Philosophy, religion and ethics revision

Brief notes on each section of Paper 2 - Unit 5. 

Religion and Art

How do you know art is religious?

  • If it contains religious themes
  • If it is produced by a religious person

  • If it is paid for by a religious individual, group or community
  • If it produces a spiritual response
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Religion and Art #2

Impact of Religious Art

  • Make them think about God or the 'big' questions. For example; "Who made me? Why am I here? What is the purpose of the Universe?" 

  • Express a religious view on the meaning of life

  • Help people understand a spritual truth

  • To help people worship  
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Religion and Art #3

How is religious art produced? 

Devine inspiration:  the artist has a sudden idea of how a piece should look and becomes creative, because God has 'moved' the person to do the work. 

Revelation: the artist suddenly becomes aware of a religous/spirtual 'truth' and they share ths through the creation of a piece of art work.  

Devotion: the artist creates a piece of art to show their connection to a religion; it may be that the artwork focuses people's minds during prayer or meditation.  

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Religion and Art #4

Different types of religious art: 

The Last Supper -
produced by Leonardo da Vinci. 'The Last Supper' pictures the final meal that Jesus and His disciples have before his crucifixion. 

Stained Glass
Notre Dame Cathedral - found in Paris, France. 

Christ the Redeemer - one of the world wonders, found in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. 

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Religion and Art #5

What does relgious art tell us about..... 

God:  inspired art can be said to be evidence that God exists, or that God exsists in the creativity of people. Muslims and Jews would argue that God is beyond human understanding, so religous art shows the beauty and truth of God's message.

Belief:  A piece of art may show the story from a sacred text, or how a belief might be put into practise or remind people that their beliefs need tp ne focused on. 

The Artist: to really know something about the artist, you might need to know a little more about thier beliefs and life (perhaps the artist is just working for money). A religious work of art may be inspired by geniune belief, or it may express a belief and have an impact on peope. 

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Religion and Art #6

Practise Questions

1. Explain briefly what is meant by the term 'religious art'?
Religious art is a peice of work that contains religious themes, produces a spiritual response or is produced or paid for by a religous person or community. 

2. Explain how spirituality influences the creation of religious art? (3 marks)
The creation of religious art can result from divine inspiration, revelation or devotion. Divine inspiration is where the artist has a sudden idea of how a piece of art work should look like and becomes creative because God has 'moved' the person spirituality to do the work.
Revelation is where the artist suddenly becomes aware of a religious spirtual 'truth' and they share this through the creation of a piece of art work.
Devotion is where the artist creates a peice of art work to show their spiritual connection to a religion; it may be that the artwork focuses people's spiritually minds during prayer or meditation.  

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 3. 'Religious art is meaningless unless you are a religious believer'. Do you agree? Show you have thought about more than one point of view. Personally, I think religious art can mean something to you whether you are religious or not. The piece of art could inspire an atheist to turn to a faith. Also, not all pieces of art were intended as religious, but they have been appreciated by religious people. 
Although on the other hand religious art is often only found in places of worship, so only religious people would see it. Also if you are a religious person you have the background knowledge to recognise and interpret symbolism and images which will make you appreciate it more than non-believers.  

‘Graffiti is a good way to get religious messages across to people.’    What do you think?  Explain your opinion.  
I think graffiti is a good way to get religious messages across to people because it is in often created in public, so available to everyone and seen on a daily basis; it is often very colourful, so attracts people’s attention; it is also particularly attractive to young people, so gets a particular audience which is lacking in some faiths.  

Explain why some religious believers think that calligraphy is important.
Some religious believers may think calligraphy is important as it is an expression of belief and spirituality; it shows great devotion because of the time taken. It is an aid to worship and it has extra monetary value because of its visual nature and the time taken; it may be their own expression of faith, so has a personal value.

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  • describe and explain how and why religions use art: 
    Religions use art to express a spiritual message (e.g. God loves you), express their love and devotion for God or to express the message of that religion.  

  • explain the impact of religious art on those who view it: 
    Religious art impacts the viewer by making them think about God or the 'big' questions. To help them to worship or to understand a spirtual truth. 
  • explain the symbolic nature of religious art:
    religions use symbols to convey messages related to their beliefs. The Christain fish symbol. The Hindu Om or Aum symbol.  

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Religion and architecture

architecture: the activity of designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures, using people and machines.

Why the need for religious architecture:

  • To make people think about God or reflect on spiritual ideas
  • To remind people there is an afterlife
  • To express a religious belief about achieving reward in afterlife
  • To help people understand spiritual truths
  • To aid worship
  • To produce a feeling or awe  
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Exam Questions

'Only the writer can fully understand the religious message in what they have written.’ What do you think?  Explain your opinion.  The writer knows exactly what they meant; words cannot truly express spiritual ideas, so only the writer truly knows; words can be interpreted in many ways, so only the writer knows the pure, original message.

 Explain how documentaries may be helpful to a religion.
As an education tool, e.g. learn more about the history of the faith, or about the application of the religious message in the modern world; as a way to let other people understand clearly religious attitudes on different issues, which can then mean greater tolerance; to spread their religious message; to counter negative attitudes to the religion in society.

Explain why some religious believers wear symbols of their faith.
To tell others what they believe; to remind themselves of key elements of their belief; because their religion says they have to, i.e. religious duty; to have a sense of God with.

two items religious believers might wear to show their faith Christianity – necklace with cross, Sikhism – turban.



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Exam Questions

Types of architecture:
Places of worship; e.g. churches and mosques. An example is St Paul’s cathedral.

‘Religion is about people not buildings.’What do you think?  Explain your opinion.
Buildings inspire and reflect religion so are crucial in keeping the faith going; buildings last longer than people do, so bridge generations; buildings can demonstrate / symbolise key beliefs and teachings, so they enshrine the religion itself. 

– about God and for God – showing devotion and commitment (time / skill /



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