Consider the following A'Level Religion and Philosophy question from a few years back on Celtic Christianity
Examine features of Celtic monasticism.
Somehow the expected answer promotes the black legend that the Celtic Church was somehow cosy, fluffy and good, till Rome went and squashed it. Well, I don't think St Patrick would be able to agree with the answer in the mark scheme. Celtic monasticism was tough, tough, tough. Not that I'm an expert, but what to you think of this for the answer in the mark scheme?
Monasticism was the primary model for the development of Christian communities in the Celtic Church. It replaces the Diocesan model of Roman Christianity. Celtic
monasticism derived from the ideas of Eastern Fathers and adapted well to the needs
of rural tribal communities. Variation in size from small places of retreat and solitude in
remote areas to large communities. Monastic communities open; not closed as in
Roman / Benedictine model; sense of mission; worship and serving community
important features. Sexes mixed freely in some, e.g. mixed monasteries such as
Whitby. Allowed both married and celibate monks. Not governed by any uniform rule
such as Roman models (e.g. Benedictine), local rules under authority of local Abbot.
Physical structure often reflected tribal communities. Small huts and small churches
within circular enclosure. Monks had soul friends or ‘anamchairde’ (idea derived from
druid counsellors). Key centres of learning and mission, and hospitality.
Outline the thoery of evolution AND explain how it challenges religious belief.
What if it doesn't? Hmm....
I was also concerned to see the following rider on the bottom of all questions on an English Literature paper:
Note that you should demonstrate what it means to be considering texts as a modern reader, in a modern context, and that other readers at other times may well have had other responses.
Just how are you supposed to follow that rider when you can write about the Metaphysical Poetry of Donne and Herbert....and when the poetry is explicitly religious surely there is only meant to be one, timeless response? I'm no apologist for the poetry of John Donne, I find his conceits too conceited and his attitude far too liberal and touchy-feely. But religious conviction is religious conviction and just who is this modern reader anyway?
Our poor young people. Can we not come up with something better than this as our "gold standard"?