Matters of life and death-Christianity


Origins and value of the universe

  • The Big Bang Theory: Belief that an enormous explosion started the universe around 14 billion years ago-suggests all matter was concentrated into a great mass, which then began to expand to form the universe. The universe is believed to still be expanding today. 

Chrisitan responses to scientific explanations for the origins of the universe: 

  • Chrisitans believe the story of Creations found in Genesis. They believe the world is a gift from God, created over six days with the seventh day being a rest. 
  • Some Christians reject scientific theories of Creation, instead believing that the Creation story in the Bible is true in all detail. When there is a conflict between science and religion, they believe science is wrong. 
  • Some Christians believe there is no conflict between science and religion. They believe the Big Bang did cause the universe to exist and evolution is correct, but that the Big Bang and evolution are part of God's plan. 
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Sanctity of life

Why human life is holy:

"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground..."                                             "your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit..." 

  • Image of God: The Bible teaches Christians that God made them in his image-"So God created mankind in his own image,"-This does not mean humans look exactly like God, rather it refers to the idea that humans are special and different from the rest of creation.

Importance of sanctity of life: 

  • it will determine their beliefs about issues such as abortion and euthanasia 
  • they will value human life and this will impact the way they live
  • it will guide them when making moral decisions and determine how they treat others
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Human Origins

  • Theory of evolution: based on Charles Darwin's theories that the origin of human life was through the gradual development of species over millions of years. Individuals who were better adapted to the environment survived to pass on their genes to the next generation. This is known as survival of the fittest. 
  • The problems of evolutions for Christians: Some people believe that the theory of evolution conflicts with what Christians claim about God creating everything in the universe. Also, it could be used as evidence that God does not exist, as evolution suggests it is due to the chance that things have evolved into their current forms. "God created mankind in his own image." 
  • Christian responses to evolution: Some Christians feel evolution is not compatible with the Bible and reject it. Others see no conflict between religion and science, viewing evolution as part of God's plan.
  • The Special Agenda IV Diocesan Synod: This document attempts to bring together ideas of evolution and traditional Christians teachings on Creation. It aims to show they are not in direct conflict but can work together.  
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Christian attitudes to abortion 1

  • The nature of abortion: Abortion is the deliberate terminating of a human pregnancy so that a child is not born. In the UK, it is legal to have an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Divergent Christian teachings: Pope Paul VI in 1968 issued the Humanae Vitae which said abortion was wrong.

Arguments Against Abortion-pro-life: (Catholics and Evangelical Protestants)

  • Life is a sacred gift from God 
  • Life is believed to begin at conception
  • All life has value, even if a child may be born disabled 
  • God has a plan for every human
  • Abortion is viewed as murder; the Bible tells Christians "Thou shalt not kill." 

Arguments For Abortion-pro-choice: (some Christians, such as liberal Protestants)

  • Jesus taught compassion towards others
  • we cannot be sure life begins at conception
  • in cases of r*pe or incest, abortion may be the kindest option
  • medical technology allows us to identify any problem with the foetus so children do not need to be born who would perhaps have suffered painful or short lives.
  • abortion is best if the mother's life is at risk 
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Attitudes to abortion 2

Non-religious arguments: (atheist and humanists)

  • it is the woman's right to choose
  • the rights of the mother outweigh those of the child, as it is not considered a person until born. 
  • abortion is wrong, but not for religious reasons
  • life is special, but abortion needs to be there as an option

Christian responses to non-religious arguments: 

Christians may use some of the pro-life arguments in their reasoning about the issue of abortion. Yet all Christians would maintain that life is special, as God created it. Although some Christians consider abortion necessary in some circumstances, many argue against it. 

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Life after death 1

Christian beliefs about life after death: 

  • The Bible and the Gospels talk of the death and resurrection of Jesus. " For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son..." "I am the resurrection and the life. the one who believes in me will live, even though they die."
  • Jesus taught Christians that there is an afterlife: "My Father's house has many rooms." 
  • Jesus taught that God sent him to Earth so that humanity could have eternal life in heaven. 

The significance of belief in life after death for Christians: 

  • Christians will try to live their life well and please God so that they achieve eternal life in heaven. 
  • Christians are comforted that their loved ones live on after death.
  • Christians have a purpose in life - to live as God intended so that they can be rewarded after death.
  • It helps them cope with death, as following Christian teachings shows them that death is not the end. 
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Life after death 2-Non religious arguments

Non-religious arguments For life after death: 

  • Remebered lives-people may believe they have flashback memories to previous lives, suggesting that death is not the end. Christians do not believe in this.
  • Paranormal events-unexplained events with a spiritual cause, for example, ghosts. Christians do not accept this as evidence of life after death as nothing in the Bible supports the idea of souls coming back to Earth after death.
  • Logic-some people think it is logical for there to be an afterlife, to give life meaning. Christians might respond that it is more than logic, as evidence is given in the Bible.
  • Reward-it makes sense to many people that there should be a reward after death for living a good life, but this would not be with God. Christians believe in heaven as a reward for living a good life, but it is only through having faith in Jesus that we are reconciled with God. 
  • Comfort-the idea of life after death can give people hope and make them less afraid of death. Christians agree.
  • Meeting loved ones who have passed on-reuniting with a loved one is a key reason people believe in the afterlife. Views of heaven differ, but most Christians believe that we will be reunited with loved ones in heaven. 
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Life after death 3

Non-religious arguments against life after death: 

  • Comfort-some people may believe holding beliefs about an afterlife provides a false sense of comfort, and they consider that is the reason that is a popular but misguided belief. 
  • Lack of evidence-there is no evidence of an afterlife; no one has ever returned to prove it exists. Many would argue science disproves religious ideas on life after death.
  • Fraudulent accounts-some people have tricked others into believing they can contact people who have died, and some vulnerable people have been taken advantage of this way. 
  • Social control-some people believe it gives people a false sense of control over what they fear the most. They see belief in an afterlife as a coping mechanism that offers false hope. In the past, the Church seemed to control people's behaviour through making them afraid of going to hell. 
  • Humanist beliefs-humanists believe that when a person dies their body decays and there is nothing else. 

Christian responses to non-religious arguments against life after death: 

  • they believe there is evidence of life after death, found in the resurrection of Jesus and teachings of the Bible.
  • they believe that having faith is about accepting things without question, and belief in life after death is part of this.
  • they hold beliefs about God creating the world and loving his creation, and they don't think he would allow it all to end.
  • their belief in an afterlife gives their life meaning and purpose.
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Euthanasia 1

Christian teachings on euthanasia: there are important messages in the Bible that show life is special. "God created mankind in his own image." "Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit." "Thou shall not murder." 

Arguments against euthanasia: (Christian beliefs)

  • the sanctity of life argument says all life is sacred.
  • the slippery slope argument says that if euthanasia is legalised, it could lead to something like infanticide being allowed.                                                                                                                                             
  • hospices provide palliative care-relieving the symptoms of a condition a person is dying from.
  • it is seen as murder and against the Ten Commandments.

Arguments for euthanasia: (Christian beliefs)

  • in certain circumstances, it is the kinder actions: it allows a person to die a gentle, pain-free and dignified death.
  • euthanasia can save medical costs
  • it relieves the burden on the family and society generally
  • if it was a person has asked for, it is abiding by their wishes.
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Euthanasia 2

Non-religious arguments about euthanasia:

  • some atheists and humanists would argue that the kindest thing might be to let a person die if it is what they want and they are in pain.
  • Some may argue using principles of situation ethics-each situation should be judged individually.

Chrisitan responses to non-religious arguments:

  • most Christians would say that euthanasia is always wrong, due to teachings from the Bible and the belief in the sanctity of life.
  • they may also argue suffering has a purpose even though we don't know what it is.
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Issues in the Natural world

Threats in the world: the world today is being damaged by pollution, global warming and humanity's excessive use of natural resources. Many animal species are threatened with extinction, while the world's fast-growing human population is becoming unsustainable.

Christians responses:

  • the Bible teaches that we should care for the world- "put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
  • Christians see the world as a sacred gift from God
  • Christianity teaches that humans will be judged after death on how they treated the earth.
  • God gave humans the responsibility of stewardship of the Earth- caring for it for future generations- "Rule over the fish in the sea..."

Use of animals for food:

  • Christians tend to agree that it is acceptable for animals to be used for food, as God gave them to humans for this purpose. The Bible states that God gave humans dominion over animals.
  • Christians also believe that only humans were given souls and made in "the image of God"-animals aren's as important as humans.
  • Some Christians may choose to be vegetarian, as they believe since God created animals, they are important and should not suffer.
  • The ethical theory of utilitarianism could be applied, which states that the 'right' action is that which gives the greatest happiness to the greatest number-in this case, the use of animals for food may be accepted.
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this is great thanks 

disclaimer my exam is today!!

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