Questions for God

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This interesting teaching activity can provide much discussion and reflection as students consider what God is like. The author suggests using the film Oh, God to "shake up students' notions" of what God is like." After considering images of God, students complete activities in which they answer for God.

In a course on faith that he teaches at De La Salle Academy in New York City, David Detje, FSC, uses the film Oh, God! to shake up the students' notions of what God is like. He has gotten some interesting results from his students, including comments like these, which can stimulate further discussion:

  • "I know now that God has a sense of humor."
  • "It made me think there really is a God."
  • "Now I believe God can be anything he/she wants, and doesn't have to be luxurious or look rich."
  • "God gave us everything we need, but we choose to constantly mess things up."

Having watched the film and considered images of God in other ways, by the end of the course the students are ready to do an activity that challenges them to "answer for God."

The students are divided into groups of three and given the task of coming up with three questions that they would ask God if God walked into their classroom. Each question is to be written on an index card. Then the cards are collected and redistributed to the groups, with each group receiving three questions. To the students' surprise, they are then informed that their "Trinity-like" group is to "be God" and answer the questions they have received, writing out their responses and then presenting them to the whole class.

Here are a few questions that have come up in this activity, with the students' answers:

Question: For what purpose did you create us?
Answer: I created humans because I wanted someone who was capable of loving me back.

Question: When will the world end?
Answer: I don't know. You answer that by the choices you make in life. You make your own destiny, not me. I just guide you to try and do the right thing. I just want to tell you that it might be soon because you are sinning against each other.

Question: How is life after death?
Answer: It is what you make of it!

A teacher can use not only the students' answers but the questions themselves as an avenue to discussion. In other words, the questions themselves may contain notions of God that need to be examined and challenged. For instance:

  • "Why did you give my sister diabetes and give my brother asthma?"
  • "Why did you make diseases anyway?"
  • "Can you make me rich pretty soon?"
  • "Do you think that it was fair that the whole world has to suffer because someone was tricked into eating an apple?"

In such questions, generated by the students themselves, there is plenty of material for hours of class discussion. Thanks to Brother David for sending along his experience.

acknowledgments

Copyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.

Published February 1, 1993.