Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Spooner Strikes Again

So today in RS, I discovered that when you're teaching about culling and hunting, you have to be very careful not to get those words jumbled up!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Dawkins: Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life on 4oD

In my Year 13 A level class, we're currently studying the AQA synoptic unit on Life, Death and Beyond.

4oD is showing Richard Dawkins' series Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life, which is useful for thinking about atheist responses to ultimate questions. Dawkins is always watchable, even if his tendency to cherry pick his evidence occasionally becomes annoying. The series is available free on 4oD, though you have to register first. Each episode is worth watching if you are studying or teaching the synoptic unit.

Episode 1 considers why we should act morally if there is no God watching us.

Episode 2 explores what science can tell us about death.

Episode 3 asks if there is a purpose to life in a Universe governed by the blind forces of nature.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Features of Fundamentalism Mnemonic

Mnemonics are ways of remembering complex chunks information by linking them to simpler or more memorable words, phrases or images. If, like me, you learned the points of the compass through the phrase "Never Eat Shredded Wheat", that's a good example of a simple mnemonic.
Below is an acrostic mnemonic I've come up with to help remember and revise some of the key features of religious fundamentalism:

If you've already studied fundamentalism, then most of these should be fairly familiar, but if you're not, then here's a brief explanation of each feature:

Science - Rejection of scientific views when they conflict with sacred texts. However, many fundamentalists have made effective use of modern technology to promote their message.
Elect - The view held by some fundamentalists that they are part of a spiritual elite, chosen by God for a particular mission. In some cases, this may justify violence.
Patriarchy - The view that men and women have different roles, with women subordinate to men. In fundamentalist groups this is seen as being ordered by God, not the product of culture or history.
Authoritarian - Blind obedience to authority, as opposed to individual freedom and conscience. This may involve obedience to the teachings of a religious text or a religious leader.
Reaction Against Modernity - Fundamentalism is seen as being a reaction against the modern world. Fundamentalists view themselves as being distinct from, and separate to, modern secular society.
Apocalyptic - The view that we are living in the last days, and that the world as we know it will shortly be brought to a sudden end.
Texts - Belief that a sacred text is inerrant (contains no errors). Fundamentalists hold that their sacred texts are literally true, and are hostile towards attempts at historical or literary criticism of them.
Ethically Conservative - The moral commandments of religious texts are seen as being binding for all time. In practice, this tends to lead to a conservative moral position, for example opposing homosexuality.
Dualism - Dividing the world into clear categories of good and evil, right and wrong, "with us" and "against us". There is little room for ambiguity or grey areas in fundamentalist thinking.

Some of the above might be open for debate, and some scholars might include other characteristics, but if you can use the SEPARATED mnemonic to remember these characteristics, and can explain and give an example of each, you should be well on your way to getting a decent grade in a Part A question on the features of fundamentalism.  
I've also put together a short PowerPoint that (if you're a teacher) you could incorporate into a revision lesson.