Religious Studies - Marriage and Family Life

The whole unit of Marriage and Family Life - Edexcel

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  • Created by: Bex Tott
  • Created on: 14-05-12 18:03

Changing Attitudes

a. Most have sex before marriage now

b. Age to get married has increased and not many get married in churches

c. Increase in reconsituted families

d. Divorce now accepted as part of normal life

Reasons for the changes:

1. Cohabitation and marriage - contraception made sex safer from pregnancy, and Christianity lost its influence

2. Divorce - law made it easier and cheaper to get divorced, and more equal rights

3. Family life - more divorce = more remarriage, social acceptance of single mums

4. Homosexuality - changes in the law made it easier to be openly homosexual

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Pre-marital sex, Adultery and Cohabitation


  • Adultery is banned in the 10 commandments
  • Sex is an act of love and should take place within marriage
  • RC Church forbid pre-marital sex and it is a SIN
  • Protestants recognises that times have changed, accepts cohabitation if couple intend to marry


  • Qur'an condemns it
  • Shari'ah law says sex is only for married couples
  • Sex is to have children who should be raised by a married couple
  • Adultery is condemned in the Qur'an
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  • Recognise that not all marriages work, and Jesus allows divorce in serious situations
  • Orthodox Christians and Liberal Protestants will permit it if they think it is the most loving thing to do (Choosing the lesser of two evils)

Roman Catholics

  • Does not accept divorce
  • if marriage breaks down, they can live apart but must remain celibate
  • in few cases, they are permitted to have an annulment


  • 1. AGAINST - 'The most hated of all lawful things' Muhammed. Divorce harms children
  • 2. FOR - Qur'an and Shari'ah law allows it. it is the lesser of two evils, marriage is a contract with clauses outlining what happens in divorce
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Family Life


  • Family was created by God and is the best environment to raise children
  • The Old Testament refers to the importance of family
  • The Gospels show how Jesus was part of a family
  • Having children is one of the purposes of Christian marriage


  • Muhammed had a family and Muslims want to follow his example
  • The family is where children learn right from wrong
  • Children are seen as a gift from God
  • Qur'an states that the family is created by God
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  • 1. Catholic - Homosexual relationships are a SIN, and they condemn homosexuality. The Bible forbids same sex relationships and everyone is a child of God
  • 2. Evangelical Protestants - Homosexuality is a SIN, they hold prayer meetings to cure homosexuals. They believe that Christ can remove all sins including homosexuality
  • 3. Liberal Protestants - Lifelong homosexual relationships are OK, Priests can be homosexual but must be celibate


  • 1. AGAINST - Condemned in the Qur'an and by Muhammed. Only form of lawful sex is between a man and woman. Sex is to reproduce
  • FOR - Islam is a religion of tolerance, everyone is God's creation, God obviously wanted people to be that way
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  • 1. Catholic Attitude - DO NOT ACCEPT the use of artificial contraception because it prevents new life. CastiConnubii (1930) banned Catholics from using artificial contraception. In 1951, Pope Puis XII said that Catholics can use natural contraception
  • 2. Non-Catholic Christians - ALLOW ALL contraception, as long as they re being used to limit family size. There is nothing written in the Bible against it. It allows couples to enjoy sexual love and choose the best timing and size of their family


  • 1. FOR - Teaching of 'coitus interruptus' by Muhammed. God would not want his followers burdened. A woman may know if she will die by getting pregnant, this would be suicide. Muslim lawyers say contraception is different to abortion
  • 2. AGAINST - The Qur'an says 'Do not kill your children for fear of want'. Sex is to reproduce. Some contraceptives abort the foetus (murder) and Muslim duty is to have a large family
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Marriage and Family Life - Key Words

Adultery - an act of sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their marriage partner

Cohabitiation - living together without being married

Faithfulness - staying with your marriage oartner and having sex with only them

Marriage - the condition of a man and woman legally united for the purpose of living together and usually to have children

Pre-marital sex - sex before marriage

Promiscuity - having sex with a number of partners without commitment

Homosexuality - sexual attraction to people of the same gender

Annulment - a declaration by the Church that a marriage never lawfully existed. This means that the marriage is invalid

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Marriage and Family Life - Key Words

Re-marriage - marrying again after being divorced from a previous marriage

Extended family - children, parents and grandparents living together as a unit in close proximity

Nuclear family - mother father and children living as a unit

Re-sonstituted families - where two sets of children become one family when their divorced parents marry each other

Celibate life - one without sex

Civil partnership - a legal ceremony giving homosexual couples the same legal rights as a husband and wife

Contraception - intentionally preventing pregnancy from occuring

Procreation - making a new life

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