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Rights and Responsibilities This unit is based on Christianity only.

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1 Rights and Responsibilities This unit is based on Christianity only

2 Write down the meaning of the following terms then click to check your answers: Conscience A: An internal voice and a way of knowing what is right and wrong Situation ethics A: The idea that Christians should based their moral decision making on whatever is the most loving thing to do The Golden Rule A: The teaching of Jesus that you should treat others how you would want to be treated Bible A: The holy book of Christians containing 66 books Church Note this this is Church with a big C! A: The community of Christians. Note! With a small c it is a place of Christian worship

3 The Decalogue A: The Ten Commandments Democratic process A: The ways in which all citizens can take part in government (usually through elections) Electoral process A: The ways in which voting is organised Human rights A: The rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled Political party A: A group which tried to be elected in to power on the basis of its policies (e.g. Labour, the Conservatives) Social change A: The way in which society has changed and is changing (and also the possibilities for future change)

4 How Christians make moral decisions How does anybody know what the right thing to do is? Christians look to God as their source of authority when deciding which actions are right and wrong. There are different places to find God’s authority and view. You need to learn about these 4 places: The Bible The Church Conscience Situation Ethics Many Christians will use some or all of these methods as ‘one size does not fit all’ when it comes to moral decision making.

5 The Bible Some Christians think that this is the best place to find out what God thinks is right and wrong. One reason is because it contains his direct teachings and rules e.g the DECALOGUE (Ten Commandments) in the Old Testament. It is also important because the New Testament contains the stories and teachings of Jesus and others: 2. Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount which told people what sort of behaviour gets people in to heaven e.g Blessed are the peacemakers 3. Jesus taught many parables to help people understand his teachings better e.g. the good Samaritan 4. There are the stories and teachings of St. Paul who helped newly formed Christians groups make the right moral decisions

6 However! All Christians agree that the Bible is important but there are different views on how to interpret it: Some Christians believe that it is the exact word of God and so it must be followed as closely as possible Some think it must be interpreted for today’s society. This is because it was written by people and so it may not be God’s exact word. It reflected the time and culture is was written in and needs adapting e.g. the attitude to women and animals have changed, as have the moral issues of the day e.g organ transplant, IVF which was not around in those times Some think that is should be used and interpreted by Church leaders and then the message should be passed on (More about this under Church)

7 Strengths VS Weaknesses Strengths 1.It is clear and in writing for all to see and it is easy to understand e.g. the Decalogue 2.It was inspired by God and so following it will mean people go to heaven 3.Individuals can read it and get answers for themselves 4.It gives the stories of Jesus and so there is an example to follow of how to behave Weaknesses 1.Lots of it are not easy to understand and being a long book it is not easy to dip in and out of 2.There are no teachings on modern problems as they weren’t around at the time it was written 3.It was written by people and so may be what they think, not God’s views 4.It was written for a different culture in a different time so is not relevant to us now 5.There is no flexibility and personal circumstances can not be taken in to account

8 The Church The Christian Church is made up of the trained leaders (clergy) and the followers (called the laity). People believe priests/vicars will know what is right and so turn to them for help because they have spent many years studying the Bible and learning how to interpret it. This authority can be traced back to the time of Jesus. Jesus passed his authority from God on to his disciples, who became the first bishops. This tradition has been continued ever since and it is believed that God and the Holy Spirit inspired Church leaders to know what is the right thing to do. The Church with a big C means the whole of the Christian community, with a little c means the building so be careful that you don’t write about the wrong thing!

9 How the Church decides what is right and wrong: Many issues are discussed, including modern day problems such as IVF and homosexuality. Leaders believe that through prayer God inspires them to know what He wants – this is then passed on to the Christian community. Through discussion and prayer leaders over the centuries have come to understand how God wants his followers to behave. These ideas have become teachings and are now what priests learn about as well as the Bible. The Church elects members to meet as an assembly to discuss modern issues. They agree what teachings can be passed on to the followers by priests/vicars. Each Christian denomination (group) has its own assembly for example the Roman Catholics have the Council of Bishops, led by the Pope. They believe that their decisions are guided by the Holy Spirit. They believe that the decisions will be correct as the Pope’s rulings come directly from God.

10 Strengths VS Weaknesses Strengths 1.It has many centuries of experience and keeps Christians united 2.It can be one on one advice and so is more personal 3.The guidance is clear and so Christians do not have to worry about getting it wrong 4.The teachings are inspired by God and the Holy Spirit Weaknesses 1.Not all Christians have easy access to the clergy (Church leaders) 2.There is no flexibility and so personal circumstances can not be taken in to account 3.Some people may disagree with Church teachings e.g the Roman Catholic Church teach that using condoms is wrong 4.The Church are just people and so maybe it is possible for them to interpret things wrong

11 Conscience This is the little voice inside your head which tells you what is right from wrong. We have freewill and so it doesn’t make us do something, it just informs us what the right thing is. Some Christians believe that they should follow their conscience when making moral decisions because: It was given to us by God as guidance. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit which leads people to do the right thing. It is the most reliable guide we have because it is led by God. It is universal as everyone has one and most people recognise that murder, theft, rape etc are wrong. Non-religious people recognise that they have a conscience too as there is a worldwide agreement of what is right and wrong.

12 Strengths VS Weaknesses Strengths 1.Everyone has one! 2.There is a general agreement about what is right and wrong 3.It is easy to access Weaknesses 1.There can be a difference between consciences e.g people believe different things about abortion and euthanasia 2.Not all consciences say good things e.g the Yorkshire Ripper claimed that he heard God’s voice as his conscience telling him to kill prostitutes 3.There is not a universal conscience – if there was then there wouldn’t be wars

13 Situation Ethics – do the most loving thing in every situation Christians are not in total agreement about this and when it was first introduced there were many arguments over it. Nevertheless, there are still some Christians who say that it is a good guide as it is based on the teachings of Jesus and nothing else. Jesus gave the Golden Rule (treat people how you want to be treated) and said that people should ‘love thy neighbour.’ He often went against tradition because it served love the best e.g. he went against the law and said that the adulterous women should not be stoned to death as it was the most loving thing. This follows these teachings. Nothing is every right or wrong in all circumstances e.g bortion is always wrong. Situation Ethics looks at each situation individually and decides right or wrong for that set of circumstances and so abortion may be the most loving thing in 1 situation, but not in another

14 Strengths VS Weaknesses Strengths 1.The rule is simple to apply 2.It takes in to account all aspects of a situation 3.It follows Jesus’ teachings Weaknesses 1.People can disagree about what the most loving thing to do is (e.g issues of abortion) 2.Some moral dilemmas are too complicated to be solved in this way 3.Not always easy to see what the most loving thing is, and how far in the future do you need to consider? 4.What if the most loving thing breaks the legal law (e.g euthanasia)

15 Human Rights Human rights means the freedom and entitlement people should have because they are human. For example the right to equality, the right to life, freedom and personal security. The Declaration of Human Rights is not law in the UK but it is what our laws are based on. If people in the UK feel that their rights have not been given then they can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The UK tries to protect all of its citizens human rights, no matter where they are in the world. For example our government may get involved if a British citizen is sentence to death in another country for a crime they have committed and appeal for a difference sentence to be given because the death penalty goes against the right to life.

16 Why human rights are important to Christians Jesus’ behaviour and teachings support human rights. The parable of the good Samaritan teaches that the way a person acts towards others is what matters the most. The very first book of the Bible teaches that God made everyone equal and we are all related as we come from Adam and Eve Jesus went out of his way to ensure that even the social rejects of his time were treated fairly e.g. he gave help to a Roman soldier who would have been despised, he was also kind to a prostitute and a tax collector. Statements have been issued by the Church and others saying that human rights matter e.g the Catholic Church said “these rights and duties are universal and inviolable.” The Bible says to remember those who are in prison and those who are tortured as if it were you being tortured. Archbishop Desmond Tutu campaigned against how the white South African government treated black South Africans as 2 nd class citizens

17 Why many people think it is important to take part in a democratic and electoral process Voting in an election gives people a say of how they want things run from school to government Woman campaigned for years to get a say and so voting respects their efforts It gives people the chance to be a part of social change and creating the society we want. At all levels from being on a school council to voting for the next government, it means that taking part does change things that effect your own life If no one voted who would end up running things – you can’t complain what the government does if you didn’t take part

18 Pressure groups These are groups who campaign to governments and others to draw attention to their point of view. It is a gentle squeeze, not a violent one, as they want people to follow their cause positively. Examples of pressure group issues are locally campaigning about the closure of a post office to nationally campaigning about the poor treatment of asylum seekers. Examples of pressure groups are Amnesty International and Make Poverty History.

19 However, others may say What’s the point? Governments say they will do one thing and seem to do another no matter what party they are Why bother to vote if you support a small party or independent candidate as they have no chance of influencing government

20 Christian believe that they have a moral duty and responsibility to others There are 4 teachings which tell Christians that they have a duty to behave in a moral way and that they have a responsibility to others. DON’T write the stories out in your exam, just refer to what their name is and their point. 1. The Golden Rule – “Do to others what you would want them to do for you.” 2. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats God rewards ‘sheep’ type people as they stick together and help each other out – feed, clothe, visit the sick and those in prison. These are things that our welfare system does to care for people in Britain

21 3. Am I My brother’s keeper? Cain turns on his brother Abel and kills him as he is jealous of him because Abel always seems to do right. Christians believe that this is wrong as people have a responsibility to not only care for their own family. Not only this but they have a responsibility for the welfare of others 4. Love one another This talks about the story above and says that the message is that at times people in the world will hate you yet loving God is showing people love regardless.

22 Test yourself then click the mouse to check your answers 1.Why do some Christians use the Church first when making moral decisions? A: Because Jesus passed on his authority to people who became bishops and the Pope. This special knowledge has been passed on throughout history 2.What is situation ethics? A: The idea that you should always do the most loving thing and that each situation is different and so you can’t always follow the usual rules 3.What is the Decalogue? A: The 10 Commandments 4.What does revelation mean? A: the revealed word of God as is recorded in the Bible 5.What is the Golden rule? A: Jesus’ teaching that you should treat people how you would want to be treated

23 Test yourself! 1.Why would some Christians use the Bible to help them make moral choices? 2.What is a weakness of using situation ethics? 3.Name 2 Christian teachings which support the idea that Christians have a moral duty and responsibility to others 4.What is the Golden Rule? 5.Give 1 reason why people should vote 6.Give 1 reason why some people do not want to vote 7.What does the parable of the sheep and the goats teach Christians?

24 Genetic Engineering You need to know the nature of genetic engineering, cloning in particular

25 Non-religious attitudes to genetic engineering – why it may be good! Many people think that genetic engineering may be a good thing especially if it is used to find treatments for diseases – it is just another branch of medicine It can be used to ensure that genetic illnesses are not passed on to future generations as couples can have IVF and then only embryos with out disease can be implanted. GM crops can be created which are stronger and more resistant to damage from disease. This could help ensure that there is enough food for the whole world Lots of people may argue that genetic engineering isn’t bad in itself – it is how it is used that counts.

26 Why genetic engineering many not be liked by non-religious people However a lot of people worry too, especially concerning cloning. Dolly the first successfully cloned animal has many problems which tells some that this science is too early to be used on humans which is the fear. Some people are horrified that some people have children in order to be a perfect match for an existing child who is ill. Some people think it is immoral and disgusting to have a child to be a ‘spare part’. Even non-religious people may argue that it is not natural. People should be how they were made and although medicine is good, genetic engineering is a step too far Some worry that genetic engineering will be used to try to create the perfect person. It sounds the work of science fiction but maybe we will not be all on an equal footing then, and maybe ‘natural’ people will not be given the same opportunities.

27 There are 2 different Christian opinions as the technology is too new to be in the Bible Some Christians would agree with it’s use for SOME things because: 1.Genetic engineering can lead to good. Jesus healed people and so Christians should follow his example. 2.Protestants accept the use, even that which changes human cells, because it is in the long term interests of humanity. It is like medical research which is good as it improves the quality if people’s lives. 3. GM crops are good as it means that seeds can thrive in the developing world where soil and the weather make growing things hard. CARE is a Christian organisation. 4.Churches such as the Methodist Church have issued statements saying how good it can make life, especially when it leads to cures for people. 5.Christians are taught in the Bible to ‘Love thy neighbour’ and help those in need which many forms of genetic engineering does Some Christians disagree with its use because: 1.If it is used to on human cells. This is because they believe that humans are made in the image of God and so technology shouldn’t be used to create the perfect person. 2.CARE is Christian charity who issued a statement which said that changing human cells may distort the image of God and changes what it means to be human which is a concern. 3.The Bible teaches that God creates life and so it is not for humans to interfere with it. 4.This leads on to the idea that God is omniscient and so has a plan for everyone which may include genetic illness therefore it would be disobeying God to try to change this. 5.Humans should not try to make the world or humans perfect as only God and heaven is prefect.

28 Now answer these questions: 1.What may genetic engineering be used for? 2.Why may non-religious think that genetic engineering is 3.Why do some Christians not like the use of genetic engineering 4.Why do some Christians allow genetic engineering to be used

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