Section D – The Question of Faith – Sample Answer

Hello third years

I hope you have been looking at Chapters 14 – 18 in great detail. The Question of Faith (D) is a big area on the Junior Cert Exam. Keep revising all notes and chapters in this section of the course. Know it inside out. Keep looking at the past exam questions – attempt one or two of them if you have time – (try to make time, please).

Here is a sample answer from an essay type question from 2011. Please re-write this answer into your past papers book. Look at how the answer is divided into logical paragraphs and how the specific question is directly answered.

The next post you will see from me will be on Saturday 7th April 1pm. Best of luck everyone!!


Section 5 Q 4

You are taking part in a school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today. Outline what you would say about the way in which each of the following could challenge a person’s religious faith:



For my school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today, this is what I would say about materialism and secularism:

Having religious faith in today’s Ireland is full of many challenges. Catholics have a Christian world view. This means that they believe that God is the creator of the world and that human beings were created in his image and likeness. Christians have a loving friendship with God and evil occurs when people refuse to co-operate with God. Christians believe that God sent Jesus to teach people how to live. People who love God will enjoy eternal friendship with him. This is how Christians see the world.

Materialism can be a challenge to this way of seeing the world. Materialism is a non-religious view of the world. Materialism is the theory is the belief that only material things are real. If something is real then it must have a definite physical size or weight. If we cannot see it or touch it or measure it, then it does not exist. Since we cannot measure God or observe God with our senses, materialists say that God does not exist. For materialists, human life ends when the body dies.

The materialist outlook is very persuasive and has been the basis of scientific thought for over 300 years. Materialists claim that the scientific way of looking at things is the only way. Scientific truth is the only truth. The materialist outlook can undermine people’s confidence in religious truth as a valid form of human knowledge. However, there are vast areas of human experience that we cannot measure, but are still real. We cannot see, hear or touch our ideas, our beliefs or our feelings, yet most people would agree that they are real and are a very important part of our lives. Humans therefore are not simply material beings, we are both material and spiritual beings.

Secularism can also be a challenge to a person’s religious faith. Secularism is the view that organised religion should have no direct influence on society. Secularists are opposed to the influence of religion in public life. Secularism claims that God and religion are simply not relevant any more.

From a secularist point of view, if someone has religious beliefs then it should be a private matter. Religious activity should not enter the public domain. Religion should not in any way be supported by the State. In fact, Church and State should be completely separate. This means that religions or religious groups should not receive any kind of special treatment from the State.

A few years ago, there was a discussion in the media about whether RTE should continue to broadcast the Angelus or not. Some people felt that RTE should stop this practice – they felt that a religious practice like the Angelus did not belong on national radio and TV. Other people disagreed. They pointed out that the Angelus was a reminder to religious and non-religious people like to spend some time in reflection every day. In the end, RTE decided to continue broadcasting the Angelus.

Both materialism and secularism present challenges to religious faith. Nevertheless, religious people can respect non-religious viewpoints without letting them weaken their faith.


One thought on “Section D – The Question of Faith – Sample Answer

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing these sample essay answers! Did your students write these themselves or did you?

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