Religious Studies - Definitions

An overview on the Religious Studies Sllyabus 

Key Definitions - Relevant to All Sections

Absolute Morality: This is when a person believes that there is a right course of action in a moral dilemma that is true in all situations, regardless of culture, religious tradition, time or age.  For example:  “It is always wrong to kill.”

Relative Morality:  This is when a person has strong beliefs or principles but they believe that different courses of action might be needed in different situations.  For example:  “It is usually wrong to kill, but sometimes it might be necessary for a particular reason.”

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Religion and Animal Rights - Definitions

Stewardship: The God-given responsibility to look after the created world.

Khalifa: Islamic notion of being a guardian of creation

Conservation: Preserving the natural environment by protecting all life

Vegetarianism: The belief that killing animals for food is wrong, and a refusal to eat meat or use other animal products.

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Religion and Prejudice - Definitions

Prejudice - means to ‘pre-judge’ someone unfairly - having an attitude towards certain groups of people based on ignorance or fear.  It is based on stereotyped thinking, and is often linked to religion, race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Stereotyping - an oversimplified image of a group of people

Discrimination - Putting prejudice into action – treating people differently on account of their religion, race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Positive Discrimination - treating people more favourably because they have been discriminated against in the past

Scapegoats - blaming certain groups for problems 

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Religion and Early Life - Definitions

Abortion:  The removal from a womb of a growing foetus.

Sanctity of Life: The view that life is sacred because it has been created by God.  This means that people do not have the right to end life.

Quality of Life:  A measure of fulfilment – reflecting the things that make life enjoyable, such as family love, the absence of suffering and pain.

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Religion, War and Peace - Definitions

Peace:  Living in harmony with one’s neighbours without hostility or argument.

Justice:  Bringing about what is fair, right, lawful or putting right what has been done wrong.

Sanctity of life:  A belief that life is sacred because it is given by God and that people do not have the right to end life.

Just war:  A war fought for a just cause – fulfilling the principles of a just war.

Holy war:  A war fought with a religious purpose – in the name of God, or “with God on your side”.

Pacifism:  The belief that war is always morally wrong, and a refusal to participate in fighting.

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