Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Taking It Home: What to Believe

Don't believe everything you think. — Bumper sticker

Talk about the quote. Have you ever seen it on a bumper sticker? What kind of people do you think have bumper stickers saying that? Would UUs use a bumper sticker like this?


Today's Big Question asks, "How can I know what to believe?" We began with a story that led not to new beliefs but to new big questions. We saw that big questions grow out of our experiences. We said that mystery and big questions are among the reasons that religion exists. We made some art that came from deep inside us and saw that everybody has different art ideas, just the way everybody has different beliefs. In WCUU, a group of private detectives searched for help in knowing what to believe. In WIT Time, we thought about our favorite places, at this time in our lives, where we look for help shaping our beliefs.


In UU World magazine of Spring 2008, a father talks about sharing his beliefs with his seven-year-old son. The son had asked about Heaven and death. His father said he believed that when people die they live on in the memories of other people, but not in Heaven. The son replied this way, "I'll believe what you believe for now, and when I grow up I'll make up my own mind." Talk about this story. Is that how most UU kids decide on their beliefs? Is that the way it is in your family? What age do you think most kids are when they start to develop their own responses to the big questions?


Use a piece of poster paper and some markers to create a family belief tree. Draw a traditional tree diagram if you like, using horizontal and vertical lines to show all the generations descended from somebody who lived long ago. Write the names of all the family members you know, along with their religions and their core beliefs if you know them. One might have been a Buddhist, for example, or a Roman Catholic, or a UU. Or draw a realistic tree, and hang tags with names and beliefs from the branches of that. The point is to have fun with the drawing and get an idea of some of the most important beliefs held by members of your extended family.


Visit a place you have never been that can help you decide what to believe. Maybe it is a library, or a museum, or a different Unitarian Universalist congregation.


Photograph something that represents a belief of yours. Share the photo and belief with someone.


Think about something your whole family believes related to the Unitarian Universalist Principles, then act on it. Maybe you will choose belief in "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth." How can your family act upon this belief? Can you participate together in a program at your congregation? If the Riddle and Mystery group will design a worship service, could family members help? Maybe it's as simple as inviting someone you don't know well from your congregation to lunch and listening to their story. Beliefs are more meaningful when you act on them.