R.E Matters of life and death

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  • Created by: Joanne
  • Created on: 09-05-13 09:49

Why Catholics believe in life after death

•Jesus rose from the dead therefore there is life after death.

•St Paul teaches that we too can have a resurrection like Jesus

•The Creed teaches that Jesus rose from the dead and Catholics follow the teachings in the Creed.

•Catholics believe in the immortality of the soul which means that when the body dies the soul leaves the body to live with God.

•The Catechism teaches that there is life after death.

•Belief in life after death gives this life  meaning and purpose. 

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How beliefs about life after death affect the live

Many Catholics believe they will be judged by God after death and that only if you have lived a good life will you be able to go to heaven.  This means Catholics try to live a good Catholic life and try to avoid sinning.

Living a good Catholic life means following Jesus’ two greatest commandments:  Love God and love your neighbour as you love yourself.          

Love God through prayer and worship, eg going to Mass.

Love your neighbour by following teachings in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and therefore feeding the hungry, visiting the sick etc.  This can be done by supporting charities such as SVP and CAFOD.

Believing in life after death gives this life purpose and meaning, and helps us to make sense of bad things that happen. 

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Why some people do not beileve in life after death

No-one has ever returned from the dead

•Science shows that when the body dies the brain dies

•There is no place that life after death could take place

•Different religions have different ideas about life after death

•Some people have been brought up to believe that there is no life after death

•They don’t believe in God

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The Catholic attitude to abortion

All deliberate abortion is wrong.  Abortion can never be right no matter what the circumstances.  The Catholic Church believes abortion is wrong because:

  • Life is holy and belongs to God.  God created life so only God can end a pregnancy.
  • Life begins at conception, so abortion is killing a person and is therefore murder which breaks one of the 10 commandments.
  • Every foetus has the right to be protected and to develop into a human being and enjoy life
  • Many women who have had abortions can suffer from traumas leading to guilt complexes and sometimes mental illness.
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The Liberal Protestant attitude to abortion

Church of England

Abortion is wrong, but there are situations when it is acceptable, eg if the mother has been *****, if the mother’s life is at risk, or if the foetus is so handicapped it will have no quality of life.  These Christians believe abortion is sometimes permitted because: 

Jesus told Christians to love their neighbour as themselves, and abortion may  be the most loving thing to do. Killing is justified in the case of war, so why can it not be justified in order to save the mother’s life

Christianity should be concerned with justice.  If abortions are banned rich women would still be able to afford them in another country, but poor women would depend have to depend on back street abortions, therefore risking their lives

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Catholic attitudes to euthanasia

Suicide, voluntary euthanasia and non-voluntary euthanasia are all wrong.  However:

• the Church accepts the switching off of a life-support machine is not euthanasia if the doctors have confirmed that the patient is now brain dead. 

•It is also acceptable to not continue giving someone treatment that would only cause them distress and pain and would only put off their death for a short time.  

•It is also acceptable to give dying people painkillers, such as morphine (which will bring their death forward), as long as the intention is to alleviate pain rather than to kill them.  (Doctrine of double effect). 

The Catholic Church believes euthanasia is wrong because:

•It believes in the sanctity of life.  Life is created by God, only God can take away life. •Euthanasia is putting oneself on a par with God which is condemned in the Bible. •Any form of euthanasia is a form of murder and murder is against 10 commandments.

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Non-Catholic Christian attitudes to euthanasia

Evangelical Christians

Some Christians believe any form of euthanasia is wrong including switching off of a life-support machine, discontinuing extraordinary treatment (eg Chemotherapy when someone is dying), or giving large doses of painkillers

These Christians have this attitude because:

They take the Bible teachings literally and the Bible bans suicide.  (Assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are suicide so both are wrong. To turn off a life-support machine etc means a human being is ending life, not God and this is wrong.

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Non-Catholic attitudes to Euthanasia

Liberal Christians

Some Christians accept a limited use of euthanasia.  They agree with living wills in which people state which sort of treatment they wish to receive and how they want to die if they have a terminal illness.  They believe this is a basic human right.

These Christians believe a limited use of euthanasia is acceptable because: 

Modern medical science means we can no longer be sure what God’s wishes about someone’s death actually are.  For example, if someone had a serious car accident in the past they may have died, but nowadays modern technology can keep such a person alive but that may result in them living trapped in a paralysed body and they may not wish to live like that. Jesus taught us to love our neighbour which could include helping someone who is suffering to die when they have asked for our help.    

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