Religious Studies - WJEC, Spec B, Unit 1. Believing and Living

Just revisions cards on the 'Religious Studies - WJEC, Spec B, Unit 1. Believing and Living'. Clue's in the title.....

Topics include:

  • Our world - creation, humanity, place and purpose of humanity
  • Relationships - love, sex, marriage, family, religious teachings on all....
  • Looking for meaning - god, nature of god, atheism, how people experience god...
  • Is it fair - equality, justice, prejudice
  •  

I only have to study Christianity and one other religion, I have chosen Hinduism

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Topic 1 - Our World - Key words

Creation  - A unique design, planned by a maker;

- God's making of the world for a purpose

Dominion - Being in charge of the world for God

- Having a form of control and responsibility which was given to humans by God;

Environment - The surroundings in which we live for which religions teach us we are responsible;

- The natural world around us - plants, animals, insects and humans, which believers see as God's creation

Humanity - Compassion for others, e.g. by serving others voluntarily; 

- Caring about other human beings through prayer and action

Soul - That part of human nature that is not just physical;

- The part of humans that will live on after the body has died;

- A reflection of the 'image of God' in human beings;

- The part of humans that allows people to relate to God, and to worship;

- The spiritual aspect of human nature that affects the 'real' you

Stewardship - To guard over something for the real owner;

- A God given responsibility to manage or control the earth

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Topic 1 - Christianity - Teachings on Place and Pu

Christianity has an idea of what place and purpose humans have on this world, there are:

  • To serve God and live for him. [This includes telling others about and sharing one's faith.]
  • To obey God. [Following the way of life His commandments show, and which Jesus taught.]
  • To enjoy the world and it's fruits/resources. [They are a gift from God.]
  • To look after the world for God [stewardship]. [This includes sensible use of resources and trying to conserve nature.]
  • To look after and live in harmony with others. [This is also a way of serving God, by serving others in a selfless and unconditional way.]
  • To have sexual relationships and children. [This is seen as natural and a God-given ability and calling.]
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Topic 1 - Hinduism - Teachings on Place and Purpos

Hinduism has an idea of what place and purpose humans have on this world, there are:

  • to perfect one's wisdom, and heart and mind. [So as to free the atman (soul) from the physical body.]
  • to live so as to fulfil one's dharma (duty). [This is an important and vital aspect of everyone's life.]
  • to seek the truth. [That which lies beyond the material, the impure, the illusory.]
  • to practice ahimsa (harmlessness). [Not harming any living thing.]
  • To amass good karma (a person's actions will reflect their destiny in their next incarnation). [Through duty, devotion or other deeds or path to liberation.]
  • to gain moksha (freedom from samsara, the cycle of life).
  • to have sexual relationships and children. [These are a natural part of life; being a parent is one of the ashramas (stages of life) for most people.]
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Topic 1 - Using our Talents - Christian and Hindu

Everyone has talents - something a person is good at doing. Some people like to use/demonstrate those talents.

Most religious believers think that talents of skills should be developed and used. They think this, because they think that these talents/skills are given by God, and they could benefit others. Not using them for the benefit of others could be seen as not just wasteful, but an insult to God.

Examples:

Christian - I believe that God gave me my musical ability. I love playing the piano, and wherever I play, it is both worship and a witness.

Hindu - I have natural talents, and so it is my dharma to use them and live as a good citizen, helping others and seeking truth; they are good, positive things.

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe begin? - Christiani

To many people, there is not doubt that God created or caused the universe.

The universe was created in 6 days, the 7th day was holy, the day of rest.

Day 1 - Heaven and Earth. Day and Night

Day 2 - Sky

Day 3 - Land, Seas, Plants

Day 4 - Sun, moon, Stars

Day 5 - Sea creatures, Birds

Day 6 - Land animals. Mankind (whom He made stewards of all He created.)

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe Begin? - Christiani

Some Christians believe that the main point of the creation story wasn't to say how God created, but that He did.

The story isn't literal, but states important truths, such as; God created the world; he used the natural processes he created; there were clear 'periods’ of creation, though not 24 hours as such.

People who accept this way see no conflict between scientific and religious theories of creation, and can see how both theories can be weaved together to give a 'full' picture of life and earth.

Some Christians don't believe the creation myth. Some atheist people also don't believe it. They are completely non-literalist.

They believe that the story is just poetic, contains no truth, but is describing what the writers of the time thought were true. They think that scientific discoveries have made the creation story unacceptable.

People who believe this believe that scientific explanations are impossible to deny, and that religious ideas are untrustworthy.

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe Begin? - Hinduism

There are three main Gods.

Brahma creates life. He has caused the world and everything in it to exist.

It is them maintained by Vishnu who is responsible for the protection and sustenance of the world. Hindus believe he is the inner power in everything.

However there comes a time when almost all the universe is evil and so the time for the universe to die. This is when Shiva appears in fire and wind, and everything dies before him. The universe crumbles to dust.

And so the next universe is ready to be born. So follows the endless cycle of creation and destruction.

However, Lord Shiva is also the recreator, and so when all is turned to dust once more the cycle of life continues.

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe Begin? – Hinduism -

Creation is anandi (that which has no beginning) and that it is eternal. It is belived that this is just one of the many universes that have been created.

In the Upanishads there are references to how balance is maintained through the vast and continuous sacrifice. This five elements - ether, air, water, earth and fire - are all engaged in continual sacrifice. The world of plants sacrifices itself to animals, animals to one another and to humans, and so on.

So it is humans' self-sacrifice which sustains their children. IN this way, there is a never-ending destruction and renewal of all life and matter.

A verse in the Rig Veda describes the sacrifice of Purusha, the Cosmic Man, likening the elements of the sacrifice to the seasons.

At the end of the last age there was a great deluge which destroyed the universe. Brahma, the creator, prayed to Brahman to create a new universe. It is believed that when Brahma sleeps, then nothing exists. When he is awake then the world takes shape.

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe Begin? - The Big Ba

Many people find this more acceptable than creation stories.

This theory states that everything started with a 'Big Bang'. The dense matter that made up the universe began to expand 15,000 million years ago, bursting out with huge force and speed. Since then, the expansion has continued, with a gradual cooling down of earth and other planets.

The knowledge we have of the universe seems to confirm this theory, as the stars in the universe are all burning masses, just like our sun. They also have planets grouped around them in galaxies, all moving apart and cooling down.

Whether this expanding continues forever, or eventually begins contracting again is uncertain, and people have differing views about it.

Two important things. It's only a theory. Some scientists don't accept the evidence and question it's accuracy. There an some unanswerable questions, such as what caused the bang, and where did the matter come from in the first place.

Some Christians believe the God caused it. Other people think that it doesn't matter how it was caused, but rather, that we know it happened, and the processes that happened after it.

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Topic 1 - How did the Universe begin? - The Theory

Charles Darwin noticed animals adapted to changes in their environment. He could show clearly that changes in animals resulted from a process of natural selection. Natural selection = where the fittest survive and pass on their characteristics to a new generation.

Darwin suggested this principle, that, over millions changes have been occurring, and the complex forms of life existing today are likely to have evolved from simpler and earlier forms of life.

This raises doubts about god's role in creation; it seems that species evolved from one thing to another over time in a process that happened through natural selection rather than divine intervention. It also suggests that human beings, rather than being created in God's image, had evolved from apes, and were merely a more complex and rational version.

On the other hand, many religious believers see no real conflict at all, as they either believe God established the process of natural selection as the means for life to evolve, or that evolution ids a process that God is involved in from time to time so as to bring about a significant change or development.

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Topic 1 - How Did the Universe Begin - The Theory

The theory of evolution is just a theory, it hasn't been proved absolutely.

It describes a process of development and adaptation within species - the question is not completely clear about the transformation from one species to another.

It doesn't explain the origins of the first life forms.

It doesn't explain the order of the universe, or the reason for 'natural laws' that exist within the universe

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Topic 1 - Why should we Care for the World? - Chr

Some people think that to have dominion means that humans have an excuse to exploit the Earth. All re,ligions teach Sanctity of Life, that includes animals.

Christians would say that if humans learn to live sensibly, and in true partnership with God, and his creation, including animals, then they find nature itself responds and people come closer to God as they praise him for all that he has provided.

Christians try to remind themselves that God's hand is still at work in the natural cycle of the world and it's seasons.

Christians remind themselves regularly in worship, and celebrations, of God's provision and their own responsibility too [such as on thanksgivings, and when Grace is said before meals].

There are many organisations./individuals who work to protect the earth and well being of life on earth.many people feel they have a responsibility to protect earth. We can this responsibility STEWARDSHIP.

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Topic 1 - Why should we care for the World? - E.g.

Situation- Environmental problems in Brazil. Lots of deforestation for building materials. Mercury being used to separate gold from the land. This polluted water, which killed fish and anyone drinking the water. Rainforests were burnt to make space for cops and livestock. After three years, the land was barren, and abandoned. Many people living there wanted the area to be left alone.

Who was Chico Mendes?- He was a leader of rubber tappers. He had been a rubber tapper since he was 9 yrs old. He had not been able to go to school. Later, he organised the runner tappers to defend their homes from the cattle ranchers. FRom the 1970s he organised non-violent protests against the exploitation of the forests. He found ways to use Amazonian resources to support the economic benefit for the local people and to protect the rainsforest from logging and cattle ranching.

In 1988 he led a winning effort to stop cattle ranchers from deforesting an area the rubber tappers wanted to make into a reserve.

Chico was killed outside his house later that year by the son of a cattle rancher.

In his memory, the land he lived and died for [970,570,000 hectares] was names the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve.

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Topic 1 - Why should we Care for the World? - Hin

Hindus believe that all living beings have atman [self; usually refers o the real self, the soul] so they should all be considered sacred, and shouldn't be harmed.

All animals are to be respected but special honour is given to cows, who provides milk, and butter and works in the fields. The respect they give to the cow reflects HIndu's thankfulness towards the earth.

This belief in non-violence is called ahimsa, and means 'to have reverance for all life'.Many Hindus shows ahimsa by being vegetarians, and refusing to eat any part of an animal that has been slaughtered. Some Hindus also refuse to eat eggs, because they could become living beings.

Manu 5, 38 : 'For every hair on the body of a beast, the person who kills it without reason will be slaughtered in successive births.'

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Topic 1 - Why should we care for the World? - E.g.

Vrindavan

Vrindavan is an area 80miles south of Delhi. It is important to Hindus because this was where Krishna was born and lived. IN the 19080s most of the trees were cut down, and this had an effect on the environment and animals there.

With support from the World Wildlife Fund, the Vrindavan Forest Revival Project organised a major tree-planting programme, as well as educational projects. Recent developments have included the cleaning of the Yamuna river.

The Vrindavan Declaration : 'Nature enjoys being enjoyed, but reacts furiously to exploitation. Today's situation is caused by our separation from Krishna and his message of commitment. let us act on his message to play, not to exploit.'

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Topic 2 - Relationships - Key words

Commitment - being devoted towards someone or something. This may be shown by being faithful to them; Making and keeping a promise such as wedding vows.

Chastity - Not having any sexual relationships before marriage as sex is seen as sacred; Keeping oneself from sexual activity until married to someone as sex is seen as a gift from God.

Conflict - Working against each other rather than together in unity; Clashes and breakdown of relationships. Faith communities may help with advice and prayer.

LoveTo have a deep affection for someone and express it through your actions and words; It can often include a relationship where there is a commitment between people

Reconciliation - Saying sorry and having it accepted. All religions teach the importance of forgiveness; 'Making up' and starting together again. Many faith communities have reconciliation services.

Responsibilities - Duties you should carry out such as looking after family members; What you are expected to take care of because of vows or promises you have made

Celibacy - deciding never to have a sexual relationship

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Topic 2 - What is love?

There are many types of love:

Storge - Affection for things and animals. Sometimes described as 'Sentimental love'. E.g. between a person and their pet dog.

Philia - Love of friends and family; a stronger body between people. E.g. between two sisters, or two friends.

Eros - Sexual love; physical love between two people, usually of the opposite sex. E.g. between a husband and wife.

Agape - Unconditional love; given freely and unreservedly. E.g. between a mother and her child/children.

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Topic 2 - What about Sex? - Religious Teachings -

Marriage begins the special relationship between two people. The couple will usually be in love when they marry, but expect to develop their love.

Marriage consists of one man to one woman at any one time.

Considered a sacrament - a relationship in which God himself is involved.

Sex should generally take place within a marriage.

Sex is a gift from God. It is holy and sacred; it is special and should be reserved between just two people at any one time/period in one's life.

Casual sex or promiscuity is seen as devaluing both people and sex, and therefore is unacceptable.

Bringing up children is an important part of marriage.

There are different attitudes to same-sex marriages within Christianity.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a faithful and exclusive union between one man and one woman. In the Anglican Church, many clergy bless the same-sex couple although there is no actual authorised ceremony. Quakers have been welcoming same-sex unions for over 20 years.

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Topic 2 - What about Sex? - Religious Teachings -

Within the system of varnashramadharma the students must exercise chastity until the end of their studies.

Marriage consists of one man to one woman.

Marriage begins the relationship between two extended families, not just the individuals.

Considered a sacrament - samskara.

Begins the householder stage, and a new set of duties.

Usually love is expected to grow and develop.

Sex should only happen with marriage.

Kama [sensual pleasure] is one of the four Hindu aims of life.

Bringing up children is an important part of marriage.

The differing interpretations of Hindu teachings mean that there is no official view on same-sex marriages.

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Topic 2 - Adultery - Religious Teachings - Christi

Marriage is sexually exclusive - sex should not be shared with anyone else [the special relationship - on 'one-ness' - is destroyed].

The Ten Commandments and teachings of Jesus forbid it.

It is harmful to the special relationship f marriage.

The familty can be harmed.

A partner feels cheated, betrayed or rejected.

It is wrong because God himself is involved in the marriage [sacrament].

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Topic 2 - Adultery - Religious Teachings - Hinduis

Marriage is a religious duty - a samskara - so the ideals of it are too, and will produce good karma.

Hindu scriptures and society approve only of sex within marriage, and so chastity is encouraged prior to marriage, and fidelity with marriage.

A vow or promise of faithfulness is made in the seventh step pf the marriage ceremony, and is seen as a lifelong commitment.

Faithfulness to one's partner in the marriage is depicted by Sita in the Ramayana.

The yamas [five abstentions] and niyamas [five observances] preclude adultery:

yama - lying lust, greed

niyama - purity, patience, contentment

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Topic 2 - Views on Marriage and Sex

  • "I just want to live with my boyfriend, and hope that one day we could even marry! Why shouldn't we - we love each other totally."
  • "We think that marriage is an out-of-date institution; we cohabit and have a contract so we each know exactly our rights and responsibilities. We spent some time living together as a trial - to see if we've got along together - and then drew up a proper contract." [cohabit means to live together]
  • "I will never marry - but just for personal reasons. I do not want to be tied to a relationship nor do I want to have children."
  • "I will never marry or have sexual relationships, as I have taken a religious vow of celibacy. I am 'married' to my calling to serve God."
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Topic 2 - Religious Marriage Ceremonies - Christia

The ceremony is usually as follows:

Hymn - a religious song

Purpose Explained - The purposes of marriage are clearly stated at the start of the service.

Ask for impediments - The minister asks if anyone knows any reason why the couple shouldn't be married.

Taking of vows [with witnesses] - I ... take ... to be my ... etc, etc.....

Exchanging rings - The words recited by the bride and groom as they give rings to each other, explaining that the ring [a circle without a beginning or end] is a symbol of their never-ending love.

Pronounce union - 'I noe pronounce you husband and wife. Whom God has joined let no man seperate.

Hymn - a religious song

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Topic 2 - Religious Marriage Ceremonies - Hinduism

Before the wedding, there will be a lot of preparation. Parents and extended family will have assisted by searching for suitable partners.

The families then arrange for the couple to have supervised meetings. After that they will decide if they want to continue the relationship or not. If the couple feel that the relationship is promising, then they will consult a priest who will look at their horoscopes, to see if they are compatible.

The process if often called an arranged marriage, but most Hindus prefer to call it an 'assisted marriage'. In most families today, the couple themselves take a lead role in the arrangements, and the family assist or support the proceedings.

The wedding ceremony itself is considered to be a samskara or one of the rites of passage which begins a new stage of life. The ceremony itself can take place in a hall or mandir. Usually a decorated canopy or mandir is put up. Under this is where the ceremony will take place.

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Topic 2 - Religious Marriage Ceremonies – Hinduism

There are many important and symbolic aspects of the ceremony. E.g. offerings to Ganesha - who is believed can remove obstacles put in the way of marriage. A havan [fire] is lit and offerings of incense are put into the flames. Agreement of the couple is asked for. The brides scarf is tied to the groom's and they circle the fire. 

The bride places her toe on a stone to show her obediance and loyalty to her husband. Seven steps are taken around the fire for food, strength, wealth, happiness, children, a long wedded life, and unity.

During the ceremony, commitments to dharma [religious duty], artha [economic development], and kama [sense of enjoyment] will be made.

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Topic 2 - Religious Teachings on Family and Contra

There are varied views on contraception.

Some say that contraception is acceptable as long as sex is within marriage [or permanent relationship]; both partners agree to using contraceptives and which kind to use. This view is based on the belief that in family life, quality is the most important thing.

Others, such as Roman Catholics, feels strongly that artificial methods of contraception are unacceptable. They would follow the rulings of the declaration of the Pope Paul VI that sexual intercourse sould strengthen the bond between husband and wife; sexual intercourse should always be open to the possibility of creating new life. Because of this, they believe that couples should only use natural methods of family planning, such as the rhythm method They also believe that the sexual act is a total self-giving of two people to each other in love.

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Topic 2 - Religious Teachings on Family and Contra

For some Hindus, contraception is allowed, but for others, it is considered the opposite of the practice of ahimsa [non-violence]. Usually, social and economic factors are considered more influential than religious issues. 

Many couples don't believe that children should be conceived out of lust, and take part in the garbhadhan samskara when prayers are said to purify the womb and prepare the way for the soul of s new child to enter.

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Topic 2 - Why do some marriages fail?

Living with other people isn't easy, being married to a person, and experiencing everything in life with that person means that both partners need to learn to give and take. They both have to work at making their relationship a happy and lasting one.

Pressures on marriage can include:

lack of communication, lack of appreciation, unemployment, alcohol problems, financial problems, affairs [infidelity], sexual problems, religious differences, unacceptable behaviour, interference from in-laws, too little time together, pregnancy/children, separation, false hopes, lack of children, work/career, different interests, personality difficulties.

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Topic 2 - Why do some marriages fail? - 2

Because of all these pressures, sometimes conflict comes into marriage and family. When things go wrong, a religious community can help them:

The religious leader can offer help and advice to the couple; the community can offer marriage guidance counselling or therapy sessions;

older and more experienced couples could talk with and support the couple having problems;

family members could offer help and advice, especially in those religions where family has a specific role;

prayers can be offered for/with the couple;

a group of 'young married couples' could meet, to help discuss and share experiences and learning;

a pre-marriage course could be offered for all intending to get married; a booklet with religious teachings about marriage and family life could be prepared and given to couples when they marry.

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Topic 2 - Religious Teachings on Divorce - Christi

For most people, divorce is a last resort, when reconciliation is not possible.

Some Christians think that divorce is acceptable, depending on the circumstances of the individuals.

On the other hand, divorce is not believed to be God's intention. Divorce also breaks the solemn promises that were made before God, and the Christian family.

Anglicans accept divorce, because UK laws accept it. Anglicans discourage remarriage, [if remarriage is chosen, Anglican's prefer and non-church wedding], some ministers will agree to a service of prayer and dedication.

Non-conformists [Methodists/United Reformed] - believe that divorce is best avoided. remarriage is permitted if it seems suitable or acceptable to all concerned. NO minister can be forced to conduct a remarriage against their will.

Roman Catholics don't recognise divorce. Marriage is a sacrament that can't be dissolved except for special reasons [such as one partner not freely choosing to marry]. Some marriages can be annulled, when there are good reasons [e.g. the marriage has never been consummated] If a Roman Catholic remarries without an annulment they can attend Mass, but can't receive Holy Communion.

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Topic 2 - Religious Teachings on Divorce - Hinduis

In Hinduism, divorce is acceptable sometimes.

But, only as a last resort, as otherwise, the sacramental concept of marriage would be meaningless.

Hindus of lower castes have always allowed divorce and the remarriage of both partners.

But divorce is uncommon as arranged/assisted marriages are less likely to break down.

The extended family would support a couple in their attempts to be reconciled.

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Topic 3 - Looking for meaning - Key words

Afterlife - where souls go when the body dies; another kind of existance that follows bodily life

Awe - a sense of fear, and at the same time, reverence; completely overwhelmed by a sense of God's presence.

Community - A group pf people with something in common [faith communities share beliefs and practices]; a fellowship of people who pray and worship together.

God - Ultimate being, .e.g creator and sustainer of the world; deity, which is believed to be The One behind everything

Revelation - Something shown or explained that was previously hidden [religions have revealed truths]; Something which [or someone who] enables others to learn more, or see something for themselves, about God, life or eternity.

Symbolism - A sign which has a particular meaning e.g. the cross for Christians; Somethings that points to or explains something else. Many religions have symbolic actions and ideas.

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Topic 3 - The Nature of God

Views on God often include:

A Great Architect - The designer of the world

A Judge - The one who decides what happens to us after death.

A She, not a He

I can't believe there has ever been a God, an omniscient [] being who knows everything.

Like a Father. The one who cares for us.

Omnipotent, has power over all creation.

Views on the Nature of God are influenced by:

Family Backgground;

Own Experiences;

Views formed when reading sacred and other texts

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Topic 3 - Symbolism and Imagery

In many religions, believers will wear of use certain symbols that they consider to have a deeper meaning or help them express their belief in God.

Often, these symbols are considered sacred by the believers and can be used to aid worship.

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Topic 3 - Symbolism - Christianity - The Cross

Christian's believe Jesus is the best way people can know about God. The cross [a reminder of Jesus' death & resurrection] is a good reminder of beliefs in God and his nature.

Christians believe that God is One, but is known/experienced through 3 'persons': Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is called 'The Trinity'. Each person is an aspect of God's nature, which humans can perceive and understand.

The most compete revelation of God is through Jesus Christ. He is believed to be God's son, born of the Virgin Mary, as well as a human being. This was how he was able to 'reveal' to people something of God's true nature.

Christian's believe that Jesus' death on the cross was the greatest act of love, as he gave himself up for all people. His resurrection on Easter Sunday was the overcoming of sin and death, so bringing new life and hope to the world.

Therefore, Christian's call Jesus 'Lord' [he's equal with God, his father; he's ruler of the world and heaven; he directs/guides a believer's life] and 'Redeemer' [he pays the ransom price to set others free; he brings forgiveness; he gives eternal life]

"God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life." John, 3:16

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Topic 3 - Symbolism - Hinduism - Murtis

Hindus believe Brahman is everywhere, the real self in all beings, and the Supreme Spirit.

Murtis are images of the deities on whom the devotion is focussed. Most Hindus will have murtis of their own Ishta-dev [chosen deity] in their home shrine.

The trimurti is represented by Brahma [the creator], Vishnu [the preserver] and Shiva [the destroyer], reflecting the pattern of birth, growth and death that the world is constantly going through.

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Topic 3 - God is...

Christian - One, all-powerful [omnipotent], all-knowing [omniscient], Creator of the world, creatures and plants. Triune - Father, Son, Spirit. Best seen in Jesus. Wants a relationship with humans. Will judge the world.

Hindu - The One Supreme Spirit [Brahman]; eternal and everywhere; impersonal one world spirit; is manifested [in essence] in Trimurti [Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva]; also in many different forms; is male and female; saves the world through avatars of Vishnu.

Humanism - There is no belief in God as a supreme or real being; this is seen as the remains of the past, and not having a place in the modern world. The future of humankind, and the happiness in and meaning of life, is to be found within the human spirit and being.

Atheism - There is no god in reality, other than in one's own imagination; 'God; is an idea from te past that is no longer needed to explain the unknown or mysterious.

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Topic 3 - Why do some people believe in God, and s

  • There is too much suffering in the world.
  • None of my friends believe in God.
  • The Holy Books all contradict themselves.
  • My family all believe in God and worship regularly.
  • The world must have been created by someone.
  • So many people have had religious experiences.
  • I just feel there is a God - I can't explain why.
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Topic 3 - How do people experience God?

Miracle - Something that is a wonder/supernatural happening/something that wouldn't normally happen. For many people in different religions, something that happens because of prayer/faith that is 'miraculous' is an experience of God, and a sense of his reality and presence.

Act of benevolence - Sometimes, a miracle is experienced as if it were an act by God. E.g. if you had a small chance of something good happening, and it happened, e.g. someone was barren and got pregnant.

Worship - It can be with other people of the same faith, or private. It could be a set ritual that's repeated, or through personal meditation, prayer, thought, or other activities that the individual person finds helpful or meaningful.

Prayer - A way of thinking about God, feeling that life is different as a result of praying.

An inner feeling - Sometimes, people just think that God is there, helping and supporting them, even when things aren't so good.

Reading sacred texts - Many people find that sacred texts have a special meaning for them at a particular time and moment in their life. As they read, they feel moved and inspired, maybe even as though God is speaking to them through the words on the page.

Natural beauty and wonder - There are many beautiful things in the world of nature, and a person can feel that somewhere God is involved in it all.

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Topic 3 - How do respond to God through worship?

For some people worship is daily, for others it is regular. There are different activities e.g. singing, dancing, reading, praying, listening, reciting, etc.

Prayer - A regular feature in many peoples' lives. People pray on their own or with people or same faith. In many religions there are times/patterns of praying that believers follow.

Preaching & Teaching - Sharing the faith with others. Helping it grow. Helping each other grow in faith is an aspect in all religions too.

Pilgrimage - Religious people travel to places of religious significance. Christians - Lourdes, Israel, St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican, Canterbury, etc. Hindu - Varanasi, river Ganges, Mathura, Vrindavana, etc.

Changing lifestyle - All religions have rules/expectations on the way to live one's life.

Service & Commitment - Serving others could be a requirement of lifestyle. Many religious traditions encourage members to see that all they do is a service to God, and those he has places in their care. Believers make many commitments [e.g. time, money, experience, even life] to God.

Retreat/Study - People sometimes get away from the distractions of life that have a negative impact on faith. Many religious traditions try to offer believers places and times of retreat so that they can concentrate fully on worship, prayer, studying the sacred texts, or sharing faith with others.

Acts of kindness - Being involved in charity, helping others, etc. Religions commend these acts of kindness.

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Topic 3 - Vocations

Some people respond to God in what they do, what job/career  they choose in their life. Some religions have monastic callings, where people dedicate themselves totally to God, and are involved in a life of service and ministry. [nun, monk, etc.]

For the majority of religious believers, vocation is the way that they do things in their everyday life, and this is their response to God or the faith they have.

e.g.s ->

Christianity - "I owe everything to Christ; so I try to live my life for him, and in the way he asks. This is my calling as a Christian."

Hindu - "My devotion to Krishna is my calling and dharma. through it I serve my Lord, and all those around me."

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Topic 3 - Secular Society

Secular Society - in countries where the government and general life is not led by or linked to religious people or organisations. It is something seperate from religious beliefs and practices.

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Topic 3 - Religious Teachings on Death - Christian

Christians believe that death is not the end, because they believe that there is life after death.

Eternal life is received through faith. Christians believe there is life after death in heaven with Christ.

Timing of a person's death is up to God.

Entry to heaven depends on two things. 1) How a person responds to Jesus and his teachings. 2) The way a person responds to those in need on earth. Jesus described heaven as a party. A banquet to be enjoyed. (Luke 14:15-24)

Resurrection is the main theme in Christian funeral services. Ministers/priests may wear white a traditional symbol of life after death. The resurrection of the dead is a central belief in Christianity [because of Jesus' resurrection]. Belief in life after death is also important for the Christian idea of justice.

New earth and heaven will be made after judgment day. Sin, death and evil will finally be destroyed forever; Christians believe that the resurrection of Jesus was a victory over death and sin that all believers can share for themselves. 

Afterlife is a spiritual experience, Those 'redeemed' through Jesus will be resurrected to this new life in the new earth and heaven.

Life choices are therefore very important. Christians see hell - the opposite of heaven - as a state of being separated from God through a person's deliberate rejecting of God and his ways whilst on Earth.

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Topic 3 - Religious Teachings on Death – Christian

Living a life of love towards others is the way to receive eternal life from God. Christian's believe there'll be a judgment, a time when Jesus returns to earth, and separate people into two groups. Those who have behaved in a loving way towards others receive eternal life, and those who haven't receive eternal punishment.

Interment [burial in the ground] is s choice some Christians prefer, but many will be cremated. Those buried will have a headstone or memorial at the cemetery, and the cremated will have their ashes scattered. In some burials, the coffin will be sprinkled with holy water. The cemetery will most likely be visited by loved ones on the anniversary of death.

Funeral services may include a Eucharist [Mass/Communion]; many Roman Catholic funerals have a Requiem Mass. At funerals passages will be read from the bible, and a few hymns will be sung.The person leading the service will say a few words about the person and how they'll be missed, and they will remind the family and friends the importance of the resurrection, and new life that comes.

Ending the burial service will be words of committal [earth to earth...] A cremation may have slightly diffferent words, but the meaning will be the same. There will usually be a wake afterwards.

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Topic 3 - Religious Teachings on Death – Hinduism

Retirement [vanaprastha] or renunciation [sannyasa] stages in life are expected to help Hindus prepare for death. During these stages Hindus may concentrate on spending more time with their family, doing charity work, going on pilgrimages or renouncing worldly possessions/ties.
Euthanasia and artificial extensions of life are disapproved of - there should be a natural end.
Immediate family will normally carry out the rituals needed once death has happened. This includes preparing the body by putting water from the river Ganges on a tulsi leaf in the mouth. The antyyasti [death rituals] allow the family to say goodbye and express their emotions.
Next day, the funeral should take place. The ceremony is usually led by the priest and the eldest son.
Cremation is always preferred; it helps release the atman [soul]. Hindus consider their lives as a sacrifice, and this is the final sacrifice. Only sadhus [holy men] and children may be buried.
Ashes should be scattered in running water. Many Hindus take the ashes to scatter on the River Ganges.
Rituals help to bring peace to the departed soul. The 1st shraddha [paying respects to one's ancestors] includes a symbolic offering of water and rice cakes.
Near relatives collect for a reading of scriptures which stress that the death is the door that must be passed through from birth to birth. "Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore fight, O descendant of Bharata." {Bhagavad Gita 2:18}
Annual commemorations are held to remember the deceased.

Transmigration[reincarnation] is the term often used for the atman leaving one body and entering another. It is believed to take place over and over again from one species to another depending on a person's karma.

Eventually it is hoped that by living pure lives, this cycle of repeated births will stop and the soul will be reunited with God by attaining moksha [salvation].

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Topic 4 - Is It Fair? - Key Words

Authority - Right or power over others. In religion this could be a priest/religious leader; The teachings or rules that should be obeyed.

Discrimination - Treating people differently because of race, gender, religion, class, etc; Failing to treat people as fellow human beings and part of God's creation.

Equality - Being considered of the same strength or character as part of the human race; being treated in the same way and not discriminated against, as all are part of God's creation.

Identity - The way a person sees themselves - where they belong; personality and character - each person is unique.

Injustice - Where there is no equality of provision or opportunity; where human rights are ignored e.g. torture because of religion.

Prejudice - Judging another person before you know anything about them or have any evidence; disliking someone or something for no good reason. Religions teach that all people are equal.

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Topic 4 - How we get justice...

We get justice through:

Prayers

Vigils - many people getting together, singing songs, or staying silent, holding candles

Fasting - hunger strike

Collections of Money - for poorer people, e.g. Red Nose Day, Comic Relief

Pressurise the Governments - protests, peaceful protests

Organise Campaigns - persuading people to join the cause, or to understand the reason behind it.

All religions will encourage believers to speck out against injustice and to seek justice. It is part of their responsibility to protect human dignity.

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Topic 4 - Gaining Justice - Christianity

Religious Text: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...and the King will say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me. [Mathew 25:40]

Whenever you did this [helped for one of these...you did it for me! [Mathew 25:40]

And he made from one very nation of people to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation. [Acts 17:26]

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:28]

Interpretation: Christians believe that showing concern for others, esp. if they are in need/treated  unjustly is a basic duty. Jesus taught and demonstrated it in his life, and expects his followers to do the same. So a Christian is not just doing the kind deed for the person who's suffering but for themselves and for Jesus too. Helping others, in whatever way is needed, is a religious duty; failing to do so is failing God, and failing to live as true human beings. The ways in which help is given are both simple and practical, and don't have to involve money. Kind and thoughtful actions are seen as being of as much value as gifts of money. The reason for helping is as important - if not more important - than the help actually given.All are the same in Jesus’/God’s eyes. All God's children, he has no favourites.

Actions: Soup runs, Night shelters, Visiting the House bound, Counselling offenders, Building and running hostels.

Examples: Salvation Army, Christian Aid

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Topic 4 - Gaining Justice - Hinduism

Text: Perform your prescribed duty which is better than not working. Whoever does not work will not succeed even in keeping his body in good repair. [Bhagavad Gita 3:18]

Interpretation: All people are spiritually equal. There are different duties in life that people need to accept the they are a result of actions in a previous life [karma].

Actions: There are people in India called dalits [oppressed]. They used to be known as 'untouchables', and were considered to be unclean. They had to live in poor conditions and weren't allowed to worship in the temples or use village wells. Gandhi spoke out against untouchability and renames the untouchables 'Harijans' [Children of God]. In 1948 a law was passed to abolish untouchability. Gandhi said 'I would rather that Hinduism died than untouchability lived.' 

Text: The Gods have not ordained hunger to be our death: even to the well-fed death comes in various shapes. the richest of those who are generous never waste away, while those who will not give find none to comfort them. [Rig Veda 10:117]

Interpretation: Hindus believe wealth is temporary and that attachment to worldly goods [materialism] can hinder people attaining moksha [liberations from the cycle of birth and death]. One of the four aims of  life for Hindus is artha - to make wealth to support others.

Actions: Food for Life - a charity project, working in over 60 countries distributes free vegetarian food. It is the largest vegetarian/vegan food relief group in the world. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness [ISKCON] started and supports Food for Life. There were floods in Mozambique. For 3 yrs land couldn't be used. The Food for Life Distribution Programme began by cooking and distributing food to the refugee camps.

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Topic 4 - Why do people treat others differently?

Reasons for Prejudice

Pride/Selfishness: Thinking only of self, or self-interest; failing to consider the needs of others; jealous of others.

Ignorance: Not knowing or not wanting to know the facts

Experiences: Having an unpleasant experience previously with a particular group of people, or a person from that group.

Theology: Failing to see and believe that all humans are equal in value in their own right.

Parental/Peer Pressure: Accepting the views and attitudes of others without questioning or challenging; not thinking for oneself.

Anger/Retaliation: Reacting after some event/tragedy; thought to be the fault of a particular group of people.

Fear: Being uncertain of the implications of others; not sure of the purposes of others; afraid of what might happen.

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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings on Prejudice and Dis

  • Prejudice is unacceptable and is against Christian beliefs and teachings.
  • God created all human beings as equals, whatever race, ability, or gender.
  • The 10 Commandments give guidance on living in harmony with others.
  • Jesus' example [such as his treatment of lepers and outcasts] and his teachings [such as the Good Samaritan].
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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings Towards Wealth - Chr

Spiritual values are the most important. Material wealth is not the most important thing in life. Don't worry or be anxious over money. Material wealth should be shared with others. True giving, or generosity needs to involve cost or sacrifice. There is no success in relying on money or wealth for success or meaning in life.  The way you make your money or wealth is just as important as what you do with it.

Many Christians are very concerned about the National lottery [UK] and the effect it has on people. They don't think that the 'get rich quick' idea leads to a healthier lifestyle. Many churches have spoken out against gambling, and so feel that the lottery is unacceptable.Some are also unhappy about receiving lottery money, and are concerned about the number of charities which have suffered through people playing the lottery instead.


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Topic 4 - Discrimination

Three of the most common examples of people being treated differently are:

Racism - discriminating against a person just because of their race or skin colour

Gender - when discrimination happens against a person just because they are female/male.

Social class

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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings towards wealth - Hin

There should be: No greed, No bribery, No dishonesty, No illegal ways to make money

dharma - righteousness, duty
artha - material wealth, the pursuit of wealth/material advantage; it should be used is a good way
kama - desire, sensual pleasure
moksha - salvation, freedom from continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

there is also dama - meaning charity

don't mix up kama and karma, and dama, and dharma


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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings Towards Wealth - Chr

World Wide Message Tribe was a Christian pop group, based in Manchester. Andy Hawthorne, the co-founder, have up an executive job with a large salary so that he could concentrate on the work of WWFT with young people. All 7 members of the group deliberately turned their back on wanting to be rich and famous. "We took a dramatic drop in salary," says Andy, "but in terms of fulfilment and satisfaction - there's no comparison. Life doesn't revolve around money; but what I'm doing lasts forever." As well as singing and visiting schools, the group also helps fund a special bus as part of the Eden Project, based in Wythenshawe in Manchester. This hi-tech bus had comfortable seats, videos and electronic games, and enabled young people to have a good time, and to think about issues in life and religion. members of WWMT, and the Eden Project which it sponsors, believed that quality of life is more important than investment in money, possessions and security.

Summary: No unfair methods to get money. No greed/snobbishness. No lending for profit. No gambling.

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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings Towards Wealth - Chr

World Wide Message Tribe was a Christian pop group, based in Manchester. Andy Hawthorne, the co-founder, have up an executive job with a large salary so that he could concentrate on the work of WWFT with young people. All 7 members of the group deliberately turned their back on wanting to be rich and famous. "We took a dramatic drop in salary," says Andy, "but in terms of fulfilment and satisfaction - there's no comparison. Life doesn't revolve around money; but what I'm doing lasts forever." As well as singing and visiting schools, the group also helps fund a special bus as part of the Eden Project, based in Wythenshawe in Manchester. This hi-tech bus had comfortable seats, videos and electronic games, and enabled young people to have a good time, and to think about issues in life and religion. members of WWMT, and the Eden Project which it sponsors, believed that quality of life is more important than investment in money, possessions and security.

Summary: No unfair methods to get money. No greed/snobbishness. No lending for profit. No gambling.

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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings Towards Wealth - Hin

Material possessions are not of lasting value. Wealth is not owned; it is loaned to you by God. A person should fulfil their duty through their wealth. Personal wealth should be gained through lawful means - artha. If you are blessed with wealth, be generous and compassionate.

Many Hindus individually give money to charities to help people near to where they live. They may also give their support by vol;unatry work, prayer or gifts of money.

"What's called worldly possessions is impermanent for by things unstable, the stable cannot be obtained." [Katha Upanishad 2:6, 10]

"The Gods have not ordained hunger to be our death: even to the well-fed death comes in various shapes. The riches of those who are generous never waste away, while those who will not give find none to comfort them." [Rig Veda 10:117]

Hindu charity, Food for Life. Aims to feed those who can't feed themselves for free. It interprets the above quotes, by thinking that moksha can be gained by doing good deeds [karma], and also, if people have wealth to spend, they  should use it for good reasons and be generous with their wealth.

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Topic 4 - Religious Teachings towards wealth - Hin

There should be: No greed, No bribery, No dishonesty, No illegal ways to make money

dharma - righteousness, duty
artha - material wealth, the pursuit of wealth/material advantage; it should be used is a good way
kama - desire, sensual pleasure
moksha - salvation, freedom from continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

there is also dama - meaning charity

don't mix up kama and karma, and dama, and dharma


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Comments

catarina

I don't have a premium account, But I really want these notes and my dad is not letting me get one! My exam is this monday WJEC and I just think this packet will really boost up my grade, any help on how I can get it? :) 

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