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Nature of religion preliminary study notes:

 a worldview is a system of answers shared by a significant number of people. It is a general

view of life
 a supernatural dimension is a belief in a divine being or power greater than humankind and
the natural world
 transcendent worldview: religions that believe there are beings that exist beyond the
known universe and that are not subject to the laws of nature- polytheism and monotheism
are the two main types of transcendent worldviews
 monotheism: the belief in one God e.g. Christianity, Judaism and Islam
 polytheism: the belief in many Gods/Goddesses e.g. Hinduism, Greek mythology
 Immanent worldview: religions that believe that the divine spirit or supreme being lives
within nature and inside the individual

Characteristics of religion:
1. Beliefs and believers:
 A belief that there is a reality that is greater than all the parts of the universe and, in
many cases, exists outside the universe. This can be in both transcendent or immanent
religious traditions
 A paradigm is a core belief that a person must have if that person can truly be said to
belong to that religion e.g. in Christianity the belief is that Jesus Christ died and rose
from the dead in order to save humankind from sin and death
 There is also a range of believers within a religious tradition
2. Sacred texts:
 Religions possess sacred texts and writings
 These may be in written form or may be made into images that aid the less educated to
understand the significant beliefs of their religion
 Some sacred texts have a strong significance as they are in the form of a revelation from
God e.g. the Qur'an in Islam
 For many religions, the life and words of the founder can be found in them, presenting
believers with the most important role model on which they can base their lives
 Sacred texts also contain rules and directions on how to live life, along with prayers and
rituals that have become central to the religious tradition
 Shows what the believer must do in ethical situations
 May assist ministers and priests to carry out their duties and obligations
 Therefore sacred texts are given a significant authority
 They are often placed in special places within churches, mosques, synagogues and
temples and are often elaborately decorated
3. Ethics:
 Ethics is the practical application of belief
 Ethics are the basis of morals and the distinguishing from right and wrong
 Many ethical teachings of a religious tradition can be found within its sacred texts
 Religious ethical teachings give direction to how humans should act sexually, politically,
economically, professionally and environmentally
 There are also teachings regarding a person’s body and health- bioethics
 Ethics give the adherent a guide as to how to live a life which is pleasing to God
4. Rituals and ceremonies:
 Rituals and ceremonies are ways to celebrate and reinforce the central belief system and
structures for that tradition
 There are two types of ritual- public and private
 A public ritual is a formal activity with clearly define structures, timing and content
 A private ritual is one where the believer can perform in any manner they feel
 Public rituals are usually based on the rituals found in sacred texts e.g. Holy Communion
in Christianity comes from the last supper
 It may include readings from sacred texts, set formulae of prayers and petitions or rites
of purification
 Rites of passage assist a person in moving from one state of life to another e.g. the
sacrament of marriage in Christianity
 Rituals and ceremonies can benefit the community in both good and bad times e.g. a
funeral service in Christianity provides the community with relief
 Helps members of the community remember their beliefs and reinforce the link
between present faith and the historical tradition
 May give structure to ones’ day e.g. Salat in Islam
 May have different forms such as music, dance, performance and art
 Provides a sense of identity as it defines their culture

Contribution of religion:
Contribution to individuals:
 Offers answers to life’s profound questions- why are we here, how was the world created
 It explains creation, human nature and life’s purpose
 It also gives an identity as a believer within a religious tradition- sense of belonging
 Offers a system of ethics that will guide the person in behaving appropriately- shows how
they must treat themselves, others and the environment
 Helps to address current ethical societal issues within society
 Gives ways in which an individual may celebrate significant events e.g. marriage
 Religious traditions present role models
 Allows for the adherent to find inner peace through prayer, reflection and meditation

Contribution to society and culture:

 Society needs peace in order to survive
 Religion has played a significant role in maintaining this peace through the responsibility of
the individual to acknowledge their obligations towards a divine being
 Religions have also created hostilities and war
 In various cases, societies laws are based on the ethical systems of a religious tradition e.g.
the Westminster system of law
 Social welfare is a common concern in many religious traditions and have thus led to the
development of many hospitals, schools, orphanages and nursing homes
 Religious traditions have been great patrons of arts
 They have been responsible for some of the world’s most beautiful architecture e.g. the
Grand Mosque, the Taj Mahal, various Cathedrals etc.
 Religions have also dictated the appropriate dress and diet for people
 Religious traditions teach that humans are more than what is understood and explained by

Dynamic religion:
Dynamic Religion is one with energy, ambition, new ideas and practical achievements. It also needs
to be able to evolve to the social norms of the time, constantly refreshing itself. A living religion is
one that is practical and immersed in everyday human existence.
Religions need to constantly adapt their believers and beliefs, sacred texts and writings, ethics,
rituals and ceremonies to the modern day. When all these characteristics are interacting creatively,
they nurture a dynamic, living religion with remains relevant in the social and cultural landscape.
Australian Aboriginal Beliefs and Spiritualties- The Dreaming
 The dreaming is the aboriginal view of creation: it is the beginning of time, the creation of
life, the birth of humanity and the ordering of all things. It is the remote past of the
ancestral beings upon which the ancestor spirits interacted with the land and the people

 Outline the nature of the Dreaming in relation to:

o Origins of the universe
There is no sense of a creator or creation, the Ancestral Beings traveled and created the plants,
animals and then they became the landforms and sacred sites. There is no issue over whether there
was a great creator of the Ancestors but rather that they all simply existed.

o Sacred sites
Sacred sites are the places or land features that are believed had been or had been visited by the
Ancestral Beings. The Dreaming tells of the Ancestral Beings wandering the land, adding to and
changing it, giving birth to sacred sites. Natural land formations where Aboriginal Ancestral Spirits
interacted with creation.

o Stories of the Dreaming

These recall the journeys of the Ancestral Beings and their interaction with people and their giving of
land to certain tribes

o Symbolism and art

Art and ritual tell stories and preserve the sacred laws handed down. The art of the ceremonies
does not usually last past the ceremony itself but it reminds the people of the way the Ancestors
shaped the environment, laid down the law, land and responsibilities which the aboriginal people
must live out.
The layers of meaning within the dreaming are full of mythological symbolism; the stories of the
dreaming contain deeper meaning to those who are well versed with the land, the people and the
 Discuss the diversity of the Dreaming for Aboriginal peoples
The dreaming is both personal and communal; the dreaming holds different meaning to each tribe
and individual. The totem of the tribe, the animal, plant or landmark which is linked to an Ancestral
Being responsible for the person or tribes existence has a different dreaming concerning it compared
to another. It is against Aboriginal law to falsely claim the dreaming of another group.

 Kinship: highly sophisticated networks of relationships governing interactions between

members of Aboriginal language groups.

The connection between the dreaming, land and identity:

 The link between human beings and creation is through totemism. A totem can be an object,
such as a bird, plant, landmark which subjects them to the spiritual forces (dreaming) which
are responsible for all of existence
 The person becomes linked to the totem in which is linked to the land and the spirit ebings
in charge of the area. Each totem has its own sacred site which connects it to the mythology
of the totem
 Totemism is a belief which connects people to their ancestral beings through ceremonies
and rituals
 A persons totem gives them an identity
Judaism preliminary notes:
 Outline the life of Abraham:
 Judaism was the first monotheistic religion
 Abraham is the founding father or “Patriarch” of the Jewish people and of the three
monotheistic religions- Islam, Christianity, Judaism.
 He left his home in Mesopotamia and went on a journey to the unknown place- canaan
 He had a lot of trust in God.
 God made a covenant between himself and Abraham. The covenant promised that
Abraham would be an ancestor of a multitude of nations and that kings will come from
 Abraham’s faith was tested and shown during the sacrificing of his only son Isaac.
 Descendants of Abraham were Isaac, Jacob and Joseph

 Describe the Covenant with the Patriarchs, including the promises of a People and a Land:
 Importance of the covenant - the Covenant lies at the heart of the Jewish religion.
 It expresses the intimate relationship between God and the people of Israel that is the
cornerstone of Judaism

 Covenant with Noah- promise to flood the earth but Noah and his family will survive- the
sign of the covenant is a rainbow
 then the covenant between God and Abraham- sign of covenant was circumcision
 covenant between God and Moses- promised land
 covenant between God and David regarding monarchy

 Outline the story of the Exodus and the giving of the Law at Sinai, including the Ten
 The exodus was the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt
 Moses' childhood - He was a Hebrew who grew up in the Egyptian royal court after being
adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter
 He was forced to flee Egypt after having killed an Egyptian.
 Moses was given the task by God to free the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt
 The pharaoh objected and thus was the cause of the ten plagues
 Following the tenth plague by God which led to the death of the first born in every
Egyptian family the Pharaoh let the Hebrews who were held in captivity, free.
 The pharaoh changed his mind and ordered his slaves to go after the Hebrews. Pharaohs
army drowned in the red sea
 Following the crossing of the Red Sea, God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses
at Mount Sinai.
 Significance of the Exodus - The Hebrews discovered a God who was intimately
concerned with their welfare and intervened in their fate by freeing them from
 The theme of freedom from oppression is a central concept that underpins Jewish
 Outline the unique features of:
– Conservative Judaism
– Orthodox Judaism
– Progressive Judaism
Conservative Judaism:
 Distinguished by its strong rejection of any kind of dogmatism or inflexible thinking
 The three principles of Conservative Judaism commit their adherents to the unity of all
Jewish people, the continuation of Jewish tradition and the maintenance of Jewish
 Belief that a religious traditions exists for the sake of the people who follow it
 Men and women sit together in synagogue, women can read from the Torah and girls
undergo a bat mitzvah.
 Choirs accompanied by music
Orthodox Judaism:
 Started with a man named Samson Hirsch
 All rituals must be conducted in Hebrew and men and women sit separately in synagogue
during worship.
 Judaism encompasses all life from worship to the kitchen
 Very strict in keeping commandments
 Strict dietary laws- Kosher
 Male only rabbis and only male bar mitzvah
 Take the Torah literally
 Allow female rabbis
 Girls have bat Mitzvah
 Men and women can sit together in the synagogue
 Less emphasis on rituals but rather on moral values such as pluralism (allowing different
 Emphasis on Tikkun Olam: repair of the world which is broken by sin.
 Strong emphasis on social justice such as caring for the poor and environment

 Discuss the belief in the one God and the attributes of God:
 The centrality of this belief is emphasised through the sheema. “Hear of Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is One”
 The sheema calls upon the Jews to affirm that there is only one God who is unique and
through Moses, saved them from slavery.
 God is spirit, beyond matter and form. There are no images of God in the synagogue
 God is not limited by bodily life
 God is the creator of the universe
 Gods spirit is manifested throughout the universe
 outline the concept of a divinely inspired moral law:
 Torah contains the divinely inspired moral law
 Moral law binds them with God
 The aim of the Ten Commandments is to lay down a path for humans to follow, so that
they can relate to another in a way that is in accordance with their creation as God's
 Identify the importance of the covenant for Jewish people:
 Definition - The Covenant is a series of agreements recorded in the Hebrew Bible
between God and the people of Israel.
 Importance of the Covenant - The Covenant lies at the heart of the Jewish religion and is
the cornerstone of Judaism.
 Establishes a relationship between the people and God
 There are four main covenants:
 Important as it sets out certain laws and ethics- ten commandments
 It explains the consequences of immorality in society- Sodom and Gomorrah and Noah
and the Flood


 Identify the importance of the Hebrew bible and the Talmud:

 The Hebrew bible is the Tenach and is made of three sections: the Torah (first five
books), the Nevi’im (the prophets), Ketubim (wisdom books)
 Torah is the most important part of the Tenach because it contains the expression of the
Covenant between God and the people of Israel
 Also sets out the law which Jewish people are obliged to follow.
 613 mitzvot regulate all aspects of the day to day life
 Nevi'im contains the books of the Prophets.
 Prophets remind Jewish people of the importance of remaining faithful to the Covenant
 The third section of the Torah is the Ketuvim or "writings"
 The most significant parts of the Ketuvim are the books of Psalms and Proverbs.
 The book of Psalms contains a mix of hymns of praise and lament.
 They are extremely important for their role in worship and prayer.
 The Proverbs are collections of short pithy statements expressing practical wisdom
 The Talmud is the name for certain rabbinical writings. It is subdivided into Mishnah,
Gemara and Midrash
 Mishnah is the Jewish book of oral law
 The Gemara was essentially a commentary on the Mishnah
 The Midrash was a collection of biblical interpretations completed at various times

 Examine extracts from the Hebrew Scriptures which demonstrate the principal beliefs of
 Oneness of God: the sheema- Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
 Eternity of God: "The Lord shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations"
(Psalm 146:10).
 Omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time): "even before a word is on my
tongue, behold, O Lord, you know the whole of it." (Psalm 139:4).
 God is powerful: "Then God said, "let there be light" and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).
 God is pure spirit: The creation stories (Genesis 1:1-2:4).
 Moral law: "it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you only have to carry it out" (Deuteronomy 30:14).
 Covenant: God promises that Abraham will become "the father of a host of nations"
(Genesis 17:4).


 outline the principal ethical teachings of Judaism:

– The Commandments of the Torah
 The most important source of ethical guidance for Jews is the Torah which encompasses the
Written and Oral Torah.
 Jewish ethics is derived from the covenantal relationship where they were protected and
taught their responsibilities towards God and other people.
 10 commandments
 Tzedakah- charity and justice

– The Prophetic Vision, including social justice and Tikkun Olam – the repair of the world:

 The vision of the prophets as inspired Jews to fulfil the ethics of the covenant, a world
governed by righteousness and justice- a messianic vision
 The Prophets were actively concerned with bettering the plight of the poor, the needy and
the oppressed and did so by challenging the authority figures of society.
 Social justice include giving hospitality to strangers, visiting the sick, assisting the poor,
accompanying the dead to the grave
 Tikkun Olam means ‘repair’ of the world. This concept has come into use through social
 Tikkun Olam is the underlying motivation behind social action and volunteer projects that
work towards repairing the world through human actions

– The Book of Proverbs – wisdom, righteousness, purity and generosity of spirit:

 The Book of Proverbs is a collection of short statements which offer practical and simple
advice on how to lead a moral life and behave prudently.
 Wisdom
o The major theme dealt with in the Book of Proverbs is that of wisdom.
o God is the source of wisdom- source of which people come to know God
o Wisdom is a powerful force that will bring wellbeing to those who seek it. (Proverbs
 Righteousness
o A person who lives righteously and with integrity will live a happy life regardless of
their situation (Proverbs 19:1)
 Purity
o Purity which is linked to integrity is a virtue that has true value and hence should be
praised (Proverbs 11:4).
 Generosity of spirit
o Generosity of spirit involves helping society's poor and vulnerable (Proverbs 24:10).
o God will bless those who are generous to the poor and needy, while those who do
not will suffer negative consequences as a result of their selfishness (Proverbs

 Describe the importance of ethical teachings in the life of adherents:

 Guides Jews into making ethical and moral decisions
 Allows Jews to appreciate the world around them
 Gain a stronger connection with God by acting more like God.
 Gives expectations from both God and society
 Set guide on how to live life which is pleasing to God


 Describe the importance of the Shabbat:

 Human beings are called to imitate God who rested on the seventh day after creating the
 Shabbat is the most significant liturgical event of the week.
 Shabbat is significant because it reminds the Jewish people of the greatness of God in
creating the cosmos. It also reminds the Jewish people of the Covenant between God and
the People of Israel which lies at the heart of Judaism (Exodus 31:16).
 Emphasises their following of the Ten Commandments- “Remember to keep the Sabbath
day holy”
 Prohibition from all forms of work - Acknowledgement that God as the ultimate creator and
reminds the people that creation is a gift from God.
 Just as the Sabbath festival is about to begin, the wife lights two candles which represent
the dual injunctions of keeping and remembering the Shabbat.
 The wife prays over the lit candles for the welfare of her husband and children.
 On Friday night, the most significant celebration is the Shabbat dinner which is eaten with
family and friends.
 The table is laid with two loaves known as hallot which represent the dual Shabbat
 The father blesses the children before Kiddush is recited over the wine.
 Saturday morning is spent in the synagogue in Torah study.
 The recitation of the prayer, Havdalah takes place to mark the end of the Shabbat
celebration at sunset.
 The Havdalah candle is lit as a sign of the end of the Shabbat, where lighting a fire is
permissible again.
 It allows people to stop and remember what is most important in life- God and Family
 Outline the historical and cultural context in which Christianity began:
 Christianity stemmed from Judaism
 Before Jesus, the Jews were taken over by the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks and
finally the Romans
 The power of Judaism was largely centred in Jerusalem.
 Messianic expectation: Jewish speculation that the Messiah was to be a political
saviour was the result of centuries of political oppression by the Romans. A messiah
that would bring peace to the world. A messiah that would lead a revolt against the
 Jesus did not conform to what most Jews thought the messiah would be
 The Sadducees were the priestly class in Jewish society
 The Pharisees were the followers of Mosaic Law and focused on the importance of
obeying strict rules in an effort to live a devout life.
 Another significant group within the Jewish community at the time were the
Zealots. They looked to bring about the release of the Jewish people from the
tyranny of the Romans.
 The Sanhedrin was the Jewish religious council in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin enacted
laws and regulated religious life
 Tax–Collectors were Jews who worked for the Romans by collecting taxes from their
fellow Jews. They would often collect extra for themselves. They were very
 To be a good Jew meant to be faithful to the covenant by obeying the Law.

 Examine the principal events of Jesus’ life:

 Jesus was born in Bethlehem
 Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a small village in Galilee where he worked as a carpenter
 Jesus was born, lived and died as a Jew
 Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding at Cana where he turned water into
wine, marking the first sign of his ministry on earth.
 When Jesus was 30 he was baptised by John the Baptist, in the Jordan River
 He fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights and was tempted by the devil.
 Jesus preached the word of God and told many parables such as the lost son or the
good shepherd.
 He performed many miracles such as healing the sick and curing the blind and deaf.
 Challenged Jewish and Roman authority
 At the age of 33, Jesus was arrested by Pontius Pilate and crucified on the cross
 Three days after his death, he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where
he sits at the right hand of God the Father.
 Explain why Jesus is the model for Christian life:
 As the ‘perfect human’ Jesus is a model of Christian life through his attitudes
towards God and others, his actions in social justice and his admirable
characteristics and personal qualities.
 The ethical teachings that Jesus proclaimed called on his followers to live life based
on two key relationships. One relationship was with their God, whom they were to
love, honour and worship. The other relationship was with their neighbour, whom
they were to care for and treat with justice
 The Gospel portraits of Jesus show him to be a man of prayer, often withdrawing
from the pressures of daily life to pray in a quiet place, and does so especially as he
approaches key moments in his ministry and during times of personal crisis-

 Describe the early development of Christian communities after the death of Jesus:
 The first Christian communities after the death of Jesus were his disciples. They
were directed by the risen Jesus to preach the word of God to all peoples.
 Jesus’ death and resurrection is announced at Pentecost. It is this core event upon
which much of the Christian doctrine and theology are based.
 The church expanded through Pauls missionary
 The conversion of Paul had a significant impact on the expansion of Christianity.
Paul’s journeys allowed Christianity to be spread across the world. Through his
journeys and writings, Paul was able to establish Christianity as a separate entity
from Judaism.
 The persecuted Christians were a Christian community which developed after Jesus’
death- they were crucified by Romans.
 Persecutions ended with the Conversion of the Emperor Constantine in 312 CE.
Church became wealthy and powerful- Constantine legalise Christianity

 Outline the unique features of:

– Anglicanism
– Catholicism
– Orthodoxy
– Pentecostalism
– Protestantism

Anglicanism (Church of England):

 Started during the protestant reformation

 The founder of the C of E was Henry VIII because the Catholic Church did not allow divorce.
He desperately wanted a boy to be the next rightful heir but only had girls and so wanted a
 Core beliefs include the centrality of the Bible and the key sacraments of baptism and the
Lord’s Supper
 Within the Anglican Church there are two divisions: High Church (Anglo-Catholic) and Low
Church (evangelical)


 Historically, Catholicism began with the disciples of Jesus. It established itself on the
leadership of saint Peter
 The Catholic Church remains hierarchical with the community looking to leadership from its
priests, bishops, cardinals and pope.
 Basic core beliefs include the importance of the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the
sacraments as a channel of God’s grace and the guidance of scripture
 There are many types of Catholics such as Roman Catholic, eastern rite Catholics (Maronite
and Melkite)
 ‘The great schism’ in 1054 CE lead to the split in the Catholics and Orthodox.
 Core beliefs establish the equal role of scripture and tradition as sources of authority rather
than the pope
 There are seven sacraments
 Divine liturgy is of great significance
 Icons are a distinctive feature of Orthodox churches and liturgies are often filled with music
and chanting

 Pentecostal churches have an emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit given by Pentecost. It
emerged from Protestantism.
 Pastors have authority over the community
 Services are a mix of testimony, preaching and music
 Core beliefs focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and gifts of the holy
 Baptism in the spirit is an adherents first awareness of the power of Pentecostal worship

 Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians are all protestant denominations which
emphasise the authority of the bible as opposed to a human figure of authority such as the
pope. Each churches developed teachings and practices under the leadership of their
particular founder.
 They believe in Sola Scriptura- the bible is their only authority
 Also believed in Sola Fidei- salvation by faith not by good works


 Outline the principal beliefs regarding the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ:

 Christians affirm the full divinity and complete humanity of Jesus Christ (Jesus is both fully
divine and fully human)
 The Christian doctrine of the Incarnation/ Holy trinity claims that Jesus was God yet became
a full human
 The incarnation is the belief of Jesus coming down as human- “The word was made flesh
and lived among us”- John 1:14
 Christians believe that the human person of Jesus Christ, reveals the divine person of god
the Son.
 His divinity shows us the close, unique relationship which exists between himself and God.
“If you know me, you will know my Father also” (John 14:7).
 Historical evidence proves the birth of Jesus during the time of Emperor Augustus and died
during the reign of Emperor Tiberias.
 It is believed that the human Jesus suffered and died on the cross to save our sins
 The divinity of Jesus Christ is shown through the Gospels which account for the many
miracles and healings performed by Jesus and by his resurrection from the dead and
ascension into heaven by which was witnessed by his followers.
 This divinity recognises Jesus’ relationship to God the Creator as Son.
 His divinity expressed his role on earth: to be the salvation of humanity and to defeat death
through his resurrection and ascension.
 The council of Nicaea declared the concept of the trinity as being true

 Explain the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians:
 Easter recognises the importance of the death and resurrection for Christians.
 Christians believe that Jesus’ death was important to destroy sin and give humanity the
opportunity for eternal life
 The resurrection of the body will occur for all at the final judgement as he says those who
believe will live even though they die- shown through Jesus
 The resurrection of Jesus proves the Christian belief of eternal life
 This (^) is shown through the quote: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe
in me, even though they die, will live.”- John 11:25

 Outline the beliefs about the nature of God and of the Trinity:
 Christians believe that there is one God that who is the Supreme Being that is to be
worshiped and served.
 God exists as three persons, Father/Creator, Jesus the son of God and the Holy Spirit
 This is known as the mystery of the holy trinity
 The concept of the trinity helps Christians understand the nature of God
 The Holy Trinity shows the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
 The relationship can be described as: God the Father loves and gives himself to the Son and
the Son receives this love and returns it back to the Father. The love between the Father
and the Son is the Holy Spirit
 Examine the Christian understanding of revelation:
 Revelation is the message of God to all of humanity, fully expressed in the person of Christ.
 Christians understand that revelation involves God communicating with the world.
Revelation is not complete without acknowledgement of God.

 Describe the Christian understanding of salvation:

 Salvation means the deliverance from sin that Christians can only attain through their
relationship with God.
 For Christians salvation will only come to completion in the final days of the world when
they are reunited with God and is only attainable through the grace of God.
 It is the opportunity to be united with God.
 Jesus death was to give believers salvation- freedom from sin and reconciliation with God.


 Identify the importance of the Bible in Christianity:

 The bible is the sacred text for Christians believed to have been inspired by God and a
record of key events in the story of humanity’s interaction with God.
 Aids in the physical practice, enactment and celebration of Christianity in life
 Basic rituals and sacraments, Prayer/ Reflection
 Domestic rituals e.g. grace before meals
 It contains key ethical teachings as well as history, poetry, songs, the story of the messiah,
and teachings about how to live a Christian life.
 For protestant communities, it is the ultimate guide or source of teaching.
 Develops ethical guidelines
 Demonstrates the nature of God.
 Key source of revelation

 Examine extracts from the Bible which demonstrate the principal beliefs of Christianity:
 Incarnation- “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us”- John 1:14
 Reference to the Holy Trinity- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”- Matthew 28:19


 Outline the principal ethical teachings in:
– The Ten Commandments
– The Beatitudes
– Jesus’ commandment of love

The Ten Commandments

 The Ten Commandments are a covenant between God and his People given through
 Ethics are the moral beliefs and practices that clarify what is right and wrong. They
also centre upon the belief that human beings are made in the image of God with
intellect, free will and self-determination, therefore, enabling them to act with
 Ten Commandments - are the guidelines for living that are based on God’s
revelation to Moses. The first four commandments describe ones relationship with
God, whilst the other six are about maintaining good relationships with one’s
neighbour and society.
 The Ten Commandments are a set of principles for ethical behaviour

The Beatitudes:
 The Beatitudes were a revolutionary mind map for Jesus’ followers detailing how to
live a good life
 They are a modernised set of ethical guidelines from the New testament rather
than the Ten Commandments from the Old testament
 Guidelines for Christians as to how they should relate to others and responsibility to
care for others
 It teaches the responsibility one has to care for others in society

Jesus’ commandment on love:

 The commandments of love are a sum of all the teachings that Jesus taught.
 Jesus emphasises the stronger relationship with God attained through love
 The two commandment state: “You shall love your God with all your heart, and with
all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbour as
yourself”- Matthew 22:37-40

 Describe the different types of personal prayer:
 Personal prayer refers to a religious practice that occurs privately and is, by definition
 Personal prayer may involve the repetition of a phrase or prayer such as the Hail Mary or
Our Father.
 Meditative practices involve prayers such as the rosary, divine mercy. The prayer such as
the Rosary is used as a tool, a circular string of beads, to aid in the concentration of the
 Meditation may also include an extended reflection on the being of God.
 Lectio Divina involves the reading of a bible passage and focusing on words or phrases
within the reading and looking for meaning within it.
 Vocal prayer - words are recited, spoken or sung
 Contemplative prayer: Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of
prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love.
It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his
 It is simply a quiet time to reflect on the lord or to just sit in his presence. This does not
have to include prayer.
 Prayer gives hope, guidance, thanksgiving and forgiveness
 Prayer provides tangible ways in which to come into contact with the mysteries of the
Christian faith
Islam preliminary notes:
 Outline the social conditions and religious practices that existed in pre-Islamic Arabia:
 The nation states did not exist as political entities
 The Arabian Peninsula was made of tribal groups which had to attack caravans and other
tribes in order to survive.
 Two major cities were mecca and medina
 Polytheism and animalism were common
 Monotheistic religions of Judaism and Christianity were minority groups
 In Mecca, the Ka’ba was at the centre of tribal beliefs.
 The Hanifs were devout Arabs which would take a more revered approach to faith
 Mecca was the centre of commerce, trade and worship.
 In the Kaaba were 360 different idols representing the many gods and goddesses-
 Examine the principle events in Muhammad’s life:
 Born 570 CE in Mecca
 Was an orphan at an early age and raised by his uncle Abu Talib
 As a young man, he married Khadija, a 40 year old widow
 He lived as a merchant and earned a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness
 He was disillusioned with the corruption in the city and would retire to the mountain to
 Muhammad received his first revelation from the angel Gabriel in a cave where the
Qur'an was supposedly revealed to him.
 This marked the beginning of his mission as the great prophet
 He continued to have conversations with God which were then written down in the
 Muhammad’s main message was that there is only ONE god and he is Allah.
 Islam means ‘Submission’. A Muslim is one who submits to the will of god. All nature is
said to be doing the will of god.
 Explain why the Prophet Muhammad as the final messenger is the model for Muslim life:
 Muhammad is a model for Muslim life as he stresses the meaning to ‘submit’ to Allah.
 He was a prophet that reminded Muslim's that worship is solely for Allah.
 He is a role model as he fearlessly revealed the word of Allah to a predictably hostile
society, placing full trust in Allah. To adherents he is the true embodiment of their belief
structure and an inspiration for their own faith.
 His constant prayer and reflections made prominent his submission
 Muhammad was not to be worshipped: "Muhammad is but a messenger; there have
been many prophets before him, and they all died.” (surah 3:144).

 Describe the development of Islam after the death of Muhammad under the leadership of
the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, accounting for the emergence of the Sunni and the Shi’ite
 After Muhammad’s death, the umma (community) was at risk of falling apart. His death was
unexpected and as such no successor had been approved or recognized. The community soon
erupted in debate regarding future religious authority.
 For the next 30 years umma was governed by 4 ‘rightly guided Caliphs’:
1. Abu-Bakr- Muhammad’s father in law
2. Umar- Another father-in law
3. Uthman- son in-law of Muhammad
4. Ali- Muhammad's paternal cousin/son in-law
 Islam then spread to the middle-east, Africa and Europe
 Islam expanded which gave Muslim's great confidence
 The Sunni and Shi’ite were two main groups in Islam who share the same beliefs but differ in
the area of political leadership
 the Sunni’s believe that the four rightly guided caliphs were the rightful successors of
Muhammad whereas the Shi’ite believed that Ali was the rightful successor of Muhammad


 Outline the implications of Tawhid for Muslim belief:

 Tawhid- the oneness of Allah
 Allah is transcendent “he does not beget, he has not been begotten.”
 The Aqida is the Muslim creed and consists of six articles of faith.
 The five articles are belief in Allah, belief in the prophets, belief in angels, belief in the
scripture and belief in the Day of Judgment.
 The Tawhid affirms that there is one true god.
 Tawhid affirms that all things happen for a purpose, in accordance to the will of Allah
 Tawhid leads to a greater surrender to the will of Allah.
 It reminds Muslims that they are accountable for their actions and for their use of
worldly possessions

 Examine the role of the Books of Allah and prophecy in Islam:

 It is the way in which the ways of Allah become revealed to human kind
 The scrolls given to Ibrahim are known as "Sahifa", the books revealed to Moses are
known as "Tawrah", those revealed to David are known as "Zabur" and the teachings
given through Jesus are known as "Injil".
 According to Islam, the only one of these books that now exists is the Qur'an- the book
given to the last of the prophets and the seal of prophecy, Muhammad.
 Muslims believe that initially each of these revealed books contained the complete
revelation of Allah
 The Qur'an stands apart as the reliable and complete source of the revelation of Allah.
 Rusul: messengers of god that have been given a particular mission by God and one who
delivers a sacred book. Biblical figures are often Rusul.
 The Quran places special emphasis on those who delivered the holy books. These books are
referred to as the ‘Books of Allah’.

 Outline the principal beliefs about Angels, life after death and fate/predestination:
 Angels: The angels of Islam are spiritual beings created from light to service and aid Allah, the
most significant is the Angel Gabriel. Each adherents has two angels that record their good
and bad deeds throughout life, these are acknowledged in their daily prayer.
 Angels accompany human beings in their lives, guarding them, helping them, protecting
them and recording their good and evil deeds
 Life after death: only God knows when the end of time will be. The Qur'an says “they
sky will be split, the stars scattered, the oceans boil over and graves split open”- Surah
 It will be announced by the trumpet of and angel. Humankind will be judged. This will
determine the nature of their akhira (afterlife). Those who have done good will be sent
to heaven whereas those who have done bad will be sent to a place of terrible eternal
 Fate/predestination: Muslims understand that Allah is all knowing and that nothing
happens according to chance.
 Ultimately everything is in God’s hands
 However humans are responsible for their actions
 Allah knows everything that will happen before it happens


 Identify the importance of the Qur'an and the hadith:

 The Qur'an is the fundamental text for all Muslims.
 It is believed to contain the revelation of Allah, complete and unaltered
 The Qur'an is organised into 114 surah’s or chapters
 A person who knows the entire Qur'an off by heart is known as a hafiz
 The Qur'an is prominent in every aspect of Muslim life
 Its authority is supreme and unquestioned.
 It is regarded as a Holy book and treated with the greatest respect.
 When the Qur'an is read people must remain silent.
 It announces the Day of Judgment and accompanying happiness for the faithful while
the evil ones will experience the harshness of the eternal separation from Allah.
 The Qur'an speaks respectfully of the biblical prophets such as Ibrahim, Musa and Isa
The Prophet Muhammad is the last and the greatest of the Prophets following in the
tradition of the biblical prophets such as Musa and Isa
 Muslim's see the Qur'an as miracle and proof that Muhammad was a prophet
 The Qur'an includes elements of family, religious and criminal law.
 It covers religious obligations such as fast, pilgrimage and the giving of alms
 It demonstrates the ethics of Islam
 The hadith are the words of the prophet Muhammad
 A form of authority
 The hadith explains how to perform various rituals whereas the Qur'an does not.
 The sharia law is the body of Islamic law.

 Examine extracts from the Qur'an and the Hadith which demonstrate the principle beliefs
of Islam:
 Tawhid: "He is Allah, the One, Allah is eternal and absolute. None is born of Him, He is
unborn. There is none like unto Him". (surah 112)
 Angels: He sends forth guardians to watch over you and when death overtakes you, the
messengers will carry away your soul." (surah 6:61)
 Books of Allah: "believe in what has been sent down to thee Muhammad and what has
been sent down before thee" (Surah 2: 4).
 Rusul: "Allah chooses for Himself whoever He pleases, and guides to Himself those who
turn to Him" (surah 42:13).
 Afterlife: "Your good actions will benefit only you, while evil harms only the person who
does it." (surah 41:46)
 Predestination: "Whatever Allah grants to humanity out of His mercy, no one can
withhold and what He withholds no one can grant apart from Him. He is the source of
Power, the All-Knowing" (surah 35:2)


 Outline the principle ethical teachings within Islam:

 Haram- those that are not permitted
 Halal- those that are permitted
 The Qur'an and hadith present the values and principles that are the foundation oof
Islamic ethics
 The first of these principles is the reality of the existence of Allah and the certainty of life
after death
 All people are equal before Allah and there is no place for privilege or favour
 It requires Muslims to avoid the sense of pride and arrogance which makes them
inclined to think more highly of themselves than others
 sex before marriage is never permissible
 There are 5 core ethical teachings:
 Love of Allah – Both to love and have that love reciprocated
 Humility – Avoiding any sense of pride and arrogance
 Modesty – Relates to sexual ethics, appropriate standards
 Naturalness – To keep life in accordance with Allah’s design – no drugs, etc.
 Selflessness – Human relationships and avoiding exploitation – charity, etc
 outline the process of Islamic jurisprudence:
 Islamic jurisprudence is a systematic organisation of and guide to Islam’s legal provisions
and its ethical values
 It is comprehensive and covers every area of life
 The Islamic jurisprudence develops out of the need to make judgements about rapidly
developing situations which went beyond what was provided in the Qur'an.

 describe the importance of ethical teachings in determining that which is:

– Halal
– Haram
 halal are those that are permitted
 haram are those that are not permitted
 Even if something is permitted through the sacred texts it can still be discouraged by an
Islamic leader. Adherents must respect the views of community leaders.
 Precedent is also significant in ethics. Most instances of decision making would have
been dealt with before and the decisions from the past are respected.
 Outline the five pillars of Islam:
1. Shahada- declaration of faith “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”
2. Salat- prayer- performed five times a day- Friday prayer at the mosque
3. Zakat- almsgiving- charity- contributions of wages
4. Sawm- fasting- Ramadan
5. Hajj- pilgrimage- involves the circling around the Kaaba several times and a long walk

Religious traditions in Australia pre-1945

 26th January 1788- the first fleet arrived in Australia bringing with them followers of
Church of England, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, deists, agnostics and
 they also brought with them the sectarian intolerance which was characterised in
England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales since Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic
church in 1534
 Christianity has various denominations
 Rev Richard Johnson was the first priest (Church of England) to come to Australia- he
also held the first prayer service in Australia
 Fr James Dixon was the first Catholic priest to come to Australia in 1800

Official sectarianism:
 Sectarianism is a strong or excessive devotion to a particular Christian denomination,
leading to a resolute prejudice against other beliefs
 The first Australian governor was Arthur Phillip
 Convicts were forced, no matter what their beliefs, to attend Church of England services
on Sunday
 The Church of England was the established church in Australia
 Richard Johnson was the first Church of England minister in Australia and arrived with
the first fleet
 At the time of the arrival of the first fleet (1788) there was considerable rivalry and
bitterness between the Church of England and Catholics in England and Ireland.

Christian and Church of England dominance:
 Church of England was the state religion in England and was expected to be the same in
 Church of England ministers were the only ones with power and influence as it was the
established church
 The Christians of colonial Australia were split into various denominations including
Church of England, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists
 The hatred, division and mistrust between these denominations is called sectarianism
 The Church of England was the established church in colonial Australia. Most of the
Governors, leaders, soldiers and authorities were from the Church of England.
 The Church of England had many privileges in colonial Australia as it was the established
 Dissenters were people who left the Church of England
Non-Christian religions in Australia pre-1945:

 Islam reached Australia with the macassan trepan fishers in the 16th century
 Afghan camel drivers were brought to Australia in the 29th century to assist in opening up
the inland
 They built their first mosques in in Adelaide about 1895
 Arrived with the first fleet
 By 1820 there were several hundred Jewish convicts
 Anti-Semitism- opposition to and persecution of Jewish people and their religious beliefs and
practices. This happened by the Europeans, Russians and the Nazis
 This resulted in fluctuating emigration to Australia, during the 1930s and 1940s

The impact of sectarianism:

 Catholics and dissenters were often denied employment in public office
 Job discrimination
 Disputes within denominations regarding the right to marry and bury their own members
 Divisions in cemeteries into the different denomination

The contribution of Christianity to social welfare pre-1945:

 Through their churches, people became more involved in voluntary associations and their
 Churches encouraged people to give freely their time to service the community
 The salvation army, Saint Vincent De Paul society and the Sydney Anglican Home Mission
 The Sydney Anglican home mission was formed to care for homeless women and children,
the unemployed and the poor- it is now referred to as Anglicare.
 Society were some of the social welfare organisations in Australia pre-1945

Religious traditions in rural and outback communities’ pre-1945:

 Bush brotherhoods: were established by the Church of England in the late 1880s by bishop
Nathaniel Dawes.
 The men who joined these orders agreed to vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
 They provided services and administered sacraments of baptism, marriages and funerals to
people who lived far away in rural areas
 It started because of the little amount of church services available in rural areas
 Its purpose was to provide ministry to those living in rural and remote areas.
 Royal Flying Doctor Service: was founded by Presbyterian Dr John Flynn in 1928
 Its role is to provide health care/emergency care to those living in rural areas
 It started because Dr john Flynn witnessed the daily struggle of pioneers living in remote
areas where just two doctors provided the only medical care for an area of almost 2 million
square kilometres

Religion and education in Australia pre-1945:

 Mary Mackillop’s sisters of saint Joseph established 35 schools in Adelaide
 The Church Act 1836- for every pound raised by the different denominations government
would contribute the same amount for its schools in return
 NSW Public Instruction Act 1880- abolished funding to all non-government schools. The
schools were secular- no connection with religion

Religion and public morality:

 Sabbatarianism: the Christian conviction that the fourth commandment regarding the
Sabbath day was part of God’s moral law and that Sunday should therefore be kept with the
same strictness as the Jewish Sabbath. Catholics were obliged to go to mass on Sunday and
refrain from any work
 Divorce: in the 19th century, there were struggles to attempt to liberalise the divorce law
 Alcohol, gambling and censorship


- 26th January 1788 followers of the Church of England, Catholics, Methodists,

Presbyterians, Jews and unbelievers arrived in Australia.
- Convicts of Catholic and Protestant descent were sent to Australia from England, Ireland,
Scotland and Wales. One governor said he was concerned with the ‘general filth and
moral corruption’ of the colony.
- The first governor, Arthur Phillip, supported the Church of England by making all convicts
go to mass on Sunday and marriages only valid if recorded by the C of E clergymen.
- The first church, Saint John’s Parramatta opened in 1803.
- In 1800, Father James Dixon arrived from England to be the first Catholic priest.

Christianity was divided in Australia under the following main denominations:

 Catholics: John Bede Polding was made Australia’s first Catholic bishop in 1834.
Polding and others publicised their support and protest of poor farmers
affected by the Depression.
- Caroline Chisholm lobbied governments to assist migrants in entering
Australia, helping 11,000 settlers. She established women’s hostels in
Sydney and fought for universal suffrage.
- Good Shepherd Sisters undertook charitable works (women’s refuge
- Mary Mackillop’s Sisters of Joseph established 35 Catholic schools in
Adelaide for the poor.
- Public Instruction Act (1880) abolished funding of Catholic schools but
priests and others protested saying public schools were “seed-plots of
- St Vinnie’s leading agency for social welfare to assist needy families.
By 1914, 300 000 Catholics migrated to Australia making it the second
largest denomination (after C of E)

 Congregationalists and Methodists: arrival of the Methodist missionary Samuel

Leigh was not welcomed and only few chapels were established. Disappeared
when the Uniting Church was formed.
 Presbyterians: Scottish origins campaigned that their church received the same
benefits as the Church of England. Under John Flynn, eventually created the
Australian Inland Mission, church in rural Australia.
 Lutherans: escaped German persecution by migrating to SA, interacted with
Indigenous communities through missionaries.
 Greek Orthodox: by 1911 had around 2000 members but were referred to as
‘Greek Catholics’.

Non- Christian Religions in Australia

 Islam: in the 16th Century, Islamic Macassan fishermen arrived in Australia from
Indonesia. Pakistani, Afghani and Turkish camel drivers were brought to
Australia to open up the inland. The central Australian train is called the Ghan
to commemorate their work.
- The first Mosque was opened in Adelaide in 1895 and Muslims are now 1.7%
of the pop.
 Buddhism: came to Australia with the Chinese for the 1950s Gold Rush. Sri
Lankans were brought to work in the sugar and pearl fields. In 1925, a Buddhist
society called the Little Circle of Dharma was established in Australia.
Issues in the Development of Christianity in Australia

 Sectarianism: the use of organisational differences between religious

denominations and other groups to produce discrimination, intolerance and
- Church of England was the church of establishment of the colony.
- Due to this, they received advantages and exclusive roles such as public jobs
and services over Catholics. C of E leaders did not permit other
denominations to be legally married and bury their dead in specific
- As most Catholics were Irish, an anti- English nature was predicted due to
the history of clashes between the two nations. This led to further divisions.

 Social welfare: churches encouraged people to give their time freely to the
service of the community. Voluntary organisations included orphanages,
hospitals and refuge shelters. Some organisations are still active such as the
Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul Society.

The contribution of Christianity to Australia

Rural and Outback Communities

 Ministry in the outback was difficult as the population was so spread out, leading to the
loneliness and isolation of ministers.
 Bush Brotherhoods was established by the Church of England in the 1880s. These
ministers travelled on horseback conducting services and administering sacraments to
those in rural communities.
 The Presbyterian Church followed with John Flynn leading the Australian Inland Mission
in 1912.
 His aim was to bring the church of the people to the outback as well as medical and
social services.
 This eventually led to the creation of the famous Royal Flying Doctors Service.

 In the 1830s there were two forms of education: public schools which were
“compulsory, secular and free” and church schools.

 The NSW Public Instruction Act (1880) stopped the funding of non- government schools.
This was supported by Baptists and Presbyterians who believed ties between church and
state should be ended.
 Catholics objected secular education, saying religion and life were inseparable. It then
established its own schools through the Sisters of Mercy, Marist Brothers and the
Josephites. Its impressive schooling system found a place in every colony and remained
strong until today.
Public morality

 Sabbatarianism: the Christian conviction that Sunday should be kept as a holy day of
obligation. Protestants opposed Sunday work, sale of goods, sports and the running of
public transport. This raised questions as to whether the law was outdated and had a
place in busy lifestyles.
 Divorce: in 1892, divorce laws were reformed and more accepted.
 Alcohol, gambling and censorship: many Protestants were concerned with the problems
caused by drunkenness and wanted to ban the sales of liquor and opposition of
- Christians attempted to ban the sale of certain books, films and television programs.
- Wowserism: the churches attempt at social control; a ban on having fun.