The God Issue Group Guide

Volume V, Number II

Artwork by Anya Dunaif

KidSpirit writers and artists are characteristically undaunted as they plunge into this proverbial mother of all themes. A variety of perspectives from religious, non-religious, and soul-searching teens illuminate the often intangible nature of the divine.

1. In the Big Question, Elly Goetz describes how conceptions of God vary among people during different periods of time and in diverse cultures. Pick a culture that is unknown to you and research its conception of God. Is God forgiving, helpful, punishing or protective? How does that culture worship the divine? How does the divine play a role in their everyday lives?

2. We are all born into certain religious (or non-religious) traditions and, as Caie Kelley and Lina M. describe in their Interfaith Connections article, we very often grow up accepting the culture our parents lay out for us. Caie and Lina spent a few hours together learning about each other’s religious backgrounds and found many commonalities in their decision making and ethical stances. Find someone from a different religious background and get to know that person. Ask him or her about how they make decisions based on the framework of their religious heritage, and share your own experience. How has that framework developed for each of you over the years?

3. In his PerSpectives article, Samir Selmanovic likens spirituality to a journey that does not have to involve religion. “It is a way of traveling freely and intimately through the journey of human life, engaging with what’s to be found there.” Selmanovic also asserts that community is important — sharing that journey with others can be as integral to us as the individual experience itself. What do you think about spiritual inquiry? Is it important to your life? What kind of inquiry is important to you? Do you prefer an individual experience, or would you rather share that experience with others? Is it important to understand the experience, or is it enough to simply feel it?

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