sharing faith with others provides a deeper understanding of their beliefs as they can be discussed and shared together in worship. In a pluralist society (many different religions in one society) it is essential that interfaith dialogue happens in order to address any prejudices and build a dialogue based on mutual respect. Working alongside others with a different faith can help people meet common goals for the benefit of all living within the community. c. ‘Religion is a private matter and not for sharing’. Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)A Christian may disagree because it is only through sharing religion that people get to hear God’s message and as long as it is sharing and not forcing, what’s the harm? Also faith is an important part of a believer’s life and so it is honourable to share it with others. (ii)Some other Christians might agree because they believe faith is a personal thing and should be kept private. It may be intimidating for a person to be told about another’s faith and may not be welcomed. If a person wants to become religious they can go and find out about it for themselves. d. Explain from two different religious traditions how pilgrimage can strengthen faith. Catholic view = Pilgrimage is often seen as an opportunity to understand faith more deeply and concentrate fully on religion. A Catholic may visit Lourdes in France in order to strengthen their faith in times of worry or illness. Catholics believe that because of the miracles that have happened Mary is present in Lourdes and through the Holy water many Catholics hope to be healed. Even if a physical cure doesn’t occur, many Catholics have said that they experienced a spiritual cure which strengthened their faith in God. Other popular places of pilgrimage for Catholics include Bethlehem or Jerusalem in Israel which mark the birth and death places of Christ. Many Catholics also choose to visit Fatima in Portugal where Our Lady appeared to three children on a number of occasions. These places act as a source of strength and inspiration for those with faith. Quaker view = Some Quakers may choose to go on a pilgrimage in order to strengthen their faith and reconnect with God. Quakers may visit the Holy Land in order to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus’ teachings allow Quakers to put their faith into action in all aspects of their beliefs, therefore actually visiting places where Jesus taught will give them the spiritual strength to carry on the Christian work they are active in. Other Quakers chose to go on pilgrimages to remote peaceful and tranquil places that allow them time to reflect and worship away from the distractions of everyday life. In doing so they hope to be touched and guided by God’s spirit. e. ‘Working for a charity is the best way of expressing faith.’ Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Expressing religious faith often gives direction to people’s lives and many choose to work for a charity in order to do this. Many Christians choose to spend some of their personal time involved in charity work as they want to follow the teachings of Jesus, such as the Golden Rule and ‘Love your neighbour. For those believers, putting faith into action through charity work is vital to ensure that the example of Jesus is followed and those less fortunate are cared for and supported, whether on a local, national or global level. Christians believe that they have a moral duty to help the less fortunate just as the Good Samaritan did and the parable of the Sheep and the Goats acts as a warning to those that ignore the needs of others. Charity work is just one way in which many Christians believe they answer God’s calling. On the other hand, not all religious believers choose to express their faith by working for a charity. They may believe that they do not have the necessary gifts or talents needed, or that they have the time to dedicate to working for a charity. Instead they may choose to pray for the work of the charity in a private, personal way or donate a regular amount of money to its causes. After all there are many ways to serve God and working for a charity is just one of them. In my opinion working for a charity at some point is very important because it demonstrates the values of love, truth and justice that Jesus requested of us. However I accept that this is not always practical to do due to family or work commitments. In such times a person should still pray for those that carry out charity work and make donations when possible to support them. 3. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term faith. This means to have trust or confidence. For example an important part of the Christian faith is the belief in a life after death. b. Explain how having a religious faith might be expressed through actions. Some Christians choose to express their faith by taking action to help others such as joining a charity like Cafod or Christian Aid. Some Christians decide to dedicate their whole life to the service of God by joining a religious community e.g. priests and nuns. Other Christians show their faith by wearing religious symbols such as a cross or a crucifix. Some Christians show their faith by going on pilgrimages whilst others choose to demonstrate their faith by producing religious works of art i.e. songs, statues, painting etc. therefore different Christians will express their faith through different actions. c. ‘Religious paintings are a distraction in a place of worship’. Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)Firstly a Christian may disagree because art can be used to provide a visual focus for the worshipper. Religious art has a long history, with many images being produced in various forms to display key ideas and beliefs or to tell stories, for example the Stations of the Cross. Art is often seen as symbolic or metaphorical and can be interpreted by religious believers. Most Catholic churches contain numerous religious paintings. (ii)Some other Christians might disagree because art is a form of expression in itself and can provide a focus for worshippers to meditate on, so they can feel closer to their faith and religion. In this situation art allows a person to get closer to God. Art work also helps to convey a message for example in medieval times when many people could not read religious paintings helped to tell important biblical stories i.e. stained glass windows. d. Explain from two different religious traditions why interfaith dialogue is important. Catholic view = For Catholics interfaith dialogue is important in order for peace and understanding to exist between religions. Understanding provides tolerance and Jesus, through his own examples, taught that it is important to listen to the views of others. At many points in His life, Jesus spoke with people of other faiths and Pope John Paul II followed this example by visiting many countries and initiating dialogue between different faiths. Talking to others creates friendship and trust and these help people to work together to meet common goals such as justice and peace for all. Quaker view = At the root of Quaker belief is that God is present within everyone; all of humankind is valued. A key Quaker testimony is peace and Quakers believe that through interfaith dialogue, resolutions can be found. A respect of all faiths is highlighted within the ‘advices’ and Quakers believe that faiths can learn from each other; all offer relevant views and approaches to solving conflicts. Quakers have been involved in visiting Palestine in order to try and help the various factions (Muslims and Jews) come together in the hope of peace restoration. In their relationship with other faiths, they aim to recognise the others dignity, along with their own. e. ‘A pilgrimage is just another name for a holiday’. Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Some Christians would disagree because they believe that pilgrimage is a way of expressing their faith and think that it is a special journey. It is a massive commitment to travel to a holy place of importance and walk in the footsteps of Jesus or a particular saint i.e. Bernadette at Lourdes. Christians believe that it brings them closer to God and provides a necessary environment and time for them to concentrate and reflect on their faith. Whereas a holiday on the other hand is more a time for fun with family and friends and the focus tends not to be on God or spiritual matters. On the other hand, pilgrimage may seem like a holiday if a group of friends are going together; an unfortunate aspect of a growing secular society. Some may not take the journey seriously and not appreciate the spiritual aspect of what they are doing and where they are going. Also many pilgrimage sites are now over-run with souvenir shops, bars and restaurants which, for some, may further distract them from the spiritual and holy purpose of the visit. In my opinion pilgrimage is not just another name for a holiday, it is a sacred journey on which a religious believer can feel closer to God and experience a sense of peace and commitment. It is making a special sacrifice for your faith; the same cannot be said of a holiday. 4. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term pilgrimage. This is a form of spiritual adventure. For example people that go on a special/religious journey to places like Lourdes or Jerusalem are on a pilgrimage. b. Explain how having a religious faith might encourage a person to work for a charity. Some Christians choose to express their faith by taking action to help others in order to follow the example of Jesus by showing love and compassion to those in need. The parables of Jesus, for example the Sheep and Goats and the Good Samaritan ask that love and support is shown towards those people who need it on a local, national and global level. This could be in a small way by collecting donations for a charity, or on a larger scale by supporting the work of a religious charity, for example Cafod, by actually working in a specific place i.e. Haiti. Those that act in this manner may be seen as examples of modern day disciples. c. ‘Pilgrimage is out of date’. Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)A Christian may agree because it is all about a place that was important to religion many years ago and there are more exciting places to visit today. Also it is more important to express belief through actions, for example donating money to charity, rather than spending it on an expensive pilgrimage to some far of place such as Jerusalem. (ii)Some Christians might disagree because pilgrimage can be viewed as the ultimate way of expressing faith in God. Feeling closer to God and tracing the origins/beliefs of a religious faith is very important and will never be out of date. Going on pilgrimage to a sacred place also requires a person to make sacrifices and often forces them to consider what is truly important in life and for people of faith this will always be important. d. Explain how two different faith traditions express their faith through actions. Catholic view = Cafod is a Catholic organisation which lives out the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Sheep and the Goats through active involvement at both a local and global level. Cafod works to provide emergency aid in places of need and also believes that education is vital in ensuring that the aid provided can carry on. Jesus taught us to ‘love our neighbour’ and to ‘treat others the way we wish to be treated’ and in no better way is this put into action than by the work of Cafod. Their mission is to live out Gospel values in the world today; in other words to be like Christ working tirelessly for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. Quaker view = Quakers strive to put faith into action in all aspects of their lives and work e.g. as a community at a local, national and global level. Locally they work to introduce peace education, conflict resolution skills and peer mediation programmes within schools. Quakers were also involved in the Alternatives to Violence programmes, created to help prisoners in handling their anger. Quakers are very active in the area of human rights which is rooted in the testimonies of peace and equality. In fact Quakers were instrumental in setting up Amnesty International (Eric Baker) which works tirelessly to provide justice for those whose human rights have been violated. e. ‘Religion is about doing something; not just reading the Bible’. Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Some Christians would agree because they believe that following their religion is concerned with living out the teachings of Jesus. Putting faith into action is a vital aspect of Christianity and the most productive way to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is to ‘love thy neighbour’ and follow the Golden Rule by actively helping those in need. The Bible is a sacred text and as such deserves honour and respect, however the written word cannot, alone, feed the hungry or clothe the naked. Action is needed. This is why the priest used to say at the end of Mass ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ – he was telling us (the congregation) to go out into the world and serve God in practical ways i.e. feed the hungry, clothe the naked and befriend the lonely. On the other hand, the Bible may be viewed as a roadmap for life, without which religion would have no purpose. The Bible offers the teachings to be followed and so they should be read and fully understood before any action can be taken in a meaningful way. This is why readings from the Bible form such an important part of most Christian services. Most Christians will also read the Bible in their daily lives because they attach such importance to what is written in it; it is after all they would argue the greatest story ever told! In my opinion, the Bible and active religion co-exist; one cannot be completely fulfilled without the other. There is a reason why great men have recorded the written word, the reason being that believers can read it and then put their faith into actions to help others. 5. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term identity. This refers to the sense of who you are in terms of attitudes, character and personality. For example each person has their own identity and uniqueness due to human diversity i.e. Lady Gaga, Gok Wan, me!! b. Explain how religious believers may experience God through pilgrimage. Some Christians believe that God may be experienced through pilgrimage because it provides the necessary environment and time for them to concentrate and reflect on their relationship with God. Some places of pilgrimage have been the places where saints have lived, worked, preached or been martyred and therefore God may be experienced at specific shrines or through holy relics. Famous places of pilgrimage religious believers flock to in the hope of experiencing God include Lourdes, Jerusalem and Fatima. c. ‘Pilgrimage is the best way to show faith in God’ Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)A Christian may disagree as there are easier, less expensive ways of showing faith in God, for example wearing a cross or crucifix, or sharing your faith with others so that they can gain a better understanding of the religion. Some Christians believe the best way to show their faith is by showing their love for God and others in their daily lives. (ii)Some other Christians might agree with this view because pilgrimage involves a massive commitment to travel to a holy place and walk in the footsteps of a saint or Jesus himself. It is a way to become closer to God and therefore deepen and strengthen faith. This is the reason why so many people with faith from all different religious backgrounds go on pilgrimages every year. d. Explain from two different religious traditions the attitude towards spreading the Word of God. Catholic view = Jesus told his disciples to ‘go out and baptise many’, thus encouraging some Catholics to believe that it is their place to tell as many people as possible about the word of God and try to convert them. Many Catholics believe that through evangelism, the word of God can encourage others to live by the Gospel values of love, truth and justice, thus creating a more harmonious world. Jesus spent much of his life spreading God’s word as a guide for how people should live and so to truly follow the example of Jesus, Catholics should do the same through both words and actions. Quaker view = Quakers have no agreed creeds or statements of belief, therefore each individual will have a different opinion on this. However, all Quakers attempt to live their lives in the spirit of love, truth and justice. For Quakers the Word of God may be spread through faith into action, in practical terms, not by evangelising to others in order to convert them. Quakers believe that evangelism is too intrusive; God will inspire a person with His Word, when they are ready to receive it. Quakers believe that already God is within everyone and how God manifests in individuals is for personal discernment (the individual must work it out for themselves). e. ‘The only place God can be worshipped is in a Holy building’. Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Some Christians would agree because Holy buildings have objects that remind the believers of the importance of their faith and allow them to express their faith with people who share their beliefs. Jesus told his followers, “Where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them”. (Mat 18:20) It is a place where they are united and, therefore, is suitable as a place to worship God. Also the atmosphere created in a Holy building will be completely different from praying to or worshipping God alone. That’s what makes Holy buildings, according to some, the only place God can be worshipped. This also helps to explain why so many religious believers visit a place of worship each week – i.e. church, meeting house, mosque, synagogue, temple etc. On the other hand, a Quaker for example, believes that what is important is what goes on between God and a person’s mind, the place doesn’t really matter. It can be anywhere, inside or outside and without special preparations. Indeed they would say that paintings, symbols and special clothing are a distraction rather than a help. This is why Quakers choose to worship in simple surroundings – (simplicity being one of the Quaker testimonies). In my opinion, God can be worshipped in many places and in many ways. Private prayer is equally as important in my view, indeed at times it is written that Jesus went to pray alone for example in the dessert, after his baptism and in Gethsemane before his arrest. I also believe that God is worshipped through actions, when we help and support others, it is a prayer unsaid, but fully acknowledged by God. Therefore Holy buildings are just one of many places wherein God can be worshipped. 6. a. Explain what religious believers mean by the term sacred. This refers to something to be revered or respected above other things. For example religious believers consider their holy texts or places of worship to be sacred/special. b. Explain how a religious believer may use symbols in worship. Being surrounded by symbols of their faith or pictures can help to focus the believers mind on God. The darkness of some churches and the smell of incense can help people to settle into an atmosphere of worship. For a Christian the cross or crucifix expresses beliefs about Jesus, stained glass windows will depict Bible stories, rosary beads are used to focus prayer all of which are used as expressions of faith in either public or private worship. c. ‘Religion gives people a purpose in life.’ Give two reasons why a religious believer might agree or disagree with this statement. (i)A Christian may agree because to be part of a religion means to have trust and confidence in God and helps to create a sense of identity and purpose. Religion gives direction to people’s lives and a sense of belonging within a community of believers. Part of this purpose involves helping other people and so enables a believer to live out the teachings of Jesus, for example ‘love your neighbour’. (ii) Some Christians would agree and this is why they dedicate the whole of their lives to religion whether in contemplative or practical ways, so for them, religion is the whole purpose in life e.g. priests and nuns. People that have such vocations in life often talk about how their faith gives meaning and purpose to their existence and they find this deeply satisfying and rewarding. d. Explain from two different religious traditions how symbols can be used in worship. Catholic view = Catholics use many symbols in worship in order to gain focus and feel closer to God. Many Catholics will use rosary beads when praying in order to keep their concentration and in a Catholic church a crucifix will be a main focal point of worship in order to remind the faithful of the sacrifice Jesus gave with his life. A priest will also have various symbols on his vestments at different times throughout the liturgical year, for example at Pentecost a vestment will include symbols of the Holy Spirit such as a dove and fire. Quaker view = Quakers do not believe that symbols are necessary for worship and therefore will tend not to use any. A Quaker believes that the relationship between God and a person does not necessarily need symbols to be used; they prefer everything to be plain and simple, a testimony being simplicity. For them, worship is what goes on between God and a person’s mind and therefore symbols are viewed as a distraction, rather than a help. This plain and simple approach to worship is a key feature of Quaker beliefs and practices. e. ‘Faith is a personal thing; no-one has the right to tell you what to wear’. Do you agree? Give reasons or evidence for your answer, showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You must include reference to religious beliefs in your answer. Many Christians would agree with this statement. Christianity does not demand that its followers wear any special clothing although many freely choose to do so. For example many Christians will choose to wear crosses, crucifixes or rosary beads because they form part of their identity and reveal something about what is important for that person just like a football fan chooses to wear certain colours to show their support and devotion for a certain team. However some Christians believe that they have a duty to wear certain clothing for example many priests and ministers wear dark clothing and a white collar because this acts as a kind of uniform which identifies them as servants of God. Other religious leaders such as bishops, cardinals and the pope are expected to wear special clothing or symbols especially on important religious festival such as Easter or Christmas. This has been part of the tradition of the church throughout the centuries and these leaders have a responsibility to honour and protect this rich tradition. Some Christians believe that faith and clothing are not linked. They believe that it is what is in your heart that matters, not what you wear. Jesus did not make any demands on dress code for his followers, and therefore it may seem unnecessary for religious leaders to wear various coloured vestments throughout the liturgical year. If faith is a personal thing, it follows that clothing should be. In my opinion, it is society or a religious tradition that demands certain clothing is worn within the Christian faith; it is in no way connected to the personal relationship with God that faith provides. God will not judge us on the clothes we wear, we will be judged on the content of our hearts, minds and souls, none of which require a material covering of any kind.