RS Religion and human relationships


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  • Created by: Phoebe
  • Created on: 13-05-12 16:17

Roles of men and women - Anglican and Liberal

  • Do ALLOW Women Priests. The Anglican Church ordained the first women priests in 1994 (but cannot be bishops)
  • Despite living in a male dominated society – Jesus showed utmost respect to women. The story of Mary & Martha (Lk10) shows Jesus encouraging women to learn from him
  • The Risen Christ chose to reveal Himself to women first, which suggests that he held women in high regard
  • In OT, many women are seen as strong, important and occasionally rulers
  • Jesus treated women as equals, and had female followers
  • "There is neither... male or female... for you are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians

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Roles of men and women - RC and Orthodox

  • Genesis: "...God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"
  • Second creation story states woman was created as companion and helpmate to man - some fundamentalist Xians might use this to argue that women have a lesser/different role to men
  • Even though men and women are of equal worth. They do not have the same roles.
  • Roman Catholics believe Scripture intends men to be leaders of the Church Family.
  • RC and Orthodox do not allow women to be ordained
  • Reason: Jesus only chose men to be his disciples, and at the Eucharist the priest represents Jesus
  • "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church" Ephesians
  • “ I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over men; she must be silent”  Timothy
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Traditional views on Men and Women

  • "The husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church"
  • It is the wife's duty to care for the home and children
  • The husband's role is to provide financially for his family
  • Eve - "I will make for him a wife" said God - she was created after Adam - when the Bible was written, women considered as the "home makers"
  • St. Paul "Wives, submit to your husbands"
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Liberal/Modern Views

  • Genesis "God created mankind in his image to be treated equally"
  • We are all equal in the eyes of God, but have different roles to play, however it is not so vital who does what
  • Scripture must be reinterpreted to allow for modern culture
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Muslim Views

Mothers are very important in Islamic families:

  • In traditional Muslim families, women are generally expected to take care of the home and the children, and men are expected to support their wives.
  • "Men are in charge of women" Qur'an 4:34
  • If their husbands agree, women can have an education or work
  • Women are not the head of the household, but mothers have a very high status in Muslim families.
  • Purdah is also customary in many families, and women must pray separately to men
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Sikh views

Teachings of the GURUS emphasizes the equality of women.

Guru Gobind Singh said “We need to recognize the oneness of all humanity”

Guru NANAK the founder of Sikhism said "God is in all, women are men’s life -long friend and the survival of the race depends on her"

Encouraged women to be educated and were against child brides.

PURDAH is against Sikh beliefs

No priesthood in Sikhism

Women can lead other women in a service in the gurdwara


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Marriage and marriage ceremonies

  • Purpose: Exclusivity, Permanence, Procreation
  • "Two will become one flesh" Mark 10 - MONOGAMOUS
  • RC + Orthodox: Marriage is a sacrament and a gift from God
  • Marriage is seen  as a COVENANT or CONTRACT between two people, which involves Commitment and Responsibility
  • Anglican: Marriage is made in sight of God + with God
  • The joining of a man and woman in marriage mirrors the relationship between Jesus and His Church
  • "What God has joined together, let no man separate" - important
  • Marriage should be monogamous, and no adultery
  • 1. Marriage for the making of children "go forth and multiply"
  • 2. Also to stop people from being immoral
  • 3. Mutual comfort - "one flesh". God created Eve because Adam was lonely
  • Ring: symbol of eternal love - no beginning , no end
  • Confetti: symbolizes fertility "go forth...", White dress: pure, virginal
  • Bride is given away by father to show start of a new family unit
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The marriage ceremony

HYMNS - symbolize the couple starting their life together with the help of God (in God's house)

OPENING STATEMENT & WELCOME - explains the purpose of marriage 

PRAYERS & READINGS - traditional part of Christian worship - serious vows

VOWS & DECLARATION - declare no reason they can't marry, and ask the congregation. Vows are taken in front of God and the witnesses, indicating the seriousness and sacredness of marriage. "for better, for worse"

EXCHANGE OF RINGS - a physical symbol of the vows and of lifelong commitment

SIGNING OF THE REGISTER - a legal requirement in the UK

"What God has joined together let no man separate"

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Muslim Marriage

  • Arranged marriage not forced marriage acceptable
  • Takes place in a mosque
  • Vows read
  • Qur’an read
  • Marriage contract written up and signed
  • Dowry given by the groom to the bride (which she is entitled to if they divorce)
  • Rings exchanged
  • Marriage and family is the basis of the Islamic society so very important and valuable
  • “No institution in Islam finds more favour with God than marriage”
  • Muslim men can marry up to 4 wives – Muslim women only one husband so that if the woman becomes pregnant the child will be sure of its biological parents.
  • Homosexuality is forbidden by Islamic Shari'ah law, and illegal in many countries and sometimes punishable by death 
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Divorce and Remarriage - RC

  • Divorce is impossible - marriage is a sacrament - "for richer for poorer etc" “What God has joined together, let no man separate”
  • However, a marriage can be ANNULLED if...
  • (God never joined the couple together during the marriage)
  • Marriage not freely entered into, seriousness of Marriage not understood 
  • One partner refusing to have children
  • The Marriage not consummated
  • Divorce: a legal termination of a marriage
  • "a consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death" Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • RC who divorces cannot remarry in Catholic Church (still married in eyes of Church because you cannot dissolve ONE FLESH)
  • If you have gotten an annulment, you can remarry in a Catholic Church, as the marriage never officially happened
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Divorce and Remarriage - Anglicans and Liberals

  • All Xians dislike divorce, as the Bible states "God hates "Divorce"
  • C of E/Anglicans: "There are circumstances in which a divorced person may marry in Church: OT - a man can divorce his wife if she committed adultery
  • Divorce can be given if there is no possibility of them living together again
  • Jesus would offer FORGIVENESS
  • JC only allowed divorce if one partner had been unfaithful, but he also taught that remarrying when your previous partner was still alive is adultery
  • God forgives sins and Vicar can decide if someone can remarry in Church
  • Although they do not like the idea of Divorce, they will accept it in some circumstances as the lesser of two evils
  • It is up to the Vicar, after hearing an individual’s case, if he/she agrees to remarry a divorcee in Church - agape
  • Couples should seek religious counselling
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Islamic Divorce

Sometimes a marriage can break down, Marriage is a legal contract and so can be broken but it is not desirable.

"Of all the lawful acts the most detestable to Allah is divorce" - Prophet Muhammad

Man can divorce his wife if she is not pregnant

When divorce is announced there is a 3 month period called IDDAH period when the couple live in the same house and try to reconcile. The husband must continue to provide for his wife. If this is not possible then they can divorce.

Woman has the right to divorce her husband if she has been treated badly.

After divorce both parties can remarry

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Civil Partnerships and Homosexuality

  • Civil partnerships became legal in the UK in 2005
  • Civil partnership: a union between a couple who may be of the same sex. This is a marriage in the eye of the law, not of the Church
  • RC and C of E are opposed to civil partnerships BUT AGAPE (C of E only)
  • Marriage is meant to produce children, and homosexual intercourse does not produce children - civil partnership is a mockery of marriage
  • RC Church sees homosexual intercourse as masturbation, which is a sin - ONAN
  • OT would put people to death, St Paul says they don't go to Heaven
  • The Methodist Church states that it "does not consider that homosexual sex... is acceptable" "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman" Leviticus
  • Only Society of Friends fully accept homosexuality and civil partnerships
  • They are supportive of same sex partnerships, and allow gay couples in their church
  • “Marriage is the Lord’s work, we are just witnesses”         
  • "Let the Spirit lead your life" 
  • Individual Christians may not agree with their Churches - God has given them free will and consciences
  • They might believe that everyone is created in God's image, and therefore are equal
  • Some Xians would say the couple can love each other but be celibate
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Sexual Relationships

All Christian Churches teach that the right context for sexual relationships is within MARRIAGE - God blessed/married Adam and Eve before they "multiplied"             However, contraception has made sex outside of marriage more likely...


  • No sex before marriage, the body is a temple for the soul - "the breath of God" - casual sex damages body and soul
  • Fornication is wrong, as is adultery
  • Cohabitation is wrong and a "grave sin!, sex is for reproduction
  • Lust - seven deadly sins. St Paul: if you cannot contain your love you should get married

C of E: acceptable if the couple are:

  • in a long term relationship, monogamous and planning to marry


  • Acceptable "let the spirit lead your life", conscience word of God etc
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Islam - Sexual Relationships

Sex is for procreation and is a gift from Allah and so should only be performed within the marriage. Sex outside marriage is FORBIDDEN.

Sex = husband and wife’s responsibility to meet the needs of their partner.

Men are forbidden to be alone with a woman (unless she is a family member) for fear of temptation.

However, Islam permits polygamy, where a man can have up to four wives if he can support them and treat them equally.

Prophet Muhammad had 11 wives in his lifetime.

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  • RC: Natural Moral Law "each and every marriage act must be open to the transmission of life" Humane Vitae "be fruitful and increase in number"
  • Contraception: a method which prevents pregnancy
  • All artificial contraceptives go against Natural Moral Law "a grave sin"
  • Interferes with God's plan: "All things are done according to God's plan" Ephesians     Onan "spilled his seed" and God killed him...
  • Rhythm method only acceptable method
  • Xian could choose to follow conscience
  • C of E: it is permissible to use contraception within marriage to limit the size of the family
  • Family planning=agape
  • Every child should be a wanted child
  • Disagree with the coil and morning after pill, as they destroy life "Do not kill"
  • Humans have free will
  • Improves woman's health
  • COULD encourage casual sex :(
  • Couple can cement the bond of the marriage
  • Secular point of view: Condoms stop spread of STIs, allow people to be in charge of own bodies and stop unwanted pregnancies
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Islam - Contraception

Allah created everything so life is created by Allah and is sacred

Birth of a child is not an accident but a gift and should be celebrated therefore contraception is not really welcomed unless there is a good reason:

  • family can’t afford to raise a child
  • baby maybe deformed
  • threat of mother’s life
  • the family has enough children

In general Muslims would tend to use Natural methods e.g. Rhythm method but artificial forms preferred to sterilisation.

Only "reversible" methods are allowed

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