Junior Cert religious education: From materialism to peace and philosophy

Students were asked how people find meaning in life through different areas

The religious education exam offered students lots of choices on religions and philosophies from around the world, according to Stephen O’Hara, TUI representative and a teacher at Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig, Cork.

“The questions were not too taxing and invited students in to give broad and thoughtful answers,” he said.

Topics included peace, monotheism, and how people develop a sense of morality.

Students were also asked how people may find meaning in life through music, relationships, success, individualism, materialism, secular humanism and world religions including Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.


Mr O’Hara said that the events of recent years, including terrorist attacks and US President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, meant that it was more important than ever that young people have a basic grounding in religion.

“The course isn’t about indoctrination or pushing one belief system over another, but simply a way of breaking down ignorance and helping people gain an awareness of other cultures, beliefs and ways of living.

“It reinforces that it never works to set up communities of faith against each other, as Irish history has taught us so well.”

He said that the ordinary level paper was fair and would have presented students with less difficulty than in some previous years.

Try this at home: Junior Cert religion

- Describe one example of how an experience in life could give a person a sense of the presence of God/gods/the divine.