RELIGION AND SOCIETY: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

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Making Moral Decisions - The Bible

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS USE ONLY THE BIBLE

  • THEY BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD DICTATED BY GOD TO THE WRITERS
  • THE DECALOGUE GIVES VERY CLEAR MORAL GUIDENCE FROM GOD ON HOW TO BEHAVE
  • CONTAINS TEACHINGS FROM JESUS WHO IS THE SON OF GOD E.G. SERMON ON THE MOUNT
  • RECALLS EVENTS FROM THE LIFE OF JESUS - CHRISTIANS CAN REFER TO HOW HE BEHAVED IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS
  • CONTAINS LETTERS FROM JESUS' DISCIPLES TO CHURCHES ABOUT HOW CHRISTIANS SHOULD BEHAVE
  • BELIEVE THAT ONLY THE BIBLE IS DEFINITELY AUTHENTICATED BY GOD - ONLY WAY TO BE SURE THEY ARE GOOD

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS, ALTHOUGH ACCEPTING THAT IT HAS SOME AUTHORITY, DO NOT AGREE

  • BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN BY HUMANS AND INSPIRED BY GOD - REFLECTS ATTITUDES OF THE TIME IT WAS WRITTEN - NEEDS TO BE UPDATED
  • SOME WOULD USE THE CHURCH - DICTATES WHAT THE BIBLE MEANS FOR GUIDENCE FOR MODERN DAY
  • SOME WOULD USE CONSCIENCE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO FOLLOW BIBLE- MAKING CHOICES TODAY
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Making Moral Decisions - The Church

WHY MANY CHRISTIANS USE ONLY THE CHURCH WHEN MAKING MORAL DECISIONS

  • BELIEVE THAT CHURCH IS BODY OF CHRIST - SON OF GOD WORKS IN THE WORLD THROUGH THE CHURCH
  • GOD DIDN'T STOP SPEAKING TO PEOPLE AFTER BIBLE WAS WRITTEN - STILL SPEAKS TODAY THROUGH CHURCH
  • OFFERS UNIVERSAL GUIDENCE FROM COMMUNITY OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS - AVOIDS EVERYONE HAVING DIFFERENT OPINIONS ON WHAT IS RIGHT - CHRISTIANS CAN BE SURE THEY'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING
  • BELIEVE THAT THE MAGISTARIUM GIVES INFALLIBLE GUIDENCE - AUTHORITY OF CHURCH COMES FROM THEM
  • EXPECT CHURCH TO GIVE GUIDENCE ON CHRISTIAN LIFE - MORAL DECISIONS ARE A BIG PART OF LIFE
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Making Moral Decisions - Conscience

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THEY SHOULD FOLLOW THEIR CONSCIENCE

  • BELIEVE THAT GOD SPEAKS TO CHRISTIANS - CONSCIENCE IS VOICE IN HEAD TELLING PEOPLE WHAT THEY SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DO - LIKE THE VOICE OF GOD
  • CHURCH SAYS THAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD FOLLOW CONSCIENCE
  • ST PAUL AND ST THOMAS AQUINAS SAID THEY SHOULD FOLLOW CONSCIENCE - GREAT CHRISTIAN THINKERS - FOLLOW CONSCIENCE IF IT TELLS THEM THAT CHURCH IS WRONG
  • TEACHINGS FROM BIBLE AND CHURCH - NOT DIRECTLY FROM GOD - NEED TO BE INTERPRETED 

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS DO NOT THINK THEY SHOULD ALWAYS FOLLOW THEIR CONSCIENCE

  • PEOPLE HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN ABOUT VOICE OF GOD - E.G. YORKSHIRE RIPPER CLAIMED THAT GOD TOLD HIM TO KILL PROSTITUTES - CONSCIENCE CAN LEAD PEOPLE ASTRAY
  • TEACHINGS FROM BIBLE - DOING WHAT ALL CHRISTIANS AGREE IS THE RIGHT THING
  • TEACHINGS FROM CHURCH - KNOW THAT OTHER CHRISTIANS THINK WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS RIGHT
  • SOCIETY NEEDS TO HAVE AGREEMENT ON WHAT IS RIGHT - LIFE WOULD BE CHAOTIC IF EVERYONE FOLLOWED CONSCIENCE INSTEAD OF LAWS
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Making Moral Decisions - Situation Ethics

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS USE SITUATION ETHICS TO MAKE MORAL DECISIONS

  • JESUS OVERULED OLD TESTIMENT WHEN THOUGHT IT WAS UNLOVING - E.G. HEALED MAN ON SABBATH DAY
  • THE GOLDEN RULE - LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURS - RIGHT TO DO MOST LOVING THING
  • CHRISTIANITY - RELIGION BASED ON LOVE AND FORGIVENESS - SHOULD ALWAYS DO MOST LOVING THING
  • SITUATIONS ARE PERSONAL - SHOULD BE JUDGED INDICIDUALLY AND NOT ON SOLID TEACHINGS

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS THINK SITUATION ETHICS IS WRONG

  • GOD WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN LAWS IN BIBLE IF THEY WERE NOT TO BE FOLLOWED - BIBLE IS GODS WORD TO HUMANS - SHOULD BE FOLLOWED
  • SHOULD FOLLOW WHAT ALL OTHER CHRISTIANS AGREE IS RIGHT - NOT RELY ON OWN IDEAS
  • CHURCH KNOWS BETTER THAN INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS - FOLLOW CHURCH GUIDENCE
  • NEVER KNOW ALL FACTS AND CONSEQUENCES E.G. DOCTOR GIVES ONLY PINT OF BLOOD TO MOTHER OF THREE RTHER THAN ALCOHOLIC TO LATER DISCOVER THAT THE MOTHER IS A CHILD ABUSER
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Making Moral Decisions - Variety of Authorities

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS WOULD REFER TO MORE THAN ONE AUTHORITY WHEN MAKING MORAL DECISIONS

  • PROTESTANTS - MAY USE BIBLE BECAUSE ITS STRAIGHT FOWARD TO USE TEACHINGS LIKE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS BUT CONTEMPORARY ISSUES LIKE CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS IS HARDER TO GET GUIDENCE FROM BIBLE FOR - LOOK FOR OTHER AUTHORITIES LIKE CHURCH
  • CATHOLIC - NORMALLY FOLLOW AUTHORITY OF CHURCH AS MAGISTARIUM APPLIES TEACHINGS OF BIBLE TO MODERN LIFE BUT CATHOLIC MAY APPLY SITUATION ETHICS TO ISSUE OF SUPPLYING CONRACEPTION TO PLACES IN AFRICA WITH HIGH LEVELS OF AIDS EVEN THOUGH THE CHURCH FORBIDS IT
  • CHRISTIAN WHO FOLLOWS CONSCIENCE - TURN TO BIBLE OR CHURCH WHEN CONSCIENCE GOES AGAINST CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS - E.G. CONSCIENCE TOLD THEM TO KILL ALL DOCTORS WHO CARRIED OUT ABORTIONS 
  • CHRISTIAN WHO FOLLOWS SITUATION ETHICS - DECIDE ISSUE IS SO COMPLICATED AND EFFECTS OF CHOICE SO UNCERTAIN THAT ITS SAFER TO REFER TO BIBLE OR CHURCH
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Human Rights - The UK

REASONS WHY HUMAN RIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT

  • RIGHT TO LIFE - LAW MUST PROTECT YOU FROM BEING KILLED - RIGHT CLAIMED BY ASYLUM SEEKERS WHO WOULD BE KILLED IF THEY RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY
  • FREEDOM FROM TORTURE - MEANS THAT NO ONE CAN BE TORTURED IN UK OR ANYONE ACTING ON BEHALF OF UK AUTHORITIES - E.G. BRITISH SOLDIERS
  • RIGHT TO LIBERTY - PEOPLE FREE TO DO ANYTHING THAT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW AND CAN ONLY BE DETAINED ACCORDING TO LAW 
  • RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR PRIVATE PROPERTY AND FAMILY LIFE - NO ONE HAS RIGHT TO ENTER YOUR HOME OR PUBLISH INFORMATION ON YOUR PRIVATE LIFE WITHOUT LAWS PERMISSION
  • FREEDOM OF THOUGHT - NO ONE CAN BE PERSECUTED FOR IDEAS OR BELIEFS
  • RIGHT TO MARRY AND START A FAMILY - USED WHEN PARENTS TRY TO PREVENT THEIR CHILD FROM MARRYING SOMEONE
  • RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN FREE ELECTIONS - INVOLVES VOTING, STANDING AS CANDIDATES, SECRET BALLOT
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Human Rights - Christian Beliefs

WHY HUMAN RIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT TO CHRISTIANS

  • SANCTITY OF LIFE - LIFE IS HOLY AND BELONGS TO GOD - SHOULD ONLY BE TAKEN BY GOD
  • ALL PEOPLE MADE IN GODS IMAGE - EQUALITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN FAMILY SHOWN IN TEACHINGS OF JESUS E.G. PARABLE OF SHEEP AND GOATS - ENCOURAGES RESPECTFUL TREATMENT OF OTHERS
  • FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION - ESSENTIAL PART OF BEING CHRISTIAN - MUST HAVE LEGAL RIGHT TO BELIEVE IN CHRISTIANITY, SHARE BELIEFS, MEET FOR WORSHIP, CELEBRATE FESTIVALS
  • NOT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST - ENSURES CHRISTIANS WILL NOT BE DISADVANTAGED OR COMPARED 

WHY SOME HUMAN RIGHTS CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS TO CHRISTIANS

  • MANY AGAINST RIGHT TO FORM CIVIL PARTNERSHIP - HOMOSEXUALITY AGAINST GODS WILL
  • SOME AGAINST RIGHT TO MARRY FROM ANOTHER FAITH - CHILDREN SHOULD BE BROUGHT CHRISTIAN
  • SOME AGAINST RIGHT OF HOMOSEXUALS TO RAISE FAMILY - CHILDREN SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP BY MOTHER AND FATHER - SOME CHURCHES OPPOSE ADOPTION LAWS - MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE 
  • PROBLEMS FOR CHURCH IF WOMAN WANTED TO BE PRIEST - USED HUMAN RIGHTS TO DEMAND RIGHTS
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Democratic and Electoral Processes

WHY DEMOCRATIC AND ELECTORAL PROCESSES ARE IMPORTANT

  • NATIONAL GOVERNMENT SETS RATES OF TAX - VOTING GIVES PUBLIC SOME CONTROL OVER THIS
  • EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HAS CONTROL OVER EU SPENDING - AFFECTS TAX RATES NEEDED FROM PUBLIC
  • NATIONAL GOVERNMENT CAN PASS ON NEW LAWS - CAN AFFECT LIVES OF PUBLIC - E.G. COMPULSORY ID
  • NATIONAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR MANY IMPORTANT THINGS E.G. NHS, BENEFITS
  • ANCESTORS FOUGHT TO HAVE POLITICAL RIGHTS (SUFFEREGETES) - NEED TO USE THEM

WHY SOME PEOPLE THINK THEY'RE NOT

  • GETTING ON WITH LIFE FINE WITHOUT VOTING - WHY SHOULD I?
  • ALL GOVERNMENTS DO THE SAME THINGS
  • MY VOTE IS ONLY ONE IN MILLIONS SO IT WOULDN'T COUNT
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Moral Responsibilities - Christian Beliefs

THE GOLDEN RULE

  • CHRISTIANS NEED TO LOOK AT HOW CHOICES WILL AFFECT OTHERS WHEN VOTING
  • E.G. IF A PARTY WANTS TO CHANGE LAW AND SEND ASYLUM SEEKERS BACK TO OWN COUNTRIES, CHRISTIANS WOULD NEED TO PUT THEMSELVES IN ASYLUM SEEKERS SITUATIONS AND VOTE ACCORDINGLY

THE PARABLE OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS

  • JESUS SHOWED IT WAS DUTY OF CHRISTIANS TO FEED HUNGRY, CLOTHE NAKED, GIVE DRINK TO THIRST, VISIT SICK - AFFECTS WAY CHRISTIAN VOTES
  • E.G. IF GOVERNMENT WERE BRINGING IN LAW TO CUT OFF BENEFITS FOR POOR, CHRISTIANS WOULD HAVE TO CONSIDER EFFECTS ON JOBLESS WHO WOULD STARVE

AM I MY BROTHERS KEEPER?

  • DUTY TO LOOK AFTER EVERYONE IN MAIN PRINCIPLE OF POLITICAL PROCESSES AND HUMAN RIGHTS
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Genetic Engineering - Non Religious Beliefs

REASONS IN FAVOUR OF GENETIC ENGINEERING

  • OFFERS PROSPECTS OF CURES FOR CURRENTLY INCURABLE DISEASES
  • USED TO GROW HEALTHY CELLS TO REPLACE DAMAGED ONES - CURES DISEASE
  • CLONING USING ANIMAL CELLS DOESN'T INVOLVE LOSS OF HUMAN LIFE
  • GENETIC RESEARCH - INTEGRAL PART OF MEDICAL RESEARCH - BOUND TO USE GENETIC ENGINEERING
  • CLOSELY MONITERED BY LAW - VAST POTENTIAL BENEFITS

REASONS AGAINST GENETIC ENGINEERING

  • TOO LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES
  • EFFECTS IRREVERSABLE - SOMETHING GOING WRONG IS PERMENANT
  • PLACES TOO MUCH POWER IN HANDS OF SCIENTISTS - COULD USE IT IN A BAD WAY LIKE DR FRANKENSTEIN 
  • TREATS HUMAN BODY AS COMODITY NO DIFFERENT TO PLANTS
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Genetic Engineering - Christian Beliefs

WHY SOME LIBERAL PROTESTANTS SUPPORT GENETIC ENGINEERING

  • JESUS - HEALER - SHOWED CHRISTIANS THAT THEY MUST DO ALL THEY CAN TO CURE DISEASE
  • USING DISCOVERIES ON GENETIC MAKEUP OF HUMANS TO IMPROVE LIFE IS WHAT GOD WANTED 
  • DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CREATING CELLS AND CREATING PEOPLE - CREATING CELLS IS WORKING WITH GOD
  • ACCEPT NON RELIGIOUS ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF GENETIC ENGINEERING

WHY SOME CATHOLICS THINK GENETIC ENGINEERING IS ONLY ACCEPTABLE FOR CURING DISEASE

  • LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION WHETHER IN WOMB OR GLASS DISH
  • KILLING OF EMBREO IS KILLING OF HUMAN LIFE - BANNED BY BIBLE AND CHURCH

WHY SOME CHRISTIANS ARE OPPOSED TO ANY TYPE OF GENETIC ENGINEERING

  • BELIEVE GOD HAS CREATED GENETIC MAKEUP OF EACH HUMAN - NO RIGHT TO INTERFER WITH HIS WILL
  • GENETIC ENGINEERING IS "PLAYING GOD" - SIN                            
  • ALSO ACCEPT NON RELIGIOUS ARGUMENTS
  • WRONG TO TRY AND MAKE EARTH PERFECT - ONLY HEAVEN PERFECT - LIFE PREPARATION FOR HEAVEN
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