Matters of Life and Death

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  • Created by: mjvale
  • Created on: 09-05-16 16:57

Why Catholics believe in life after death

1. The main Catholic belief is that Jesus rose from the dead. The gospels all record that Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb. Clearly, if Jesus was able to rise from the dead, there is life after death

2. St Paul teaches that people will have a resurrection similar to Jesus and will have a spiritual resurrection body given to them by God

3. Most Catholics believe in the immortality of the soul which means when their body dies, the soul will leave their body to live with God.

4. Many Catholics believe in life after death as it gives their life purpose and meaning as they believe that if life ended at death, it would not make sense. People will be rewarded if they have lived a good life while the evil will be punished.

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How this affects Catholics lives

1. Many Catholics believe that they will be judged by God after death and will be judged whether they can enter into Heaven or not. This leads Catholics to live good lives and to follow the teachings of the Bible to ensure they go to Heaven and not purgatory or hell when they die. 

2. Living a good Catholic life means folllowing the scriptures, tradition and the teaching of the church. The teaching of Jesus taught the two most important commandments to love God and to love your neighbour. This will affect their lives will be affected as they will love thier God through prayer and go to mass every Sunday.

3. Trying to love your neighbour will affect their lives. In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats they are taught to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, befriend stangers and visit the sick and those in prison. This will affect their lives and explains why charities such as CAFOD are involved in helping those in need

4. Catholics believe that sin prevents people from going to Heaven and those who die with unforgiven sins will go to purgatory to be purified before they reach Heaven. These teachings will mean that Catholics will try to avoid committing sins in life so they will go straight to Heaven.

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Non-religious to believe in life after death

1. Near-death experiences

When people are clinically dead for a period of time but come back to life is this experience. From research, four out of sixty-three had a near-death experience. It is quoted that the feelings of a near-death experince are: the feeling of floating above the body, seeing a light, entering another world, meeting dead relatives.

2. Evidence for a spirit world

Ghosts and ouija boards give evidence for a spirit world and souls of the dead surviving death. However, better evidence is through medium. (A person who claims to be able to communicate to the spirit world with those who have died) If mediums can contact the dead, there must be life after death.

3. The evidence of reincarnation

Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist believe life after death is souls being reborn into another body. There are stories in India being reported in July 2002 at the National Conference of Forensic Science.

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How Catholics Respond to non-religious reasons

The Catholic church rejects the evidence of mediums, ghosts, etc. They view them as superstitions "All forms of divination are to be rejected..." - Cathecism 

They Catholic church also rejects reincarnation "It is appointed for men to die once. There is no reincarnation after death."

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Reason for not believing in life after death

1. If there was no God, there is nothing non-material, there can't be heaven after death.

2. Different religions have different ideas about life after death, if it were true they would all say the same. There are huge differences in the idea of reincarnation in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Then the same about judgement and hell and hell of Judiasm, Christianity and Islam.

3. The evidence is either based on holy books therefore a non-believer cannot decide whether the book should be believed, the paranormal which have been criticised by scientists. 

4. Most beliefs in life after death assume the mind or soul can survive without the body. Scientific evidence shows that the human mind developed as the brain grew more complex, the mind cannot exist without the brain.

5. There is nowhere for life after death to take place. Exploration of space has proved that there is no heaven there and physics proves that there isn't a non-material place on Earth for it to take place.

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Why abortion is controversial

1. Many religions believe that life begins at the moment that the sperm and female ovum combine. It means abortion is wrong because it is taking a life.

2. Others believe that a baby cannot be considered life until it is capable of living outside of the mother's womb. This means that abortions before a certain length of pregnancy does not count as taking life. 

3. Some non-religious people believe a woman should have the right to do what she wants to do to her own body. They would argue that an unwanted pregnancy is no difference from an unwanted tumour. The problems thay can be caused to a woman having an unwanted baby can justify having an abortion.

4. Many religious people believe that an unborn child's rights are the same of those to a mother and the father and the child has claims on the mother's body.

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Different Christian attitudes to abortion

Catholic Attitudes:

Abortion is wrong as: Life is holy and belongs to God and therefore only God has the right to end an pregnancy. Life begins at conception and human life begins when an egg is fertilised and having an abortion is therefore taking life as the Ten Commandments teaches this. The Church points to evidence that women that have abortions leading to guilt complexes and sometimes mental illness. Counselling, help and adoption can help women who have become pregnant due to **** and something good can come out of evil. 

Liberal Protestant

Jesus told Christians to love their neighbour as themselves and abortion may be the most loving thing to do. They believe that life does not begin at conception. The sancity of life is broken in things such as war, so abortion should be the same. Christianity is based on justice and if abortions were banned and unjust situation would be created. Rich women would pay for abortions while poor people would use back-street abortions.

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Why euthanasia is a controversial issue

It should remain illegal because:
1. There could be doubt whether it is what the person really wants and if money was involved, family made request a rich relative uses euthanasia to gain money.
2. If the disease is terminal, it is possible cure would be found or the patient could go into remission. This cannot be reversed and the patient could have recovered.
3. Doctors may face an issue if they kill patients, even on request. They are supposed to save lives rather than end them. People may not trust doctors if they end lives and may not trust their dedication to saving lives.

It should be made legal beacause:
1. Advances in medicine allow people who should have died to stay alive but their quality of life is poor. It is said that doctors and families should have the right to give patients a painless death.
2. A life-support machine has introduced a form of euthanasia as doctors and relatives can decide whether to switch off a life-support machine if there is no chance of the person waking up. The NHS cannot afford to keep people alive on life-support for a long period of time and could be used to save someone else's life.
3. People believe it is a human right to have control of ending your life. If people have the right to commit suicide, they have the right to ask a doctor to assist their suicide if they are too weak.

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Attitudes to euthanasia (1)

1. Catholics (and many Liberal Protestants) believe that euthanasia is wrong but switching off life-support after brain death has been pronounced is not euthanasia. They believe this because: 
- They believe in the sancity of life and that God created life, so it is God's choice whether and when people die and not humans. 
- Euthanasia is murder, which the Ten Commandments forbids. 'Thou shalt not kill'
- If the person is brain dead, God has already decided, so switching off the machine is accepting what God has decided
- If painkillers given to the dying the person who is pain kills them, it is not murder because the intention was to numb the pain and not to kill.

2. Some Christians bleive all euthanasia is wrong including switching-off the life-support machine:
- They take the Bible teachings literally and the Bible forbids suicide
- Euthanasia includes switching off life-support machines, the refusal of treatment and large doses of painkillers is life being ended by humans, not God.
- All forms of euthanasia is murder, which is banned in the Ten Commandments
- Only God can take life and the Bible states only God has the decision whether someone lives or dies.

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Attitudes to euthanasia (2)

A few Christians accept euthanasia in certain circumstances because:

- Medical advances mean it is hard to tell what God really wishes for someone's death. God may want someone to die but doctors kept them alive.

- The teaching to love your neighbour can justify assisting suicide as it many be the most loving thing to do. 

- It is a human right to have control over your body and what people do to it. People have the right to refuse and consent to medical treatment. Euthanasia should count in this.

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Against Media Criticism

The media should not be free to criticise what religions say about the matters of life and death, because:

1. Some people think that criticisng what religions say about life and death could stir up religious hatred. Religious Hatred has been banned since 2007 when the Racial and Religious Hatred Act was introduced. 

2. It should be limited as it can cause offence due to the criticism of religious attitudes. A Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006, there were riots in some countries. 

3. Some religious believers believe that criticising what religious leaders say about matters of life and death is close to the crime of blasphemy

4. Some religious people feel that religious statements are based on what God says and are beyond human criticism

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For Media Criticisms

- Freedom of expression is a human right which is needed for democracy to work. When people could not vote, people did not know what happened in their own country and to know this media is needed. If the media has freedom they have the freedom to criticise the matters of life and death.

- Religious leaders use the media to make statements about the matters of life and death, they should be prepared to be criticised due to their statements

- In a multi-faith society, freedom of religious belief and expression is needed, so the media needs to have the right to question and criticise religious belief and say about life and death issues.

- Life and death is important to everyone and people want to have the correct view. This would be impossible if all religions were allowed to put forward ideas and no-one was allowed to criticise the ideas.

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The Causes of World Poverty

Natural Disaters
Many LEDCs are situated where natural disaster take place such as earthquakes, floods, droughts.This can destroy millions of homes and lots of farmland which the people depend on. 

Debt
Most LEDCs have to borrow money from the banks of MEDCs to develop. However, the interest on the loan can cause the country to become more in debt than they already were.

Wars
Some LEDCs have faced wars. These wars destroy crops, homes, schools, hospitals, etc. This causes poverty to worsen and people have to leave their homes to become refugees. These countries may have been developing but the influx of the refugees with no money or food can make the country poor again.

HIV/AIDS
The disease kills many in LEDCs which causes the loss of earners and leaves orphans which makes poor countries poorer.

Other factors Lack of education, lack of clean lack water, short life expectancy

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How CAFOD is trying to end world poverty

1. Development Programmes
Programmes have been introduced in 2012 in Kenya have allowed Solar Panels to light a health care clinic which now in May 2016 means there is light in the hospitals overnight. It also has provided over 90 energy saving stoves in schools and 90 schools now have solar lighting which tackles the dangers in hospitals and can improve school performance. 

2. Disasters and emergencies
CAFOD has a fund to deal with natural disasters and refugees which are more important than long-term aid. They have provided food, antibiotics and shelters to vicitims of the a tsunami is Rwanda. 

3. Raising Awareness
5% of CAFOD budget on education for the churches of England and Wales about the need for the development and how the Catholic church could help the less developed countries. 'Friday' is published and many other educational materials.

4. Speaking out on behalf of poor communities
CAFOD was heavily involved Make Poverty History in 2005. This was the largest campaign to rid World Poverty. This involved changing the rules of world trade to help poorer countries work out of poverty

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Why CAFOD is trying to end world poverty

- The Parable of the Sheep and Goats which teaches 'When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink..." The people wanted to know when they had done this and he said "When you did it for the least of my brothers, you did it for me." Catholics want to help Jesus and help the poor and suffering

- The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that Christians should share their time and possessions to help those in need. They should therefore help end world poverty.

- The Catholic Church teaches that Christians have a duty to help the poor and suffering. Pope Benedict reminded all Catholics that it is their duty to end world poverty.

- The Golden Rule for Christians is to teach other people in the way you would like to be treated. CAFOD believes in the fact they would would want rich Christians to end world poverty if they were suffering with it.

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