Presentation on theme: "What have we learned? We are aware of the changing patterns of religious belief and practice in Ireland and elsewhere. Since the 1930s and 1940s, there."— Presentation transcript:
What have we learned? We are aware of the changing patterns of religious belief and practice in Ireland and elsewhere. Since the 1930s and 1940s, there have been many changes in religious belief and practice in Ireland: Some religious practices have died out, e.g. the strict Lenten fast, monthly confession and the Eucharistic fast from midnight. Others have become less popular, e.g. fewer people say the Family Rosary or take part in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Many homes no longer contain religious pictures or statues, e.g. Sacred Heart picture. As a result of the decisions taken by the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), there have been important changes in the way the Mass is celebrated. Since Vatican II, the Eucharist is usually celebrated in the language of the people rather than in Latin. The priest faces the people and they may choose to receive Communion in the hand. In the past, people received Communion only on the tongue. Between 1981 and 2005, there was a big decline in the number of people attending religious services – from 83 per cent to 54 per cent. In recent years, there has been a big increase in the size of some communities of faith in Ireland. For example, between 2002 and 2006, the Orthodox community in Ireland doubled in size and the Muslim community increased by 70 per cent (to over 32,000).
We are able to name and identify the factors that influence the religious beliefs of the adolescent.
What have we learned? We are aware of the facility for questioning as an essential human characteristic. The Search for Meaning One important difference between human beings and other creatures is that human beings ask questions. Children, teenagers and adults are all questioners. We ask questions in order to learn about other people, about life and about the world around us. Some of the questions that we ask are difficult to answer. Such questions are part of the search for the meaning of life. When people search for meaning, they are looking for a sense of purpose in life. They are looking for something that makes sense of life and that makes life feel worthwhile.
We can name common human questions of meaning and we are able to articulate our own questions of meaning. Questions of Meaning from Childhood to Adulthood While children, teenagers and adults all ask questions of meaning, there are differences as well as similarities in the kind of questions that they ask. During adolescence, teenagers develop the ability to reflect and to think about their lives. In trying to make sense of the world around them, they begin to ask questions that they never asked before. For example, when they see or experience birth, sickness, goodness or death, they often ask abstract questions about the meaning or purpose of these experiences: Why do people suffer and die? What is life all about? Why be good? Teenagers also begin to ask questions about what will make them happy. All human beings want to be happy. The search for happiness is part of the search for the meaning or purpose of life. How can I find happiness? What do I want to do with my life? What is my goal/purpose in life?
We are able to identify evidence of the human search for meaning in contemporary culture. ‘….… No person or created thing can make you fully happy. God made us like little egg cups with a dip in the centre; an emptiness inside that only God can fill. … We will always be restless, we will always be searching until we find God.’ (Ann Lee) ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.’ (St Augustine)
What have we learned? We have an awareness of the variety of images of God and their sources.
We can articulate our own images of God and we can identify their sources. Sources of Our Images of God Our images of God come from a variety of sources – our parents/guardians, our teachers, our community of faith, experiences of life, film, music, books, etc. Let’s look at three of these sources. Parents Parents have a big influence on children’s images of God. Usually, children first hear about God from their parents. The messages they hear are varied, for example: ‘God loves you and will always take care of you’ or ‘God is watching you, so you better be good’. These messages influence children’s images of God. Parents also influence their children’s images of God by the way they relate to their children. Research suggests that young children who are strictly disciplined by their parents tend to see God as a punisher. On the other hand, children who see their parents as loving and powerful tend to imagine God as loving and powerful.
Community of Faith The stories, beliefs and religious practices of a community of faith help to shape a person’s image of God. Research suggests that there are some differences in the way people of different religions think about God. Film In many films, for example Bruce Almighty, God is shown as a man dressed in white. This image of God encourages people to imagine God as a human being, usually male. In contrast, the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – teach that God is Spirit and does not have a body.
We can differentiate between the faith of the child and that of the adult and we have a sense of the development from one to the other. Stages of Faith Our images of God change as we grow from childhood to adolescence and on to adulthood. Just as our relationship with our parents changes as we get older, so also does our relationship with God. Usually, as people grow older, they pass through different stages of faith: Childhood Adolescent Mature faith faith faith
What have we learned? We understand that religious belief can find expression in prayer, worship and ways of life. We Express Our Faith People with religious faith put their trust in God and they express their faith through prayer, worship and way of life. Prayer Communication is an important part of human friendship. Similarly, communication is an important part of a relationship with God. Prayer is communication with God. Prayer is part of the search for God. Worship Another element of the human search for God is worship. People take part in worship in order to honour and praise God and to grow closer to God. Way of Life When people have a deep faith in God, their faith influences the way they live. Each of the world religions has a moral code – a set of guidelines about how people should live. These moral codes influence the choices that people of faith make.
We can identify evidence of religious belief in stories from two religious traditions. Mohandas (Mahatma) GandhiSr Stanislaus Kennedy
What have we learned? We have an awareness of the variety of world views in today’s culture. Our world view is like a pair of spectacles or contact lenses through which we look at the world. It shapes the way we see the world and influences our behaviour and attitudes.
We understand the challenge posed by some of these views to religious belief. Challenges to Religious Belief Materialism is a challenge to the experience of God. When someone believes that God does not exist, it is harder for them to recognise God in the everyday experiences of life. Secularism challenges religious belief by reducing the influence of religion in society. Individualism can limit a person’s ability to sense the presence of God. Individualists may get so caught up in pursuing their own interests that they fail to become aware of the presence of God in the world around them. The technological world view conflicts with the religious view of the world and of the human being. The story of creation in Genesis tells us that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and that our role is to imitate God the Creator by looking after all parts of creation. We are called to be stewards of creation. This means that we must use technology sensibly for the benefit of all people and all forms of life on this planet.
We can identify points of conflict and points of contact between the scientific and the religious world views of creation. In the past, there was a lot of disagreement between the worlds of science and religion concerning creation. In recent history, however, there have been moments of harmony between them: In 1951, Pope Pius XII welcomed the theory of the Big Bang, saying that it should lead scientists to the Creator. In 1992, Pope John Paul II said that the Church had made a mistake in the way it treated Galileo. He also suggested that there are ‘points of contact’ between religion and science – each helps us to understand ‘different aspects of reality’. Science sets out to answer the ‘How?’ questions, e.g. How did the universe and life begin? Religion, on the other hand, tends to ask the ‘Why?’ questions, e.g. Why do the universe and life exist? Since religion and science search for truth by asking different questions, we need both in order to make sense of life and of the world.