Nature and Value of Life

  • Created by: Em.sp8
  • Created on: 24-04-15 15:30

Value of life

Value of Life: the quality of life a person has

1 of 6

Secular Value of life

  • Life can be replaced with money therefore life is not irreplaceable (life insurance has different people worth different amounts)
  • Utilitarianism: Believe the right action is the one that results in the most Good for the most people. They believe happiness is pleasure and no pain which is what they want. this is based on empirical evidence. (Jeremy Bentham)
  • Peter Singer: philosopher believes in equality with animals.
  • Humanist: Individual Moral Autonomy, every individual is special. Situation Ethics (Joseph fletcher), We devalue this  life by hoping for something better (polly toynbee). Amsterdam declaration. To humanists life is valued in memories and children
  • Universal declaration of human rights.
  • Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Unconditional moral obligation which is binding in all circumstances and is not  dependent on a persons purpose or intention. People have the duty to do the Summum Bonum (the highest good) so people must be treated with equal dignity.
  • Everyone is born with intrinsic value which cannot get taken away.
2 of 6

Religious Value of Life


  • Humans are created in the image of god.
  • 'Sanctity of life'- sacred, set apart for a holy purpose
  • Set apart for a holy purpose, time to live and a time to die. links to Genesis 2v7
  • Vitalism- For a human body to be alive it must have a soul.
  • Belief in soul heightens the value of human life.
  • Virtue ethics
  • Roman Catholics show absolute morality where as Methodists show relative morality
  • Joseph fletcher "Jesus said nothing about birth control, homosexuality, childlessness and abortion." Everyone has Intrinsic value


  • 5 precepts, 319 rules for females, 227 rules for men
  • Bodhisattva (Limitless compassion)
  • They should show Metta and karuna
  • Live harmoniously
3 of 6

Nature of Life

Natural= essential character

4 of 6

Secular Nature of Life

  • We are Homo-sapiens (Biological classification)
  • Physical Components 75-85% water, 99% oxygen, nitrogen
  • Evolution- we are developed by a slow process of adaptation along a line of development which included the great apes (Charles Darwin)
  • Materialists- the mind if a function of the body not a separate substance
  • The physical body dies in spite of efforts to preserve and reanimate it- Mortal
  • Peter singer- equality with animals if we are just another species
  • Richard Dawkins created the idea of a the gene machine
  • Information can be passed on person to person as a meme, these memes colonise you mind. This is called the Meme machine (Susan Blackmore)
  • It has been suggested by Richard dawkins that memes can be applied to the idea of life after death because it’s an illusion.
  • Philosophical Nihilism- this is the view that life has no meaning, we lack significance against the backdrop of the whole universe.
  • Humans spend all their life looking for something that cannot be found- Absurdism (maybe it’s all a joke)
5 of 6

Religious Nature of Life


  • Ten commandments
  • Stewards of earth.
  • God created man in his own image
  • God breathed life into mankind
  • Dr Rowan Williams- the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus shows Jesus overcame death and gave atonement.
  • Natural Law- everything has a purpose and according to Aquinas the three purposes of sex are reproduction, to provide pleasure and to bind a man and wife together in union.


  • Buddhists follow the example of the Buddha so sila (morality/ right action)
  • Ahimsa- non violence
  • Develop good karma
  • Mandalas show Anicca which is impermanence as all things which come into existence as a result of dependence upon certain conditions.
  • Peter Harvey says this life is the most marvellous place for spiritual development.
  • Buddhas dying words- "all things are subject to decay work out your own salvation with diligence"
6 of 6




thank for this handout !

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Life, Death and Beyond resources »