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Tackling Tough Questions. This presentation of young peoples work explores the issue of belief in God in a world of suffering through art. Students are.

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Presentation on theme: "Tackling Tough Questions. This presentation of young peoples work explores the issue of belief in God in a world of suffering through art. Students are."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tackling Tough Questions

2 This presentation of young peoples work explores the issue of belief in God in a world of suffering through art. Students are invited to think about creating their own work of art to respond to these issues for themselves. The examples here are good models, but originality is the best approach.

3 God and evil This presentation explores some issues and arguments about God and evil. If there is a great God, full of love, why is there evil? Why so much? Why so apparently unstoppable? Philosophical methods like clarifying terms, examining different ideas, looking for logical connections and analysing the consistency of ideas are introduced Careful thinking rather than knee-jerk prejudice is the learning aim.

4 Art and philosophy Language has its limits. In this presentation, you will see pupils art work from the Art in Heaven competition. The works of art were all made in response to the theme Where is God? Sometimes art can express a response to the ultimate questions of philosophy that language cant quite reach. Judge the art works yourself, with a thoughtful comment and ten marks each for creative quality and philosophical power.

5 Here are the questions In the sky? With the hungry? With the children? In the imagination? In prayer? In the mosque? In a mandir? In the mass graves? In the earth? When there is suffering, is it possible that God is in the suffering, with the people who hurt the most? What does that mean?

6 Georgette: Missing piece of the puzzle I have always wondered where God is. Is he there when you first ride your bike, when you cut your knee or in times of poverty and famine? I know God can be in your thoughts and prayers. When I was younger I used to think God was a man who lived in the sky. Now I am older I have a more moral based opinion of where God actually is. In my picture theres the world in the middle: religion affects everyone even if you dont believe. Happy and sad moments in different time periods surround the world: God was in history and is in the present and future. Martin Luther King represents change and progress. Children and babies represent new life. I have put money on my poster: in the present day all the world thinks about is money. But I bet that you are asking me why I have left a space? I have left a space because as you can see all my pictures fit together like a puzzle: the bit that is missing represents God: this is because where is he at all these times of sadness? Does God not care? Did the piece of the puzzle get lost?

7 Jessica Parry explores the most evil of human acts – genocide – in her work of art on the Holocaust. If you believe in a good and powerful God, then this is a huge problem for your theology. Could God have stopped it? Then what does love mean? Could God not stop it? Then divine power is limited.

8 Where was God in the Holocaust? Does the Holocaust make atheism more sensible and reasonable?

9 Monumitas picture of two young Muslims praying over a backdrop of the shattered Twin Towers of 9/11 asks profound questions about God and religions. She writes: devoted and peaceful Muslims pray amongst the rubble of the twin towers. This symbolizes the impact on the perception of Islam in the media and society today. I am very interested in this religion: there are so many assumptions & misinterpretations made by people about it. I want to find out more and not be swept into the acceptance of rumours and images portrayed by the media and naivety of society. The purpose of any religion is the spread of peace. However if people continue to corrupt this and use religion to channel their aggression towards mankind then religion will continue to be converted into political groups. Its up to us to stop this happening. Religion and God are beautiful values which live deep within us. Acted upon in a correct, unselfish way, religion can help to rid the ever growing injustice and discrimination against religions in the world.

10 Where is God? In this slate-grey 3-D corridor, a hunched red plasticine figure sits. Meredith (12) expresses an experience. The words say: There was a man who suffered every day and every night. His sadness radiated from him and his anger burned like fire. He sat in the dark at the end of the corridor. He asked Is there a God? If there is, why does he let me suffer? No answer came, only silence. He curled up and cried. Is personal suffering good grounds for atheism?

11 My picture shows how I think god is in the world. He is everywhere: in good places but also in bad. There are war images: is god there when people fight and kill? There is also a woman crying, asking if god is there when you feel alone. There are children, thin and suffering: does god know that they are ill? Is he watching them slowly die? There is a Nazi flag and the Jewish Star of David, Holocaust and Hitler. Was God there? But there are also children dotted around happy and smiling, the world isnt only made up of sadness, suffering, death, murder, but also of happiness, joy and love. Where is God? God is in every person. Elena is 15

12 Where is God? Newspaper clippings from todays news with barbed wire. My way of symbolising war and suffering for the world. In the top left theres a big tear in the fabric; underneath is bright gold. This is where I think God is, forever growing larger in the world and in our hearts, biding his time to cover the whole image in gold. Nicky, 14 Is Nicky correct? Is God at work to bring about more and greater good in the world?

13 We have not answered the question Where is God? But we have suggested how to go about answering the question. Seek and you will find. But it is not that simple. If god was at the touch of a button would you dare click it?


15 Penny: Your request has been denied This expresses the feeling that God, if he exists, is unreachable and hidden. At a time when we need God most, such as the peril the girl is facing, we reach out. No one grabs our hand. The masses of paper falling from the sky suggest that our prayers never reach anyone. The phrase your request has been denied, written on every piece of paper, suggests that I cant reach God. I feel there is no personal bond, no personal response to my prayers. All we receive is a weak cover up of the truth, an automated message: your request to be happy, to be alone, to do well, to get better, has been denied. I feel it is very unlikely that God exists. This is what my paint and ink expresses. The different coloured lines represent movement, the different feelings the girl experiences during each prayer, each denied request.


17 Shamiso: The psychological bondage of God In some of the photographs a white mask is painted over my eyes and I whitened my lips too, the most expressive features on my face. I have tried to obscure them. As Karl Marx said: religion is good for social control and prevents any form of revolt, as it threatens eternal damnation. I did this obscuring to show that by committing to a religion, you lose aspects of your character to adhere to whatever the religion tells you. To portray the constraints in which religion holds an individual, I strapped various belts around my body and bound my head with wire. The crucifix and padlock on my lips represents how belonging to any religious group (Christianity was used only as an example) can be a vice to censor free thought and freedom of expression. The monochrome photographs show a journey of suffering and strife while believing that in accepting oppression and allowing the psychological bondage she will be rewarded for her virtue. I appear alone in all of the images and they are taken from the perspective of someone watching who is more powerful and has more control than me; they can be thought of as taken through the eyes of God. The journey ends with God watching as I clutch onto a balcony to keep from falling, giving him the chance to save me. The final shot is looking at me after landing on the ground below. I did this to try to convey my feeling that even if you do choose to devote your life religiously, remaining loyal through pain and affliction, there is no guarantee the promise that your God will ever deliver you at the end of it all. Inspiration for this came from considering third world countries. For example parts of Africa are extremely Christian yet they seem to suffer the most, their God has failed them time after time and yet they maintain their loyalty: Religion is an opiate of the masses, Richard Dawkins wrote in his book The God Delusion: politicians avoid mentioning religion and instead characterize their battle as a war against terror… or theycharacterize terrorists as motivated by pure evil. I agree with how Dawkins suggests that perhaps religion is evil; if it was completely benign then God would be able to prevent suffering and would certainly not cause it. I think religion psychologically imprisons people. Although Jihad is not meant to include aggressive warfare, it has occurred with extremists. In essence I do not think that there is anything that separates religion from so called cults as they both have the same brainwashing effect on people. Hannah took the photographs

18 Rebecca: Seek and you will find him Where is God? Seek and you will find him. I depict a girl looking at her shadow. Newspaper cuttings in the shadow speak about the everyday: terror, murder, death. Jesus stands behind her, surrounded by light and colour. I put cuttings from newspapers in the shadow, to do with what you see and hear about on the news every day: terror, murder, death, tension, crisis. Its easy to focus on the shadow in life, as its presented so frequently. If you think of God, its in the situations when good things happen. But in the shadow, God is there. In the most war torn area peoples lives can be transformed because of him. The image of Jesus behind the girl and the colour that surrounds them both illustrates that even where things look dark, God is working there. There is light even in the shadow.

19 the gallery at: Enter the competition yourselfEnter the competition yourself TACKLING TOUGH QUESTIONS: 85 minutes DVD and book of classroom work for 14–19s, GCSE and AS A2.TACKLING TOUGH QUESTIONS: 85 minutes DVD and book of classroom work for 14–19s, GCSE and AS A2. An RE Today publication, price £35.An RE Today publication, price £35. Copyright: Lat Blaylock NATRE / RE Today. Reproduce by permission only.

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