This GCSE RE Christianity quiz focuses on religious disciplines. The serious personal practice of any religion usually includes a private regimen of 'spiritual hygiene' ~ regular, ideally daily, study of its scriptures, and prayer and meditation, and maybe other specific behaviours. These constitute ‘religious disciplines’ as largely distinct from ritual, though there are, of course, elements and occasions where concepts and practice overlap.
Many religions entail a subsuming of the self into a higher cause: a willing preparedness to improve oneself generally, for the good of others as much as oneself. St Paul, surely almost a key co-founder of mainstream Christianity as traditionally understood, wrote about how the ‘flesh’ (our human body and its instincts) and the ‘spirit’ were at odds, and how only through faith in Christ could the latter prevail (see Galatians 5:17) … but even with victory assured, it could sometimes be a struggle for an individual believer, in tough times and perhaps in the face of particular temptations.
He also wrote that ‘Not by works [= good deeds] but by grace, through faith, are we saved’: i.e., our efforts to be good Christians were not wrong nor even futile ~ but without faith in ‘God dwelling within us’ they cannot, of themselves, earn us assurance of eternal life.
Religious disciplines are therefore a vital support in one’s living-out of a personal faith, but however diligently we try to observe them, we may fail occasionally. Even if (or indeed, when) we sincerely do fall short, however, we already stand forgiven through the very thing we most deeply believe in. Jesus Himself, meanwhile, was critical of some Jewish religious leaders in His own earthly days, who obsessed over ritual details while ironically missing their spiritual point; He claimed to have come to reopen a way of direct contact between God and the individual believer, without any need for a tier of (fallible, human) priests that might cloud the issue in such ways.
Let's now investigate some of the practical routines that Christians may use to keep their faith strong and fresh...
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