Explore at your leisure;Secondary;Reviews;Religious Education

15th May 1998 at 01:00
INVESTIGATING CHRISTIANITY (CD-Rom). By Gwyneth Windsor. Heinemann pound;49.95.

This is a well-conceived project aimed at giving 11 to 16-year-olds the resources to find out about Christianity. The balance between words, pictures and sounds is good, although the audio quality is uneven and the speaking voices often lack the professionalism of the rest of the production.

Users can quickly and easily access information on an impressive array of topics within Christianity - from Mother Teresa to Augustine, from the early church to contemporary moral issues, from icons to Oberammergau.

The connecting links are well thought out, and the main menu is always easy to get back to. There are extracts from primary sources, a glossary and various assignments and quizzes - more than enough here to occupy an inquiring mind eager to grasp some-thing of the nature of this fascinating faith.

A particularly effective feature consists of virtual tours of Assisi, Canterbury, Jerusalem, Mont Athos and other sacred places. There is a nice spread of attention between the strands within the Christian tradition, with material on Anglicanism, Catholicism, Easter Orthodox and so on. The text is at once accessible, interesting and informative.

To make best use of this excellent resource, users will need time to explore it. A temptation with CD-Roms is to dip into and flick through them, in the style of TV channel-hopping.

Investigating Christianity has much that will reward such skimming, and is also likely to hook the casual browser. But it is a production of some depth which will repay closer, more studied and systematic working through.

Chris Arthur Chris Arthur is a senior lecturer in religious studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter

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