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Christianity- key beliefs

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by rockgrrl, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. thanks- for replying janegeography I do edexcel- and traditionally i do religion and life in Y9, and 10 then top some up for full course in Y11- however, my concern is that not a lot of students- due to KS3 curriculum which i am changing have a good, detailed enough grounding in the key beliefs so as a one off- i was going to do an intro to christianity, and Islam first. Hope this makes sense
  2. thanks- a very different dimension- i had not considered these perspectives
  3. I agree that the term 'Christian' has become increasingly problematic over the centuries. Perhaps an approach would be to start by highlighting this very fact and offer the word 'Christian' as an umbrella term under which there are the various 'denominations' who each have a distinctive understanding of what it means for them. It is pretty hard to do a 'catch all' lesson in 'basic' Christianity when each denomination claims their version is the truth. As a christened and confirmed member of the Church of England who was once at the liberal (Bible not wholly inspired Word of God) end of the Church but who is now a baptized member of a Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel (Bible wholly inspired Word of God + Doctrines of Grace (Calvinistic)) and therefore at the other end of the spectrum, the word 'Christian' now seems to be so loosely used as to have little more meaning than NOT Hindu or Jewish or any other known faith. etc.

    You could take a look at the early church who were called 'Christian' as a term of abuse but who called themselves members of 'The Way' and look at the beliefs they held in common such as: Jesus of Nazareth was the long expected Messiah of Jewish prophesy, He was the Divine Son of God who came into the world as a fully human being but was also fully God (they accepted this could not be explained but was a mystery beyond human comprehension), that he came of a purpose to live a perfect life (which since the fall of Adam & Eve no one had managed) so that he could be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all who believe in him, take the just punishment of God for their sins upon himself thus releasing believers from the penalty of eternal death and separation from God. He died, was buried and on the third day after his arrest, rose from the dead - demonstrating his victory over death - and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. After which Jesus Christ - who was equal and one with the Father and the Spirit - sent the Holy Spirit to the believers (Pentecost) to be their comforter and their teacher. The followers of 'The Way' believed the Jewish Torah and Prophets to be the inspired and infallible word of God. Eye witnesses of the events of Jesus' life wrote the Gospels under divine inspiration and letters written to the fledgling churches by the Apostles were also believed to be the very Word of God.

    Yet, even while the church was so young, error and heresy (departure from apostolic teaching) was beginning to take place as people added their own thoughts or disagreed with elements of the apostolic teaching. Several of the letters are written addressing the new ideas and seeking to explain why they were wrong. Ever since various branches and groups have differed on small or large parts of the initial teaching hence today we have many different groups and denominations who trace their origin back to the early church but who have drifted apart from each other and even fought each other over the centuries. What the 'real truth(s)' of Christianity are is always being discussed but at the end of the day it is for the individual to wrestle with the question and discover for themselves where they believe that truth lies.

    I encourage inquiring minds to go to the source - the Bible (preferably the Authorized Version for despite it's style it remains the most accurate translation from the original Greek and has the simplest word use) - read it for themselves, ask questions of those who live by it, observe their lives - whether they think those people's beliefs make a real difference to the way they live, the way the behave toward others, how they view life, death, eternity, God, Jesus etc and make up their own minds with the caveat that the process could take years and they could change their minds over the years but that the adventure will not be dull!

    I hope that helps?
    All the best
  4. I'm afraid I don't have experience of the Edexcel GCSE but I'm sure others do. I knwo that my previos school tried to ground some of the key principles right from year 7 so that they were used to terms such as sanctity of life and made in the image of God before GCSE. So I'm sure your changes to the KS3 curriculum will include the spiral approach.
    Are you planning on doing this until the end of term? I would perhaps think about the central message of Christianity as a starting point - perhaps you could have a local vicar in to explain this and take questions about what he/she believes and why. I would also perhaps look at the Bible if this hasn't been done - the different books, how it is used by Christians and the main division being Old and New Testament. There are some great resources on the Brick Testament which could liven this up a bit. And perhaps a lesson about church history and how it has split into the denominations we have today. You could give them a group each to research.
    Hope this helps.
  5. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Hello Caroline, I guess your computer is like mine and doesn't keep your formatting which is why it comes out all in a lump. The way to prevent this is to use a code that the internet recognises for paragraph break. First you write () . I've put each one in brackets so that it doesn't just act as a paragraph change and not show up here. I hope that converts ok and doesn't read as some other formatting code.

    I think you are absolutely right about the value of introducing Christian as an umbrella term. I always refer to its roots, Christ being the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, and give some background about the way the Jews have been promissed a Messiah who will come to establish God's Kingdom - that the Messiah is the anointed one, 'Made King by God.

    Then I look at the actual evidence for Jesus having been a real man who lived in Palestine/Israel some 2000 years ago. What are the sources of information about him.?

    It's important to bring in the Jewish and Roman sources as they are independent of Christianity and prove that he really did live.

    Then say that Christians are people who don't think Jesus was an ordinary man or even a good man. Most Christians believe that Jesus was The Christ, made king by God - that he was God Incarnate and in him God is revealled in a unique way.

    But you can make it clear that not all Christians understand or view Jesus in the same way. This comes down to different interpretation of the books in the Bible.

    Then I would do a few lessons on the Bible and the different genre of writing we find in it - and the different ways in which Christians can approach and read it.

    You can give an outline of the way that the books of the Bible were written and compiled - and the ways that Christianity has branched out over the years since Jesus lived so that there are now more than 20,000 different denominations.....

    Then you can look at what the Gospels teach us about who Jesus was or is - and what he did and taught.

    I would also bring in something on the Trinity - how in Christianity we are in relationship with God in different ways - and for many Christians it is the personal relationship which they feel with Jesus which matters most.

    Another important thing to bring out when looking at the Trinity is that God is in relationship with 'Himself' - and that in Greek, the word for Holy Spirit is female, so our perception of God as male is wrong. It is just as correct to address God as female.
  6. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    oh! it did all read as code. First write the symbol like a V on its side, pointing to the left, This is above the comma on the keyboard. Then write forward slash/ symbol. Then write little p. And finally write the V on its side again, but pointing to the right - like a pianissimo sign in music.

    good luck
  7. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Errrm. I don't wish to turn this into an Opinion-style debate, but I do truly hope that this is not the level of scholarship you are teaching students to aspire to or emulate. I would think that this type of conclusion (i.e. opinion) would only be appropriate in a christian/Sunday school class.
  8. I think we can teach crackpot opinions as crackpot. Jesus wasn't a mushroom, as argued by John Allegro. There was no 2000 year conspiracy by Jesus' blood family to regain control of Christianity - whilst there might have been a dispute between the blood family and the rest of the Church, it is lost to history and a totally unproveable speculation. St Paul did not believe in "celestial Jesus" but in a real man, and he met His main follower, St Peter, and fell out with him.
    However a non-faith school shouldn't teach any particular version of Christology as undisputed truth.


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