Religious Studies- Rights and Responsibilities

An summary of the first section (Rights and Responsibilities) of the Religious Studies Christianity and Islam textbook

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  • Created by: R_Hall
  • Created on: 25-04-12 09:25

 

Section 1- Rights and Responsibilities

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Christians and the Bible

  • The Bible is the Christian holy book, made up of 66 books split into the Old and the New testaments
  • The Old testament was written before Jesus, and contains the 10 commandments
  • The New testament is concerned with the life and teachings of Jesus
  • For Christians, the Bible carries authority and is a guide for decision making because it was inspired by God
  • Some Christians believe the Bible is the literal word of God, and argue that it contains moral teachings for the modern world
  • However, some believe it was inspired by God or needs interpreting
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Christians and the authority of the Church

  • The Church is the community of Christians who believe in God and Jesus(the church is a place of worship)
  • Some people believe that the Bible is the only authority, but some Christians also look to the Church for moral guidance
  • Different Christian Churches (eg Roman Catholics or Baptists) have ways of deciding how issues should be resolves
  • The Church has authority as Christians believe that God speaks through the Church, that Jesus acts through the Church and they can trust leaders (vicars, bishops, archbishops) to tell them about God's will
  • The teachings of the Church are important to many Christians; Roman Catholics only use the teachings of the Church as a moral guide as they believe that the Pope and bishops can interpret the Bible and teach others
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Christians and conscience

  • Conscience is an inner feeling of the rightness or wrongness of an action that God has given to everyone
  • Some believe it is a useful tool, but does not always work
  • Christians believe that they should look to the Church and the Bible to moral guidance, then follow their conscience- Christians should never act against their conscience
  • They use their conscience when they are faced with a moral dilemma
  • Christians differ as to the exact reliability of conscience
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Christains and Situation Ethics

  • Situation Ethics  is the idea that Christians should base moral decisions on what is the most loving thing to do
  • In the 1960's, a Christian minister suggested that love should be the only principle upon which to make moral choices
  • The New Testament stresses the importance of love- "Greater love has no man than this, that a man ley down his life for his friends"
  • Many Christians would use Situation Ethics along with other ways of making moral decisions. However, some use it as the only moral guide
  • It is very similar to Jesus' Golden Rule- "Do to others what you would have them do to you"
  • Many believe that Situation Ethics are good as every situation is judged individually and has a Christian intention
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Christians and the variety of moral authorities

  • Christians use four different authorities-
  • The teachings/laws of the Bible
  • The teachings or guidance of the Church
  • Their conscience
  • Situation Ethics
  • Some Christians will use only one, but most use a combination. They differ as to the exact nature of moral authority
  • The Bible is used as a supreme moral guide as it contains the basic truth of what God wants
  • For many Christians, performing good actions is vital to leading a good life- some will form pressure groups to achieve this
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Human rights in the UK

  • Human rights are the rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled, eg. life, food, education, health care and racial/sexual/religious equality
  • Human rights in the UK are protected by Law and most are covered by the Human Rights Act 1998
  • There are problems enforcing human rights in difficult circumstances such as terrorism
  • Many people have criticised the Act, claiming it sometimes allows criminals to get away without proper punishment
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Why human rights are important to Christians

  • Human rights are important to Christians because every human being is created by God equally, so should be treated equally and with respect
  • The teachings of the Bible are in line with most human rights laws
  • The basic values and teachings are summed up by the Decalogue (the 10 commandments)
  • Other teachings include The Parable of the Sheep and Goats ("Whatever you did for one at least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"- Matthew 25:40) and the Golden Rule ("do to others what you would have them do to you"- Matthew 7:12)
  • Many Christians believe that it is important for the government to put human rights first
  • Some Christians argue that because UK is a secular multi-faith society, Christian values should not be imposed upon the government
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Why it is important to take part in democratic and

  • Democracy is a political system where ordinary people vote to decide who will represent them
  • The UK is a representative democracy- it is governed by an elected parliament
  • Every 5 years, a general election is held where people vote for the political party that will form the next government
  • Participating in democratic processes (the ways in which citizens can take part in government) are important.
  • All British citizens over 18 can vote, and politics effects everyone in the UK

 

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Christian teachings on moral duties and responsibi

  • Christians believe that God makes moral commandments which they should follow. The 10 Commandments are moral duties (Do not murder, Do not steal, Honour your parents)
  • In The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus taught people that it is the moral duty of a Christian to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and give drink to the thirsty
  • St Paul taught that Christians must not stand by while others are in need. He warned Christians that it is their moral duty to care for others- "Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth"- II John 3:17-18
  • Christianity stresses the importance of good works as well as faith in God
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The nature of genetic engineering

  • Genetic engineering is the process where the structure and characteristic of genes are changed. This means genes that cause disease or a feature can be added, replaced or removed
  • Up to this point, most research on genetic engineering has been on GM (Genetically Modified) crops
  • The government have strict control over GM crops- they are allowed to be grown but not sold
  • A clone is an exact copy of something else. Reproductive cloning produces identical animals or plants; therapeutic cloning is the cloning of embryos in order to harvest stem cells (unspecialised cells)
  • Genetic engineering is very controversial- some people think it is going against nature and could be dangerous in the wrong hands
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Christian attitudes to genetic engineering

  • Christians believe that life is sacred, so genetic engineering should only be done for the right reasons
  • Reasons why they support genetic engineering-
  • God has given them superiority over "every living thing that moves on Earth" , which they argue also means genes
  • Jesus healed people and told them to "do to others what you would have them do to you"
  • Reasons why they oppose genetic engineering-
  • Only God can create life
  • Some Christians (Roman Catholics) believe that human life begins at conception, so are against the use of embryos
  • The majority of Christians are against genetic engineering
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