Websites of Religious Studies

Catholic Religious Education provides teaching and learning material for the Key Stage 3 programme, GCSE and post 16 education. All resources are free and can be amended to suit the particular needs of students and teachers. The resources are designed to compliment lessons not to dominate them.

GCSE Religious Studies: Learn topics in GCSE religious studies and how to answer exam questions on this site, which has extracts from a book by two chief examiners who have set exams for many years and who teach you to answer questions such as does God exist? and can we describe him? as well as teach you what Christians - Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant - believe about God, Jesus and creation, how they worship, and why they say some actions are right and others are wrong in areas ranging from sex, marriage and abortion to wealth, poverty and liberation.

GCSE RE: This website is a resource for all teachers and students of Religious Education. Divided in two main sections the site covers both content and coursework assistance. The coursework section has guidance on essay writing and coursework writing as well as help pages on common coursework topics as a growing number of question and answer pages from questions that students have e-mailed. The Revision section contains notes, sample questions and tests on: Buddhism, Christianity Islam, Judaism, Mark's Gospel, Roman Catholicism and Christian Perspectives.

World Religions: This website is for Secondary school pupils and teachers. It covers the main six world religions, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Judaism. There are introductions on each religion, plus additional sections for pupils who wish to go into greater depth on any of the religions. There are links for each religion to external sites of interest. For teachers there are teacher resources and interactive lessons for Y8 (Creation, The Hajj, World Festivals) and Y9 (The Resurrection). The resources can be used in school or you can use them as part of their homework tasks. The site also covers the Edexcel GCSE Short course and aspects of the Philosophy & Ethics A level.

Fundamentals of Buddhism: The Fundamentals of Buddhism has been produced by BuddhaNet, an organisation based in Sydney, Australia. The creators explain that this website is the "result of a vision to link up with the growing world-wide culture of people committed to the Buddha's teachings and lifestyle, as an on-line cyber sangha". It provides information on twelve areas of Buddhist teaching and covers the life of Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Karma, rebirth, dependent origination, the three universal characteristics and the five aggregates.

Sikhism: Sandeep Singh Bar began this impressive website in October 1994 after discovering there were no websites about Sikhism. He has produced a wonderful resource for the religion's 20 million followers and all those interested in Sikhism. One of the features of the website is the downloadable audio files of all the daily Sikh prayers. Other categories include: a Glossary, the Sikh Alphabet, Sikh Names and Reading List. The Essay section contains articles on specific aspects of Sikhism. For example, one essay explains the background to why smoking has been banned for followers of Sikhism since the 1780s.

Church of England: A good source of factual information about the Church of England. Sections include 'History of the Church of England', 'What it means to be an Anglican', 'The Church of England's Liturgy', 'Organisations of the Church of England' and 'Relations with other denominations and faith'. Teachers will find 'The Church of England's view on…" particularly useful. After putting the subject in its historical context, it uses statements from official documents explain the latest thinking on subjects such as animal welfare, hunting, factory farming, abortion, alcohol, drugs, genetically modified organisms, contraception, homosexuality, capital punishment, divorce, etc.

Hindu Universe: The Hindu Universe has been created by the Hindu Students Council, an organisation based in Boston. A web directory designed in the style of Yahoo, enables you to quickly obtain information on different aspects of Hinduism. The material arranged under the following categories: Arts, Customs, Worship, Books & Resources, Dharma & Philosophy, Hindus Around the World, History, Temples & Organisations, Languages, Interfaith Relations, God, Sages & Gurus, Sciences, Scriptures and Social & Contemporary Issues.

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: David Krieger, the founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, argues that cultures need heroes and provide a "concept of the ideal for educating new generations". This website contains biographies of Krieger's heroes including Jane Addams, Ralph Bunch, Helen Caldicott, Cesar Chavez, XIVth Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Dag Hammarskjold, Cordell Hull, Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Linus Pauling, Jeannette Rankin and Albert Schweitzer.

World Minorities Alliance was conceived 25 years back with a view to bringing all religious minorities of the world at one platform. The objective was to promote world peace through ending inter-community hatred, prejudices and bias. The five point agenda of Alliance which is now being thrown open for discussion at the forthcoming international conference was aimed at economic, social and political uplift of minorities which are generally backward and downtrodden in many countries.

American Jewish Historical Society: The mission of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) is to foster awareness and appreciation of the American Jewish past and to serve as a national scholarly resource for research through the collection, preservation and dissemination of materials relating to American Jewish history. The Society tells the story of American Jewry through its distinguished quarterly journal, American Jewish History, as well as through other publications, exhibitions, lectures, symposia and public programs.

Virtual Tours of Monasteries: Dr. Deborah Vess of Georgia State University has visited some of the most well-known medieval monastic sites in the world. She has decided to share these experiences with others through a series of virtual tours. This includes online tours of Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx Abbey, Lindisfarne Priory, Celtic Holy Wells, St. David's, Mellifont Abbey, Whitby Abbey, Kirkstall Abbey, St. Augustine's Abbey and Battle Abbey.

Medieval Pilgrimages: The Standards Site is managed by the Department for Education and Employment's Standards and Effectiveness Unit (SEU). The main objective of the site is to supply teachers with "guidance and tools to help schools improve effectiveness, raise standards and reduce workload". This scheme of work deals with the question: "Why did people go on pilgrimages?" Aimed at Y7 pupils (11 to 12 year olds) the material attempts to explain why the cult of relics was an important aspect of medieval religion.

Medieval Pilgrimage: In the Middle Ages the Church encouraged people to make pilgrimages to special holy places called shrines. It was believed that if you prayed at these shrines you might be forgiven for your sins and have more chance of going to heaven. Others went to shrines hoping to be cured from an illness they were suffering from. This website provides an overview of pilgrimages and sections on Britain's most important religious shrines including those at Canterbury, Walsingham, St. Winifred's Well, Lindisfarne, Glastonbury, Bromholm and St. Albans.

Dorothy Day: Almost immediately after her death in 1980 controversy arose about whether Dorothy Day should be canonized a Saint by the Church. Voices opposing the process say that Dorothy Day shunned the suggestion she was a saint and believe she would rather have any money spent on her canonization given to the poor. Others are concerned that her radical vision will be sanitized and spun to support Catholic traditionalism and a narrow anti-abortion stance, neutralizing her ardent pacifism, radical critique of society, and love of the poor. This website provides a tribute of this amazing woman and includes biographies, articles, photos, bibliographies and a large collection of her work as a journalist and campaigner.

Jewish Women's Archive: The "Primary Sources" section of this website gives students direct contact with the past by allowing them to work with facsimiles of actual documents. The material is searchable by type, time period, or topic. Features of the this section include: digitized versions of photographs, documents, video, and audio; printable text and PDF versions of documents; historical background and discussion questions for each primary source; teacher notes and student activity sheets for each type of primary source.

Jewish Virtual Library: The Jewish Virtual Library is the world's most comprehensive Jewish cyber encyclopedia with more than 8,000 entries covering everything from anti-Semitism to Zionism. The Library has 13 wings: History, Women, The Holocaust, Travel, Israel & The States, Maps, Politics, Biography, Israel, Religion, Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, Vital Statistics and Reference. The Reference section has bibliographies of more than 1,000 books and 1,000 web sites, and a glossary of more than 1,000 words and a time-line for the history of Judaism.

Beyond the Pale: The Jewish people descend from nomadic tribes in the Middle East. In the Russian Empire the presence of Jews was not tolerated since the Middle Ages. Jews were considered the enemy of Christ by Orthodox Christianity and believed to aim at converting Christians to Judaism. The Czars, in their role as Protectors of the Faith, regularly refused permission even for Jewish merchants to enter Russia. This website provides a detailed account of the history of the Jews in Russia.

Sikh Gurdwara: A Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara, which means doorway to the Guru. In other words, a Gurdwara is God's house. It does not have to be a special building. Especially in India, Gurdwaras may be in ordinary houses or other buildings. The most important thing is that the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, is there. It is a place where people meet to worship, to learn, to have fun, and to have meals together. This website, produced by Fairlands Primary School & Nursery, provides an excellent introduction to the subject.

History of the Jewish People: In the year 1741 BCE, Abraham began his long journey from Haran to Canaan - a journey which would change the history of the world and have a profound effect on the development of most major religions. Throughout the ages there has been a fascination with Jewish history. Countless times, people have questioned the "miracle of the continual existence of the Jewish people" - this despite the almost consistent world delight in their persecution and ridicule. Can we, by reading history, find any clue to this intriguing historical riddle? This website, produced by Eli Birnbaum, attempts to answer this question.

Educhurch allows pupils to find out more about the Christian faith. It features three churches, all very different from each other: an Anglican church, a Salvation Army citadel, and a free church. For each church there are photos and information about: the building, artefacts used within the church (e.g. font, flags and items for communion), events within the church (e.g. worship, prayer and homegroup) and interviews with Christians (e.g. minister, teenager and Sunday school teacher). Educhurch was designed and written by Andrew Trythall from Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School in Suffolk.

Virtual Tours: This website allows you to take a virtual tour of churches of different Christian denominations as well as places of worship of the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths. All examples so far are from Lancashire. The photo tour of each building is accompanied by explanatory test. The website also has question sheets that can be downloaded.

Places of Worship: A series of resources produced by Jerome Monahan of the Education Guardian that looking at places of worship and how their buildings may be linked to what goes on inside. As well as highlighting the differences between the practices of different faith communities, the approach should also show up their similarities and provide some help for young people when they visit sacred buildings.

Religious Education: The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has just published a controversial report on the teaching of Religious Education. It has upset some traditionalists by suggesting that atheism should be introduced into the RE syllabus. The IPPR report also proposes the introduction of teaching about humanism. Critics of the report have claimed that RE should be about teaching faith. However, others have argued that schools should be mainly concerned about providing knowledge and understanding of different religions. Humanist have replied that schools should be helping pupils to explore ways in which people can find meaning and purpose without religion.

RE Quest: This is a cross-denominational primary source about what Christians in the U.K. do and believe today. Each section on a Christian denomination was written by a member of that group. Although sponsors of RE:Quest come from the Protestant evangelical tradition, every effort has been made to include writers representing all the main Christian denominations. 'Christian' is defined as one who subscribes to the Nicene Creed. The main sections are prepared with Key Stage 2 and 3 in mind. The 'Churches' section is supplemented in places to resource project work and Key Stage 4 coursework. Wherever possible links are provided with other relevant Internet sites.

Christianity for Children: This website created by Carol Rainbow sets out to describe the life and teaching of Jesus and includes some of his better known stories. It describes the main beliefs of Christians. It is written for primary school age and includes material under the sections: Jesus' Life, Jesus' Teaching, Beliefs, Celebrations, Festivals, Denominations, Symbols, the Bible, Clergy and Worship.

Children Talking: The National RE Festival in Autumn 1997 involved over 1,250,000 children and young people in around 14,000 schools along with people from about 9,000 different faith community groups. The purposes of the Festival included offering opportunities to children and young people to explore and articulate their own beliefs and perspectives on a range of religious and spiritual topics, and one way in which the PCfRE sought to put this aim into action was by developing and distributing a questionnaire for pupils to complete. About 500 pupil records were selected, searchable by phase, age, gender, religious affiliation and question. The online version of the database, launched in May 2003, allows pupils to participate in the questionnaire, adding their own ideas and views. All additions will be moderated before being made available for public viewing.

RE Today is wholly owned by the charity Christian Education, and is committed to the teaching of the major world faiths in Religious Education, and to an accurate and fair representation of their beliefs, values and practices in all its teaching materials. It carries forward the work of the former Christian Education Movement (CEM). It also provides teaching materials and background papers, together with the termly magazine REtoday and the British Journal of Religious Education.

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