New address: 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409.
In "Riddle and Mystery," a Tapestry of Faith program
In this activity, youth consider the difference between an "answering religion" and a "questioning religion," then place Unitarian Universalism on a continuum between the two.
Say in your own words:
There are thousands and thousands of religions in the world. All of them think about big questions like who or what we are, and where we come from, and whether there is a god. In fact, one reason religions exist is to bring people together in their search for answers. You could say the religions come to the rescue and help keep people from getting lost in their search.
Different religions help in different ways. Some religions give their members definite answers to accept and believe. Some religions give people a place to take their questions and perhaps find people who are asking the same ones, to help them come up with their own individual answers.
Imagine that there is a new, answering religion in town. This religion provides all the answers to its members' questions. Let's call it "The Congregation of the Awesome Answer."
Write that name on one sheet of mural paper. Then say:
At the same time, another congregation is starting up. It is part of a new, questioning religion and it is called "The Congregation of the Quantum Question."
Write that name on the second sheet of mural paper.
Then pose the challenge: "What do you think you would find if you attended one of these two congregations?" Tell the youth they will work in two groups to represent what people might find at these two congregations. Form the groups, and direct each group to one of the murals. Tell the groups they will have about ten minutes to complete their murals. Indicate where you have placed oil pastels and any other arts and crafts materials they may use.
Distribute the handout. Suggest youth use its prompts to get started; you may wish to have an adult lead each group through the handout's prompts.
When time is up, ask the youth to clean up, examine both murals and then return to their chairs. Lead a discussion with questions like these:
Encourage participants toward original ideas. Be alert for any suggestion that one approach is the "right" approach. Point out that being encouraged to ask a question and being encouraged to accept an answer can each have value for some people. Reinforce the concept of Unitarian Universalist tolerance for many different religions and beliefs. Guide youth to use tolerance in expressing their negative reactions and critical opinions. Do not allow religion bashing.
Mention that Unitarian Universalism is a "liberal religion." Liberal religions are like the Congregation of the Quantum Question. Liberal religions are more tolerant of different answers to the same question. "Conservative religions" are like the Congregation of the Awesome Answer. Members share the same answers to the big questions.
To conclude, say in your own words:
The names—Awesome Answer and Quantum Question—make these congregations seem extreme and very different. But most congregations do not really offer an answer for every single question. And, even questioning congregations have guidelines to help people who are looking for their own answers. That is true with UU congregations.
Give youth a stretch break before moving on.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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