Religion Extra Topic Notes

This is not to replace revision but a summery to make sure you understand key points and you can add this on top if you are conserned about you Religious Short Course Exam On AQA GCSE.

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Religion And Animal Rights

How should we treat animals? What status should they have compared to humans?

Do animals have rights? Animal rights' groups and protesting; Animal welfare groups (WWF and RSPCA) monitor the treatment of animals - cruelty and neglect of animals is a criminal offence.

How do different religions view animals?

Christianity: God created the world and put humans in charge - STEWARDSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY.

Hinduism: Sanctity of all life-all living things in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth have a soul, this is reborn so humans have a duty to protect animals.

Islam: The world belongs to Allah and so humans must care for animals and treat them with respect.

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Pets Most Muslims do not have pets as animals must not be kept in limited spaces BUT can keep working dogs for hunting or guarding their home.  ALL faiths expect humane treatment of animals.

Transport and work - Animals used to transport people and goods, use of guide dogs and sniffer dogs.  Religious views state that animals must be cared for, not beaten or overworked.  The use of animals for therapeutic (healing) effect is supported.

Sport – Should we use animals in hunting and bullfighting?  Should greyhound and pigeon racing remain legal?  

Vegetarianism – Why are some people vegetarians or vegans?  Many Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs are vegetarian – why is this?  Muslims and Jews have food laws which tell them which animals they may eat and *********** them (Halal and Kosher).  There are no specific religious teachings for Christians.  

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Should we eat meat? What are the issues surrounding this?

Factory Farming: Animals being kept in a confined space

Are there any advantages?

Free Range Farming: Animals are allowed to roam freely

What are the advantages of this?

This allows the Halal to be followed for Muslims

(Halal: Every animal should have a joyful life before death)

The Ivory trade is illegal everywhere HOWEVER limited sales have been carried out where the animals have been said to have died.

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Testing for medicinal or cosmetic purposes? Why do people agree or disagree with this?

Genetic modification: what does this involve? What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of it?

Cloning is creating an organism that is the exact genetic copy of another, but thousands of animal embryos are destroyed while trying to clone them. 

Religious Views: Some are against genetic modification and cloning as they think scientists are 'playing God' and interfering with nature. Others say its OK if it will help save lives.

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Religion and Prejudice

Prejudice: Thinking badly of people because of the group they belong to.

Discrimination: Actions that occur due to prejudice.

Types of Prejudice are:

Race and Colour- Racism

Gender- Sexism

Religious Prejudice



Class, lifestyle and looks.

Responses to prejudice: Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Equality Act 2006

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Why are people prejudiced? Fear and uncertainty can lead to scapegoating, a lack of education can lead to ignorance in the matter also. The background of the person with media influences, or they may have been a victim themselves.

Religious attitudes towards prejudice:

Tolerance: Respect for beliefs and behaviors of others.

Justice: Bringing about what is fair.

Harmony: Living in peace with others

The life and work of a famous person who has fought prejudice and discrimination.

Mahatma Gandhi - Hindu who fought against prejudice in South Africa and India

Martin Luther King- Christian who was involved in the US civil rights movement

Desmond Tutu- Christian who fought against apartheid in South Africa. 

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Religion and Early Life

Abortion = The termination of a pregnancy involving the deliberate removal of a fetus from the womb before it is viable.  


v SANCTITY OF LIFE – life is a precious gift from God so is sacred (holy) and worthy of the highest respect. It isn’t up to us to take life away from anyone, it is up to God

v QUALITY OF LIFE – being able to experience life & communicate with others, being fulfilled & content in yourself. If a person was kept alive artificially or was in constant pain some would describe this as a poor quality of life

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Reasons FOR abortion

v It’s cruel to bring a severely disabled child with a poor quality of life in to the world

v It’s the mother’s body so it’s her decision

v The mother’s individual circumstances need to be considered

v The foetus isn’t a person yet but the mother is

v The risk to the mother’s health outweighs the rights of the baby

v It is a matter for an individual’s conscience

 Reasons AGAINST abortion

v The foetus is a child with a soul from the moment of conception

v Life is sacred, given by God so only God can take it away

v The unborn baby has the same rights as anyone else so should be protected

v Every baby is unique – no-one can know its value

v Abortion can be used as birth control or for social reasons

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For a legal abortion to take place two doctors need to agree that:

v the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk

v the mother’s life is at risk

v her existing family will suffer

v the child will be born with a severe disability


Abortion is legal in Britain up to 24 weeks in the pregnancy but if woman’s life is at risk or the child has a severe disability, abortion can take place at any time

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v Roman Catholic – abortion is wrong under all circumstances

‘You shall not kill by abortion the fruit of the womb.’

The Pope said, ‘Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion & infanticide are abominable crimes’


v Protestants – accept abortion if the foetus has a serious disability, if the mother’s life is in danger or if pregnancy was a result of ****.

Many believe it is up to the individual’s conscience to decide based on the Christian concept of love. The rights of the unborn child have to be balanced against the mother’s rights depending on the circumstances.

Every human life is unique and should be respected & protected but its life is not absolutely paramount. Sometimes abortion is the lesser of two evils

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Christian thinkers developed conditions for a just war.These include: just cause, lawfully declared, good intention, last resort, reasonable chance of success, fought by just means.

Holy wars have religious aims and goals.  They are authorised by God or a religious leader.  Those who take part believe they will gain a spiritual reward.  Leaders may declare a holy war to defend their religion or followers who are being persecuted.  

PACIFISM – the belief that violence against other human beings is wrong

Pacifists believe that:

Killing goes against teachings in sacred writings.  War causes suffering, bitterness and hatred.  War damages the environment and wastes lives and resources.

Christian pacifists – Quakers – follow the example of Jesus who taught his followers to live and work for peace. 

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