Questions for Chapter 2

Saying Grace (Norman Rockwell)

37 a
Do you think religion is less important in society than it used to be? Give reasons for your answer.

37 b
Where do you see religion in public life, apart from church-related activities?

Give examples (from your own experience, if possible) of how religion performs each of the following social functions:

• providing support, consolation, or reconciliation

• offering a relationship to a transcendent reality

• sacralizing the norms and values of society

• critiquing the norms and values of society

• giving people a sense of identity 

39 a
Recall a time when you watched a play or film and were emotionally moved. What did you see or hear that aroused your deeper emotions?

Name someone you consider to be a hero now or someone you thought of as a hero when you were younger.  What qualities or values does this individual symbolize for you?

How can the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ be a symbol of how Christians are supposed to live?

39 b
What images or experiences of nature symbolize for you God’s presence in the universe?

What are some symbols you have seen and stories you have heard in church that have taught you how to live according to the values and ideals of the Christian myth?

How are some sacramental rituals related to stories that can be found in the Bible?

41 a
Think of something you learned as a child from someone you looked up to. At the time, or now looking back at it, was this a significant or precious experience for you?

Give examples of how you became the person you are today by imitating behavior that was modeled for you by others.

41 b
What are some family rituals (meals, holidays, outdoor activities, etc.) that drew your family together and gave you a sense of belonging?

41 c
Give an example of how regular participation in Sunday worship both expresses people’s commitment to Christianity and helps them to interiorize Christian beliefs and values.

What effects are various sacraments supposed to have on people?

Compare a time when a religious ritual had a strong effect on you and a time when it had little or no effect on you.

44 a
Contrast the effects that a wedding ceremony has on you with the effects that a funeral service has on you.

44 b
Give an example from your own experience of the unifying effect of ritual.

What do you think about the idea that a religious ritual can intensify a group’s unity only if it is already unified to some extent? Use an example from your own experience to argue for or against this idea.

46 a
Name some rites of passage that are not church rituals.

Analyze a graduation ceremony, showing how it can be divided into a phase of separation, a phase of liminality, and a phase of incorporation.

46 b
How does a baptismal ritual proceed through stages of separation, liminality, and incorporation?

46 c
How can the phases of separation, liminality, and incorporation be seen in a wedding or ordination ceremony?

46 d 
Describe a confirmation or first communion ceremony in terms of separation, liminality, and incorporation.

47 a 
How might the concepts of separation, liminality, and incorporation be applied to the process of going to confession?

47 b
How might the anointing of the sick be regarded as a transition ritual?

48 a
Give your own examples to illustrate the difference between the automatic effects of a ritual and effects that may or may not occur.

48 b
What is the difference between the observable or empirical effects of a religious ritual and the theological effects or meaning that it might have?

49 a
Give an example (from your own experience, if possible) of the way religious ritual can communicate beliefs and values from one generation to the next. 

49 b 
Describe how a religious ritual may have reminded you of some aspect of your faith that you had forgotten. 

50 a 
What are some aspects of church rituals that may be out of date, or that no longer speak to you? 

50 b 
What more could be done to make the sacraments more meaningful to people today? 

51 a 
To what extent do you evaluate the truth or value of other religions based on their similarity to your own? 

51 b 
If Christianity is about 2,000 years old and Judaism is about 1,000 years older than that, would you consider them to be old or new religions? Explain your answer. 

52 a 
When you hear phrases such as “early religion,” “tribal religion,” or “primitive religion,” what images or ideas come to mind? 

52 b 
Primal religion was the universal form of religion until around 5,000 BC. Where can it still be found in the world today? 

Looking at the characteristics of early or primal culture, consciousness, and religion, which aspects do you find attractive and which do you find unattractive? 

54 a 
Summarize in your own words why the discovery of planting crops and domesticating animals might have encouraged human beings to give up hunting and gathering for a living, and to live instead in villages, towns, and cities. 

54 b 
Which aspects of classical religion can be found in religion today? Which aspects are not found in religion today? 

54 c 
Classical religion puts a strong emphasis on salvation. What is your understanding of the concept of salvation in Christianity? 

55 a 
Classical religion puts a strong emphasis on orthodoxy or correct belief. What are some positive and negative consequences of this emphasis? 

55 b 
Classical religion emphasizes differences between sacred and profane, religious and secular, divine and human, moral and immoral. What are some positive and negative consequences of such dualism? 

The world’s great religions embody the ideals of their respective founders, but they also tend to develop in ways that run counter to those ideals. What are some examples of this in your own faith tradition? 

57 a 
Modern culture began during the Renaissance with the rise of scientific thinking, the questioning of authority, and the emergence of nationalism. What are some positive and negative consequences of these developments? 

57 b 
What are some examples of how contemporary Catholicism is becoming more like early Protestantism and exhibiting characteristics of modern religion? 

58 a 
What are some social and cultural changes in the last few decades that you are aware of in your family, in your town or city, in your country, or in the world? 

58 b 
Illustrate the characteristic of differentiation modern consciousness and culture with examples from what you know about the multiplication of academic disciplines, professional careers, types of businesses, special interest groups, subcultures, genres of art and music, etc.

58 c 
Illustrate the characteristic of integration modern consciousness and culture with examples from what you know about interdisciplinary studies, interfaith dialogue, multiculturalism, racial integration, environmentalism, systems theory, megatrends, world music, etc.

59 a 
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the characterization of modern religious consciousness presented here? 

59 b 
Give examples of how Christianity and Catholicism are less dualistic than they were in the past. In what ways would you like to see even greater tolerance for diversity in the church? 

60 a 
Do you perceive the lack of commitment to common symbols (church rituals, Christian art, religious architecture, liturgical music, etc.) as a problem or not? Explain your answer. 

60 b 
What are some religious symbols or symbolic activities that are less meaningful than they were in the past? What might be done to remedy this situation? 

61 a 
How can a worldwide church like Catholicism speak to people in cultures that are sometimes very different from one another? What efforts in this direction are you aware of? 

61 b 
How can a church with a long history such as Catholicism preserve cultural elements from the past in its contemporary religious practices? Give examples of attempts to do this that, in your opinion, were successful or unsuccessful.

Last modified: Saturday, 16 May 2015, 12:41 AM