Christianity - Modern Life

This GCSE RE quiz takes a look at modern life. Christianity is an established religion with a track-record of virtually 2,000 years, but very much a 'living' faith in the hearts and souls of its believers ~ and one with plenty to offer in modern life.

In terms of social and technical history, this world of ours (and God's, so Christians and others believe) has changed vastly within the last few percent of the timescale of the Christian era. Two centuries ago ~ counting back from 'now', in the 20-teens ~ Europe was trying to recover from the Napoleonic Wars; the Industrial Revolution was barely into its stride; railways had still to be invented, let alone motor cars, powered flight nor telecommunications and the Internet. Yet reckoning at 3 or 4 human generations per century, that isn't vastly far ago.

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On the world stage, but with personal impact on most of us individuals who share it, within the lifetime of your own grandparents (say, post-WW2) we have seen the twin demise of colonies and communism, the reality of long-haul air travel, the application of computers to life and communications, the ready availability and consequences of ‘recreational drugs’ and chemical contraception … and, no doubt, many other related or unrelated innovations that have raised lifestyle questions for people of faith. Plentiful commentators will seek to persuade you, for instance, that conventional churchgoing and any traditional view of marriage (as a heterosexual, monogamous and lifelong commitment) are doomed to terminal decline, whether or not these are supposedly connected.

Amid all this, the stark realities of early-Christian life, as addressed in Paul’s letters, may seem remote and simplistic. But as long as people are living and working, raising families, laughing and crying etc., a code of ethics ~ precepts and practices by which to conduct one’s life ~ still surely have a valuable place. This quiz will open up some of the joys and challenges of the Christian faith in daily living in its early 3rd millennium.

Please note that several specific topics (such as Suffering, and Other Faiths) are covered in separate quizzes.

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  1. Which of these does NOT appear to be a reasoned Christian response to the Internet?
    There may be some truth in the claim, but perhaps it would be better if such a Christian became actively involved in 'cleaning up the net' ~ rather than burying their head in the figurative sand and bemoaning from the sidelines.
  2. Modern Christians might feel uneasy about supermarkets for various reasons: which of these appears to be the WEAKEST?
    Answer 4 seems a somewhat reactionary, rearguard view: there is no law compelling people to attend church on a Sunday or indeed at any other time, and they have free choice whether and when to 'congregate' in the supermarket aisles rather than any church's. Any or all of these arguments would need persuasive research and statistics if they are not to be dismissed as mere examples of suspicious opinion. (And who, meanwhile, is to say that there may not be plenty of Christians working in the supermarkets and their supply chains?)
  3. Are there particular jobs that Christians would be likely to do?
    With answer 1, it is worth bearing in mind that the Armed Forces do many other more positive things than killing; there are plenty of active Christians in uniform, and all (or most) serving units have a chaplain attached ~ not only Christian chaplains, indeed.

    Answer 3 may well be true but does not account for all Christians; while as to answer 4, the money in itself is not necessarily repugnant to Christians: indeed, they may feel drawn to help exercise responsibility in how that money is deployed.
  4. 'Why shouldn't a Christian become wealthy?'

    Which of these represents a relatively gracious and positive response to this question?
    Money in itself (unless 'dirty' by origin or association, e.g. from slaving / trafficking / smuggling / prostitution) is morally neutral, and indeed can potentially be a great force for good ~ such as through charitable investment and philanthropic donations. The 'Protestant work ethic' ('The Lord helps those who help themselves') is not without honour, unless or until an individual is selfishly and extravagantly feathering their own nest. But who is to judge at what precise financial point that state of affairs has been reached, with reference to any one other individual? Christians are enjoined not to be unduly judgemental, nor to let themselves be consumed with envy!
  5. Why, principally, ought a Christian to include support for environmental concerns amongst his/her charitable giving?
    For those who are that way minded, it is entirely reasonable to devote a proportion of one's charitable giving to organisations that preserve and enhance our God-given environment. Meanwhile there are worthwhile elements of moral truth in each of the other answers.
  6. Several Christians (not least, Mrs Mary Whitehouse some 50 years ago) have been concerned, and dismayed, at the amount of violent and sexualised content in the media and the free use of strong language.

    Which of the following would appear to be the LEAST practical way of dealing with such issues?
    Answer 1 may seem to offer (what we might call) a clear-cut solution, but that would hardly be a forgiving or Christian way of dealing with the problem. Campaigning, with patience and integrity, from within and outside the responsible organisations would be more likely to achieve a sympathetic influence in the longer term. Answer 3 may seem obvious and even slightly feeble, but it certainly isn't untrue ~ is it?
  7. 'Is it true that all Christians should avoid alcohol?' Which of these responses contains the clearest Biblical link on this issue?
    Just because Jesus modelled the Communion with the involvement of alcohol, doesn't necessarily mean that all Christians have to feel they need to drink at other times. Some 'lower-church' denominations, in any case, use non-alcoholic wine at their services.
  8. Why, above all, might Christians be concerned about the apparent rise in drug-taking?
    At the individual level, lives can all too easily spiral out of control when drugs become the taker's 'master' rather than their occasional 'servant'; an individual soul becomes harder to return to a healthy life-path, while those around them suffer in all sorts of related ways. This is potentially more important and distressing than the principles (answer 2) or even the specifics in answers 1 and 4.
  9. 'Why are practising Christians unlikely to actively play the Lottery?'

    Which of the following appears the LEAST convincing reason?
    Answer 3 is marginally the least specifically-reasoned argument, though even this one might be supported by carefully researched statistics. But there are valid contentions in each of these answers, including answer 3. However, many Christians will relatively happily dip into their pockets for a small-scale raffle on a parish occasion, for such a 'good cause' as church funds. The question is therefore perhaps one of definition of scale.

    Many Christians may meanwhile have felt distaste when a convicted criminal won a large National Lottery prize a few years ago, on a ticket he had presumably bought over-the-counter before he went into jail (and whether or not with 'clean' money).
  10. Which way should a Christian vote in a typical political election?
    In a European democracy, for instance, sincere Christians might equally well vote for a Labour or Socialist Workers' Party (aiming for social justice and progress), or for a Conservative one (broadly championing traditional values), or indeed almost anyone else ~ other than any party whose policies were inherently divisive, or based on hatred of others (e.g. immigrants &/or refugees).

Author: Ian Miles

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