Roles of men and women
Some Christians still believe a women's place is at home where she can look after the children and their husband, they base this on the second creation story as women are created second so they believe women have a lesser or different role to men. However not many people believe this anymore as society has changed.
Most now believe women should be treated the same as men as Jesus treated women equally and they base this on the first creation story where men and women are created at the same time.
However despite these views some denominations, such as Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church don't allow women to be ordained as Jesus only chose male disciples and at the Eucharist the Priest represents Jesus.
An example of a Christian response to this would be that Jesus did also have female followers who were there at Jesus' crucifiction, unlike the men who fled also Jesus appeared to women first after the ressurrection.
Most Christians do not agree with couples living together before marriage due to the risk of committing the sin (having sex). They believe strongly in marriage and see it as a gift from God and a part of his plan for creation.
The importance of marriage was stressed by Jesus: "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Also a marriage was where Jesus' fist miracle was)
Important parts of the Wedding:
Ceremony= Declarations and vows said in front of the congregation and God Rings given= Symbol of marriage, circle shape represents unbroken love, faithfulness & eternity Prayers= Said for God's blessing throughout the marriage Bible readings and sermon= Show the importance of God in the marriage
In a Roman Catholic marriage the service is followed by a special eucharist (nuptial mass)
For Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church marriage is regarded as a sacrament (an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace)
Civil Partnership definition= When two people of the same sex join together for a formal ceremony, without it being in a Church, giving them the same legal status as married heterosexual couples
Came into effect in the UK- 5th December 2005
Roman Catholics and the Church of England oppose civil partnerships as they teach that marriage is the proper pace for sexual activity and it should create a new life which homosexual sex cannot do. Roman Catholics see it as essentially masturbation which is a sin die to the misuse of genitalia.
The Methodist Church are open to discussion about homosexuality but are against homosexual sex. The Quakers accept homosexual couples in their meetings.
Some Christians may feel like everyone is created in God's image and are therefore equal so should be treated equally and Christians have been told to "Love thy neighbour". Also people cannot change being homosexual so they should not be condemned.
Divorce and Remarriage
Most Christians do not agree with divorce as they believe marriage should be last forever "Till death do us part" otherwise you are breaking the promise you made in front of God in the vows. They also worry that divorce can make people think marriage is less important as divorce becomes more common. They think that people should look to alternatives to divorce such as counselling, speaking to a priest, praying or just trying to get on with it.
The Church of England decided that even if someone has been divorced they should still be able to marry again in a church. An example of when they believe a divorce should be granted if the children will have a better upbringing or if one of the parents is violent.
Roman Catholics accept that people may divorce but are still seen as married in the eyes of the Church because a sacrament cannot be undone.They are not allowed to recieve communion if they have a sexual relationship with another person or remarry as it is seen as a sin.
An annulment can be granted if the original marriage was flawed and therefore did not actually take place. If this happens the couple are free to marry again in Church
Christians believe that sex should be a way of showing love, respect and intimacy- within a marriage. In the Bible husband and wife are told to "become one flesh".
However some Christians think that sex outside marriage is acceptable (but not ideal) if a couple is in a committed relationship e.g. engaged. They think this because they realise that society was very different in Biblical times.
Roman Catholics Priests should be celibate so they are not distracted from loving and serving God. Protestant Priests do not need to be celibate so they can understand the congregations issues.
Agape= Non-sexual love, completely selfless and spiritual that is shown by Jesus' unconditional love through his sacrifice on the cross. It is given to everyone no matter who or what they have done or if they will return that love.
Some Christians believe you shouldn't judge people on what they have done like when Jesus didn't condemn the woman to stoning in the Bible.
The Christian Churches are all opposed to adultery and fornication (sex when unmarried)
Life is a gift from God and is sacred (sanctity of life) and the purpose of sex is to create new life.
Many Christians feel contraception is wrong as it is preventing a new life God wishes to be born which is a sin. They base this on Gods command to Adam and Eve of to "Be fruitful and increase in number". Roman Catholics allow natural contraception such as the rhythm method around the most infertile times in a woman's monthly cycle and abstinence (not having sex).
Other Christians believe that the Bible should be interpreted for the day and age in which Christians live as the world is becoming overpopulated and there is a lot of poverty. They also want the the child to have been planned and wanted so they have a better life.
A miscarriage is when an abortion happens naturally and is sometimes known as a spontaneous abortion, not a procured abortion which is when it is intentional.
The Law on abortion= 24 weeks (if two doctors agree it is necessary) 40 weeks (if the baby is handicapped)
Pro-choice= Not against abortion but for the Mother's right to choose Pro-life= Against abortion
Roman Catholics believe that life begins at conception so abortion is wrong as it is murder. They will only allow an abortion if the Mother's life is in danger such as ectopic pregnancy which would kill both the Mother and the child. They allow abortion by applying the doctrine of double effect (when something morally good has a morally bad side effect which was not intended even though it was known at the time) so they save the Mother by killing the child.
The Church of England don't encourage abortion but recognise that there are morally acceptable conditions such as **** or the quality of the child's life. They allow abortions by following Jesus' teaching of Agape (unconditional love).
IVF= When the egg and sperm are brought together in a test tube. If conception takes place and an embryo is formed it is placed inside the woman's uterus.
AIH= (artificial insemination by husband),sperm collected from husband and put in woman's uterus AID= (artificial insemination by donor),sperm collected from donor and put in woman's uterus, the Law says anyone donating sperm/eggs has to provide their details so at the age of 18 the child can seek out their biological parents.
Roman Catholics think having a baby is a divine gift not a God given right and oppose AID as they see it as adultery.
Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990 Frozen embryos may be stored for a maximum of 10 years but can only be implanted if both partners agree Scientific experiments can only be carried out on embryos up until 14 days after conception, then can't be kept alive
Some Christians believe Fertility Treatment should be encouraged as it lets people have children who couldn't before ("be fruitful and increase in number"). Others think it is up to God to decide.
Cloning creates a genetically identical animal or plant from another. A famous example is Dolly the sheep (1997-2003).
The concerns relate to the possibility that it might be used to clone humans as it would be like "acting God" which is wrong. It is banned in most countries to produce children.
In Therapeutic cloning (or cell nucleus replacement) tissues are created. Single cells are taken from a person are 'reprogrammed' to create stem cells which have the potential to develop into any type of cell in the body in order to give replacement organs or limbs. This has been allowed by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act since 2001 if they use left over embryos from IVF treatment.
Some Christians think it is wrong as it is unnatural and each person has individuality given to them by God and human life shold not be tampered with, that is for God to do. Roman Catholics are against it as they believe it goes against the teaching of the sanctity of life.
Other Christians believe we have a God given responsibility to care for creation and therapeutic cloning would benefit humans.
Christians are against suicide because:
- God decides when you live and die
- Suffering can bring you closer to God
- Murder of yourself and God (body is a temple for the holy spirit)
Although suicide used to be treated as a sin in the past (an act which goes against God's wishes) there is now help available for people considering suicide:
E.g. The Samaritans started in 1953 and it offers help to anyone, of any religion or none, not just for suicide. They are volunteers who don't tell the caller what to do but listen and help them to work out their own answers.
Christians think suicide is wrong but will not condemn people for it as they realise their life must have been incredibly bad for them to commit suicide.
Euthanasia in Greek means "Good death"
Voluntary Euthanasia: When someone asks for the end of their life but needs help, often called assisted suicide
Involuntary Euthanasia: When other people decide it would be best to end someones life as they can't make the decision themselves, e.g. someone who is in a persistent vegetative state.
Active Euthanasia: When action is taken to bring life to an end, e.g. a legal dose of drugs which is illegal
Passive Euthanasia: When a decision is made to stop giving further treatment such as antibiotics or invasive, painful surgery even though they will die
Roman Catholics see Euthanasia as murder and teaches that ordinary treatments such as feeding a patient must be continued but 'extraordinary' treatments such as a complicated operation that is unlikely to succeed doesn't need to be given. They do this by applying the doctrine of double effect. The Quakers believe you should just do the most loving thing (agape).
Christians encourage people to go to Hospices as they are a better alternative to Euthanasia.
Hospices care for the dying by making the patients more comfortable by keeping severe pain under control, this is known as palliative care. This way the patient is surrounded by care, love and support and is not just being killed.
However the question raised is is the patients quality of life more important than the teaching of sanctity of life?
Animals in medical research
Animals are a part of God's creation and humans were given a role of stewardship over them and the Earth so we should care for it.
Roman Catholics and the Anglicans consider animal experimentation as an important method of testing for life-saving drugs but believe that the animals must not be hurt unnecessarily. Animal experimentation in the past has produced vaccines for polio and the treatment of asthma.
The Quakers oppose them being tested on cosmetics but are divided on the use to save lives as how can you love God but impose cruelty on his creations?
Other Christians belief the use of animals at all is wrong as animals and humans have the same origin in God.
There are many different view points as to whether animals have souls or not, a famous example is Saint Francis of Assisi who believed animals did have souls.
There are no specific passages in the Bible about animal testing as it wasn't around then.