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PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Written Assignment #2
Religious Development: A Reflective Exercise

 

1. In your estimation, to what extent do you owe your early religious ideas or feelings to the influence of your family, or to any other individuals who were helpful, whether as models to be imitated or just as sympathetic people to talk to?

2. How much of your early idea of God was derived from what you heard from or saw in your parents? Religious figures (priest, rabbi, etc.)? Others?

3. Was formal schooling helpful or a hindrance in the development of religious awareness, whether through the influence of books, teachers, or general environment?

4. To what extent were you influenced, whether positively or negatively, by church worship, or other forms of organized religion?

5. Do you think that the formation of your sense of right and wrong was primarily due to the teaching of your parents or others close to you? Was there ever a sense of conflict between such a socially induced “conscience” and any religious feelings developed on your own?

6. Can you recall any particular moment or period when you had a feeling of emerging into self-consciousness, that is, of sensing yourself to be an individual person with some degree of freedom, responsibility, and independence? If so, was this experience associated with any religious ideas, feelings or viewpoints?

7. Can you remember when you first became aware of, or began thinking about, death? What were your early feelings about death?

8. Some people look back on childhood experience as having been clearer, more vivid, and more revealing than experiences later in life; while others see their early experiences as merely the first steps in a process of growing awareness which only comes to full understanding in adulthood, or may not yet be completed. Do you think that your experience falls into either of these two groups, or do you perceive some quite different pattern in your life?

9. Can you clearly distinguish your early religious feelings and ideas from latter interpretations of them? Your very early religious feelings and the subsequent meaning you attached to them?

Adapted from Edward Robinson, The Original Vision: A Study of the Religious Experience of Childhood. New York: The Seabury Press, 1977, pp. 159-160.


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