Activity 5: Word-ly Ups and Downs
Activity time: 10 minutes
Description of Activity
This activity combines discussion with some simple movement as it leads participants to think about the meaning and purposes of religion and faith. It ends with an optional summary of faith definitions.
Remind the group, as appropriate, that you talked earlier about the idea of finding faith instead of hope in Pandora's box (in Activity 2). Then ask what else could have replaced hope as something that helps people cope in bad times. What about love? What about peace?
Listen to a few comments, then say that it is time for some yes-or-no decisions. Explain that you will make several statements. After you present each one, participants are to stand up if they agree, remain seated if they do not. Between statements, everybody should sit down and briefly discuss the idea just presented. If you decide as you go through the questions that some participants are following others instead of making up their own minds, ask the whole group to respond to a question or two with their eyes closed.
The idea is to convey ideas and prompt thought, not secure complete agreement, so encourage discussion as you proceed. Use these statements, or your own variations of them:
- The word "religion" refers to belief in a set of ideas.
- A religion is an organization of people who mostly agree about what they think.
- Most religions talk a lot about virtue and sin.
- Unitarian Universalism is a religion.
- The word "spirituality" refers to your personal beliefs about how you connect to the universe.
- "Faith" can be based upon institutional religion, or a person's own spirituality, or a combination of both.
- Faith can help people answer life's big questions.
- Faith helps many people believe that there is meaning in the universe.
- Faith also helps many people believe that no matter what happens, things will turn out all right in the end.
- In other words, sometimes faith is a lot like hope.
Summarize the session's message and clarify the term "faith" a bit more with ideas like these:
We use the word "faith" in more than one way. Your personal faith is your set of personal beliefs, the ideas that come from your inner spirituality, your religion, and from other sources, like family and friends and school. Faith is what helps you make meaning out of the experiences of life and order out of randomness. We can also talk about the Unitarian Universalist faith, the Jewish faith, and other faiths. So the word "faith" can be used to replace the word "religion." "Faith" can also mean a deeply held belief in something without concrete evidence. So you can say you have "faith in the future." This means you believe that the future will be good, that things will get better and better as time goes on.
Including All Participants
You can easily vary this activity for participants with limited mobility by asking participants to signal their answers with a raised hand if they agree.