AQA GCSE “Pilgrimage is the most significant practice for Christians.” Assess this statement. (12 marks)

Colour Code:

  • Blue – Your argument 
  • Red – Argument against 
  • Purple – Response

Pilgrimage can be defined as a physical and spiritual journey which is undertaken by a religious believer.

It is difficult to argue that pilgrimage is the most significant Christian practice because there are other types of worship which are focused on more often. For example, some Christians might argue that their day-to-day ethical duties are the most important aspect of their faith. This is demonstrated in the work many people do at organisations such as the Trussel Trust who provide foodbanks for people struggling with poverty. Christians who volunteer their time to this cause can look to teachings from Jesus such as the parable of the Good Samaritan whose message is to “love thy neighbour as thy self.” This message is also emphasised in the Great Commandment and, as a consequence, could be perceived as the essence of Christianity and what Christians should concern themselves with the most.

Yet, other Christians could choose to believe that their faith is more about a personal journey and connection to the divine. If this is the case then pilgrimages such as Lourdes give an opportunity for Christians to focus all of their attention on prayer, worship and spiritual healing. This type of journey may well be life changing and, for some, could be an opportunity to be present when a miracle happens. If this is the case then a pilgrimage would understandably be the most important event of a Christian’s life.

However, not everyone is capable of making it to a pilgrimage, nor is it viewed as a requirement as it is for most in the Islamic faith. Instead, the connection to God could be achieved through the Sacraments of the Church or through personal prayer and the Bible.

In conclusion, whilst pilgrimage is very important for those who are able to attend, it is very hard to argue that it is most significant practice because most Christians take part in many other modes of worship which enrich their lives yet may never attend a pilgrimage at all.

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