Year 11 General Unit 2, Mod 4 - Religious Identity

Religious Identity

The focus of this module is belonging to a religion. It looks at how people see themselves as connected to a religion and how they demonstrate this connection. The module also looks at attitudes that are non-religious or even anti-religious.

Key Terms

Religious participation: being involved in the religious community

Religious observance: includes all overt kinds of religious behaviour such as attending church.

Religious adherence: when people follow a particular religion.

Religious practice: taking part in ritual. 

Religious identity: what you feel, believe and present about yourself regarding your faith

Religious affiliation: is the self–identified association of a person with a religion.

Secularism: promotes societal ideas or values over religious ways of thought. It promotes freedom from religious rule and teachings, freedom from government imposition of religion upon the people and gives no state privileges or subsidies to religions

Atheism: where people do not believe there is a God or live as though there is no God.

Agnosticism: where people are uncertain about the existence of God or people’s ability to know if God exists.

Humanism: which is based on the understanding that the world itself and human beings reveal all. Human reason is the foundation for every situation and action in the world.

Heathen: having no religion, or belonging to a religion that is not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

Focus Questions

  • What does it mean to be "religious" and "belong" to a religion?

  • How do people show they belong to or identify with a religion?

Focus Areas

It is difficult to describe, let alone measure, what it means to “belong” to a religion.

Identifying someone as “religious” is an imperfect science because:

  • It is complex and deeply personal
  • Need to have an understanding of  a particular religion
  • Need to consider a range of different measures, eg what a person says and what a person does
  • Need to compare behaviour with stated beliefs
  • Need to be aware that some people keep their religious feelings private

Not everyone wants to be or can be seen as religious. They may call themselves:

  • Secularist
  • Atheist
  • Agnostic
  • Humanist
  • Heathen