Matters of Life and Death

RS GCSE Short Course

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  • Created by: moll
  • Created on: 22-11-11 21:53

The Sanctity of life: Basic Vocabulary

Sanctity of Life - Religious View

  • Life is precious and should not be taken
  • It is a gift from God

Sanctity of Life - Non-religious View

  • Life is precious and should not be taken
  • This is because humans are valuble


  • The action of inducing a quiet and easy death
  • On the grounds that it is no longer worth living

Quality of life 

  • The belief that everyone has the right to a good life that is worth living
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The Sanctity of life: Basic Vocabulary (Continued)

Life after death

  • The belief that death is not the end
  • Existance continues in some way after death
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Abortion: The Law

Before 1967

  • Abortion was illegal in most cases
  • However, if you were able to pay a doctor/pyschiatrist or if you were mentally disturbed they would be willing to abort

The 1967 Abortion Act allowed abortion if..

  • It was up to 28 weeks
  • Two doctors had to agree your health would be affected
  • If there was a possibility that your child would be born handicapped 

In 1990

  • The human fertilisation and embryology act changed 
  • It went down to 24 weeks this was because at 28 weeks it still had more of a chance of living
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Abortion: The Law (Continued)

In 2008

  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology act decided that they were to lower it to 22 weeks
  • They felt that at 24 weeks it still had a chance of living
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Christianity Teachings: Abortion (Pro-Life)

"Thou shalt not slay thy child by causing abortion, not kill that which is already born, for everything that has been shaped by and has received a soul from God, if it is slain, shall be avenged"

"Abortion is worse than killing a man in his own home"


  • remained the teaching of the catholic church 
  • abortion is murder from the second of conception
  • must be respected and protected
  • the exception - if it is to save the life of the mother, abortion should be available.


    •       Absolute Morality - one rule for all situations
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Christianity Teachings: Abortion (Pro-Choice)


  • Some Christians reached a different conclusion
  • Abortion should be made legal
  • Influenced by the on-goings of the real world
  • There were up to 200,000 illegal abortions taking place on unlicensed premises, unqualified people in unhealthy conditions
  • do not reject the idea of sanctity of life, however love and free will are necessities
    •                                 Relative morality
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Christianity on Abortion

"Do not commit murder"

"If we live, we live to the lord; and if we die, we die to the lord.
We belong to the lord"

"God created man, making him in his own image"

"Do you know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit
whom you have received from God?
You are not your own"


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The Doctrine of Double Effect (D.D.E)

  • Abortion can be carried out if the intention is not to kill the child but to save the mother
  • Death is the 'double effect' not the actual intended effect
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Church View

The Roman Catholic position on abortion is simple: abortion is murder
We believe that abortion is wrong because

  • Life is a given gift from God
  • Life should not be abused
  • Life begins from the moment of conception and that is murder if you kill it

The Church of England believes that:

  • Everyone should have the right to choose
  • They aren't pro-abortion though
  • If it's the best most giving thing it is acceptable
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Islam on Abortion: What the Quran says

"We cause whom we will stay in the womb for a certain
term then we bring you but as babies"

"Do not kill your children
for fear of want" 

"We created you in order to show our power to you"

"Do not take life which Allah has
created, except for a just cause" 

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Islam on Abortion

Muslims believe in ensoulment
This happens between 40 and 120 days of conception.

  • Ensoulment is when the foetus is given its soul
  • This happens during pregnancy

Most muslims position on abortion is simple: life is Allah's and only he can take life and there are only certain circumstances such as the birth affecting the baby or mother's life.

However, some Muslims may argue that

  • They believe that on the day of judgement Allah will take into consideration someone's intentions when judging actions. 
  • If you have an abortion for reasons Allah judges to be good those reasons would count in her favour
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  • The word comes from 2 Greek words
  • 'Eu' = Good
  • Thanatos = Death

'Voluntary' Euthanasia

  • When someone chooses to end their life
  • They are incapable of committing suicide without help
  • Often called 'assisted suicide'

'Involuntary' Euthanasia

  • When other people decide that it would be best if someone's life ends
  • Unable to make that decision independently
  • Example: If someone was in a coma or a new born baby on life support 
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Euthanasia (Continued)

'Active' Euthanasia

  • When action is taken to end life
  • Example: a lethal dose of drugs may be given
  • This is illegal in the UK

'Passive' Euthanasia

  • Decision made to stop given further treatment
  • Even if death is a result of this
  • Example: if the sole reason you are surviving is by use of a life support and there is no way you would survive without this permanently
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Euthanasia: Practical Arguments

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Euthanasia: Ethical Arguments

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Euthanasia: Religious Arguments

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Christianity and Euthanasia

"Thou shalt not kill"

"If we live, we live for the Lord, if we die
we die for the Lord"

"We belong to the Lord" 

"No one has the right to bring about death by Suicide or by voluntary Euthanasia"

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Christian Church Views on Euthanasia

The Roman Catholic Church believes that active euthanasia is wrong: because they believe in the sanctity of life and all life is sacred.
However, while passive euthanasia is still wrong, the doctrine of double effectmight say

  • it is relatively acceptable 
  • can be carried out if the pain killers are given to someone in great pain
  • It was not the intention to kill them but the intention to relieve pain 

The Church of England believes that passive euthanasia can sometimes be acceptable because modern medical science means that we can no longer be sure what God wishes about someone's means of death are. 

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Islam on Euthanasia

"O ye who believe do not kill yourselves
for yourselves for God hath been to you most merciful"

"Nor can a soul except by Gods leave the term being fixed
as by writing"

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Mosque views

  • Most muslims believe that active euthanasia is always wrong.
  • Passive euthanasia is also wrong
  • This is because the Quaran says that only God has the right to take life
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Life after Death

Immortality of the soul

  • The belief that humans have a body and soul which survives death and after death
  • The soul which survives goes to a spiritual place where God is

Resurrection of the body

  • After death nothing happens 
  • A time in the future often called 'The Day of Judgement' the dead will be brought back to life and given an immortal and eternal body 


  • The belief that when humans die they are reborn into another existence
  • This existence is determined by the actions in the previous lives 
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Life after Death (Continued)

Near Death Experience (N.D.E)

  • This is an experience report by a person who nearly died
  • Or who experienced clinical death and then revived


  • An 'umbrella' term used to describe a wide variety of phenomenon
  • That in one of more respects exceeds the limit of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific ideas

Astral Projection or 'out of body experience' 

  • An our of body experience achieved either awake or via lucid dreaming
  • Deep meditation or use of psycho tropics the consciousness or soul has transferred into an astral body 
  • Astral body = spiritual body
  • This astral body moves in the astral plane 
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'Teach Yourself' Questions

  • What is non voluntary euthanasia? (2)
  • Do you agree with euthanasia? Give two reasons for your point of view (4)
  • Explain why some Christians do not agree with abortion (8)
  • "When you're dead you'r'e dead and that's the end of you" In your answer, you should refer to at least one religion. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer (3)
    Give reasons why someone else may disagree with you. (3)
  • What is resurrection?
  • Do you agree with abortion? Give at least two reasons for your point of view (4)
  • Choose one religion other than Christianity and explain why the followers of that religion are against abortion. 
  • "The paranormal proves there is life after death." In your answer, you should refer to at least one religion. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer (3) 
    Give reasons why someone else may disagree with you. (3)
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Get Revising Moderator 2

Fantastic thank you!


AMAZING! thank you


so usefullll!

Miss KHP

Looks at life and death from a Christian and Islamic perspective.

Really good notes.

I suggest you test yourself after to check your progress and make your revision more effective.

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