Challenging Aspects in Human Experience

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Suffering is a common experience of humanity. All adolescents pass through a suffering experience in one form or another. Suffering can take many forms. It can be the result of an injustice, or an experience of sickness or of the death of a loved one. It can also be the result of being bullied or illtreated by others. Adolescence is always a time when people feel disturbed and confused with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life. Adolescents need to have the right support to handle all these changes and to be encouraged to let these changes and adolescence itself be an experience of growth in various aspects in their lives. During adolescence, things often go wrong at school or at home. When this happens, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things “never go their way.” They feel “stressed out” and confused. Besides this, adolescents are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer at the tips of their fingers through the use of mobiles, notebooks and computers. For this reason, teens need adult guidance more than ever, for them to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. Through RE classrooms, adolescents are given the opportunity to explore and examine the many questions they and all human beings ask about life and its meaning, the reality of injustice around them and in the world, together with the mysteries of evil, suffering, death and life after death. The RE classes help students to perceive their world with a Christian perspective, which will then help them to live a more courageous enthusiastic and meaningful life.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Identify the basic questions that man ask about the purpose of life;
b. Evaluate cases of human suffering caused by human injustice and explore ways and means of how to deal with such injustice;
c. Search critically into the Bible and the Catholic Social Teaching in order to identify events and places where evil, suffering and life after death are mentioned;
d. Appreciate the Mystery of Redemption carried out by Jesus;
e. Analyse how faith and science challenge but at the same time complement each other;
f. Develop a pedagogical approach to integrate faith and science in a meaningful force of human existence.


a. List and analyse the basic questions of his/her existence;
b. Achieve a coherent knowledge of the various types of injustices that exist in the world;
c. Discuss in a critical way about the mysteries of evil, suffering and life after death, and the
challenges that these mysteries pose to every human being in general and to Christian adolescents in particular;
d. Evaluate John Hick’s theory of moral theodicy;
e. Analyse how faith and science challenge and at the same time complement each other, and analyse how to tackle this subject in the classroom he/she teaches.


a. Discuss critically and analyse the basic questions of his/her existence in a way that he/she finds meaning in the Christian perspective of the meaning of life;
b. Evaluate the implications of the various types of injustices that exist in the world, thus devising ways for the learner to be an instrument of justice; c. Discuss ways and means of how to accept the problem of evil, suffering and of how to face the reality of death;
d. Evaluate the importance of forgiveness in his/her life;
e. Analyse how, through faith, he/she can make his/her milieu a better place by living Redemption in his/her everyday life.

Mode of Delivery

This module adopts a blended approach to teaching and learning. Information related to the structure and delivery of the module may be accessed through the IfE Portal. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures found on the Institute for Education’s website.

Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
1. Catholic Church, and John Paul. (1984). Apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris of John Paul II on the Christian meaning of human suffering. Boston, MA, St. Paul Books & Media.
2. Davies, B. (2015). The reality of God and the problem of evil. London, Continuum.
3. Hick, J. (2010). Evil and the god of love. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
4. Massaro, T. (2016). Living justice: Catholic social teaching in action.
5. Ruse, M., & Ruse, M. (2008). Can a Darwinian be a Christian? : the relationship between science and religion. Cambridge, U.K., Cambridge University Press.
6. Stolberg, T., & Teece, G. (2011). Teaching religion and science effective pedagogy and practical approaches for RE teachers. London, Routledge.


Supplementary Reading List
1. Barnes, p., Wright, a., & Brandom, a.-m. (2008). Learning to teach religious education in the secondary school: a companion to school experience. London, Routledge.
2. Fontana, d. (1995). Psychology for Teachers (3rd ed.). New York: Palgrave.
3. Linhart, t. (2016). Teaching the next generations: a comprehensive guide for teaching Christian formation.
4. Singer-Towns, B. (2012). Catholic social teaching: Christian life in society. Winona, MN, Saint Mary’s Press.


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