Heteronomy Sources of Religious Authority
10 Commandments… • Answer the following question honestly, and without discussing or conferring with one another. You will not be graded or assessed on the basis of your answers! The question is: What are the Ten Commandments? Choose whichever one of the following responses you think is closest to your own knowledge of the Ten Commandments: 1. I have never heard of the Ten Commandments 2. I have heard of the Ten Commandments, but don’t really know what they are 3. I know what people mean when they talk about the Ten Commandments, but I couldn’t name any of them 4. I could tell you some of the Ten Commandments, but not all of them 5. I think that I could tell you what all Ten Commandments are Today’s lesson is going to be about the Ten Commandments, and you are going to be looking at the part they play in shaping the Christian worldview as moral understanding.
10 Commandments Survey • A survey was carried out in 2004, where 1000 people were asked about their knowledge of the Ten Commandments. 7% of people aged 15-24 had never heard of the Ten Commandments, while 44% of 15-24 year olds were unable to name any of the Commandments. • How did your class compare to the survey?
Discussion point… • How did the class results compare with the survey results? • Are they surprised by the survey results? Why? • Do they think it matters if few people today know the Ten Commandments?
Task… • Work in groups of three or four. • Each member of the group has a copy of the Ten Commandments handout. • In your groups decide which Commandments you think are worth keeping and which ones you would discard. • Have reasons ready to justify which Commandments you would want to discard. • If you have time, you could suggest alternative Commandments to replace any that you reject, but you should be able to provide a justification for any additions that you make.
Discussion on group task… • What factors seemed most relevant in deciding which Commandments to keep and which to abandon? • How would society be better if everybody obeyed the Ten Commandments? What would be the effect on morality? • Do you think we need to have an agreed set of rules in order to make moral decisions? Why? • Could there be any negative consequences of obeying the Commandments?
The Ten Commandments are a key element in the Christian – and Jewish - worldview. The term ‘worldview’ comes from the German word ‘weltanschauung’, meaning ‘look onto the world,’ and refers to how an individual or group of people views themselves and others, and how their underlying values are shaped accordingly. In their book entitled The transforming vision: shaping a Christian worldview, Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton suggest that a worldview is defined by the way an individual or group of people approach the four ultimate questions in life: i. Who am I? What is the nature, task and significance of human beings? ii. Where am I? What is the origin and nature of the reality in which human beings find themselves? iii. What's wrong? How can we account for the distortion and brokenness in this reality? iv. What's the remedy? How can we alleviate this brokenness, if at all? (From Walsh, Brian and Middleton, Richard. The transforming vision: shaping a Christian worldview. IVP, 1984).
Task: Write this in your jotter! • While the Ten Commandments are an important factor in the Christian worldview, they don’t give the full picture. In order to understand what the Christian worldview is, we need to look at history through a wider lens. • Take a copy of the Worldview worksheet and working in groups, complete part one to explore what the Ten Commandments in their Old Testament context, and subsequent New Testament teaching about them, tells us about the Christian worldview.
Group Newspaper Task… • Cut out headlines of any articles where one or more of the Ten Commandments have been broken. Write down on the sheet next to the headline which Commandment has been broken. • Feed back your findings, and discuss the harm and pain caused by people breaking the Commandments. • What life would be like if everyone lived by the Commandments? • Have you changed your mind about Commandments? Do you think they are no longer relevant to modern life?
Things to do… • Watch the power point on sacred writings as a source of Morality. (Take a copy of this sheet) • Read pages 9-15 from your core booklet and complete tasks 7 from page 11, task 8 a-h from page 15.