The word ‘jihad’ is becoming increasingly used in news, on the internet and even in films like Matt Parker and Trey Stone’s Team America. Your task is to research an example where someone has claimed that a violent act is somehow justified in Islam and to use everything you know about Islam to decide wheter or not you think this claim is well-founded.
Your answer should include a substantial description of the event itself, an account of your understanding of Islam’s teachings on violence and, finally, an evaluation of whether you think ‘true’ Islam would approve of the actions you have described. You should give balanced reasons for your answer.
Today’s challenge is to find out as much as you can about Desmond Tutu’s understanding of Christianity. Tutu, though not as famous as his close friend Nelson Mandela, is in the words of Ron Burgundy ‘quite a big deal’! He is, however, quite controversial in some Christian Communities. Mandela claimed Tutu had made an “immeasurable contribution to [his] nation” and that “Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless”, but in other places has been called “evil” by Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and even racist, idolatrous and a bastion of the New World Order by Dean Ministries.
Your job today is to find out exactly what he thinks Christianity is all about. Obviously that’s a pretty big question and it’s going to be hard!
The following are just ideas and you might want to spend a bit of time reading as well as watching… The laptops are booked for you and there are some questions at the bottom that might help….
Some questions to think about:
Why is Tutu so involved in human rights?
Tutu has been a key player in a number of big disagreements, take notes on as many as you can.
In South Africa, DT got into a lot of problems for claiming that “God is not a Christian”. What could that mean?
Find out about the Truth & Reconciliation in South Africa. What does it have to do with his Christianity?
Find about the fears about a ‘reversed’ apartheid that South Africans shared in 1994. What was Tutu’s understanding of it?
In high-school education, Philosophy of Religion in general, and the traditional arguments for God are becoming a well (perhaps over-?)trodden path. The danger of this is that if it is taught badly, or even indifferently, students can be left at the end of a unit feeling like they haven’t changed their minds about anything and feeling that they must agree with a certain understanding of causation, say, to maintain their original beliefs. Philosophy then becomes a sort of stroll or tour to apparent complexity but remains uncritical and impotent. Perhaps this is unavoidable before university (though I certainly it is not) and I am sure I have just condemned myself in saying the above.
I’m certainly not claiming that there is a clear and obvious ‘right’ answer in a lot of the areas we discuss, only that there are plenty of ideas that, under closer inspection, show themselves to be problematic.
ANYWAY, the reason I was prompted to think of this was that in his Thinkers Guide to God, Peter Vardy makes a claim that breaks from this ‘tour’ of different but equally valid offerings. He quite plainly accuses John Hick of misunderstanding non-realism, claiming that this leads him to err in his judgement of ontological arguments (87).
In doing so he is making a claim about what the religious believer means by ‘God exists’ in a way that reminds the reader of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s interpretation of Anselm’s famous argument. Noting Malcom’s reliance on Wittgenstein, Vardy suggest that we must look at religious experience to progress in discussions about God’s existence. For the believer, God’s existence is certainly thought to be necessary, where the non-believer do not presume this in the same way. Vardy is claiming that such an argument offers no proof that the YHWH of Christianity, Islam and Judaism exists and in doing so he is in the company of both Hume and Kant.
This is a wonderful clip for thinking about religion and ethics. For those not familiar with The West Wing the bald gentleman plays Toby Ziegler, a senior aide to the President. In this episode, President Bartlett is face with a decision on whether to pardon a criminal due to be executed.
Non-religious people tend to think that religious people suppose they have some sort of ‘monopoly’ on truth when it comes to ethics, but this clip shows the ‘uncomfortableness‘ of religious ethics.
A long long time ago Plato recorded Socrates posing a difficulty for all those who believe right and wrong are what the god(s) say they are. This was the position held by the young and ‘upright’ Euthyphro.
Jesus had this massive idea to try and explain to people. To help them get it he gave lots of pictures. Try and work out what you think the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ really is…
To post your paragraph click on ‘leave a reply’ below. Just put your initials in the name box, any email (it won’t come up) and leave the web page blank, then paste your answer from word or pages… Try and make your answer the very best you can…
The Big Bang: What was it? When was it? Why do so many of us believe in it?
You need to answer this as if it was an 6 mark question and be confident that you are going to get full marks. Expect to talk about Hydrogen atoms, gravity, cooling and gases. Obviously you need to give more information than this poster.
With religion coming under increasing attack from atheists and sceptics, The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, goes into the lion’s den, putting his faith publicly on the line by debating with some of the sharpest critics of his faith. Howard Jacobson believes ritual demeans religion, Alain de Botton doubts that any one faith has the truth, Professor Colin Blakemore thinks science makes religion redundant, and Professor Lisa Jardine questions why God allows evil and suffering in this world (BBC).
Who’d’ve thought that you’d hear an insightful interpretation of the Doctrine of the Fall on Radio 1? Well anybody that knows anything about Ben Drew – the recent winner of the Q Award for ‘Best Track’…