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Alternate Activity 5: Corner Questions — Sorting Questions Out (15 minutes), Session 1: The Big Questions

In "Riddle and Mystery," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make four large signs: RELIGION / SELF / SCIENCE / FRIENDS & FAMILY. Post the signs in the room's corners, high enough to be seen throughout the room.
  • Print out Leader Resource 4.

Description of Activity

This activity gives participants a sense of how human questioning relates to religion.

Point out the four signs (RELIGION, SELF, SCIENCE, FRIENDS & FAMILY) posted in the corners. Explain that you will ask a series of questions, and that after each one, youths should go to the corner showing the best possible source for good answers. You might say:

For example, if the question asks, "What causes lightning?" and you believe the explanation is entirely scientific, you might go to the science corner. Or, if you think thunderstorms might come from God to punish or reward people, you might go to the religion corner.

Sometimes you may think there are two or more sources that could answer a question. In that case, go to the corner of your first choice, and point to the corner or corners of your other choices.

Have the group stand. Then ask any of the questions from Leader Resource 4, Corner Questions, and let youths move to the corners of their choice. When all are in place, ask volunteers to explain their reasoning. Why have they chosen to stand where they are? Say they can move to another corner if somebody else convinces them that the new corner is a better place to be.

Ask as many of the questions as you have time for, in any order you wish. Add some questions of your own, if you like. When youth stand in one corner and point elsewhere, ask them to talk about why more than one source might provide a good answer to the question.

With three or four minutes remaining, lead the youth to discuss what types of question each of the sources is best at answering. Use these questions:

  • Is any one of the four sources better than the others?
  • How do science and religion relate? Are they in conflict or can you believe in both? Point out that many scientists are religious people. Linus Pauling, a great chemist, was also a Unitarian Universalist.
  • What is a question that science might never be able to answer?
  • Are there some questions only religion can answer?

Conclude with words like these:

Most Unitarian Universalists agree that you need to go to different places and use different tools to answer different questions. We will see that all through Riddle and Mystery. In fact, Unitarian Universalists have a list of sources we use to help answer questions—especially the big ones. We will talk about our Sources more in another session.

Including All Participants

Modify the activity so youth with limited mobility can participate fully. Instead of standing and moving, participants might point to the corners of their choices. Or, give each youth four cards with 1, 2, 3 and 4 on them, and invite them to hold up a card to make their choices.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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