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Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies

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1 Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies
Unit 8 - Religion, Rights and Responsibility

2 Key Words Bible: The Holy Book of Christianity made up of the 66 books of the Old and the New Testament (also known as ‘Scripture’). Church: The community of Christian believers (small ‘c’ refers to the building). Conscience: An inner feeling of what is right or wrong. Situation Ethics: The idea that Christians should base moral decisions on what is the most loving thing to do. Electoral Processes: The ways in which voting is organised. Democratic Processes: The ways in which local citizens can take part in government. Political Party: A group which tries to be elected into power based on its policies. Pressure Group: Groups formed to influence government policies on particular issues. Social Change: The way in which society has changed and is changing. Human Rights: The rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled. Decalogue: The Ten Commandments. Golden Rule: Jesus’ teaching to treat others as we would like to be treated.

3 Love – situation ethics
Sources of Authority When making moral decisions, the Christian wants to know what their God would want them to do. To find this out they turn to trusted sources that they believe have some authority [credibility] to help guide their decisions. These will include... The Bible The Church Conscience Love – situation ethics

4 what is in the bible gets its life from God.
Sources of Authority: The Bible Did You Know...? ‘God-breathed’ in this passage has the same idea in both Greek and Hebrew as when God breathed life into Adam in Genesis 2 at creation. In other words, what is in the bible gets its life from God. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16 The Decalogue The Prophets Jesus’ Teaching Sermon on Mount Parables Kingdom of God Apostles’ Teaching St Peter, St Paul St John, St James These are in the Bible & Xians use them to guide decisions. 66 books (73 for Catholics). Written over a period of 1000 years. 40 different authors. OT compiled around 300BCE. NT compiled and combined around 375CE.

5 The Word of God? Most Christians refer to the Bible as the ‘Word of God’, however, not all agree what this means: The Words of God: Some Xians, mainly fundamentalists, believe the Bible contains the actual words of God. These people are called literalists as they believe every word is literally as God wanted it to be. As such, the bible has total authority in all situations Words inspired by God: Other Xians feel the Bible was written by humans but inspired by God. Although it has God’s authority, it needs interpreting in light of its day when considering an application for today. Words about God: Some Xians see the bible as written by people who genuinely loved God, but the words do not have God’s direct authority. They may use conscience, reason and logic to interpret its meaning for them.

6 Christian Church Family Tree
At first the Christian Church had identical beliefs. In 1517 a priest called Martin Luther objected to how the Catholic Church ran the religion. Free/House Church Salvation Army In 312 the Emperor Constantine became a Christian and so Rome helped the spread of Christianity. Quakers Methodist Church of England He listed 95 objections he had. Since then different groups (denominations) felt the need to worship god in different ways. Baptist Lutheran 1517 Reformation Eastern Orthodox Roman Catholic 1000 years later a split happened between East and West. 1378 Great Schism 312 Constantine Apostles Jesus These are just some of the denominations

7 Authority of the Church
The Apostles established small communities of converts across the region. Rome Constantinople Athens Antioch Carthage Trusted and trained leaders helped growth and prevent heresies. Jerusalem Alexandria As matters arose requiring clarification key leaders (Bishops) gathered together (councils) to discuss and agree a consensus of opinion as to what theologies were correct or incorrect. The church was Jesus’, St Peter’s and St Paul’s chosen structure. The Church has been shown to be the best forum for deciding the meaning of scripture formulating considered theological responses to modern situations and issues. Catholics believe God reveals to the Pope and bishops the true meaning of Scripture.

8 Sources of Authority: The Church
Catholic Church In Catholicism the Pope has supreme authority from God and is infallible. A ‘Council of Bishops’ help formulate doctrine and the Vatican releases ‘catechisms’. Anglican Church of England has 560 Bishops, vicars and laity forming the ‘General Synod.’ Smaller more specialised groups advise on decisions for the Synod to agree. Independent Churches ‘Assemblies’ (gatherings of church leaders) agree a biblical response to theological and moral issues. Some agree beliefs on a church-by-church basis.

9 Conscience St Paul & St Thomas Aquinas both taught that Christians should use their conscience as the final part of moral decision making. Individuals are accountable and have a moral responsibility. ‘Pangs of conscience’ help guide but can go wrong e.g. Some Christians have murdered abortionists in the name of ‘God’. Holy Spirit When Jesus rose to heaven he said he will be with his people always by this he meant in the form of the Holy Spirit. Every bit part of God, but distinct in that it is the power of God within the Christian to be able to live the Christian life and discern God’s will. Christians believe God’s presence is with them in the Holy Spirit. Reason & Logic St Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant believed in something called ‘Natural Law’. Part of this meant being able to ‘naturally’ discern what is right and wrong because we are created by God in His image. Using reason and logic (thought-out judgements) we should be able to know what God would ‘naturally’ want us to do.

10 Situation Ethics Situation Ethics: ‘The idea that Christians should base moral decisions on what is the most loving thing to do.’ Joseph Fletcher was a Christian ethicist who wrote the book ‘Situation Ethics’ in 1966. Fletcher proposed that Biblical rules should be taken in consideration only with other, greater rules, in mind. Fletcher referred to these as ‘greater rules’ because he believed a Christian will one day be personally responsible for the choices they make and so, their conscience should be their final guide. He also believed that his ‘greater rules’ reflected the teaching of Jesus that ‘Christian Love’ over rules ‘Religious Laws’ E.g. Jesus healing on the Sabbath.

11 1 2 3 4 Fletcher’s 4 Greater Rules
Ethics is about decision making in REAL situations. Strict religious rules don’t take into consideration that every situation is different. 2 Decisions made do not offer ‘universal guidelines’. A decision made about one situation does not then become the rule for all. 3 Some ‘truths’ should be accepted as self evident. Each person knows intrinsically what the right thing to do is. 4 It is the person who is the centre of concern. The person at the centre of the situation is more important than the religious rules. Fletcher believed the primary motivation should be love for the individual, and recognition that the most loving way out of a situation should be the ultimate motive. “In resolving any situation the primary motive must be love.”

12 Situation Ethics Joseph Fletcher would say that Situation Ethics should come before the Biblical rules, so does this make it unbiblical? Not at all, as these examples show. Jesus healed people on the Sabbath when it was forbidden by Jewish religious law to work. Jesus’ concern for the person overruled the religious Law. Jesus spoke to women about religious issues and stood up for a woman found guilty of adultery, both these things were against Jewish cultural and religious laws Jesus, St Peter and St Paul all spent time with people who the religious laws declared ‘unclean’ and so banned any association with. Some Christians believe if a twelve year old girl was raped she should not be allowed an abortion. However, Fletcher would say it would be the most loving thing to do for her, so would allow it.

13 Situation Ethics Strengths
1) Situation ethics is concerned about the individual not the rule. 2) Situation Ethics considers each person and their situation individually. 3) The basic is principle is to seek what is best for the individual concerned, based on the premise of ‘love’. Weaknesses 1) Fletcher believed the end justified the means, this is not true in every situation. 2) It ignores clear biblical teaching on certain issues relegating that teaching to mere ‘suggestions for life’. 3) Situation Ethics does not consider what is the most loving thing to do for all, only the individual.

14 Making a Moral Decision
Although the Bible may be the first place Christians turn to for guidance, most feel the Bible needs interpreting in light of modern day issues as not all laws may be relevant to today’s cultures. Therefore, most Christians believe they should use a number of sources to help them make the right moral decisions. Odd Biblical Laws You must not wear clothes made from two different types of fabrics. You must not plant two different crops in the same field. If a child swears at his parents or disobeys them he should be put to death, Shellfish are banned as food and must not be eaten. If a person commits adultery they should be killed. Parents can sell their children into slavery to pay off debts. The Bible The Church Situation Ethics Conscience

15 Government The government is responsible for managing a wide range of issues including: It costs around £550bn a year to run the country (that’s about 10 x the value of Bill Gates). Where does it get the money from? You. What is it spent on? You. Who decides who gets to spend it? You. Employment Health Education Housing Environment Economy Foreign Affairs Law and Order Defence Social Services Human Rights The government is simply a political party who made promises (in a manifesto) to the country, and on the basis of that, were voted into power by the citizens of that country.

16 Voting System The UK is divided up into 659 voting areas known as constituencies. Each area is supposed to have roughly the same number of voters – about 70,000 in each. In a general election voters can vote for one of a number of candidates (usually from each of the main political parties and a few others) Whoever gets the most votes wins & becomes an MP. Whoever has the most MPs becomes the government. In Britain we vote on who will represent us in three main areas. Local Council (Councillors) UK Parliament (MPs) European Parliament (MEPs) All of these people make decisions that affect the whole or our community. Pressure Groups Besides voting you can influence government decisions on issues you feel are important. Pressure groups representing thousands of citizens speak to the government and let them know what their members want. E.g. Civil Rights, War in Iraq, Euthanasia etc.

17 The Electoral & Democratic process
Many people feel that as a citizen of a country you not only have a right to have your say, but you have a responsibility to take part in the electoral process (voting) and the democratic process (citizens choosing and influencing Parliament). They think this because... It gives you more control over local issues that affect you on a day to day basis. In the past, people died fighting for our right to choose those who govern us. We owe it to these men and women to use these rights. National government sets our taxes to raise money and chooses how our money is then spent. National government make new laws that affect your life. You have a say in these laws. Decisions in Europe affect UK laws. We need to elect people who will speak out for us. How can you complain if you don’t use your right to have your say? National government are responsible for many things. You have a say in the decisions made. The term ‘democracy’ means ‘a government of the people, by the people, for the people’ . Not all countries have a democracy, their citizens have no say over how the country is run or who will lead them.

18 Religion and The Democratic Process
William Wilberforce (led the parliamentary campaign against slavery). William Booth (famed for establishing homes for society’s outcasts through the Salvation Army). Lord Shaftsbury (stood against child labour and fought for child education). Dr Thomas Barnardo (established housing and training for destitute children). These people became involved with the democratic process because they believed their religion compelled them to stand up for human rights. It still happens Today: Gordon Brown, organised the government’s policy on dropping third world debt because of his Christian beliefs. and the Oasis Trust are both religious organisations that involve young Muslims and Christians in social action and human rights activities, and in lobbying the government for these concerns.

19 The Christian Motivation for Social Change
The Decalogue. (Exodus 20) Six of the Ten Commandments are based on how we treat others. Human rights and social change for good is a fundamental part of the Biblical & Church teaching. Many of the reformers and politicians who worked to establish social change for the better, were Christians. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. (Matt 25:31-46) ‘Whatever you did not do for the least of my people you did not do for me.’ Faith and Deeds. (James 2:26) ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’ The Greatest Commandment. (Matthew 22:36-40) ‘Love God and love your neighbour, the whole of the Law and Prophets hinge on these two commands. ‘ The Golden Rule. (Matt 7:12) ‘So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’

20 A Summary of the Human Rights Act 1998
All these rights are declared to be for all people for all time. Freedom of conscience & religion. Hold the opinions and beliefs you want to without persecution. Freedom of expression. Express your views so long as it doesn’t break the law. Freedom of assembly. To gather with others and if necessary to demonstrate. Marriage and family. To get married and have a family (within the rules of the law). Freedom from discrimination. Not to be discriminated against for an reason. The First Protocol (Civil Liberties). Have the right to own possessions, have an education and participate in the democratic process. The right to life. No one has the right to end your life. Freedom from inhuman treatment. Torture is banned. Freedom from slavery. Forced labour is outlawed. Right to liberty. Everyone has the right to do what they want if it is not against the law. Right to a fair trial. Under UK law. Retrospective penalties. You cannot be charged with a crime if it wasn’t a crime when you did it. Privacy You right to your private life.

21 Human Rights in the UK Human Rights: The rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled. In 1998 the UK passed the Human Rights Act giving UK citizens by law, the fundamental rights already laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, the Act can cause problems for religious people. Christians believe human rights are important because: They believe in the Sanctity of Life as all are made in God’s image. Xians could break the Act if they refuse to support gay marriage. It is in line with Biblical teaching on how we should treat others. The Catholic church discriminates against women as priests. It allows for the freedom to have a religion and meet together. Some Christians feel homosexuals should not adopt children. It outlaws discrimination against Christians and others. Xian groups could break the Act by refusing to give a non-Xian a job.

22 Genetic Engineering & Cloning
Genetic Engineering: The deliberate alteration of a person by manipulating its genetic framework in order to cure or prevent diseases and disabilities in human beings. Most genetic research is based on two methods: Gene Therapy: This enables changes to be made to cells that pass on defective information from one generation to the next, allowing permanent changes to be made. PGD: Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis. This removes defective genes from embryos so women at risk of passing on diseases can produce healthy babies. Stem Cell Research is the most recent form of genetic research. Stem cells are the ‘ building blocks of life’ and can be used to create (clone) new organs or cells to replace diseased ones. They are ‘harvested’ from either embryos created by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) , bone marrow or blood. Some people believe this will eventually lead to us picking and choosing any characteristic of a child including gender, eye and hair colour, even their sexual orientation.

23 Stem cell research is illegal in the United States of America.
The Human Genome Project plans to map out the complete human genetic outline. It is believed if we can identify every human gene, then we can remove the defective ones, replace them with healthy ones, and eradicate illnesses completely. Stem cell research is illegal in the United States of America. However, it has been legal in the UK since February 2001 under certain conditions, regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority In May 2008 the UK government made it possible for scientist to use ‘cybrids’ for research. That is; a human nucleus (the inside of a human embryo) implanted in to an animal egg, to create a new embryo for DNA research into causes and cures for diseases. From this research, scientist have found out how to reproduce human organs. They believe that they will eventually be able to recreate all human tissue and organs to help replace diseased kidneys, livers, lungs and even hearts. It may one day be possible to recreate a complete human being.

24 Secular Arguments For Against
Stem cell research, genetic engineering and cloning, offer the prospect of cures for currently incurable diseases. It is available in some countries and so is only available to the rich who can afford to travel and pay medical bills. Cloning has been used to grow healthy cells to replace malfunctioning ones. Genetic research is a vital tool in medical science, it would be wrong to ignore the advantages genetic engineering can bring. The laws on what can be done are strictly monitored to protect from abuse. Genetic engineering treats the human body as a commodity to be manipulated no different to plants. Once started there is no going back, scientist will be able to reproduce scientifically created human beings. There is no information about the long term consequences. The process is irreversible so if anything went wrong it would be permanent. It opens the way for genetic screening where people could be checked for likely illnesses before getting jobs or life insurance.

25 Religious Arguments For Against
Jesus was a healer who encouraged his followers to cure the sick. Being responsible stewards of creation includes improving the lives of others with the scientific knowledge God has allowed us to gain (or given to us). Creating cells is not working against God rather it is working with God. An embryo is not considered regarded as a potential life until it is 14 days old. Liberal Christians will accept most of the secular arguments for genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is another form of medical science like medicines and surgery which we allow. Life begins at conception, be it in the womb or a glass dish. Killing an embryo is taking a human life which is banned by in the Bible and by the Church. God has created the genetic make-up of a child for people to overrule that would be to interfere with God’s plans. Cloning or creating a life is taking the role of Creator which is God’s role. Cloning another human being devalues both people as individuals made by God. A child should be born as a product of love not need.

26 Revision Checklist The Bible as a source of authority.
The Church as a source of authority. The conscience as a guide for making moral decisions. Joseph Fletcher and Situation Ethics. Christians using a variety of sources for making moral decisions. The role of government and the electoral system. voting and the democratic process. Religion and the democratic process. Christian motivation for moral duties and responsibility for social change. The Human Rights Act in the UK. Religion and human rights. Genetic engineering and cloning. Secular arguments surrounding genetic engineering and cloning. Religious arguments surrounding genetic engineering and cloning.


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