Religious Education UNIT 2

A set of revision cards for the 2nd Unit of the GCSE (year 11) RE course

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Christian beliefs in life after death

All Christians believe in life after death. They all agree that Jesus died and came back from the dead, and that there will be an afterlife for those who love and believe in him. Christians have different views on what happens when you die. Most believe in either the immortality of the soul or the ressurection of the body. 

The effects of these beliefs:

-Christians believe that they will be judged by God after their death, so they live withint the Bible (and the Church's) guidelines.

-The fact that jesus rose from the dead gives them hope that they will also rise, and that they will be rewarded dependant on their behaviour while living.

-It offers comfort to those who have suffered the death of a loved one. 

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Islamic beliefs about life after death

Belief in life after death, or Akhiraha, is very important for Muslims. They believe the angel of death will first take a person's soul to barzakh, which is the stage between the moment they die, and the moment before they face judgement. 

Like many Christians, Muslims believe that the body will be ressurected on the Day of Judgement. As a result of judgement they will be sent to paradise, al'Jannah or to hell, jahannam. The decision is made when two angels open a book which contains what they have done in life. If their name is on the right of the book they go to paradise, if it's on the left, they go to hell.

Whether somebody will remain where judgement has put them is up to Allah. The Qur'an makes use of strong descriptions of the two after life possibilities. The key of going to paradise is to follow the teachings of the qu'ran and the shari'ah law, the prophet Muhammad, and the work of the prophets, hadith. 

Muslims are not cremated, but buried to preserve their bodies for judgement day. Muslims believe that people will be rewarded for injustices they have suffered during their life, and punished for bad things they did in life. 

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Non-religious belief in life after death


-The idea of death is difficult to cope with

-People feel their dead loved ones are still with us

-Earth life is so unfair that there must be an afterlife

-Those who lead a good life should be rewarded

-Near-death experiences

-Seeing/feeling ghosts

-Contacting the dead

-Deja vu/memories from past lives lead people to believe in reincarnation

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Non-belief in life after death


-No evidence or reasons

-We should not believe in unscientific things in an age where science explains everything

-When someone dies their body decays, so how can they live again?

-It's impossible, "we are alive or dead"

-Some non-believers think that it is impossible to believe in the afterlife without believing in God. They also think that mediums and spiritualists are playing on the sad circumstances of those who are bereaved, many have been exposed as fakes, leading people to believe there is no evidence for the afterlife.

-Some people argue that people use(d) the idea of heaven and hell to control how people behave(d). Churches told people false ways to act in order to better the Church, using the threat of hell to make them listen.

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Abortion is controversial because there are many opinions on when life begins, for example at fetilisation, when the egg is in the wall of the womb, when the foetus has developed, at birth? People are allowed to have abortions up to 24 weeks if the pregnancy is risky to the health of the mother, or the child, and if the child, having been born, would be severly handicapped. 

All abortions must be agreed by two doctors (one if it's an emergency) and carried out by a doctor in a government approved NHS hospital. 


-Much kinder to abort the kid if they will be disabled or ill

-What if the mother's life is at risk?

-What if the woman was *****?


-Adoption (the sanctity of life)

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Christian attitudes to abortion

Most Christians do not support abortion because of the sanctity of life. Some think it is wrong because every human being has the right to life. They believe that only God has the right to take life, because he has plans for it, and he has made the foetus in his own image

The church of England also believes that abortion should be carried out if it is the most loving thing to do, or if it is the lesser of two evils, for example if the foetus is only going to last for a short time after birth. This is because:

-Jesus acted with love and compassions and taught his followers to do so. Strictu rules on abortion may create the idea as an unloving thing to do. 

-There are other cases when the principle of sanctity of life is broken, for example in war.

-We cannot be sure that life begins at conception.

-Medical technology has advances so that handicapped foetus's can be detcted early enough to avoid more traumatic abortions.

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Muslim attitudes to abortion

Muslims share very similar views to Christians on the sanctity of life. Life to Muslims is sacred and a gift, so having an abortion is considered taking away a life (murder).

Many muslims believe that a life begins once the soul has entered the foetus (ensoulment), and takes place when the foetus is 120 days (16 weeks) old. Although most claim that life begins at 120 days some people claim as early as 40 days is the start of life, or when the foetus begins to move. 

Muslims agree that abortion is ''the lesser of two evils'' and can be carried out after 120 days if the mother is at risk of dying at birth, the mother is part of a family already, and the mother's life is already established and she has other responsibilities.

Some ''schools'' of Muslim law allow abortion in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, others only in the first seven weeks. If the foetus is not matured to 120 days (or sometimes after!) and is going to have a untreatable defect or a genetic blood disorder,  it can be aborted. Muslim scholars say that abortion is permitted if the foetus is a product of **** or incest, but some people claim it is not permitted despite those circumstances. It is also accepted if the woman becomes pregnant after committing adulteryThose who want to abort because of fear of poverty will be rejected. 

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Euthanasia is known as ''mercy killing''. It is a very controversial issue in medical ethics today and there is a growing support for euthanasia. In some countries (e.g. the Netherlands), it is not against the law. Arguments for euthanasia are: It allows the patient to die a gentle, pain-free death and to exercise their right to die as they choose. The patient dies with dignity, while saving costs. It also means medical staff can focus attention on cureable patients, and relieves families of emotional and financial stress.  

Arguments against abortion:

Sanctity of life gets broken. It may pressure the ill to choose Euthanasia instead of trying to be cured (slows research). It is hard to determine if an act of euthanasia is voluntary. Doctors could be wrong about a diagnosis or there may be a cure found in the future. Assisted euthanasia may make the assistant feel regret for what they did for the rest of their life. 

Voluntary Euthanasia: The act of taking somebody's life deliberately who wants  to die. 

Assisted suicide: Helping somebody to take their own life (e.g. by buying them drugs to overdose with). 

Non-voluntary Euthanasia: Helping somebody to die if they aren't mentally stable. 

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Christian attitudes to euthanasia

Many Christians object to euthanasia because it goes against the sanctity of life, for Roman catholics it is wrong because they consider it as murder, only God has the power to take away life.They also believe that it's wrong because life is precious, no matter if the person is in a great deal of pain, and terminally ill people can still share God's love and show love to others around them. Euthanasia could also be used for evil purposes, people may be getting Euthanised without getting consulted about it, and nobody should fell so worthless as to want to die.

Some Christians support euthanasia because God wants people to have a good quality of life, and that is it the most loving thing to do sometimes, but this is usually outweighed by the sanctity of life, because Christians believe that everybody is equal (no matter what their physical/mental health is like), and that all people should be treated with dignity. Hopsices provide good quality pain relief, support for the dying and those close to them, and they help the dying prepare for death.

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Muslim attitudes to euthanasia

Muslims are opposed to euthanasia because they believe that: All life is sacred, Allah choosed how long people should live and people should not interfear, it is seen as suicide (not permitted in Islam), Muslims must endure suffering without losing faith, nobody know's if euthanising somebody contradicts Allah's plan, the idea of a life not worthy to exist is unheard of in Islam, and it is pleasing to Allah when people care for the elderly

The strictest Muslim view is that all types of euthanasia are forbidden, based on the principles of the preservation of life and the preservation of religion. Euthanasia allows people to have authority over Allah, and can encourage murder and suicide with go against the principle of injury (darar), which demands that nobody should hurt and cause hurt to others. 

Some Muslims do allow a terminal patient to choose not to continue with reatment if it is causing hardship and if doing so relieves the suffering of the patient and the family of the patient. This means that services such as life support should be switched off in a case like this, but they should not withold services such as food drink, and other odrinary nursing care, while the patient is still alive. 

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