Religious Knowledge Systems Materials, Handouts, Activities

Web Resources on Religious Knowledge Systems

I don’t do much with this AOK but here are two activities I have done that overlap well with RKS.

Translation and Religious Text

After having them discuss the section of the podcast, I give out a worksheet on different Bible translations. My school is in New York City and most of the kids are not religious (and I’m not a Christian) so it is safe for me to have the kids discussing Bible verses though you may not be in such a situation. I’m not quite sure where the idea came from but it is a very interesting activity and the kids get a lot out of it. Students look at competing translations of the same verse of the Bible, John 3:16 (that’s the only specific verse I’ve heard of because write the name of the verse on banners and display it at American Football games for some reason). They consider the subtle linguistic differences and discuss the impact of those differences. Students often notice that the most popular English translation, the King James Version, is the most different from the others which raises interesting questions for discussion.

Download Compare and Contrast John 3 16

There are so many further places you can take this discussion. Muslims (most? many?) believe that the Quran should be read in Arabic. Translations are allowed but that the original Arabic is the official Quran. Why might this be the case?

You can explore the importance of Latin to Catholics and the controversies around doing mass in vernacular languages. John Wycliffe’s story is also fascinating. In the 1300s he promoted radical ideas about the Church. He produced the first complete English translation and was ultimately branded a heretic by the Church. He was ahead of his time particularly when we see the issue of vernacular languages was a core issue in what became the Protestant Reformation. Why all this fuss about language? Really fascinating topics to explore.

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Evolution and Creationism

I have my students read this as part of our unit looking at Natural Sciences. This was adapted from a larger reading discussing the nature of scientific knowledge and how it contrasts with a religious approach to knowledge. Though it doesn’t necessarily cast creationism in a positive light, it does a good job laying out some fundamentally different approaches to knowledge.

Download Science and Creationism