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Contains conflict or violence.

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Lesson video

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Hi, my name is Miss Speakman, on lesson six of 14.

And in today's lesson, we'll be looking at crime as a cause of suffering.

Now, before we get started on the learning today, I need to give you a sensitive topic warning.

So this lesson we're about to complete, contains reference to a new story about church shooting.

Some people, this will be a sensitive topic.

If that applies to you, you may want to do the rest of this lesson with a trusted adult nearby who can support you.

So in our lesson today, we're looking at the attitude to suffering in Christianity and Islam and looking at the case study of the Charleston church shooting.

To make sure we are ready for our lesson, please make sure you've got pen or a pencil, a piece of paper, or an exercise book, a different coloured pen and a nice clear working space.

So you've got no distractions, the TV music off, phone to one side if you're not using it for the lesson and that you've got a nice quiet space to work in.

If you need to get yourself set up by getting any of those things or finding a nice quiet space, then please pause the video now, and then afterwards, we will move on to having a look at the idea of suffering in Christianity.

Okay, should we get started? Really looking forward to doing this lesson with you today? So first of all, look at Christian attitudes towards suffering.

Now, Christianity strongly believes that they should help those who suffer.

They believe that God looks out for everybody, but it's also the responsibility of everyone else to care for one another, as all part of God's creation.

So many Christians would say it is part of their duty as a good Christian to help those who suffer.

Christianity, teach the idea that if you have faith, but no actions alongside that show faith, your faith may as well be dead.

This idea that if you say you believe in God and you believe in Jesus, you should also be showing that by helping each other, by helping those people in need.

Now suffering is also a large part of the early church.

So at the beginning of Christianity, many Christians were persecuted, killed for being Christian, and so Christians acknowledged that part of church history is suffering and dealing with suffering.

A huge part of it also is the fact that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

So Christians will have this idea that Jesus will understand the suffering they're going through as he suffered also.

Suffered in some of the most terrible ways being crucified on the cross.

And many Christians would also say that, good can come from suffering, that they can learn things about themselves, it's a chance of perseverance, its' part of endurance, it brings hope, and that actually good can come from suffering, that you can mature from suffering.

So Christians would say they should help those who suffer, also acknowledge that suffering is a part of life, that God Jesus understands this idea of suffering, but that also good can come from suffering, it all isn't for nothing.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to disappear, and I'm going to ask you a question, are you ready for that? So I've got a Christian Bible verse for you, which I think will be really helpful verse explaining Christian views on suffering.

So I want you to at the following verse, and I want to tell me how was that linked to the Christian view on suffering? So the verse from Roman says, "We know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval and his approval creates hope." So what like you to do is to pause the video, spend about two or three minutes telling me how is this following verse linked Christian views on suffering.

Then unpause, when you are ready, Okay, an answer for you.

So we know that this is the quotation, we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval and his approval creates hope.

The answer is, what this shows about Christian views and suffering, suffering builds character, God's approval and hope.

Good can come from suffering.

Christians know that Jesus suffered and so may feel comforted that he knows how they feel.

So in Christianity, this is the idea, very strong idea, that God understands suffering, but that good can come from suffering, so they don't feel alone in that.

We're now going to have a look at the relationship between suffering and forgiveness within Christianity.

I'll just appear on the screen.

There we go.

So we've got two main verses here that I think it really helpful to look at, to do with Christianity suffering and forgiveness.

They're both from Jesus, and we have looked before at the verse, an eye for an eye, which is in Exodus, the Old Testament.

Now this first verse, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek also, is Jesus saying, you have heard it said, an eye for an eye, but I say to you, if anyone slaps you in the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too.

Jesus is specifically referring to that verse.

Many Christians would say an eye for an eye talks about retribution, the allowance of payback for the crime that's been committed.

But Jesus is specifically saying, actually I don't particularly agree with that verse.

I am saying to you here, not to retaliate, not to look for payback, to actually respond humbly and to respond with forgiveness and love.

So many Christians would interpret that as Jesus saying, retribution isn't what we need to be aiming for, it's about reformations, about forgiveness, about reconciliation when you're building relationships.

The second verse, when Jesus says, now I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Many Christians will say, it's really clear here that Christians are expected to love their enemies.

Not to punish them, not to punish them harshly, not to take away their dignity, but pray for them, forgive them, help them to become better people.

Christians therefore believe that any sort of punishment would be wrong if it causes suffering, they wouldn't be against punishment.

So not many Christians would say, Oh no, let's just forget punishments altogether.

Many Christians would say alongside punishment needs to be reformation, help, trying to get this person to understand their behaviours wrong and help them to overcome it because it's wrong to cause suffering whatever the situation is.

And Christians believe that forgiveness is so important because it allows reconciliation and it prevents further suffering.

So forgiveness is the idea of pardoning someone for what they've done saying no, it's okay, what you've done, I forgive you.

Reconciliations are next step.

Is the idea of not just forgiving somebody, but that relationship being better than what it was before.

A really good example might be falling out with a friend, and that friend had said some really horrible stuff and you're upset, but you say to them, I really want to be friends with you still, I forgive you.

But then perhaps maybe your friendship isn't quite what it was before, you don't necessarily trust them, you worry a little bit about what they think of you.

That's not reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the idea of building a relationship to be better than what it was before.

So afterwards your friendship has actually grown from this suffering and from this falling out.

So Christianity would say that forgiveness is essential in order to promote reconciliation and that in turn prevents further suffering.

So Christians would say, it's important to forgive.

Some Christians would even go as far as saying, it's a duty to forgive people and that there is a responsibility to help someone reform and that you should not treat people unfairly and cause them suffering.

What we're going to do now is we're going to move on to some questions based on this.

So I'm going to disappear, then we're going to do some questions based on suffering and forgiveness within Christianity.

Are we ready? I'd like you to pause the video on the next slide for me please where we'll go through some questions together and then we'll go through the answers afterwards.

So would you complete the following true or false questions, there are four there, so you need to tell me whether it's true or false and then give me a reason why.

Don't just tell me true and false, you've also got to give me the reason why it's true or false.

Pause the video now please, then unpause when you are ready to move on and look at the answers.

Okay, if you could see the slide I'm assuming then you are ready for corrections.

Please have a different coloured pen out ready for your corrections, we'll go through the answer together.

If you're not quite ready, then you can rewind and then you can have a go at the questions, then come back to us when you are ready to go through the answers.

So as you can see here, here are the answers.

Jesus taught people to retaliate is false because Jesus taught to turn the other cheek.

You should respond humbly or with forgiveness.

Christianity teaches people it's okay to punish someone by causing them to suffer.

False because instead punishment ought to involve the opportunity to accept they're wrong and change.

Christians should seek reconciliation is true because Christianity teaches forgiveness prevents further suffering and follows the example of Jesus.

Most Christians believe there is no obligation to forgive someone for a crime committed.

Is false because Jesus suffered and died and God gave his son's life at great cost so humans could be forgiven, they should therefore forgive others too.

If you need to make any corrections, can you please do so now by pausing the video then unpause when you're ready to move on and we'll start looking at Islamic views towards suffering and forgiveness.

What we're going to do now is look at Islamic attitudes towards suffering and forgiveness.

And so I'm going to start off with this idea of suffering and whether or not it's a test.

So some Muslims would say that suffering, maybe a test from Allah, a test to see how much someone can cope with, whether they are resilient, whether they would be able to cope with something difficult going on their life or whether they would crumble under the pressure.

Now that sounds pretty harsh, but essentially this idea that in Islam is that, Allah would not burden someone with something that they cannot cope with.

So Muslims believe that any suffering that goes on in their life is from Allah as a way of testing whether or not they are able to cope with it.

But Allah wouldn't give him that person, that amount suffering, if he didn't think they could cope.

So many Muslims would say they accept what happens in their life, whether it's good or bad, because they believe it's from Allah as a test.

Other Muslims or even the same Muslims, but there are slight different views within Islam.

So some Muslims may believe that suffering maybe caused by people getting into temptation.

So Muslims believe that there Iblis, Shaitan, the devil, that is allowed to exist to tempt humans.

In Christianity, common thought is that the devil is a fallen angel.

In Islam, that is not the case.

Iblis is not a fallen angel, he is a jinn, a jinn's sort of like a spirit.

And essentially a jinn is made from fire, whereas angels are made from light.

Iblis refused to bow down to Adam and therefore was punished for it, and Muslims will believe that Iblis is allowed to exist to tempt humans down the wrong path, away from Allah's teachings.

And so many Muslims believe that therefore, suffering is a result of people giving into temptation, not following the teachings of Allah properly, and therefore many Muslims will say, it's really unfair to blame Allah for the free will of humans.

If people have given into temptation, that's a result of their free will, and therefore you cannot blame Allah.

There's often that idea with evil and suffering for people to say, well, if you had an all loving God, how on earth is there suffering? That's one of the biggest sort of criticisms of evil and suffering and believing in God.

And Muslims would say, God is loving, but as a loving part of loving humanity, he gave humans free will and humans have misused that free will given into temptation, therefore you cannot blame Allah, you cannot say there's a reason not to believe in him.

Muslims would also say that Allah is always fair, so anything that happens in life is the way it's supposed to be, he can never be unjust.

Muslims would believe they have a responsibility to care for one another, responsible for caring for the Ummah, for them means brotherhood or community and Muslims believe anyone who's suffering, they have a responsibility to care for them.

Whereas in Christianity, we talked about duty to forgive.

Many Christians say there is a duty to forgive.

In Islam, there's no duty to forgive, it's simply encouraged.

This idea that Allah is all merciful, humans should try as much as possible to be forgiven, to be merciful, but there no expectation to.

The idea is that forgiveness comes when someone is truly sorry, and that's down to Allah to decide whether or not he forgives someone, for something that they have done wrong.

Humans can do it as a way of submitting to Allah or helping others to learn to submit to Allah, but there's no expectation.

What we're going to do now is, I'm going to give you a verse within Islam, we're going to do something called look, cover, write, check, repeat to help us learn that verse, then I'm going to ask you what you think it means in terms of the idea of suffering within Islam and forgiveness.

So are you ready? So the verse is, "Allah does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity." or you should use, look, cover, write, check, repeat to learn the following script verse in about five minutes on this, and then once five minutes is up, you need to stop and we'll move on.

Essentially look, cover, write, check, repeat has to be done properly.

So you look at the verse, cover it over, perhaps with your hand or look right from the screen, then you should write out from memory.

Then once you've done that, you check it against the original, you make corrections where you need to, then you repeat that over and over again.

The more times the better, but the most important thing is that you actually following that technique properly otherwise you're just copying, which actually doesn't work as well in helping you to remember it.

So you've look cover, write, check, repeat to learn the verse, spend five minutes on this, after five minutes, please unpause the video, and we will move on to the next task.

Okay, your next task is now to think about what this verse actually means.

So how was the following verse linked to Islamic views on suffering? I'd like to spend about two minutes on this.

Tell me what does it essentially saying about suffering and Islamic views? Pause the video now, please, and have a go at writing an answer for me.

Okay, here's my answer.

So essentially what this means is suffering is often a test from Allah to see how someone reacts or copes with it.

Muslims believe Allah would never make someone suffer more than they could cope with.

This is what this verse is saying, that no person will be burdened with a problem that is too much for them.

What we're going to do now is do some longer questions just to test our knowledge on Islam, forgiveness, and suffering.

So I'm going to ask you to do, is to pause the video on the next slide, to complete your task.

So, as I said, there'll be some longer questions just to test our understanding, to make sure we've got that really, really clear.

So you've got four questions, each of them are true or false.

You decide whether it's true or false, but the most important thing is that you explain it.

So you need to copy and complete the following true or false questions, making sure that you've also got the reasons why that is the case by writing, because, and then writing your answer.

So pause the video please, work on these four questions, unpause when you're ready for corrections.

Okay, if you can see the slide, I'm assuming then you are ready for your corrections.

Please have your different coloured pen out ready for your corrections.

If you're not quite done you can rewind the video and then carry on with the questions and come back to us when you're ready.

Let's have our different coloured pens at the ready for corrections.

Okay, so some Muslims believe suffering is a test from Allah, is true, because Allah wants to see how people would cope with the test, but won't make them suffer more than they can cope with.

Some Muslims believe suffering is when people give into temptation from Iblis, is true, 'cause Iblis was created by Allah and has permission to tempt humans away from Allah's teachings.

Some Muslims believe you can blame Allah for suffering caused by others.

Is false because they believe you cannot blame Allah for the free choices made by human beings.

And most Muslims believe there is a duty to forgive.

Is false, because although Allah is merciful, it's not an expectation of Islam that humans should forgive each other, but it is encouraged.

to do, if you need to make any corrections is pause the video now for me please.

Well done if you've got that, but it's also okay, if you didn't.

Making corrections is important so that we can learn from them.

So pause the video now, and unpause, we're going to look at a specific case study of an example of a group of Christians who forgave somebody in perhaps maybe what might say a very challenging situations.

I think it's really easy to talk about Christian and Islamic views on forgiveness.

Specifically in Christianity, in say, Christians believe it's a duty to forgive.

And it's easy to say, okay, yeah, Christians believe it's a duty to forgive, without really thinking about how this looks in practise.

For some people, this might seem a really challenging idea.

Essentially saying, we should be willing to forgive anybody regardless of what they've done.

Christianity, except for this isn't easy, but does say this is what should be done in a situation, and what we're going to look at is the Charleston church shooting, which is an example of where a group of Christians did forgive something, which perhaps many people would really struggle with doing themselves.

So in June, 2015, in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, there was a gunman who killed nine people during a Bible study.

So the people who were the victims were African American and the gunman Dylan Roof, who was 21 was white.

Now, essentially what happened is they welcomed him into their Bible study.

So he joined them for their Bible study and in the moment where they all close their eyes ready to pray, this is when he killed the people inside.

So he shot and killed nine people.

Other people were injured at this time, but he killed nine in total.

And it said, when he went to court, he admitted that he had committed the crime, he pleaded guilty and said that the reason behind why he had committed this crime was to ignite a race war.

He wanted to essentially cause suffering in the community, he wanted blacks and whites to be fighting, he wanted them to essentially ignite some sort of race war, and when he was faced in court by a friend of the victims, Nadine Collier, she said to him in court, I forgive you and God forgives you, and if God forgives you, then I'm willing to forgive you.

And so she faced this person who had killed a large number of her friends and her family members and was willing to forgive.

And I think that's a really good example of showing where Christians would put this into practise.

It's not just a case of many Christians saying, I would forgive somebody if this happened, when it does happen, many Christians will forgive, even though it's a very difficult thing to do.

And Nadine even speaks when she talks about this experience, obviously however hard it is for her.

She does explain that she feels like this weight was lifted off her, that she feels no anger anymore.

That through forgiveness, she's also reducing some of her suffering too.

So of course, this is a really difficult story to look at, Dylan Roof, the person who committed this crime is currently awaiting his death sentence.

So he has been sentenced to the death penalty and he's awaiting his execution.

In America, it takes a very long time for the death penalty actually to be carried out, there are many appeals process.

Currently when I'm filming this lesson in July, 2020, he has actually been looking to appeal his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness.

So these sorts of things will develop all the time, but currently he is awaiting execution for what he's done 'cause the US has the death penalty.

What we're going to do then is consider the importance of this case study.

So the Charleston church shooting on Christian views on forgiveness.

What we're going to do is do some questions based on this, and then we'll then have a really nice sort of short explanation of what happened, and then also how you might better use this truth about Christian views on forgiveness.

So we can pause the video on the next slide to complete your tasks.

So there'll be some questions which help us to sort of explain in some detail, the importance of this case study for Christian views on forgiveness.

So we'll let you to answer these three questions.

What happened during the Charleston church shooting? Did Dylan Roof achieve his aims of inciting hatred and violence? Why or why not? And what might some people find surprising about the responses of the victims and the victims family? So I'd like you please to pause the video and then I'd like you to have a go at answering these questions, then unpause when you're ready to go through the answers.

So if you've got to this slide, then it must be ready for looking at the answers.

Please make sure you've got a different coloured pen out ready for corrections.

If you're not quite done, then rewind the video unpause and then carry on with the questions, then come back to us when you're ready.

What happened during the Charleston church shooting, Dylan Roof shot and killed nine members of a church while they were in a Bible study.

He said he did it to cause trouble amongst the community.

He wanted the different races to hate each other.

Did Dylan roof achieve his aims inciting hatred and violence? Why or why not? No.

The relatives of those killed forgave him and the community got together instead to support each other.

What might some people find surprising about the responses of the victims? They forgave him even though he'd lied to them about wanting to learn about the Bible and killed members of their family, and he was not sorry afterwards.

If you need to make any corrections, can you please do so now by pausing the video and making corrections.

Well done, if you've got all of those answers correct.

So to say a huge thank you for taking part in our lesson today and thank you so much for working so hard.

I know that sometimes some of these stuff that we deal with can be tricky or some of the things can be a little bit sensitive, but I really appreciate you working so hard and completing our learning today.

I hope to see you again for a lesson soon, I want you to give yourself a pat on the back and say, well done, I've got through another lesson, I'm learning loads and I'm working hard.

So thank you so much, everybody see you later.