A Question of Faith


A Question of Faith

A compilation of five short films for GCSE Religious Studies where twelve students, made up of Christians, Muslims and non-believers, explore some big questions of faith.


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Transcript


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12 students, made up of Christians, Muslims and

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non-believers, go on a journey to explore some big questions of faith.

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In a series of five short films, they ask:

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Can God heal today?

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Come. You need healing tonight.

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Why do innocent children suffer?

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Is marriage outdated?

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Where does religion stand when it comes to homosexuality?

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And what happens when we die?

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You may have heard someone exclaim that something was

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a revelation to them, meaning they found out something

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surprising or they've had a sudden moment of clarity.

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But in religion, revelation refers to the way God speaks to

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mankind and reveals the truth of that religion to them.

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Some also believe that God can directly connect with us

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to guide us or even heal us.

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So how does God reveal himself to us?

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Well, sacred texts, such as the Bible and Koran

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are all thought to be revelations from God.

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Muslims believe that the Koran was verbally revealed from God to

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Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel.

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For Christians, Jesus is God revealed in human form.

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But can we experience God today,

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or are such experiences all in the mind?

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We've gathered together a group of young people with different

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beliefs to go on a journey to find out more about revelation

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and what it means to Christians, Muslims and non-believers.

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I'm Morgan. I'm a first-year student at the University of Leeds.

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I grew up in a Christian family.

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When I was around 16, I started to question religion a lot.

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There were just too many things that didn't add up and that made me

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lose my faith.

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I call myself a utilitarian, which means that

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I believe everybody has the right to do what makes them happy.

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I'm Rachel and I'm a student at Lancaster University.

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These earrings are probably more of a fashion statement than

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a religious statement.

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I believe in God but that doesn't stop me from making my own decisions.

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I get upset when people don't respect each other's views.

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I do feel that there's a place for God in my life

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because I like to feel loved and supported.

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My name is Fayaz.

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I am 18 years old and I'm from Batley, West Yorkshire.

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I'm a Muslim. I pray five times a day.

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I try to do everything according to how our Prophet did.

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The Koran is the most important revelation to me but, as a Muslim,

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it is very important for me to see what other faiths say as well.

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Morgan, Rachel and Fayaz are getting a first-hand experience

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of what revelation means.

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They're visiting the New Life Christian Centre.

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It's a Pentecostal church where people come to ask God to heal them.

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I've never ever been to a church before,

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so I don't know what I'm expecting.

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I think it's going to be quite in my face, quite loud,

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quite happy-clappy.

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I'm expecting a lot of music.

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There's always a lot of music, from my experience.

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Leading the worship is Pastor Jarrod Cooper.

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It's the kind of place where

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there's an expectation that it isn't

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just the offering of a religion to God

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but rather, God's here. We can interact with him in some way.

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There's also a passionate belief that God is alive and well

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and therefore answers prayer and heals people,

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and might even speak to people today.

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Right, everybody, come on, let's worship and pray.

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Many of the worshippers have

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travelled from across the region to experience God's healing power.

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In Jesus' name, we rebuke this back pain.

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I command it to be removed now, in Jesus' name.

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Look at me. Move now. Has it gone?

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Just be totally honest with me, has it gone or is it the same?

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A little bit better? A little bit worse? A little bit better. Let's pray again.

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Where are you in pain, Naomi?

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Intermittently, all over.

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OK, all right. So let the spirit of God come on you.

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I command that to stop in Jesus' name.

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Let the spirit of God come on you.

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Let the spirit of God...

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Let the spirit of God come on you. In Jesus' name...

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A few years ago, Sandra came to pray for healing,

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after having a fall at work which left her barely able to walk.

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They discovered that in the fall I had broken and dislocated

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the coccyx and caused some crush injury to the

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base of the spine and had dislocated my sacroiliac joint.

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So this was the reason that I was in so much distress.

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Sandra had an operation which enabled her to walk,

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but she was still in chronic pain.

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Raise your life up to Him tonight.

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Even as we start this night of prayer...

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And then, one Sunday, she came to a healing service.

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So I went forward for prayer and, as Jarrod laid hands on me,

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I went over in the spirit and I was aware of this heat

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and power in my body, and just that the power of God was actually

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being revealed there and then.

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And when I got up,

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I kind of moved and I thought, "I can't feel any pain.

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"I feel no pain at all."

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And I can genuinely say that since then it's remained pain free.

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What would you say to somebody who said it was entirely all

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the doctors' help that you got

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and all the medicine that you received, as opposed to God's work?

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I'd have to say that doesn't make sense, because I think this

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sudden transformation that I had from being in so much pain still -

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it wasn't, to me, explicable or explainable by normal means.

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In Jesus' name right now, I command that pain to leave,

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leave in the name of Jesus.

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So I agree with you, it's surreal.

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And I would be cynical if I didn't know these people before

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and afterwards.

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But I'm looking at someone who was in a wheelchair and now walking.

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And you kind of just go, "Well, there is a God."

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Can anybody heal somebody, or is it just like the select few?

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The basic belief is that anybody can pray for anybody.

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Someone who doesn't even know God but says, "Jesus, will you heal me?"

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God's God - he's not just listening to Christians,

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he listening to anyone who calls out to him.

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Why do you think some people come here to be healed,

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but then they don't receive the healing?

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My first question when I meet God face-to-face

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when I die will be, "Why that one?

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"Why not that one?"

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And that's one of the big, mysterious and difficult questions.

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I want you to come and join me here at the front

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if you need healing and you...

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Janice suffered a brain tumour in 2000.

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She's often in pain and has difficulty walking but so far,

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her prayers haven't been answered.

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Do you think it's made you lose your faith at all, or doubt God at times?

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No, it's never made me doubt God at all.

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But sometimes, I suppose,

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I lose confidence that the healing will actually come about.

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But not my faith in God itself.

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I believe that life is a test,

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so do you think that the condition that you have is a test from God?

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I think it may well be and it may be a test of my faith in him.

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It may be a test of how much I'm willing to persevere, how much

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I'm willing to just keep believing and pressing on and keep asking.

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-Yeah.

-Remember, the Christian worldview is this -

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for a Christian to be healed is fabulous.

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But even when a Christian dies, they go to heaven, so we still say,

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in one sense, even though we're missing them, it's still fabulous.

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So we would say they are healed.

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I think whether you believe in God or you don't believe in God,

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it's hard to deny there's definitely something in the atmosphere.

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Yes. The whole experience is really affecting them. Did you believe what was going on?

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-No, no! I did not believe it at all.

-No.

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Well, that's what Morgan, Rachel and Fayaz made of it.

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But what do the rest of our group think?

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That was a very powerful experience there but Fayaz,

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you weren't convinced, were you?

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No, I wasn't convinced at all.

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The Pastor - he was kind of associating himself

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and kind of playing alongside God.

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Only Allah is the one that gives sickness

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and only Allah is the one that can cure the sickness.

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The whole service, to me, was just completely ridiculous.

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Sarah, what do you think about it?

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Do you the woman's been healed?

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I do think that the woman was healed.

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There are loads of stories in the Bible

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about tonnes of people that Jesus healed when he was on Earth

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and I think he can still do that today.

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And I think he can do it through people, through the power of prayer.

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What do you think actually happened?

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I do think she was healed.

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I don't necessarily think that it was God that did it because,

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obviously, I don't believe in God.

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But you know, maybe it could be something to do with the mind.

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Very strange things can happen.

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You can't always find an explanation for them there and then.

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If I was in pain for so long and then this happened to me, then

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I'd sort of think, well, what's more likely - that the laws of physics

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and nature have been suspended in my favour or it's a coincidence?

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I think it's completely possible for God to do miracles

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and to heal people, but I think the problem with these kinds of services

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is that they're very, kind of, emotionally fuelled.

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And when that, kind of, euphoria,

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kind of, takes over people,

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it's more of a show rather then glorifying God.

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I could get sort of an overwhelming feeling inside of me,

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you know, with like, lights and, you know, the music or something...

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If I went to see David Bowie or something, I'd just be like...

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Ooh! You know, I think I'd be having like a religious experience.

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I'm not going to a concert with you!

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So for Christians, what is revelation?

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I think it could be split into two.

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So maybe general revelation and special revelation.

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So I'd say general revelation is the creation all around us.

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That's something everybody can see. You know creation is beautiful.

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That's one way of God revealing himself.

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And then special revelation would be things like the Bible,

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miracles, healing.

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And then, finally, Jesus Christ as like the final, perfect,

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full revelation of God in human form

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and that's how we know his characteristics.

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In Islam, we believe that God does not physically reveal himself

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to mankind.

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We believe that the Koran is a form of revelation.

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When we read the Koran there is a direct contact

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between a human with God.

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There's a big difference between revelation and inspiration.

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In Islam, revelation is only of one type,

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where God reveals himself through an angel to a Prophet.

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And inspiration is something completely different,

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where, you know, you may feel something or you may have a dream.

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Revelation is always infallible, whereas inspiration may be fallible.

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I feel like God communicates with me.

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Why do you think that people, such as myself, who...

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I mean, I'm not... I'm not crazy.

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I mean, why do you think it's such a real thing to me?

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But is it any more real than a person

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hearing voices? That's real to them as well.

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Rachel, do you think God can reveal himself in human minds?

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Erm, I don't think I would necessarily hear him speak to me.

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But I think if I was making a big decision,

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I would feel a sway towards a certain way.

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Then how do you know if it's God speaking or what you want for yourself?

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Well, because I feel that God would tell me

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what is the best route to take.

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I don't think I would know myself what the best route to take.

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Interesting comments there. So, does God heal?

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Would you call it inspiration or revelation? What do you think?

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One of the most common questions people struggle with

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when studying religion is, if there is a God and he's a kind,

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benevolent God, then why does he allow innocent people to suffer?

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It's a difficult concept for us to come to terms with,

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especially when we see children suffering.

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When natural disasters such as earthquakes,

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floods and typhoons hit a country, they kill thousands.

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Those who are left often find themselves homeless,

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having lost everything.

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The pain and suffering they cause lead many people to ask,

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"Where is God in all this?"

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Everything is destroyed!

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For an atheist, it's simple.

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Suffering is something that just happens.

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But how do people of faith reconcile a benevolent creator with tragic events?

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We've gathered a group of young people together.

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Some are Muslim, some are Christian and some have no faith at all.

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We sent three of them off to find out more about how we cope

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with pain and suffering.

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I'm Andrew. I'm a third year medical student at Leeds University.

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The more I learn about the human body,

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the more I feel that there just has to be a God behind it.

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As humans, we think we have the right to understand everything.

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But, as a Christian, I think sometimes we have to just stand back and trust that it's in God's hands.

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Hi, I'm Jade. I'm 23 and I'm studying philosophy, ethics

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and religion at Leeds University.

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I don't believe in God. I think it's really important for everybody to understand

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different religions, so we can all get along.

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However, I don't think I need religion to teach me

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how to be a good person.

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If there was a God, I don't believe that he would let certain types

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of suffering happen, especially the suffering of children.

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My name is Fayaz.

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I am 18 years old and I'm from Batley, West Yorkshire.

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I'm a Muslim. I pray five times a day.

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I try to do everything according to how our Prophet did.

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My little brother, his name's Ayub, and he has Down's syndrome

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and he just absolutely loves the Koran.

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And ever since he's been born, he's been a blessing.

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Aw, ye-e-es!

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Jade, Andrew and Fayaz have come to Kinross in Scotland to visit

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a children's hospice called Rachel House.

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It's probably the first time I've been around such ill children.

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It's going to be difficult maybe not to cry.

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Yeah, I think it will be quite difficult

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and there will be challenging questions to ask ourselves.

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Once inside, they couldn't be more wrong.

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Oooh! And we do lots of things like that, lots of movement.

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The Clowndoctors have arrived,

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prescribing a dose of laughter for everyone.

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Doctor D!

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I'm sorry, Doctor Spritely, I'm sorry!

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She really enjoys playing.

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Oh, she does. She wakes up smiling every day and she's just a happy little girl,

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despite everything.

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Rachel House is a place where children who need constant

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medical care can come for a break.

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We try to give them as much happiness as possible

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and to make their life as full as possible,

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so that they reach as much as they can of their potential.

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Are you going to say hello?

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The Reverend Marion Keston is the chaplain here and,

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although the hospice isn't affiliated to any particular faith,

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she is often the person parents turn to

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if they have to face the end of their child's life.

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"How dare I believe in God?" some of them will say.

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"How can God allow this to happen in the world?"

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Why do you think that God allows suffering in the world?

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I do believe that suffering is part of living

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and I don't think we can live without having suffering.

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Suffering helps us to grow and to develop.

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I think it keeps us

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aware of the reality of the love that's around us.

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So I don't think God ever wants us to suffer.

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For me, I find it so challenging to think, why should a child suffer?

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A child, probably in a way, suffers less than an adult.

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If you have that love from home, then I think a child accepts

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and lives as much as they can.

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The multi-sensory room is somewhere everyone wants to play in.

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We have different equipment within the room that stimulates the senses.

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How old's Sophie?

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Sophie's just had her first birthday.

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-Are you ticklish?

-Yeah, she's got tickly knees.

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Hi. I'm Caroline.

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-Hi.

-I'm Jade.

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Caroline usually visits the hospice with her young daughter.

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Unfortunately, Isla needs hospital treatment today.

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She has Edward's syndrome,

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a chromosomal condition which means she has complex medical needs.

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It affects her cognitive development,

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it affects her physical development but she's a cheeky wee thing, so...

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So has the situation with Isla shaken your Christian faith at all?

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Not really, no. I don't think it's a bad thing.

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I don't think I'm being punished by God.

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On the contrary, I think I'm actually blessed by God.

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Do you make the best of what you've been presented with?

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Or do you sit about and mope and say, "Why me? Why me?"

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So, no, my faith wasn't really shaken at all.

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It's probably been strengthened because I'm relying on it a little bit more.

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Do you think having Isla is a test from God?

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I think I got what I asked for.

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You know, I asked to be a mum and I got to be a mum.

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Maybe he is testing me.

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Maybe he's seeing what I can deal with.

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-Hi, Craig.

-Hi.

-Hi, Craig.

-Hi, Craig.

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Hello, Craig.

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So in the midst of all the difficulty

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and challenges that a lot of these families face,

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do you see the good that God works in their lives?

0:18:520:18:55

Yes, I think it pours from them!

0:18:550:18:59

I think there's almost a sense that they realise that life is

0:18:590:19:04

important and I think they live their lives then more to the full

0:19:040:19:09

than many people.

0:19:090:19:11

So what sort of effect do you think Isla has on other people around her?

0:19:120:19:17

I think she does bring people together,

0:19:170:19:19

but she also does bring out something special in people as well.

0:19:190:19:25

Our children are just so blessed and they give us blessing.

0:19:250:19:30

In many ways, our life is graced by these children.

0:19:300:19:35

So can good come out of suffering,

0:19:370:19:39

or is it incompatible with a loving God?

0:19:390:19:42

Our group have plenty to say on the subject.

0:19:420:19:45

We're going to start off by going to Fayaz.

0:19:450:19:48

What did you think about your experience?

0:19:480:19:50

It just completely moved me and, at a personal level,

0:19:500:19:54

I have a little brother who has Down's syndrome.

0:19:540:19:57

So we, as individuals, perceive that as a child that is suffering.

0:19:570:20:01

But when you see the child, he's happy and it makes us

0:20:010:20:04

realise what life is about.

0:20:040:20:07

Jade, was there anything that surprised you?

0:20:070:20:09

I thought it would be quite depressing,

0:20:090:20:13

quite emotional.

0:20:130:20:16

But it was actually like a really uplifting experience for me.

0:20:160:20:20

A question that I didn't really feel was answered was why do we need,

0:20:200:20:26

you know, earthquakes and mass terrible disasters and, like,

0:20:260:20:32

innocent people suffering?

0:20:320:20:33

As a Christian, when natural disasters do happen we have to

0:20:330:20:36

also acknowledge the fact that we're all going to die by some means.

0:20:360:20:41

So the important thing for Christians is not so much focusing

0:20:410:20:45

on how we come to an end but how we live our lives up to that point.

0:20:450:20:49

The Koran teaches us, you know,

0:20:490:20:50

God has created life and death as a test for us.

0:20:500:20:54

Even if you feel pain that's equivalent to the

0:20:540:20:56

prick of a thorn, you're losing sins for that.

0:20:560:20:59

So if you think about it like that, the more you are suffering,

0:20:590:21:02

the more sins you are losing

0:21:020:21:04

and the greater your reward is going to be in the hereafter.

0:21:040:21:07

I can sense why the atheists believe why suffering is bad,

0:21:070:21:11

but that's primarily because they don't believe in the afterlife.

0:21:110:21:14

There's a pretty good example of it during the Second World War.

0:21:140:21:19

There was found, carved into the wall of a concentration

0:21:190:21:24

camp by a Jewish inmate:

0:21:240:21:27

"If God does exist, then he's going to have to beg for my forgiveness."

0:21:270:21:31

That kind of sums it up, because that's an incredible amount of suffering.

0:21:310:21:35

Why would people so easily forgive him if he even did exist?

0:21:350:21:39

The Bible talks a lot about

0:21:390:21:41

how suffering teaches us things.

0:21:410:21:43

It teaches us endurance and perseverance

0:21:430:21:46

and there's scriptures about how sometimes we go through things

0:21:460:21:49

so that we're able to overcome them and comfort other people who are going through the same things.

0:21:490:21:53

Yeah, it strengthens us. It builds our character.

0:21:530:21:55

It builds perseverance.

0:21:550:21:57

What do you thing about that, Harry?

0:21:570:22:01

I can't grasp why a God who is all-loving and loves all his creations

0:22:010:22:04

would want to impose suffering on anybody.

0:22:040:22:09

God doesn't inflict all of the suffering that people go through.

0:22:090:22:13

Some suffering is man-made through the decisions that we make.

0:22:130:22:16

And because God loves us, he gives us the free choice to make those

0:22:160:22:19

decisions and we have to deal with the consequences of those decisions.

0:22:190:22:23

At the start of creation, Adam and Eve were given free will

0:22:230:22:26

and this all comes into the Fall, of bringing evil into humanity.

0:22:260:22:30

That's why we're all born with Original Sin.

0:22:300:22:33

It's not anything that WE'VE done, it's a consequence of what Adam

0:22:330:22:37

did at the very start of creation and that's through free will.

0:22:370:22:40

The whole idea of Original Sin is just... I find it disgusting.

0:22:400:22:46

It's the idea that you are born sick

0:22:460:22:50

and then commanded to be well again through no fault of your own.

0:22:500:22:56

Well, in Islam, we don't believe

0:22:560:22:57

that anybody's born with Original Sin -

0:22:570:22:59

everybody's born with a fresh, new start.

0:22:590:23:01

There's no sins. It's throughout life, throughout the course of life,

0:23:010:23:05

that sins come about.

0:23:050:23:07

Does anyone have any personal experiences where suffering

0:23:070:23:09

has either brought them closer to God or drawn them away from God?

0:23:090:23:15

My mum was quite ill when I was younger.

0:23:150:23:16

I can remember asking, like, "You know, you're a good person, Mum.

0:23:160:23:19

"Why would God let this happen to you if he was real?"

0:23:190:23:24

I think this is when I, sort of, became an atheist.

0:23:240:23:28

I've grown-up with a very ill mother

0:23:280:23:31

and I've seen her go through a lot and that's not only been

0:23:310:23:34

a test for her but for me and my dad, personally.

0:23:340:23:37

I can honestly say that there have been times where I do think,

0:23:370:23:41

like, "Why me?" or "Why all these tests?"

0:23:410:23:43

But, at the end of the day, it makes me closer to God.

0:23:430:23:46

We've had some fantastic comments here and thank you

0:23:460:23:48

all very much for sharing your personal experiences as well.

0:23:480:23:51

There's one thing that most religions agree on

0:24:010:24:03

and that's marriage between a man and a woman is a good thing -

0:24:030:24:07

it's an ideal to be encouraged.

0:24:070:24:09

These days you can marry almost anywhere, even underwater.

0:24:100:24:15

There are over 250,000 weddings every year in the UK.

0:24:150:24:19

For non-believers,

0:24:190:24:20

it's a celebration of two people getting legally hitched.

0:24:200:24:24

But for people of faith, God remains an important element

0:24:240:24:27

when it comes to tying the knot.

0:24:270:24:30

We've gathered 12 young people from different faith backgrounds

0:24:300:24:34

and we've sent three of them to a Pakistani Muslim

0:24:340:24:36

wedding to find out what marriage means in Islam.

0:24:360:24:39

My name is Ammar. I've just turned 18.

0:24:410:24:43

I'm currently studying my A-levels. I really love family life.

0:24:430:24:47

My mum and dad had an arranged marriage

0:24:470:24:50

and they really love each other and are very happy together.

0:24:500:24:53

I hope to get married.

0:24:530:24:54

Whether I meet that person by myself or they're introduced to me

0:24:540:24:57

by parents is not an issue for me.

0:24:570:24:59

I'm Morgan. I'm a first-year student at the University of Leeds.

0:25:010:25:05

I grew up in a Christian family.

0:25:050:25:07

When I was around 16, I started to question religion a lot.

0:25:070:25:10

There were just too many things that didn't add up and that made me lose my faith.

0:25:100:25:14

I call myself a utilitarian, which means that

0:25:150:25:18

I believe everybody has the right to do what makes them happy.

0:25:180:25:21

I'm Stuart. I'm 19.

0:25:230:25:25

I'm studying religious studies at Lancaster University.

0:25:250:25:29

In the future, I hope to train for the Catholic priesthood.

0:25:290:25:32

It will be a fantastic opportunity to serve people.

0:25:320:25:35

Although I won't be able to get married as a priest,

0:25:350:25:38

my family will be the wider Catholic community.

0:25:380:25:41

It's the morning of the wedding and Ammar, Morgan and Stuart have

0:25:440:25:48

come to the bride's family home in Manchester, where proceedings begin.

0:25:480:25:51

-That looks like number 29. I think this is the right house.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Yeah?

0:25:510:25:55

What do you guys know about a Muslim wedding?

0:25:550:25:57

I don't really know that much.

0:25:570:25:58

Absolutely nothing.

0:25:580:26:01

I've never been to a Muslim wedding, so we'll see what happens.

0:26:010:26:04

Here, the bride will sign the marriage contract called the "nikah".

0:26:040:26:08

The bride and groom, Mahvish and Anwar,

0:26:080:26:11

have opted for a traditional ceremony where they sign

0:26:110:26:13

the nikah separately, so neither the groom nor his family are here.

0:26:130:26:18

This is to make sure the bride feels no pressure

0:26:180:26:21

and enters the marriage freely.

0:26:210:26:23

The holy man, known as the imam, conducts the signing.

0:26:240:26:29

He makes certain Mahvish understands what she's agreeing to

0:26:290:26:32

and is happy to marry Anwar.

0:26:320:26:36

HE SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE

0:26:360:26:40

Once she's signed the contract,

0:26:430:26:45

there are prayers to ask for Allah's blessing.

0:26:450:26:47

Whilst the bride stays at home, the men head off to the mosque,

0:26:540:26:57

where the groom is waiting.

0:26:570:26:59

-Morgan, you need to go in that way, because that's the ladies' entrance.

-Oh, so I've got to go that way, then?

0:26:590:27:03

-Yeah, yeah.

-I'll see you later, I guess.

0:27:030:27:06

Morgan heads upstairs to the ladies' section.

0:27:060:27:08

Women and men don't pray together in the mosque,

0:27:110:27:13

because it's thought it would be distracting for the men.

0:27:130:27:16

So Morgan watches from above.

0:27:160:27:18

You've got, literally, a big wall between you and the actual ceremony.

0:27:180:27:22

Yet the men were at the women's signing

0:27:220:27:25

but the women aren't literally at the men's signing.

0:27:250:27:27

We're kind of just watching from afar.

0:27:270:27:29

Mahvish's imam is acting on her behalf.

0:27:310:27:34

He gives permission for the marriage to proceed.

0:27:340:27:37

Then it's the groom's turn.

0:27:380:27:41

Once he signs, the couple are officially married, according to Islam.

0:27:410:27:44

I found it a little bit sexist, cos I did think, you know, if that was

0:27:440:27:48

my brother, my son, or a male in my family, I'd want to be part of it.

0:27:480:27:52

But yet to be in a separate room, it made me feel very different.

0:27:520:27:56

The reason for that is because it was in a mosque

0:27:560:27:58

and in a mosque you do need to be separate.

0:27:580:28:00

I mean, I've been to other weddings where the bride has been asked

0:28:000:28:03

and then the groom has been asked and then they're together when they were asked.

0:28:030:28:07

So it's all about, you know, personal preference.

0:28:070:28:09

It's the way the family want it done.

0:28:090:28:11

It's the way the bride and groom want it done.

0:28:110:28:13

How the imam was praying, what was,

0:28:130:28:15

sort of, in the context of the prayers?

0:28:150:28:17

He was just stressing how important marriage is

0:28:170:28:20

and he was just talking about how, you know,

0:28:200:28:23

the best person is the one who treats his wife the best.

0:28:230:28:26

I think the beauty of it is, when someone's getting married in Islam,

0:28:260:28:29

it's as if the whole community all share in that happiness

0:28:290:28:32

and feel as though it was their own son or daughter getting married.

0:28:320:28:36

At the wedding party, 500 guests have come to celebrate.

0:28:370:28:41

But the bride and groom haven't met yet as husband and wife.

0:28:410:28:45

The couple arrive separately.

0:28:450:28:47

The drums herald the arrival of the groom,

0:28:490:28:53

before he takes his place to anxiously await his bride.

0:28:530:28:57

Mahvish arrives and is whisked away to prepare for her big entrance.

0:29:010:29:05

You look really nice.

0:29:050:29:07

Oh, thank you. Today's not just a party.

0:29:070:29:09

It's got a greater significance.

0:29:090:29:11

Obviously, I'm completing half of my iman, my faith.

0:29:110:29:16

Islam promotes getting married, so it is a very special day for me.

0:29:160:29:20

The brothers of the bride

0:29:210:29:23

and groom explain more about the significance of marriage in Islam.

0:29:230:29:26

It's the way of our Prophet, peace be upon him, and also it's

0:29:260:29:30

to pass on your family, so your family lineage continues.

0:29:300:29:34

And it brings families together, so it unites people.

0:29:340:29:37

So do you have to get married in Islam?

0:29:370:29:40

It's stressed upon and it's encouraged and it's the way of our Prophet, peace be upon him.

0:29:400:29:44

But if you're saying, "Do you have to do this before you die?"

0:29:440:29:46

No, you don't have to do it before you die.

0:29:460:29:50

Mahvish and Anwar have now been married for four hours,

0:29:500:29:53

but still haven't met.

0:29:530:29:55

And now they must wait whilst the imam reminds

0:29:550:29:57

the guests about the relationship between a husband and wife.

0:29:570:30:01

And the three beautiful ingredients Allah mentions, that he

0:30:010:30:05

would like to see - tranquillity, love and mercy.

0:30:050:30:12

So when you go back there this evening, would that be

0:30:120:30:14

-the first time you've seen your husband since you've gotten married?

-Yeah, that's right.

0:30:140:30:18

-How do you think that will feel? Cos I know it's...

-Nervous!

-..it's going to be different.

0:30:180:30:21

-You've just got married...

-Yeah, it will be different, yeah!

0:30:210:30:24

Coming together as man and wife in front of everybody on that stage.

0:30:240:30:27

I think it's a very special moment.

0:30:270:30:29

At last, the big moment arrives.

0:30:320:30:35

Mahvish and Anwar are together as husband and wife.

0:30:350:30:38

Their two families are now united and the couple look forward

0:30:400:30:43

to spending the rest of their lives together.

0:30:430:30:46

There may be many different ways to get hitched in Britain today.

0:30:490:30:53

But will believing in God make a difference to a marriage? What do our group think?

0:30:530:30:57

Well, that looked like a fantastic wedding.

0:30:570:30:59

Ammar, is that a typical Pakistani Muslim wedding?

0:30:590:31:02

Yeah, I would say it is.

0:31:020:31:03

I mean, obviously, there were elements of culture in there.

0:31:030:31:06

Obviously, the religious event is

0:31:060:31:07

when you're actually signing the nikah.

0:31:070:31:09

So, yeah, I would say that's a typical Asian-Pakistani wedding.

0:31:090:31:13

Now, Imani, for some people who are watching,

0:31:130:31:15

they might find it a little bit strange about the segregation.

0:31:150:31:18

Would you have a segregated wedding when you get married?

0:31:180:31:20

-Hmm? I've never really thought about it but...

-Are you sure?

0:31:200:31:23

Well, I've planned the whole wedding! Just don't have the guy.

0:31:240:31:29

Erm, I think the nikah I would have separate but at my own house.

0:31:290:31:34

I think the guy should be sat in a different room and I'll be sat

0:31:340:31:37

in a different room and then we'll come together for the actual party.

0:31:370:31:40

Stuart, what does marriage mean to the Catholic Church?

0:31:400:31:43

Marriage is a sacrament,

0:31:430:31:44

so a sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace.

0:31:440:31:47

It's the joining together of man and wife as one.

0:31:470:31:51

So, as a Christian, it's really important that you have to get married in a church?

0:31:510:31:55

Yeah, the church is the holy place and any sacrament in the church

0:31:550:31:59

is performed in the church and nowhere else.

0:31:590:32:02

And is that the same for Islam?

0:32:020:32:06

Er, marriage can take place anywhere.

0:32:060:32:07

This roots from the idea that God is all-seeing.

0:32:070:32:10

He's present in every place that you go.

0:32:100:32:13

But what is wrong with just living together?

0:32:130:32:16

I think, obviously, you should be careful

0:32:160:32:18

of how many partners you have and I don't think

0:32:180:32:21

you should take those relationships too lightly before you're married.

0:32:210:32:26

But I don't think it's wrong to go out with a couple of different

0:32:260:32:30

people and, you know, try before you buy, erm...

0:32:300:32:34

-Andrew, you're a good-looking lad...

-Oh, thanks!

0:32:340:32:37

-I'm always here to compliment. Do you think it will just be...

-You, too!

0:32:370:32:41

Do you think it will be just you and one woman?

0:32:410:32:44

Personally, I'm looking forward to just committing to that one person.

0:32:440:32:47

I don't really feel a need to, kind of, have multiple partners.

0:32:470:32:50

I think that it loses its...the genuineness

0:32:500:32:55

and the uniqueness of the relationship.

0:32:550:32:58

So Christians and Muslims believe that God gives sex as a wedding present, in a way?

0:32:580:33:03

Yeah, it's like a gift that God has given

0:33:030:33:05

and he's specifically designed it for marriage.

0:33:050:33:08

So in Genesis he talks about how two become one.

0:33:080:33:10

So, as well as having spiritual meaning, it makes sense in the physical.

0:33:100:33:14

Like you don't want to be sleeping around cos there's

0:33:140:33:17

the risk of STDs and having children all over the shop.

0:33:170:33:19

It makes sense for sex to be within marriage and it's sacred and it's a gift.

0:33:190:33:23

When it's outside of marriage, it can lose its beauty and its value.

0:33:230:33:26

I don't necessarily think it's...important to be married,

0:33:260:33:32

erm, but for me it's about the values, like faithfulness

0:33:320:33:36

and being supportive.

0:33:360:33:37

People who... I think people take it too lightly these days.

0:33:370:33:40

But isn't that what marriage does? It makes you take those vows seriously.

0:33:400:33:44

The danger when you're not under the institution of marriage is

0:33:440:33:47

that you leave that person and you go

0:33:470:33:50

and start a relationship with someone else.

0:33:500:33:52

And, for a Christian, doing that is like splitting your spirit

0:33:520:33:55

between two or three, four, whatever, amount of people.

0:33:550:33:58

You know, sometimes relationships don't work.

0:33:580:34:03

From the Muslim point of view, what do you think about divorce?

0:34:030:34:07

These days people don't work hard

0:34:070:34:09

enough on the relationship that they want to develop.

0:34:090:34:12

If one thing goes wrong, they tend to think divorce is the easy

0:34:120:34:15

route out because they can't deal with a certain situation.

0:34:150:34:18

The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wasallam,

0:34:180:34:20

said the lawful act that Allah hates the most is divorce.

0:34:200:34:25

So that just signifies the importance of marriage,

0:34:250:34:28

but in Islam divorce is permissible.

0:34:280:34:30

I think this whole idea of frowning on divorce from any faith

0:34:300:34:36

perspective can be really dangerous.

0:34:360:34:40

There's so many men and women that are trapped in, erm,

0:34:410:34:45

horrible...horrible marriages that are scared to get divorces

0:34:450:34:50

and they'll keep on going through marital abuse

0:34:500:34:54

and things like this, because they're so scared from...culturally

0:34:540:34:58

and a faith-based perspective - erm, what people will think of them,

0:34:580:35:03

what God's going to think of them.

0:35:030:35:05

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,

0:35:050:35:08

was actually married to a woman who was divorced.

0:35:080:35:10

I think that was quite relevant at a time when they used to think that

0:35:100:35:14

women who are divorced shouldn't be respected like other women are.

0:35:140:35:18

I think the Prophet, as a sign of respect, actually married a divorced woman.

0:35:180:35:23

Thank you all very much for your comments.

0:35:230:35:26

So what do you think?

0:35:260:35:27

Will one lover last you a lifetime,

0:35:270:35:29

or will your partnership be made stronger with or without God?

0:35:290:35:33

One subject that's guaranteed to cause controversy amongst people

0:35:430:35:47

of faith is sexual relationships and, particularly, homosexuality.

0:35:470:35:52

Many Christians and Muslims take parts of the Bible and Koran

0:35:520:35:55

as evidence that sex between two men or two women goes against God's law.

0:35:550:36:01

Others take a more liberal reading of these texts but,

0:36:010:36:03

for generations, it's been a testy topic.

0:36:030:36:06

For decades, people have campaigned for gay rights.

0:36:070:36:11

Before 1967, homosexuality was a crime.

0:36:110:36:15

Almost half a century later,

0:36:170:36:19

Parliament passed a law to allow gay people to marry.

0:36:190:36:22

However, the Church of England

0:36:240:36:25

and Church of Wales are exempt from performing same-sex marriages.

0:36:250:36:30

Even though the law recognises the rights of homosexuals,

0:36:300:36:33

some religions still struggle to accept same-sex relationships.

0:36:330:36:38

We've gathered 12 students together with different

0:36:380:36:40

perspectives on the subject and sent three of them to find out more.

0:36:400:36:44

I'm Imani. I'm 20 and I'm studying pharmacy.

0:36:450:36:48

This is my parents' shop. The shop is named after me.

0:36:500:36:53

In Arabic "imani" means faith.

0:36:530:36:55

Islam was something that was instilled in me

0:36:550:36:58

from a very young age but it's also something that I feel within myself.

0:36:580:37:03

In Islam, it is wrong to be homosexual,

0:37:030:37:04

but I, personally, am not homophobic.

0:37:040:37:07

I'm Stuart. I'm 19.

0:37:080:37:10

I'm studying religious studies at Lancaster University.

0:37:100:37:14

In the future, I hope to train for the Catholic priesthood.

0:37:140:37:17

It will be a fantastic opportunity to serve people.

0:37:170:37:20

As a priest, I'll have to live a celibate life.

0:37:210:37:23

It is a sacrifice

0:37:230:37:25

but something that I'm prepared to do for the service of God.

0:37:250:37:28

My name's Harry. I'm 19 years old and I'm studying theology

0:37:310:37:35

and religious studies at the University of Leeds.

0:37:350:37:38

I love making music and writing songs

0:37:380:37:40

and doing gigs in my spare time.

0:37:400:37:42

I'd describe myself as an agnostic but I do think there is some

0:37:430:37:47

sort of spiritual thing, I'm just not really sure what that is.

0:37:470:37:49

I would say that the rules and regulations of some religions

0:37:490:37:53

is what makes them not very accessible to me.

0:37:530:37:55

Imani, Harry and Stuart have come to London, where the

0:38:020:38:05

Metropolitan Community Church meets every Sunday.

0:38:050:38:08

They hold services especially for people who are lesbian, gay,

0:38:080:38:12

bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, for short.

0:38:120:38:17

They're here to take part in a religious service with a difference.

0:38:190:38:22

This is the first time I've been to a church.

0:38:220:38:24

I don't know what to expect but I think it will be quite interesting.

0:38:240:38:27

Yeah, and being part of the gay community, this is something that I've never been to before.

0:38:270:38:31

As a Catholic, this is going be something completely

0:38:310:38:33

different to what I'm used to as well.

0:38:330:38:35

-Shall we go inside?

-Yes.

0:38:350:38:37

The denomination was set up in America about 40 years ago

0:38:420:38:45

to provide a place of worship for anyone who feels

0:38:450:38:48

excluded from their own churches.

0:38:480:38:50

Good evening, everybody,

0:38:520:38:53

and welcome to Metropolitan Community Church of North London.

0:38:530:38:57

It's wonderful to see all your beautiful faces here tonight.

0:38:570:39:01

The Reverend Sharon Ferguson has led the congregation since 2008.

0:39:010:39:05

My belief is that there is nothing in the Bible that says

0:39:070:39:11

that it is wrong for two people of the same gender to love one another.

0:39:110:39:15

In my heart of hearts,

0:39:150:39:16

I believe that God made each

0:39:160:39:19

and every one of us and we're all beloved children of God

0:39:190:39:22

and that God is...is bigger than...than all of this.

0:39:220:39:25

And God is not hung up about sexuality.

0:39:250:39:28

And in the same way as God made more than two types of tree,

0:39:280:39:31

I believe God made more than two types of sexuality as well.

0:39:310:39:34

God is very creative.

0:39:340:39:36

The church is a safe haven for some members of the congregation.

0:39:360:39:41

Marie and Mable had to flee Uganda

0:39:410:39:43

because they were persecuted for being gay.

0:39:430:39:46

Hear, O God, when I cry aloud. Be gracious to me...

0:39:470:39:50

There, homosexuality is illegal and can mean life imprisonment.

0:39:500:39:55

While I was in school I was dating my girlfriend.

0:39:550:39:58

They found us, so I was expelled and I was taken to prison.

0:39:580:40:02

I faced a lot of torture while I was in prison

0:40:020:40:05

and I managed to get out of there.

0:40:050:40:07

My life in Uganda was typically finished.

0:40:070:40:09

You cannot get a job anywhere.

0:40:090:40:11

Even when you go to the clinics and you're a lesbian, oh boy, you can't get treatment.

0:40:110:40:15

And if you're caught being gay, you don't have a

0:40:150:40:17

chance to be taken to the police station.

0:40:170:40:19

Normal people, the public, are going to deal with you.

0:40:190:40:22

-They either burn you with tyres...

-Yes.

0:40:220:40:24

Or they're going to pour hot water on you, anything.

0:40:240:40:28

The public can use sticks.

0:40:280:40:29

By the time the police come, you're dead.

0:40:290:40:32

In Uganda, the aggressive homophobia even extended into the churches.

0:40:330:40:38

Pleased to meet you.

0:40:380:40:39

When you go to churches and they're telling you, "You're being gay.

0:40:400:40:45

"You're trying to be a devil and your destiny is in hell."

0:40:450:40:49

Well, I stopped going to church.

0:40:490:40:50

And then when I got here, somebody told me about the LGBT church.

0:40:500:40:54

I thought it was a joke.

0:40:550:40:57

They told me, no matter who you are, God still loves you.

0:40:570:41:00

This is what I'm trying to do - is reconcile who am I with religion.

0:41:000:41:05

LGBT church has helped me.

0:41:050:41:07

God wants you to be yourself and be yourself in a Christ-like,

0:41:070:41:12

loving, God-honouring way.

0:41:120:41:14

If you are gay, God asked you to be a gay person who is faithful

0:41:160:41:20

and honest and trustworthy in your relationships

0:41:200:41:23

and have relationships that reflect God's love.

0:41:230:41:27

Not every church thinks the same and some consider homosexuality a sin.

0:41:270:41:33

The Catholic Church has teachings known as catechisms.

0:41:330:41:37

The catechism says that homosexuals should be treated with respect,

0:41:370:41:40

compassion and dignity, and all unjust

0:41:400:41:43

discrimination in their regard should be avoided, and that gay,

0:41:430:41:47

lesbian and transgendered people are called to remain celibate.

0:41:470:41:50

Do you think that's a fair position to stand at?

0:41:500:41:54

Not the current Pope, but the Pope beforehand,

0:41:540:41:57

actually said that we were all morally disordered.

0:41:570:42:00

How accepted and respected would you feel

0:42:000:42:03

if you were told that you are disordered?

0:42:030:42:06

That doesn't smack to me very much of acceptance and love and respect.

0:42:070:42:12

The Catholic Church is saying,

0:42:120:42:14

"If you're not heterosexual, then you've got to be celibate."

0:42:140:42:17

Human beings are not made to be celibate

0:42:170:42:20

and therefore to impose celibacy onto people against their will,

0:42:200:42:25

again, I don't believe is a loving thing to do.

0:42:250:42:29

In Islam, we believe that God created man

0:42:290:42:32

and woman in order to procreate.

0:42:320:42:34

That's not possible if a man and a man are together, or a woman

0:42:340:42:38

and a woman are together.

0:42:380:42:39

Do you not think that goes against the laws of nature?

0:42:390:42:43

My understanding is that God didn't actually create human beings to procreate.

0:42:430:42:46

God created human beings to love.

0:42:460:42:49

So I feel it's trying to force something on God that

0:42:490:42:52

actually isn't there.

0:42:520:42:55

So is homosexuality just two people who love each other, or is it

0:43:050:43:09

a sin against God?

0:43:090:43:11

Harry, Stuart and Imani are back

0:43:110:43:13

from the Metropolitan Community Church in London.

0:43:130:43:15

And I'm immediately going to go to you, Stuart,

0:43:150:43:17

because you felt quite uncomfortable in that service, didn't you?

0:43:170:43:21

Yeah, it was something that is completely different to what

0:43:210:43:25

I'm used to, being a Catholic.

0:43:250:43:26

What was being said was what suited, not what should be heard or

0:43:260:43:31

what God wants but what the people there wanted to hear.

0:43:310:43:34

And, Harry, is it good that there's a special congregation for gay and lesbian people?

0:43:340:43:38

It seemed to provide them with some form of safe haven really

0:43:380:43:41

where they could practise their faith

0:43:410:43:43

in a situation where they were comfortable with it.

0:43:430:43:46

So I think, yeah, it is a good thing for them.

0:43:460:43:48

We saw two Ugandan lesbians fleeing from their country

0:43:480:43:51

because of the persecution of their sexuality. What did you think of that?

0:43:510:43:55

I thought the fact that they were being persecuted, in this day

0:43:550:43:59

and age, is quite barbaric,

0:43:590:44:01

because I think it's a personal choice that you make.

0:44:010:44:05

I mean, I, personally, don't believe that it's right to be that

0:44:050:44:10

way inclined, to be gay or lesbian, transgender or bisexual.

0:44:100:44:14

So it's OK to be gay, but you can't practise it?

0:44:140:44:16

Islam accepts that people can be gay but only if you act upon

0:44:160:44:22

those desires and that feeling, does it become a sin.

0:44:220:44:26

I think if a person is attracted to someone of the same sex,

0:44:260:44:30

that is a test from God for that person.

0:44:300:44:33

They're getting rewarded for that, for holding back their desire,

0:44:330:44:36

because they love God.

0:44:360:44:38

Very much similar to what Imani said,

0:44:380:44:42

the Church doesn't teach that homosexuality in itself is wrong.

0:44:420:44:46

It's acting upon the homosexual desires that are wrong.

0:44:460:44:50

Rachel, do you believe homosexuality is a sin?

0:44:500:44:53

Erm, no. I don't think I do.

0:44:530:44:55

I think they should be able to love who they want to love.

0:44:550:44:58

Homosexuality is wrong and it is a sin.

0:44:580:45:01

It is according to the Bible. I mean, that's what St Paul teaches us in his Epistles.

0:45:010:45:06

But just saying that homosexuality is wrong doesn't mean I should

0:45:060:45:09

discriminate or segregate people who are practising homosexuality.

0:45:090:45:13

I sin, I just sin in other ways.

0:45:130:45:16

There's a book of Leviticus in the Old Testament

0:45:160:45:19

that prohibits homosexuality.

0:45:190:45:22

By the way, it says it's an abomination

0:45:220:45:24

and should be punished by stoning to death.

0:45:240:45:27

It also says that eating shellfish is an abomination

0:45:270:45:31

and should be punished in the same way.

0:45:310:45:33

I just want to ask this question, would God or Allah create people

0:45:330:45:37

who were gay if he didn't think that was the right way to live?

0:45:370:45:41

I don't think God creates anyone homosexual or not.

0:45:420:45:45

I think it's kind of a build-up of environmental factors or

0:45:450:45:48

the way they were brought up.

0:45:480:45:49

People have all manners of sexual perversions.

0:45:490:45:53

-They can either act on that or not.

-I don't believe that it is a choice.

0:45:530:45:56

I believe that you're born...that's the way that you're born.

0:45:560:45:58

And I completely understand that quite a lot of you won't mean to cause, like, to cause upset,

0:45:580:46:04

but to hear words like perversion mixed in with that is

0:46:040:46:07

something that is so dangerous on vulnerable young people.

0:46:070:46:10

Quite a lot of religions preach love and peace.

0:46:100:46:14

To me, that's just another contradiction.

0:46:140:46:16

Has anyone here, in their own experience

0:46:160:46:18

and personal experience, being around gays and lesbians,

0:46:180:46:22

changed their own personal, moral views?

0:46:220:46:24

Before starting college,

0:46:240:46:26

I didn't really interact with people who were gay.

0:46:260:46:30

But once I started college, you know,

0:46:300:46:32

they are quite a few people who are gay.

0:46:320:46:35

And, you know, just talking with them,

0:46:350:46:37

they're just normal human beings.

0:46:370:46:39

You treat them with respect, you treat them with dignity,

0:46:390:46:42

as you would any other human being.

0:46:420:46:43

What my main thought about it is, is that it's too big an issue.

0:46:430:46:47

I think we've escalated it into something huge that it doesn't need to be.

0:46:470:46:51

I think it's like it comes in the same category as things

0:46:510:46:54

like sex before marriage and sexual immorality, just in general.

0:46:540:46:57

I don't think homosexuality should be isolated.

0:46:570:46:59

Thank you all for your comments.

0:46:590:47:01

So if God loves everyone, why do religions seem

0:47:010:47:04

so anti-gay sometimes?

0:47:040:47:06

Should they change? What's your view?

0:47:060:47:08

Everybody knows we're all going to die,

0:47:220:47:24

but what happens after death is a subject of great debate.

0:47:240:47:28

Most religious people believe in an afterlife.

0:47:280:47:31

For them, it's a real comfort to know that one day they'll be

0:47:310:47:34

reunited with their loved ones.

0:47:340:47:36

Christians believe that to get to heaven you need to accept

0:47:370:47:41

Jesus as your saviour.

0:47:410:47:43

For Muslims, too, faith is important but whether you go to

0:47:430:47:47

paradise or hell also depends on how Allah judges you've lived your life.

0:47:470:47:52

Most non-believers are sure that when we die, that's it, the end.

0:47:530:47:58

We've gathered a group of young people together

0:48:010:48:03

and sent three of them off to find out how people who don't

0:48:030:48:06

believe in an afterlife deal with death.

0:48:060:48:09

I'm Amina. I'm 18 years old and I'm looking to do law at university.

0:48:110:48:16

I've always loved being a Muslim, but it only became

0:48:170:48:20

part of my identity when I was about 15 years of age.

0:48:200:48:23

My certainty that there is a life after death gives me hope.

0:48:230:48:27

Islam is not simply about belief. It's a complete way of life.

0:48:270:48:30

I'm David.

0:48:320:48:33

I'm 19 and I study physics with astrophysics at the University of Leeds.

0:48:330:48:38

I consider myself to be an anti-theist,

0:48:400:48:42

which means I think that all religions are man-made.

0:48:420:48:46

I think it's really important to search for the truth.

0:48:460:48:49

Religion was our first attempt at explaining the universe,

0:48:490:48:51

but now science offers much better explanations.

0:48:510:48:55

As long as people are scared of death,

0:48:550:48:57

they're going to want to believe in an afterlife.

0:48:570:49:00

I'm Sarah. I'm 21 and I'm studying French

0:49:020:49:05

and international relations at the University of Warwick.

0:49:050:49:08

I made a personal commitment to being a Christian when I was 14.

0:49:080:49:12

I believe there is an afterlife. I believe in heaven and hell.

0:49:120:49:16

It brings me joy and hope to know that

0:49:160:49:18

I can look forward to an eternity with God.

0:49:180:49:21

Amina, Sarah and David have come to Golders Green crematorium in London

0:49:250:49:30

to attend the non-religious funeral of a man called Bryan Butler.

0:49:300:49:35

A ceremony without God is a thought-provoking prospect.

0:49:350:49:39

Today will be a really good experience for me, cos I've actually never been to a funeral.

0:49:390:49:42

Yeah, it will be interesting to see, cos the funeral I've been

0:49:420:49:45

to before was sort of God-centred.

0:49:450:49:47

Well, in Islam, we believe that the human body is a gift from God

0:49:470:49:51

and, just like it was received from God, it should be returned the way it was.

0:49:510:49:54

So, basically, we bury the body when it's dead.

0:49:540:49:56

In Christian tradition, you can either have a burial or

0:49:560:49:59

a cremation but I guess the main focus is what happens after you die.

0:49:590:50:03

Bryan's family wanted his last journey to be special.

0:50:060:50:09

He was an aviation enthusiast,

0:50:120:50:14

so his custom coffin flies in to the sound of Lancaster bombers.

0:50:140:50:18

The funeral is conducted by Jill Satin, a humanist celebrant.

0:50:220:50:26

Bryan was an atheist

0:50:270:50:29

and it was his wish that his funeral be a humanist celebration of life

0:50:290:50:34

to reflect Bryan's bond with a human community of which he was a part.

0:50:340:50:38

As humanists, we believe we need to make the most of the one life

0:50:380:50:42

we have. We are all members of one human community

0:50:420:50:46

and a full life is built on caring for ourselves,

0:50:460:50:49

for each other and for the world in which we live.

0:50:490:50:53

It is through our relationships and our personal achievements

0:50:530:50:56

that something of us lives on after our death.

0:50:560:50:59

Could you roughly explain what is meant by humanism?

0:51:010:51:04

As humanists we believe that we have one life.

0:51:040:51:07

It's our responsibility to live in society and caring for people

0:51:070:51:12

in our world in a compassionate way, but also being

0:51:120:51:15

responsible for our own actions first and then those of others.

0:51:150:51:19

Most humanists are atheist and they don't believe in an afterlife.

0:51:190:51:23

Today, we will hear some of the stories of his family's life

0:51:230:51:27

memories from Bryan and his full and rewarding, exciting life.

0:51:270:51:32

My friend Bryan Butler was a cracker of a human being.

0:51:320:51:36

For make no mistake, Bryan was a man of deep passion.

0:51:360:51:41

Bryan had some wonderful Australian adventures with David

0:51:410:51:43

when he came to visit us in Sydney.

0:51:430:51:46

Most of these involved the two of them getting lost

0:51:460:51:48

in some God-forsaken part of the outback of New South Wales.

0:51:480:51:51

No-one was going to tell Bryan Butler why he loved,

0:51:510:51:54

where he loved or what he loved.

0:51:540:51:58

Working-class heroes... Sorry.

0:51:580:52:01

As the ceremony ends, Bryan's coffin goes off to be cremated.

0:52:060:52:10

I thought it was a really beautiful ceremony but, obviously,

0:52:160:52:19

even though I really appreciated the sentiment and the emotion

0:52:190:52:22

and, kind of, learning about the life he lived,

0:52:220:52:25

it was...it was sort of weird having that without God

0:52:250:52:28

and without there, sort of, being a hope for the afterlife.

0:52:280:52:31

Cos I guess I believe that there is no kind of meaning without God in this life.

0:52:310:52:36

After the ceremony, our three meet Bryan's daughter and her partner.

0:52:370:52:41

The ceremony was actually quite amazing.

0:52:420:52:45

It was really emotional and touching.

0:52:450:52:47

Erm, is there a specific reason to why you chose a humanist funeral?

0:52:470:52:52

My father wasn't a religious man at all. He was an atheist.

0:52:520:52:56

He was interested in religious philosophy but he was not

0:52:560:52:59

a believer in God or the afterlife, so there was no question.

0:52:590:53:03

It would not have been right to have had a religiously based ceremony for him.

0:53:030:53:08

I don't want to say that one sort of funeral is better than another

0:53:080:53:11

but, for us, it was really about him

0:53:110:53:14

and I think we feel very comfortable about that.

0:53:140:53:19

So as a Christian, obviously, I believe in the afterlife

0:53:190:53:22

and it's something I feel quite certain of.

0:53:220:53:24

What would you say is

0:53:240:53:26

the reason behind your certainty that there isn't an afterlife?

0:53:260:53:30

Lack of evidence. I envy you your certainty.

0:53:300:53:35

And I respect that, too, but I don't share it at the moment.

0:53:350:53:39

So is there an afterlife or are religious people deluded?

0:53:430:53:47

Our students have lots of opinions.

0:53:470:53:50

David, what did you think about the ceremony?

0:53:500:53:52

The ceremony was really nice, yeah.

0:53:520:53:54

If there's no religion in a funeral,

0:53:540:53:55

then it's entirely about the deceased and you really felt

0:53:550:53:59

like you got to get a bit of a feel for what Bryan was like as a person.

0:53:590:54:03

Yeah. I wanted to just start off by asking what you think happens after death.

0:54:030:54:07

Sarah, do you want to start?

0:54:070:54:10

Yeah, so as a Christian, my belief is that

0:54:100:54:12

when you die there is an afterlife and there is an eternity

0:54:120:54:15

and if you believe in Jesus, that eternity will be spent with God.

0:54:150:54:19

And there are scriptures about it in the New Testament,

0:54:190:54:22

where Jesus tells us that he's preparing rooms for us.

0:54:220:54:25

Sow it's kind of a hope that we have while we're living in this

0:54:250:54:27

Earth that there is something to come, something that's even

0:54:270:54:30

better, where they'll be no pain or suffering, or sorrow.

0:54:300:54:33

And what about you, Amina? What do Muslims believe?

0:54:330:54:35

Erm, in the Koran it mentions that after we die it is

0:54:350:54:40

both a physical and a spiritual resurrection.

0:54:400:54:44

Two angels, they're named Munkar and Nakir, will come to the dead

0:54:440:54:49

and they will ask them three questions.

0:54:490:54:51

The first will be, "Who is your Lord?"

0:54:510:54:53

The second will be, "What is your religion?" and "Who is your Prophet?"

0:54:530:54:57

And if the questions are answered according to the

0:54:570:55:00

teachings of the Koran and the Hadiths,

0:55:000:55:03

then the person will be guaranteed a place in heaven.

0:55:030:55:06

Those who disbelieved in the creator,

0:55:060:55:08

or disbelieved in his creation, are guaranteed a place in hell.

0:55:080:55:11

OK. Do you ever doubt this?

0:55:110:55:14

-No.

-You believe in it 100%?

-Yes, 100%.

0:55:140:55:17

So where's he going to go? Where's Bryan going?

0:55:170:55:20

Well, I can't say. I'm not God.

0:55:210:55:24

Only God can judge, so I can't judge where Bryan's going.

0:55:240:55:27

God is all just. He will judge everyone equally, so we'll see on the Day of Judgment.

0:55:270:55:32

There's no reason or evidence to believe in an afterlife and,

0:55:320:55:38

erm, in my honest opinion, it, sort of...it says a bit about, er,

0:55:380:55:44

this God if he only lets people who believe in him come to heaven.

0:55:440:55:49

I want to go to Rachel.

0:55:490:55:51

Has anything surprised you from what you've heard?

0:55:510:55:54

Erm, well, for me personally, I don't believe in a hell,

0:55:540:55:59

so listening to the other Christians and Muslims

0:55:590:56:01

speaking about an all-loving God sending

0:56:010:56:04

somebody to hell is a concept that I wouldn't hold, because I think

0:56:040:56:09

that whatever your background is, whatever religion you are or not,

0:56:090:56:13

I think that everyone will go to a heaven but it will just

0:56:130:56:17

be a different experience for you, depending on what beliefs you hold.

0:56:170:56:22

So, Andrew, how do you imagine heaven?

0:56:220:56:25

I think, for me, heaven is endless joy, endless peace.

0:56:250:56:29

Heaven is a choice and if you decide on Earth not to follow

0:56:290:56:35

God, then God's not going to force you to spend eternity with him.

0:56:350:56:40

Obviously, as Christians, we believe in heaven and hell.

0:56:400:56:44

But I think hell is more a place for those who haven't accepted

0:56:440:56:47

God in their lives.

0:56:470:56:48

I think the whole idea that if you believe in him,

0:56:480:56:50

you'll go to heaven and if you don't believe in him,

0:56:500:56:53

you'll go to hell, rather than it being about being a good

0:56:530:56:56

moral person or a bad moral person - it makes God sound a bit...

0:56:560:57:02

-A bit like a dictator?

-Totalitarian, yeah.

0:57:020:57:05

You know, as a Muslim, obviously, belief in God

0:57:050:57:08

and faith comes first but, after that, it's all

0:57:080:57:11

about your treatment of other people

0:57:110:57:13

and how you treat other people.

0:57:130:57:15

And I think that's... After faith,

0:57:150:57:17

of course, faith needs to come first but after, I think

0:57:170:57:19

what will get a person to paradise is his treatment of others.

0:57:190:57:23

Harry, not believing in an afterlife, does that make you more fearful?

0:57:230:57:27

The thought that there is no afterlife can be quite

0:57:270:57:30

a depressing, sad thought,

0:57:300:57:31

but then I also think it's important to take into account that it can

0:57:310:57:36

also be quite a frightening thought if you are religious as well.

0:57:360:57:39

Erm, you've got quite a tortuous idea of hell,

0:57:390:57:42

which can be frightening for some,

0:57:420:57:44

especially if that's being taught to young children.

0:57:440:57:47

So is it that fear, that scary thing you're talking about,

0:57:470:57:50

that sort of makes you do good deeds, to make him happy?

0:57:500:57:55

It's not something like, "Oh, because I'm scared of God,"

0:57:550:57:59

or "Because I'm scared of Allah, that's why I do things."

0:57:590:58:02

That is completely wrong.

0:58:020:58:04

We Muslims, as individuals, as a collective individual,

0:58:040:58:07

we should do stuff out of our good character and good nature.

0:58:070:58:11

For me, as a Muslim, I believe that this life

0:58:110:58:14

is a preparation for the next.

0:58:140:58:16

And whether you believe or not in God or an afterlife,

0:58:160:58:19

that's regardless of who you are as a person.

0:58:190:58:22

It's your good deeds and your bad deeds that count.

0:58:220:58:25

It's who you are in this life.

0:58:250:58:27

Obviously, as a Catholic, I believe that before we go into heaven

0:58:270:58:31

we do go to purgatory first,

0:58:310:58:33

where God judges us on our good deeds and our bad deeds.

0:58:330:58:38

And it's a place of purification and from there we go on to heaven.

0:58:380:58:42

Thank you all for your comments. They've been really, really interesting

0:58:420:58:45

and let's hope we all don't face death too soon.

0:58:450:58:48

So when you die, will you be at the pearly gates,

0:58:480:58:52

or will you simply be left in a coffin?

0:58:520:58:53

A compilation of five short films for GCSE Religious Studies where twelve students, made up of Christians, Muslims and non-believers, explore some big questions of faith.

The group takes part in a Christian healing service and questions if god can heal today. Following a visit to a children's hospice they discuss why innocent children suffer.

On the theme of marriage, they are guests at a Muslim wedding to explore the value of marriage. Taking part in a Christian church service for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, they ask where religion stands when it comes to homosexuality.

Finally a visit to a Humanist funeral triggers the debate about what happens after we die.


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