Religion and Equality

Notes on paper 604

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  • Created by: loui days
  • Created on: 02-06-10 14:31

Prejudice and Discrimination

Prejudice: Judging people before you know then. Biased opinion/attitude before you know them, usually negative. 'Pre-Judging' e.g. girls can't catch

Discriminate: Acting on a prejudice e.g. Apartheid, disability & sexism. Treating people unfairly on the basis of your prejudice

Stereotype: Generalisation of a certain group of people. e.g. all teenagers who wear hoodies are criminals.

Racism: The prejudice that members from one race are superior to another.

Sexism: The belief or attitude that that one gender is inferior, less competent or less valuable than the other.

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Causes of Prejudice

Outside influences

  • Influences by attitudes of others, by family, friends or media. We may also discriminate against others because we are afraid of what others will think.


  • We are afraid of the unknown. If we come across people who are unfamiliar and do things we do not understand they may make us fear them


  • If we feel unsure of ourselves or secretly fear that we are inferior, we may make ourselves feel better by looking down on someone else or treat them badly
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Causes of Prejudice


  • Blaming other people for your own problems. Often it is easier to pick on someone else to blame (a 'scapegoat') even though they are not responsible. It is usually blamed on a minority group
  • Leviticus 16: 21-22

Grouping- 'Them and us'

  • Sometimes people need to feel as though they belong to a group to feel secure. People want to identify with people who are 'like them'. This can lead to a 'them and us' attitude leading to people being excluded.
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Scripture on Equality.

  • Acts 10:34-35-"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right". God treats everyone as equals. In this eyes no-one is better than anyone else. Those who follow what is right are accepted by him.
  • Acts 17:26- 'From one man he made every nation of men'. -All races on earth were born from one human being. Therefore we are all connected in some form and should therefore all be treated equally.
  • Galatians 3:28-'There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus'. Shows that we are all equal and have one common thing that unites us together,Christ Jesus.
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Christianity and other religions


  • The idea that your religion is the best and the only way to God.
  • John 14:6-'Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'
  • Exclusivists believe that for people to reach salvation they must hear about and respond to the Christian message.


  • The idea that we as Chrisitians should not dismiss other people's faith and beliefs
  • People know there is a God and are seeking their creator through their own beliefs
  • Inclusivists believe that even if people do not hear about Jesus they still will be saved because they are seeking the truth
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Christianity and other religions


  • People who accept that all religions are different and promote different views of life
  • They believe all religions are able to move people from being self-centred to a real sense of their being either through God,Allah, Brahman etc.
  • Pluralists recognise people hold their beliefs because they believe them to be true
  • They believe different religions are experiencing God in a number of different ways through religion.
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Christian attitudes to women

Positive attitudes

  • John 20:11-18- Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. He tells her to spread the word to his brothers and tell them he is returning to his father. This shows Jesus's respect towards women as he trust her with his message.
  • John 4: 1-42- The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Jesus didn't mind whether she was a Samaritan or not and crossed the barrier to talk to her. The fact that he didn't ignore her because she was a woman or a Samaritan shows his value for woman.
  • John 8:1-11-Jesus did not condemn the women when others had. Although she had dont wrong, no bod is without sin so it is wrong to punish her. The fact he recognised this shows he cared for women and did not dismiss them.
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Christian attitudes to women

Negative attitudes:

  • 1 Tim 2:9-15: it says a women's place is in the home and they should 'stay silent' and should have 'no authority over men'.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: 'It is a disgraceful thing for a women to speak in church'. Women have no right to speak in church as should ask their husbands if they need something. This portrays women in a degrading light as it makes them seem valueless as they can't do things themselves.
  • 1 Corinthians 11: 3-7: 'The head of the woman is man' shows that women are inferior to men.
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Ordination of women- Woman and priesthood

For the ordination of women:

  • It may broaden the churches ability to relate to people as people may feel more comfortable talking to women.
  • Jesus may have chose 12 male disciples as he was fulfilling social convention. Now times have changed and men and women are equal they should be allowed.
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Ordination of women- Woman and priesthood

Against the ordination of women:

  • Women will feel the need to act like men rater than to celebrate femininity which is a loss to the church.
  • There are already roles for women in the church, they should be takes those roles instead
  • Jesus choice were 12 male disciples, we should respect that.
  • Jesus nominated Peter to be his successor and to lead the church, which can be seen a Jesus only wanting males to head the church
  • Women can have other roles in the church like being catechists which are just as important.
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Definition of ecumenism: a movement promoting unity among Chrisitian churches or denominations

The Taize community, which is found in a small village in France, is an example of an ecumenical community. This means that it is concerned with promoting unity between the various, and often divided in beliefs, branches of the Christian church; for example, the Catholic community, the Protestants, the Orthodox Church etc. It does this by inviting peoples from all over the world and all different Christian denominations to join together for week-long meetings at the Taize community. It is here that they pray together and celebrate mass together, as well as being given the opportunity to discuss their ideas about God with other young adults from different backgrounds and denominations.

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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Reconciliation- The two way process of forgiving

There are four stages:

  • Contrition-being truly sorry
  • Confession-admitting faults
  • Absolution-being forgiven
  • Penance-putting things right
  • Forgiveness- A process in reconciliation
  • Sin- Any action or omission which is against God's will. It is purposely and intentionally doing the wrong thing.
  • Original sin- Sin that we are born with and have not intentionally committed, it is washed away at baptism
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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Actual (or personal) sin- when we intentionally do something wrong, however some sins are more serious than others so sins are split into two types:

  • Mortal (or deadly) sins- more serious sins e.g. murder
  • Venial sins-less serious sins e.g. white lies
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Story of forgiveness: The lost son- Luke 15

Contrition: the son is working on the farm and says he will go back to his father. 'I have sinned against God and against you' (he thinks this).

Confession: He goes back to his father and tells him: 'I have sinned against God and against you, I am no longer fit to be called your son'.

Absolution: 'He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son and kissed him'. This shows how the father had already forgiven him before he came to him and was looking out for him to back to him.

Penance- He says 'I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers'-he is willing to be treated as a servant but he never has to.

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Scripture on forgiveness

Matthew 6: 9-15- The lords prayer tells us that we will be forgiven in the same way we forgive other. Therefore in order to receive forgiveness we must give it. 'Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven out debtors'.

John 8: 3-1: A lady is going to be stoned because she was caught in adultery. Jesus says hat the first stone should be thrown by someone who has not sinned. Everyone but Jesus leaves. This shows that we should not judge others for sinning when we have done wrong ourselves.

Matthew 26: 26-28: at the last supper Jesus offers his body and blood so that our sins may be forgiven. 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'.

John 20: 19-23: Jesus sends the holy spirit to his disciples so that they could forgive other peoples sins. 'If you forgive anyone his sins. they are forgiven, if you don't forgive them, they are not forgiven'.

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