Edexcel R.E Rights and Responsibilities

Religion and Society 


Authority of the Bible

Some Christians use the Bible when making moral decisions

  • The Bible is the word of God and so had absolute authority and would ensure approval on judgement day

'God is the author of sacred scripture'

  • The Bible gives clear guidance on how to behave 

the decalogue - ' thou shall not commit murder'

  • The Bible contains teachings of Jesus, Jesus is the Son of God and so should be followed 

' love your neighbour'

  • the Bible contains letters from leading disciples who knew Jesus and were guided by the Holy Spirit 
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Authority of the Bible

Some Christians Don't use the Bible 

  • The Bible is only inspired by God
  • The Bible reflects socail situations at the time 

St pauls attitude to women - ' let the women be silent in the churches'

  • The Bible needs to be interpreted by the Church 
  • Some Christians use their conscience if it is a personal problem 

' we must obey the judgement of our conscience'

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Authority of the Church

Some Christians use the Church when maknig moral decisions 

  • The Church is the body of Christ and so has the same authority 

'in christ we who are many form one body'

  • God speaks through the Church and the Church is guided by God 
  • The Church ensures no differences in opinion so Chrisitans are sure they are doing the right thing 
  • The Church is an important part of Christian life and so give appropriate guidance 
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Authority of the Church

Some Christians Don't use the Church 

  • The Church doesn't come directly from God
  • St Paul said you should follow you conscience even is it says the Church is wrong 
  • Jesus used situation ethics instead of following some of the rules of the Church 

Jesus healed on the sabbath 

  • The Bible has clear teachings on behaviour 

the decalogue 

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Some Christians use their conscience when making moral decisions 

  • The conscience is the voice of God 
  • The Church says you should follow your conscience as the voice of God 

' we must be sure we have a clear conscience'

  • St Paul said it should be the final stage in decision making and be followed even if its against the church 

'we must obey the judgement of our conscience'

  • The Church and Bible don't come directly from God
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Some Chrisitans don't use their conscience 

  • People mistake it 

e.g. the yorkshire ripper thought God was telling him to kill prostitiutes

  • decisions are too private leading to a difference in opinion
  • The Bible and Church are followed by other ans so Christians agree on what is the best thing to do
  • If people followed their conscience no-one would know what sort of behaviour to expect from eachc other and society would be chaotic 
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Situation ethics

Some Chirstians use situation ethics when making moral decisions

  • Jesus used situation ethics

jesus healed on the sabbath instead of following the old testament

  • Christians think it is wwrong to ignore the consequences of actions 
  • Jesus said the most important commandments were love God and love your neighbour and so you should do whats the most loving thing to do
  • Christianity is a religion of love and so you should base decisions on love
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Situation ethics

Some Christians don't use situation ethics

  • God would have given laws e.g. the decalogue for them not to be followed 
  • It is better to follow the decalogue and the dermon on the mount than to use purely your own ideas 
  • The Church knows what Chrisitans should do better that individual Chrisitans 
  • Situation ethics is based on finding the best consequences and you can never know all the consequences 
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Different authorites


  • Usually use the Bible as it is Straightforward however with complicated issues like contraception they use their conscience and the Church 


  • usually use the Church as it applies bible teachings however for contraception they use situation ethics and conscience 

Some Chirsitans 

  • usually follow conscience however if conscience went against clear teaching they use the Church 

Some chirsitans 

  • usually use situation ethics however is they don't know all the consequences they will use the Bible or the Church
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Human rights

In 1998 the Uk human rights act gave

  • the right to life
  • the right to freedom from torture
  • the right to a fair trial
  • the right to freedom of expression and religion
  • the right to marry anyone 
  • the right to an education
  • the right to vote in a free election 

if any of these rights are abused you can go to court 

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Arguments for Human rights

  • Without the right to a fair trial innocent people would be locked up and we would live in a dictatorship because all opposition leaders would be imprisoned 
  • Without freedom of thought and expression minority politcal parties and religious groups could be banned
  • Without the right to vote there would be no democracy 
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Arguments against Human rights

  • People abuse human rights 

e.g. prisoners claim their punishment is against human rights 

  • in a democracy you vote for laws and rights and so some specialist rights are not needed
  • some people think you should torture terrorists to find out their plans and save innocent lives 
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Why are Human rights improtant to Christians

  • The right to life is a basic Christian belief as life is holy and belongs to God

sancity of life

  • everyone is made in the image of God and so everyone should be treaed fairly and equally
  • freedom of expression if vital to Christian life as they need to meet to worhship and for festivals e.g. christmas and easter
  • rights ensure Chrisitans are not discriminated against for example in the work place 
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Why are human rights problematic to Chrisitans

  • some Chrisitans are against civil partnerships as it is against Gods will

' you should not lie with another man as you lie with a woman'

  • some Christains believe you must only marry christians to bring your children up christian 
  • some Christians are against gay adoption as they think a child should be raised by a mother and father
  • The Catholic Church is against womans rights as they do not allow women to be priests
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Why should you take part in democracy

  • It gives you control over issues e.g. tax, education, healthcare
  • your ancestors fought for the right to vote and the only was to respect this is to vote
  • small amounts of people voting could lead to minority extreamist groups getting into power
  • democracy means government of the people so it must be improtant to vote to sustain democracy 
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Why shouldn't you take part in democracy

  • one vote makes no difference on the outcome as there are 60 million people in the UK
  • it doesn't matter who is voted in as they have to follow the rules of the EU
  • mostly no changes can be made as the government has to work within economic restrictions
  • politians may lie and be corrupt and so are not worth voting for
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Why Christians should take part in democracy

  • the Golden rule - Christians put themselves in the position of those who will be affected by the law as think of what they would want
  • the Parable of the sheap and goats - Christians should help the sick , hungry and homeless as if they were Jesus and so Chrisitans think of the effects a policy will have on the sick and homeless
  • teachings on being your brothers keeper shows that christians have a duty to look after everyone in need
  • Chrisitanity is a religion of love and so christians should vote to ensure the most loving consequences are produced
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Why Chrisitans shouldn't take part in democracy

  • Jesus said the most important commandment is to love God andthis is more important than electoral processes
  • Going to mass every sunday is more important than electoral processess
  • loving God and politics shouldn't mix 
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Arguments for genetic engineering

  • It offers cures for incurable diseases 
  • It is done in other countries so is avalible for those who pay for it
  • cloning using animal cells doesn't involve loss of human life
  • Genetic research is closely monitored by law 
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Arguments against Genetic engineering

  • There is little information about long term consequences
  • If anything was to go wrong it would be permenant 
  • It gives too much power to scientists 
  • It treats the human body no different to plants 
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Christian attitudes to Genetic engineering

Liberal Chrisitans - agree

  • Jesus showed Christians should do all they can to cure disease (heal the sick)
  • Genetic cures are just like drug cures
  • There is a big difference between creating cells and creating people
  • Embryos are not feotuses until they are 14 days old 

Roman catholics - Not with embryos

  • life begins at conception and killing is wrong
  • against sancity of life
  • unatural and produced by masturbation

Some Christians - against all

  • we have no right to interfere with Gods plan
  • it is playing God which is a great sin
  • it is wrong to make earth perfect as only heaven can be perfect 
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These are great, thankyou :)



These have saved me from failing Gcse R.E thankyou **

Miss KHP


This is a good resource for anyone who is studying GCSE RE with an element of Christianity in it- the ethics part but especially for the Edexcel syllabus.



rly helpful for last minute revision 


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