Hello third years
I hope you have been looking at Chapters 14 – 18 in great detail. The Question of Faith (D) is a big area on the Junior Cert Exam. Keep revising all notes and chapters in this section of the course. Know it inside out. Keep looking at the past exam questions – attempt one or two of them if you have time – (try to make time, please).
Here is a sample answer from an essay type question from 2011. Please re-write this answer into your past papers book. Look at how the answer is divided into logical paragraphs and how the specific question is directly answered.
The next post you will see from me will be on Saturday 7th April 1pm. Best of luck everyone!!
Section 5 Q 4
You are taking part in a school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today. Outline what you would say about the way in which each of the following could challenge a person’s religious faith:
For my school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today, this is what I would say about materialism and secularism:
Having religious faith in today’s Ireland is full of many challenges. Catholics have a Christian world view. This means that they believe that God is the creator of the world and that human beings were created in his image and likeness. Christians have a loving friendship with God and evil occurs when people refuse to co-operate with God. Christians believe that God sent Jesus to teach people how to live. People who love God will enjoy eternal friendship with him. This is how Christians see the world.
Materialism can be a challenge to this way of seeing the world. Materialism is a non-religious view of the world. Materialism is the theory is the belief that only material things are real. If something is real then it must have a definite physical size or weight. If we cannot see it or touch it or measure it, then it does not exist. Since we cannot measure God or observe God with our senses, materialists say that God does not exist. For materialists, human life ends when the body dies.
The materialist outlook is very persuasive and has been the basis of scientific thought for over 300 years. Materialists claim that the scientific way of looking at things is the only way. Scientific truth is the only truth. The materialist outlook can undermine people’s confidence in religious truth as a valid form of human knowledge. However, there are vast areas of human experience that we cannot measure, but are still real. We cannot see, hear or touch our ideas, our beliefs or our feelings, yet most people would agree that they are real and are a very important part of our lives. Humans therefore are not simply material beings, we are both material and spiritual beings.
Secularism can also be a challenge to a person’s religious faith. Secularism is the view that organised religion should have no direct influence on society. Secularists are opposed to the influence of religion in public life. Secularism claims that God and religion are simply not relevant any more.
From a secularist point of view, if someone has religious beliefs then it should be a private matter. Religious activity should not enter the public domain. Religion should not in any way be supported by the State. In fact, Church and State should be completely separate. This means that religions or religious groups should not receive any kind of special treatment from the State.
A few years ago, there was a discussion in the media about whether RTE should continue to broadcast the Angelus or not. Some people felt that RTE should stop this practice – they felt that a religious practice like the Angelus did not belong on national radio and TV. Other people disagreed. They pointed out that the Angelus was a reminder to religious and non-religious people like to spend some time in reflection every day. In the end, RTE decided to continue broadcasting the Angelus.
Both materialism and secularism present challenges to religious faith. Nevertheless, religious people can respect non-religious viewpoints without letting them weaken their faith.
This is a personal essay (I found it in an old foolscap a few years ago) from when I was in Leaving Cert. It’s not terribly original and the ending just kind of tails off pathetically but rather than fix it up I decided to leave it as I had written it at 17. It should give you a strong sense that there is a real difference between personal essays and short stories.
A Farewell to Adolescence
One of the scariest things about being in Leaving Cert. is realising that you are the oldest pupils in the school. In the first couple of days it gently hits you that the people who once intimidated you so much are all gone. Any intimidation that goes on now is probably your esteemed self complaining (loudly) in the presence of first years about how cheeky and wild they are. At this stage you usually find yourself commenting on the fact that your own year were NEVER that rude and boisterous, and you begin to despair for the youth of today. Where, oh where, did they ever go wrong?
It is about now you realise that you’re beginning to grow up. Talking about the ‘youth of today’ sets off alarm bells in your head because you’ve started to distance yourself from this section of society. You no longer include yourself in the category of ‘teenager’ or ‘adolescent’. Technically, you’ll be a teenager until the end of your nineteenth year, but being as mature and responsible as you are, you handily disregard this fact!
After the first couple of days in Leaving Cert, it not-so-gently whacks you full-in-the-face that other people have also started to regard you as a young adult. Teachers, parents, and adults in general expect you to think and act more responsibly, as befits your new position in society. THAT’s when you discover the role of young adult has as many drawbacks as advantages.
The first problem encountered is that of choosing a career! Of course, you’d always realised that EVENTUALLY you’d have to decide what to do with the rest of your life. But never in your wildest dreams or worst nightmares did you imagine just how difficult it would really be. The careers teacher bombards you with information about points, open days, college prospectus’, CAO-CAS forms, subject choices, apprentices and requirements. It vaguely registers somewhere in the back of your mind that you’ve heard all this before (perhaps in last years careers class???) but you weren’t really listening (at the time) because it was just kind of boring and irrelevant. Right now it’s about as far away from irrelevant as it can possibly be, and your head is in a whirl. Oh, to be back in first year when everything was simple and all anyone seemed to talk about was how wild and cheeky you were!
Added to this burden of deciding what to do with the rest of your life, is the workload of the average Leaving Certificate pupil. You seem to spend at least three hours every night doing homework alone. Wondering when you’ll get around to revising fourth year work is useless – you simply DON’T HAVE THE TIME! Every teacher seems to have some comment to make about how little work you’ve done, and how much you’ve left to cover. Being fulfilled, happy individuals, however, you don’t despair and it never even enters your head how hopeless everything is…
The last (and in my opinion the worst) part of saying farewell to adolescence is that of being responsible for your own destiny. Every teacher and parent in the country seems to adopt the policy of constantly telling you that how you do in the Leaving Certificate Examinations in June is entirely up to you! Teachers remind you daily that they’re not afraid of work and they’re doing the best they can for you. If you don’t pull up your socks and get down to work there’s nothing they can do about it. Their most commonly used phrase abound this time is “I can’t do the work for you!” You almost begin to believe the unspoken, follow-on-statement “I would if I could but I can’t”. Thus the weight of the world merrily thuds down onto your shoulders and this ‘growing-up’ process, this ‘farewell to adolescence’ seems less and less attractive every minute.
All is not doom and gloom however, and whilst the negative side of growing up is alive and well, there is also another, more desirable side blossoming satisfactorily, if you look at the other side of the coin. You begin to notice the extent to which your family life changes. Apart from a few sensitive areas, you’re pretty much a free agent. Your parents no longer freak out if you leave the house for more than half an hour. You don’t ask them any more if you can go out, they ask you if you are! It’s not childish teenage disco’s you’re going to either – it’s pubs and nightclubs. For the lucky minority who are already 18, it’s not even illegal! The smoker who started smoking in national school suddenly realises that he’s no longer breaking the law. You can even legally have sex!
A whole new world of possibility opens out before you, and somehow, life doesn’t seem so bleak anymore. You don’t get asked what age you are going into the cinema! Your mother doesn’t wait until you’ve gone to bed to watch the video she’s hired out – unless of course it’s an “adult” movie of the coloured kind that you don’t really want to watch anyway. And definitely not with your parents! Another advantage is the summer job which provides money, but more importantly, independence. I personally HATE having to ask my parents for money, and if I do, I have to tell them what it’s for. When you’ve got your own money, you can do what you like with it and are answerable to no-one.
All in all, growing up has both advantages and disadvantages. The process is both rewarding and painful, joyous and sad. Luckily this transition must only be experienced once in every lifetime because being “stuck in the middle” is quite an awkward confusing time. Overall my ‘farewell to adolescence’ will be a thankful one. I’ll be saying my goodbyes happily enough!