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Religious Studies (Post 16)

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In KS5 Religious Studies lessons, students are required to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of three components: Philosophy, Ethics and Christianity; so that they can reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study. Students are supported in developing their skills of critical analysis in order to construct balanced, informed arguments and responses to religious, philosophical and ethical ideas. A Level Religious Studies course further challenges students and aims to engage learners in developing an interest in Religious Studies, which extends beyond the classroom and can be applied to the world around them. It also aims to provoke challenging questions about the ultimate meaning of life, beliefs about God, the nature of reality and moral choices people face.

As part of the wider Humanities intent, this curriculum ensures that all pupils know their place in the society that they live in, the rights that they have and the role they have in the future development of society to produce well-rounded global and active Citizens.

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A level Philosophy and Ethics/Religious Studies is designed to enable learners to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a study of religion and its place in the wider world.

The WJEC Eduqas A Level specification contains three components which include a wide range of topics for consideration, including an in-depth and broad study of Christianity, philosophy of religion and religion and ethics.

Component 1: A Study of Religion – Christianity (33⅓% of qualification).

  • Religious figures and sacred texts (Jesus – his birth and his resurrection, the Bible as a source of wisdom and authority in daily life, the early church and two views of Jesus)
  • Religious concepts and religious life (the nature of God, The Trinity, the atonement, faith and works, the Community of believers and key moral principles)
  • Significant social and historical developments in religious thought (attitudes towards wealth, migration and Christianity in the UK, feminism theology and the changing role of men and women, challenges from secularisation, science and pluralism and diversity within a tradition)
  • Religious practices that shape religious identity (diversity in baptism, diversity in Eucharist, diversity in festivals – Christmas and Easter, identity through unification, religious experience – Charismatic movement and responses to poverty and injustice – liberation theology)

Component 2: Philosophy of Religion (33⅓% of qualification).

  • Arguments for the existence of God – inductive (cosmological arguments, teleological arguments and challenges to inductive arguments)
  • Arguments for the existence of God – deductive (origins, developments and challenges to the ontological argument)
  • Challenges to religious belief (the problem of evil and suffering, Augustinian type theodicy, Irenaean type theodicy, religious belief as a product of the human mind – Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and issues relating to rejection of religion – Atheism)
  • Religious experience (the nature of religious experience: visions, conversions, mysticism, prayer, mystical experience – William James and Rudolf Otto, challenges to the objectivity and authenticity of religious experience, the influence of religious experience on religious practice and faith, definitions of miracles and a comparative study of two key scholars from within and outside the Christian tradition and their contrasting views on the possibility of miracles – David Hume and Richard Swinburne)
  • Religious language (inherent problems of religious language, religious language as cognitive, but meaningless, non-cognitive and analogical, non-cognitive and symbolic, non-cognitive and mythical and as a language game)

Component 3: Religion and Ethics (33⅓% of qualification).

  • Ethical thought (Divine Command Theory, Virtue Theory, Ethical Egoism, Naturalism, Intuitionism and Emotivism)
  • Deontological ethics (St Thomas Aquinas’ Natural Law and application of the theory to abortion and euthanasia, John Finnis’ development of Natural Law and Bernard Hoose’s Proportionalism and application of Finnis’ Natural Law and Hoose’s Proportionalism to immigration and capital punishment)
  • Teleological ethics (Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics and the principles as a means of assessing morality, application Fletcher’s Situation Ethics to homosexual and polyamorous relationships, Classical Utilitarianism – Jeremy Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill’s development of Utilitarianism and application of Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism and Mill’s Rule Utilitarianism to animal experiments for medical research and the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent)
  • Determinism and free will (religious concept of predestination – St Augustine and John Calvin, concept of determinism, the implications of predestination and determinism, religious concept of free will – Pelagius and Arminius, concept of libertarianism – Jean Paul Sartre, Angela Sirigu and Carl Rogers and the implications of libertarianism and free will)

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This is an impressive course to both employers and universities. People who have studied Philosophy and Ethics/Religious Studies go on to a wide range of fields including Law, Medicine, Teaching, Civil Service, Journalism and Psychology. The course will develop your analytical skills and debating.

If you are going on to study Philosophy or any Humanities subjects, please check your university’s subject pages. Many of them have mini-lectures, blog posts and links to help you get started on your undergraduate path. Some links below:

https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/search/undergraduate-courses?term=philosophy

https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/20/philosophy

https://warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses-2021/philosophy

You can also find a whole range of interesting material here:

https://www.ted.com/talks

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  • Why is it useful to study Religion, Philosophy or Ethics even if you are not a religious person?
  • Should all young people be made to study Philosophy?
  • Do you think there are absolute morals that apply to every situation or should we deal with each situation individually and be flexible in our morals if necessary?