3.2 Matters of Life and Death

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  • Created by: emmacram
  • Created on: 13-03-16 20:12

Catholics Belief in Life After Death

  • Why - The main Christian belief is that Jesus rose from the dead as this is what is recorded in the Gospels and New Testament. This proves that there is life after death.
  • St Paul teaches that people will have a resurrection like that of Jesus.
  • The major creeds of the Church teach that Jesus rose from the dead and that there will be life after death.
  • Many Catholics believe in life after death because it gives their lives meaning and purpose.
  • How - Many Catholics believe that only if they have lived a good Catholic life will they be allowed into heaven. So they try to live a good Catholic life following the teachings of the Church so that they go to heaven when they die.
  • Living a good Catholic life means following the two greatest commandments - love of God and love of neighbour. So Catholics' lives will be affected as they try to love God by attending Mass every Sunday.
  • In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats Jesus said Catholics should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. Jesus taught in the Good Samaritan that loving your neighbour means helping anyone in need. These teachings affect Catholics' lives explaining why some Catholics work for charities such as CAFOD. 
  • Catholics believe that sin prevents people from going to heaven and those who die with unforgiven sins will go to purgatory to be purified so Catholics avoid committing sins.
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Non-Religious Life After Death

  • Near-death experiences - This is when someone is clinically dead for a time and then comes back to life and can remember what happened. Research by doctors in Britain, Holland and the USA has shown that about eight percent of these cases have  anear-death experience. The main features of these experiences are; feelings of peace, floating above the body, seeingb a bright light, etc. If near-death experiences are true, there must be life after death.
  • Evidence for a spirit world - Many people think of ghosts and ouija boards as evidence for a spirit world, but the clearest evidence comes from mediums. A medium is a person who claims to be able to communicate between our material world and a spirit world where the spirits of the dead live. There are mediums in all countries and all religions. They claim the spirit world gives people a second chance at life. Mediums contact people's dead relatives giving information they would not be able to without their contact being true. If mediums can contact the dead, there must be life after death.
  • The evidence of reincarnation - Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists believe in reincarnation and have collected much evidence for this happening. If reincarnation is true then there is life after death.
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Why People Don't Believe in Life After Death

  • If there is no God, there is no spirit world for life after death to happen.
  • The different religions contradict each other about life after death. Christianity, Islam and Judaism say it will be resurrection or immortality of the soul; Hunduism, Sikhism and Buddhism say it will be reincarnation. If life after death were true, they would all be the same thing.
  • Much of the evidence is based on holy books, but they contradict each other, and there is no way of deciding which holy books are true and which false.
  • The evidence of the paranormal (near-death experiences, mediums, reincarnation) has all been challenged by scientists.
  • Most beliefs about life after death think that the mind or soul can survive without the body, but science shows that the mind cannot live without the brain, so when the body dies the mind must also die.
  • There is no place where life after death could take place; space journeys have shown heaven is not above the sky.
  • People who have been brought up by atheists will not believe in life after death.
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  • The law says that abortion is only allowed if two doctors agree the mother's life is at risk, the mother's physical or mental health is at risk, the child is very likely to be born severely handicapped or there would be a serious effect on other children in the family.
  • Abortions cannot be carried out after 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother's life is at risk, or the foetus has severe handicaps.
  • Why it's controversial - Many people believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Therefore abortion is taking a human life.
  • Many people believe that life begins when the foetus is able to live outside of the mother. Therefore abortion is not taking life.
  • Many non-religious people believe that a women should have the right to do what she wants with her own body. They might argue that an unwanted foetus is no different from an unwanted tumour.
  • Many religious people believe that the unborn child's right to life is greater than the mother's.
  • Some people argue the time limit should be reduced to 18 or 20 weeks because of medical advances.
  • There are also arguments about whether medical staff should have to carry out abortions.
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Christian Attitudes to Abortion

  • Catholic - all abortion is wrong whatever the circumstances (apart from medical treatments for the mother which affect the life of the foetus).
  • Life belongs to God, so only God has the right to end a pregnancy.
  • Life begins at conception so abortion is taking life which is against the Ten Commandments.
  • They should follow the teaching of the Catechism that all abortion is murder.
  • Counselling, help and adoption are alternatives to abortion for women made pregnant as a result of **** so that good can come out of evil in a new life.
  • Other Christians (mainly Liberal Protestants) disagree with abortion, but think it should be allowed in certain circumstances.
  • Life does not begin at conception.
  • Jesus' command to love your neighbour means it is the duty of Christians to remove suffering, which abortion does.
  • The sanctity of life can be broken in such things as a just war, so why not in a just abortion.
  • If doctors have developed tests for certain medical conditions in unborn babies, parents should be allowed abortions if such tests show their baby would be born with serious medical problems.
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  • Remain illegal - There is always likely to be doubt as to whether it is what the person wants.
  • There is also the problem as to whether the disease will end the life; a cure may be found.
  • It is the job of doctors to save lives, no end them. Would patients trust doctors who kill?
  • People migh change their mind, but then it would be too late.
  • Who would check that it was only people who really wanted and needed euthanasia who died?
  • Made legal - Discoveries in medicine mean that people who would have died are being kept alive, often in agony, and should have the right to die.
  • Doctors have the right to switch off life-support machines if they think the patient has no chance of recovering, and allow people who have been in a coma for years to die. So euthanasia is already legal.
  • People have a right to commit suicide, so why not give them the right to ask doctors to assist their suicide if they are too weak to do it alone.
  • Just as docttors can now switch off life-support machines, so judges have said that doctors can stop treatment.
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Christian Attitudes to Euthanasia

  • Catholics (and many Liberal Protestants) believe it is wrong except if you turn off a life support or removing treatment - They believe in the sanctity of life. Life is created by God and so it is up to God, not humans, when people die.
  • They regard euthanasia as murder, which is forbidden in the Ten Commandments.
  • If doctors say someone is brain-dead, then they have already died, so switching off the machine is accepting what God has already decided.
  • If you give painkillers to a dying person in great pain and they kill the person, this is not murder because your intention was to remove their pain, not to kill them (doctrine of double effect). 
  • Some Christians believe any form of euthanasia is wrong - They take the Bible teachings literally and the Bible forbids suicide,
  • Euthanasia includes switching off life-support machines, the refusal of extraordinary treatment and giving large doses of painkillers because life is being ended by humans not God.
  • They believe that life is sacred and should only be taken by God-life and death decisions.
  • A few Christians accept euthanasia in some circumstances - Medical advances mean it is hard to know what God's wishes about someone's death are. God may want someone to die.
  • The teaching of Jesus on loving your neighbour can be used to justify - most loving thing.
  • It is a basic human right to have control over your body and what people do to it.
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Media and Matters of Life and Death

  • Shouldn't be free to criticise what religions say about MOLAD - Some people believe that criticising what religions say on MOLAD is a way of stirring up religious hatred, which is banned by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2007.
  • Many religious believers believe the freedom of the media should be limited because of the offence criticism of religious attitudes can bring. 
  • Some religious believers believe that criticising what religious leaders say about MOLAD is close to the crime of blasphemy. //Some religious people feel that religious statements are based on what God says and so are beyond human criticism.
  • Should be free to criticise what religions say about MOLAD - Freedom of expression is a basic human right which is needed for democracy to work. Before people vote they need to know what is going on in the world and in their own country. For this they need free media and if the media have freedom of expression,they must be free to criticise religious attitudes on MOLAD.
  • If religious leaders use the media to make statements about MOLAD as they do on things like stem-cell research), they must be prepared for the media to criticise those statements.
  • In a multi-faith society, there must be freedom of religious belief and expression, so the media must have the right to question&criticise religious beliefs and what religions say about MOLAD.
  • Life and death issues are so important to everyone that people want to know what is the right view.
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Million Dollar Baby

  • Frankie - To begin with, when Maggie first asked him to help her die, Frankie was completely against the idea of euthanasia but, when he realised that her quality of life wasn't good and that it was what she really wanted he relented as he knew it was the most loving thing to do and it would be a bigger sin to keep her alive. 
  • Maggie - Maggie just wants to die and she isn't able to do it for herself so her only option is euthanasia. She feels as if she doesn't have anything to live for and to begin with, when Frankie wouldn't help her, she bit her tongue as an attempt of suicide which proves that she definitely wanted euthanasia.
  • Father Horvac - He is completely against euthanasia as he is Catholic and in his opinion, life belongs to God. He advised Frankie not to go through with it because of the sanctity of life argument and he would be lost if he did it.
  • Eddie - He believed that Maggie had lived a good life so euthanasia was the right thing to do. She had had her shot in life and this was her last shot.
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Causes of World Poverty

  • Natural disasters - Many LEDCs (less economically developed countries) are situated in areas of the world where natural disasters (earthquakes, etc.) can destroy many thousands of homes and the farmland on which the people depend.
  • Debt - Most LEDCs have to borrow money from the banks of developed countries to survive and begin to develop. However, the amount of interest they have to pay can make them poorer
  • Unfair trade - World trade is controlled by the rich countriesof the world who decide the prices paid for products from LEDCs. e.g. the rich countries pay grants to their own farmers to grow crops and put high taxes on imported crops from LEDCs so those products are more expensive
  • HIV/ AIDS - This disease is killing many people in LEDCs. The loss of so many earners and the growing numbers of orphans are causing many poor countries to become poorer.
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How CAFOD is Trying to End World Poverty

  • Development programmes - CAFOD works with partner groups in LEDCs to promote development in such ways as: opening clinics and training health workers, helping to give street children an education so that they can earn a living and helping to set up savings schemes and different farming projects so that subsistence farmers are not wiped out by natural disasters.
  • Disasters and emergencies - CAFOD has a disaster fund to deal with natural disasters and refugees. CAFOD has sent food, antibiotics and shelters to victims of the tsunami and supplies to war refugees in LEDCs.
  • Raising awareness - About five per cent of CAFOD's budget is spent on educating the people and churches of England and Wales about the need for development and how Catholics can help. It publishes a newspaper called Friday and many educational materials.
  • Speaking out on behalf of poor communities to bring social justice - CAFOD was heavily involved in the Make Poverty History campaign of 2005, the largest ever world campaign to end poverty and is now involved in the Trade Justice Campaign to change the rules of world trade so that poor countries can work themselves out of poverty.
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Why CAFOD is Trying to End World Poverty

  • According to the New Testament, riches must be used for the help of others, especially the poor.
  • Jesus told the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats where he said that feeding the hungry and clothing the naked is like feeding and clothing Jesus himself. Catholics want to help Jesus and so they help the poor and suffering.
  • The parable also teaches that helping the poor is the way to heaven and Catholics want to get to heaven.
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that Christians should share their time and money to help the poor.
  • The Catholic Church teaches that Christians have a duty to help the poor and suffering, as Pope Benedict shows in his first encyclical.
  • The Golden Rule for Christians is to treat other people in the way you would like to be treated and everyone would want to be helped if they were starving.
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