Religion: Environmental and Medical Issues

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Global Warming

Global Warming is a problem because:

  • It leads to the melting of ice caps, meaning that coastal areas flood and habitats are lost.
  • It leads to severe weather changes, such as increased hurricane frequency. This causes loss of habitats and death and destruction.
  • Drought due to lack of rain in some areas.
  • Loss of agricultural land due to poor conditions in which to farm.

Possible solutions include:

  • Using alternative sources of energy.
  • Increasing efficiency of cars so less fuel is burned and less pollution is caused.
  • Using public transport more.
  • Reducing electricity usage.
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Forms of Pollution


  • Caused by fertilisers entering the water supply.
  • Lack of oxygen = more plants = fish die and poison water supply.
  • Leads to major health problems.

Solution - Don't use fertilisers.

Human Waste:

  • Litter causes accidents.
  • Causes an increase in rat population.
  • Raw or poorly treated sewage is a source of water pollution.

Solutions - Recycle, use bins, create biomass energy, don't litter.

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Forms of Pollution

Acid Rain:

  • Caused by a pH change in clouds as a result of sulphuric acid in the atmosphere.
  • Can cause burns.
  • Destroys buildings and forests.
  • Pollutes the water supply.

Solutions - Burn less fossil fuels, use renewable energy, capture CO2 released.

Radioactive Waste:

  • Releases a large amount of ionising radiation which can cause cells to mutate.
  • Mutations in genes can lead to cancer.
  • The waste gets buried, but there are uncertainties regarding whether the containers can hold it for long enough.
  • Nuclear waste takes thousands of years to become safe.

Solutions - Find alternative sources, find safer ways of storing the waste.

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Scarcity of Natural Resources

Renewable energy = from a source that won't run out no matter how much it is used, e.g. solar energy.

Non-renewable energy = from a source that is finite and will eventually run out e.g. fossil fuels.

If we use non-renewable sources until they run out, there will be problems because:

  • They will not be available for future generations to use.
  • They release a large amount of pollution such as carbon dioxide, which is harmful to humans.
  • They release greenhouse gases which are harmful to the environment.
  • Future generations will not have access to the luxuries we do such as cars, as these require plastic to be made.
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Christian teachings on stewardship

Christians believe in stewardship because:

  • The Bible shows that God created the world and placed man in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.
  • Jesus taught that we have a responsibility to ensure a fair sharing of the Earth's resources in his parables.
  • The Bible also says that Christians will be judged by God on their efforts as a steward.
  • The Bible teaches that a good man leaves an inheritance for his childrens' children, so the world needs protection for the future.
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Muslim teachings on stewardship

Muslims believe in stewardship because:

  • The Qur'an teaches that Allah created the world and everything in it with humans as his khalifa (stewards) to look after it.
  • Muslims are part of the Ummah (Muslim brotherhood), who follow the instructions to protect the Earth in the Qur'an and the Shari'ah.
  • The Qur'an teaches that life is a test from Allah and they will be judged on their role as a khalifa.
  • The Hadith says to "live in the world as if you are going to live forever", so the world needs protecting for future generations.
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Infertility treatments

The types of infertility treatments available are: artificial insemination by partner/husband (AIH), artificial insemination by donor (AID), in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), egg donation, embryo donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy.

They are important because:

  • Infertility is a big problem in Western society today.
  • 12% of births in the UK are a result of infertility treatments, which shows how important this medical intervention is.
  • Part of human nature is reproduction and this is how species survive.
  • Psychological problems can occur if a couple are desperate to have children but can't.
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Christian attitudes to infertility treatments

Some Christians agree with infertility treatments because:

  • God has given humans the means to conceive artificially, therefore it must be allowed.
  • One of the puposes of Christian marriage is to have a family, and if infertility treatments are the only way, then it must be allowed.
  • Jesus healed people and it is not wrong to try to heal people of their infertility so couples can experience the joy of children.
  • It follows the Golden Rule as an act of love.

Some Christians disagree with infertility treatments because:

  • God intended children to be created through the natural act of sex between a husband and wife only.
  • Sperm/egg donation may be seen as adultery, and adultery is a sin.
  • Masturbation is a sin and this is required for many infertility treatments.
  • IVF is frowned upon as many embryos are destroyed - this violates the sanctity of life.
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Muslim attitudes to infertility treatments

Some Muslims agree with infertility treatments because:

  • Infertility is a disease, therefore it is reasonable to try to find a cure.
  • Child birth and raising is important to Muslim families.
  • The social status of a Muslim woman is closely related to her ability to have a child.
  • The unused embryos are not foetuses until they are 14 days old and destroying them is not like abortion, so it is acceptable.

Some Muslims disagree with infertility treatments because:

  • The Qur'an suggests that people should accept the will of Allah - if that is infertility then so be it.
  • Treatments that involve donor eggs or sperm are seen as mechanical adultery.
  • Egg and sperm donation is similar to adoption, which is also banned.
  • The children might not know their natural parents, which is an essential right in Islam.
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Transplant surgery

Transplant surgery can take place while you're alive, for example single kidney donation or bone marrow transplants, or more commonly after sudden death when most organs can be removed from the body.

It is good because:

  • Organ donation makes use of organs that would otherwise be wasted.
  • It is an effective, proven way to cure and save an estimated 4000 people every year.
  • It is a way for people to help others even after death.
  • It provides relief for those who receive organs and their families.

It can cause problems because:

  • There's a lot of risk involved - both to the living donor through donating, and to the patient as their body could reject the organ.
  • Transplant operations are very expensive.
  • There is a lack of suitable organs to meet the demands of patients.
  • Moral issues involves over deciding who receives the available organs.
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Christian attitudes to transplant surgery

Many Christians agree with transplant surgery because:

  • It is a loving and charitable thing to do (Situation Ethics).
  • Christians claim the body will not be needed in Heaven (immortality of the soul).
  • Christians claim it shows gratitude for God's gift of life.
  • Jesus said to "love thy neighbour", and organ donation is a way of doing so.

Some Christians disagree with transplant surgery because:

  • People should not "play God".
  • The organs are an essential part of an individual so should remain within them after they die.
  • Transplant surgery is interfering with God's plans for each individual.
  • They believe it violates the sanctity of life.
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Muslim attitudes to transplant surgery

Some Muslims agree with transplant surgery because:

  • Some Muslims claim that the Qur'an teaches that saving the life of another human being is what Allah wants.
  • Some Muslim lawyers say that it is allowed.
  • Muslims are allowed to carry donor cards.
  • In the event where the deceased is not carrying a donor card, the next of kin will give permission to donate organs for the use of saving lives, therefore it is accepted.

Many Muslims disagree with transplant surgery because:

  • The Qur'an teaches that the body should not be interfered with after death.
  • Eventually the body will be resurrected and therefore all the organs will be needed.
  • It violates the sanctity of life - only Allah has the right to give life and take it away.
  • It is "playing God", which is a sin.
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