Matters of Life and Death


Christian beliefs

The body stays in the grave and the soul is judged by God. Good souls go to heaven and bad souls go to hell.

Catholics believe in purgatory - souls are cleansed but those who have committed unforgiveable sins are sent to Hell

Protestants do not believe in hell - they believe that God will forgive all sins

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Effect on Christian life

Believing in life after death affects the way Christians live their lives

They try to obey the Church and the Bible because God will judge their actions

They can cope with suffering because they know there will be no suffering in heaven

They know God is watching them so will do good deeds and help with charities - they might become a doctor, monk or priest because they will be helping other people

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Non religious beliefs about life after death

Near death experience - people who are dead for a short time have an out of body experience and see dead relatives or a bright light,

Paranormal - unexplained events thought to be caused by ghosts - the spirits of dead people who have not 'moved on'. Some people have a feeling that there is someone in the room that they cannot see.

Reincarnation - the belief that the soul is reborn into a new body - some people believe they have 'memories from the past'

Some non religious people believe in life after death because it is comforting to know that they will meet their loved ones who have died

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Reasons for non belief in life after death

Evidence - there is no evidence that there is an afterlife because nobody returns

Science - when someone dies, their body decays so nothing else can happen

             - science explains everything with proof so we should not believe in life after death because it has not been proven

Outdated religion - Heaven and Hell were used to control people's actions because they thought that if they were good in this life they would be rewarded in the next

       The Bible is not relevant today - the Bible doesn't mention genetic engineering so should not be believed in other issues

       God is the reason that people believe in life after death - non religious people don't believe in God so do not believe in life after death

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Abortion laws

Abortions must be agreed by two doctors

Allowed before 24 weeks:

If there is a risk to the mother's health

If any existing children would be at risk

If the child would be disabled

Allowed after 24 weeks:

If there is a risk to the mother's life (she would die if the child is born)

If the baby would be severly deformed and would have a low chance of survival

If there would be physical or mental risk to the mother

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Non religious attitudes to euthanasia

For Euthanasia

Allows the patient to die painlessly and with dignity

Saves medical costs (eg life support machine)

Doctors can focus on patients who have a high chance of surviving

The family can stop worrying because they are not in pain

Against Euthanasia

Lowers the value of life

Hospice can provide care for ill people so euthanasia is not needed

Doctors might give a wrong diagnosis meaning would not need euthanasia 

Euthanasia is helping someone commit suicide - would have to live with this

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Christian beliefs on euthanasia

Sanctity of life - only God can create and take a life

Life should be valued even when someone is in pain - hospices provide support

Non voluntary euthanasia - patient might not want euthanasia but cannot say

Euthanasia could be used for evil purposes (eg doctor does not like patient)

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Abortion and euthanasia should be discussed in the media because they affect everyone, people hold strong opinions and it is important to be aware of different views

Religious views might be outdated

It is important to debate views because they are constantly changing

Religious views should be respected because they have been around for a long time

The media should show a range of views but not criticise them

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