Religious Expression in Society

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Candidates will be required to answer four questions in the examination, based on four of the six topics available.

This material should be considered in the light of each of the other topics in the unit. It is an exploration of the nature of spirituality.

  • what do we mean by spirituality? 
  • how is spirituality expressed?
  • why is spirituality such a powerful influence?
  • what is the place of spirituality in the modern world?
  • the concept of blasphemy – what it is, how it is demonstrated, and its impact on religious people.

This topic explores art in its various forms, how spirituality has influenced art, and the contribution art has made to spirituality. Candidates will be expected to be able to discuss at least one example of each of the following types of art: icons, painting, calligraphy, graffiti, sculpture (centres are free to choose specific examples).

  • what is religious art?;
  • how is it produced – inspiration, revelation or devotion?;
  • different types of art and examples of each of the following: icons, painting, calligraphy, graffiti, sculpture;
  • how and why religions use art;
  • how is religious art used in worship (public and/or private)?;
  • what impact does religious art have on those looking on – believers and non-believers?;
  • what does religious art tell us – about God, about belief, about the artist?;
  • the symbolic nature of this form of spirituality.

This topic explores architecture in its various forms, how spirituality has influenced architecture, and the contribution architecture has made to spirituality. Candidates will be expected to be able to discuss at least one example of each of the following types of architechture: places of worship, graveyard architechture, edifices, monuments, statues (centres are free to choose specific examples). 

  • what is religious architecture?;
  • how is religious architecture produced – inspiration, revelation or devotion?;
  • different types, and examples of each of the following: places of worship, graveyard architecture, edifices, monuments, statues;
  • how and why religions use architecture;
  • how is religious architecture used in worship (public and/or private)?;
  • what impact does it have on those looking on – believers and non-believers?;
  • what does religious architecture tell us – about God, about belief, about the architect?;
  • the symbolic nature of this form of spirituality.

This topic explores literature in its various forms, how spirituality has influenced literature, and the contribution literature has made to spirituality. Candidates will be expected to be able to discuss at least one example of each of the following types of literature: holy books, books of teachings of famous believers, fiction with a religious message, poetry, song lyrics (centres are free to choose specific examples).

  • what is religious literature?;
  • how is religious literature produced – inspiration, revelation or devotion?;
  • different types and examples of each of the following: holy books, books of teachings of famous believers, fiction with a religious message, poetry;
  • how and why religions use literature;
  • how is religious literature used in worship (public and/or private)?;
  • what impact does religious literature have on those looking on – believers and non-believers?;
  • what does religious literature tell us – about God, about belief, about the writer?;
  • the symbolic nature of this form of spirituality.

This topic explores media in their various forms, how spirituality has influenced media, and the contribution media have made to spirituality. Candidates will be expected to be able to discuss at least one example of each of the following genres: newspaper, magazine, television, internet, film, documentary (Centres are free to choose specific examples).

  • how is religion portrayed in the media – newspaper, magazine, analogue/satellite/digital TV, Internet, film, documentary?;
  • the positive and negative sides of religious portrayal, including education, supporting/ strengthening faith, indoctrination;
  • should religions be able to censor what is shown through different media forms?;
  • how and why religions use the media;
  • what impact does religious media have on those looking on – believers and non-believers?;
  • what does religious media tell us – about God, about belief, about the producers?;
  • the symbolic nature of this form of spirituality.

This topic explores music in its various forms, how spirituality has influenced music, and the contribution music has made to spirituality. Candidates will be expected to be able to discuss at least one example of each of the following types of music: hymns, mainstream types of music, chanting, scripture put to music (centres are free to choose specific examples). 

  • what is religious music?;
  • how is it produced – inspiration, revelation or devotion?;
  • different types, and examples of each of the following: hymns, mainstream types of music, chanting, scripture put to music;
  • how and why religions use music;
  • how is religious music used in worship (public and/or private)?;
  • what impact does religious music have on those looking on – believers and non-believers?;
  • what does religious music tell us – about God, about belief, about the composer/lyricist?;
  • the symbolic nature of this form of spirituality.

The topic explores how people express their spirituality generally within society, and the comparative importance of each, as well as how this expression can lead to negativity from others in society.

  • expressing belonging – membership of a religion (including different types of membership such as lay/denominational, faith commune, community and monastic);
  • use and wearing of symbols, and their meaning;
  • the importance of any of the following: membership, use of symbols and attendance at worship;
  • the benefits drawn from the following: membership, use of symbols and attendance at worship;
  • the difficulties brought for a believer by public expression of spirituality.