Strand: God, Religion and Society (GRSPCE1)
In cultural terms, the arts, sciences and humanities offer ways for exploring the fundamental questions of life and for people of faith, ways for exploring the mystery of God.
Investigate some ways in which the arts, sciences and humanities enable exploration of the fundamental questions of life while at the same time enabling people of faith to engage with the mystery of God.
From whatever perspective, life’s fundamental questions include considerations around how best to live a life on earth in the ‘here and now’; what happens to us when we die; why are we here in the first place i.e. what’s our purpose, why is there evil in the world, why do bad things happen to good people etc.; Every religious tradition in its own way, addresses these question as do some worldviews.
Today, many people no longer see religion and art to be as intertwined as was so in the past. Yet, even when culture and the Church are far apart, art remains as a bridge to religious experience. Art is by its nature a kind of appeal to mystery. In exploring beauty or unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice to the major concerns of a society and for some, the universal desire for redemption.
Literature, science and the arts contribute to human life by seeking to probe the true nature of humanity. Works of art, both literary and figurative, are not only aesthetic representations but are genuine sources of theology. From Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, “ in order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. Art has the capacity to take one facet of the message and translate into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen” (John Paul ll, 1999, para. 12).
Religious educators need to recover a neglected strand in Christian anthropology that recognises that humans live within the web of life forms in creation. Human existence is not independent of our cosmic context. Our humanity is not suspended in some imaginary nirvana but alive in a relationship of mutual interdependence of all living things on the planet (Edwards, 1991, p.38). The psychic health of human beings is enhanced by a sense of being rooted in the energy of creation.