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Theofiction

a preliminary investigation

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4. Seeing value(s)
How a theofiction project would be carried out exactly I have not yet filled in within the framework of this article. However what is sure to happen, one way or the othe,r is that pupils, when studying a lifestance, will find values which they consider valuable to take to their own theofiction. Whát values they will find depends on many different factors, such as what information they get and from who; whether they can experience something of that philosophy or that it remains theoretical and abstract; their own values and personality and those of her fellow pupils in the same group, and the interaction between different factors.
The result of this process is consequently unpredictable, but it doés yield a great number  of different values. When making a theofiction all the various values may also be dealt with in many different ways in the final product.
What values a person thinks important in his or her own religion is personal, but I have asked all the persons I have talked with, what is/are the value(s) that they hope that students would see in their religion, to introduce in theofiction.
From Christianity love was mentioned, not surprisingly. However, with an important marginal note, for the most important rule on which everything is based, is that you must love God above everything and that there is only one God and one mediator.  “If you were to leave God out, which is not possible, then love is what remains”.
For my Jewish contact this question was the most difficult to answer. Perhaps one of the reasons is that Judaism does not practise mission, because you are born as Jew and will always be a Jew, whether you believe or not. The fact that Judaism is the origin of three religions is mentioned as an important value. From the sense of living in a great tradition springs the importance to give expression to their religion in daily life. “Judaism is a way of living and thàt is right: living according to the laws of the Torah, not to the expense of everything, if it is impossible then you do not have to.”
This way of living is expressed in the celebration of the Sabbath, thanking the “One and Only” and many daily actions like doing the shopping according to the Kasjruthlist. That is difficult in Groningen, for there are no shops with kosher things.”If you want to live in an orthodox Jewish way, you cannot go on living in Groningen.”
“You have got both good and evil in you, it is your own responsibility to do the right thing and  suppress the bad things. You must strive to do the right thing as much as possible. There is no hell, everybody’s spirit goes to heaven”. Learning was mentioned as being very important, he rules and laws are indisputable,  but explanation moves with the time.
For the moslima I talked with “good intention “ is the most important. “Every human being has got both good and bad in his/her character, jihaad means that you strive to be as good as possible as human being.” For her everything comes down to the most important value: “ïntention”. “It stands to reason that the Five Pillars of Islam are immutable, but other things you can adapt. Here too, it is the intention that counts: you must pray, but you must do this with the right intention. If you have the intention to pray, but something happens, f.e. just then somebody falls in the street in front of your house, then you must not say: ”I must pray first”, but then you must help. You had the intention to pray, and that is enough. Just praying all day is not right, you must live your life, but everything you do must be done with the right intention. Another value, although the word for this is worn out by now is “respect”: respect for other people, animals and nature is very important.”
For the Hindu I talked with, the central value of Hinduism is respect for every living thing, give ánd receive respect. “Sometimes you must sacrifice something, but in the end you will get back what you give.” Respect one another’s values, live and let live, norms and values, all these things come down to ‘respect’. And the value ‘respect’ is of influence on all daily actions and on the assocciation with man or animal. In the first place concerning the cow. “The cow is holy and deserves respect, she gives milk and like a human being gives birth after 9 months.  The cow in not eaten at all, but out of respect for life many hindus are vegetarians, they also treat food with respect, wasting is bad.. The ‘five elements’ are respected also. ’Earth’ for example represents the mother, which results in respect for all mothers, (human beings and animals, especially the cow),  and ‘fire’ stands for holiness, which destroys evil; good remains.
For the Buddhist the values are very easy to name, which is also in line with her statement that development of values is very important. The most important value for her is the positive image of mankind. According to Buddhism mankind is good, there is no devil, not in mankind  itself either. There is ignorance and awkwardness in mankind, but that is not manice within man. Everything is transitory except the character of man: Fearlessness, Happiness and Love. Those three are also ‘natural’: the nature of mankind. 

Other important values such as helpfulness and balance are derived from the three qualities that are the substance of man. In the second place there is one’s own responsibility. A human being is responsible for his happiness and his life, one can learn from other people,  but should not just follow,  attain lasting happiness, (complete insight of enlightenment) he must do himself. The third important value is related to  “self responsibility”and is liberty. Without liberty man cannot exercise his own responsibility.

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