Rs topic 1 Christianity

HideShow resource information

Why are men the superior sex?

  • Adam was made first then Eve
  • Eve lead Adam astray in the garden of Eden therefore woman are the weaker sex.
  • Men are the heads of the Christian family according to the Bible
  • woman must say they "obey" their husbands in the wedding vows.
  • Jesus chose 12 male disciples and put peter incharge of the church.

Biblical verses supporting it:

Ephesians 5:22–23a Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church.

Timothy 2:11–13 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

1 of 14

Men are not superior?

Most modern Christians do not believe that men are superior to women. They accept that men and women are different, but believe the Bible is saying both are equal in the eyes of God. This is because in the first creation story it simply says God created human beings to be like himself and that ‘male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27b). Jesus also revealed himself to woman first after he had risen and allowed them to learn from him. (He treated them as an equal)

Most Christians in today’s society believe in an equal relationship where the roles of the couple are interchangeable. Some women work to provide for the family and some men share child-care and household duties.

Biblical verses supporting this argument:

 Galatians 3:28 ‘There is neither. . . male or female. . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’

1 Corinthians 11b–12a ‘. . . woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman.’

2 of 14

Traditional roles in the Christian family

Christian women look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the role model of a quiet, loving mother. It is the wife’s duty to provide a loving home for her husband and children.

The man is the head of the family he has a duty to provide for his wife and children by earning the money. Within the house he sets the rules and leads his family by setting a good example of how a Christian should behave. 

These roles are supported by scriptures. St Paul, in his letters to the early Church, gave clear directions that women were to obey their husbands because God had created them that way.

3 of 14

Men and woman in the church

The Church family follows the Old Testament passages about the superiority of men, St Paul taught that women should be silent in church. Christians suggest that because Jesus chose 12 men to be his disciples, he clearly intended men to take the leading role in the Church. From the disciples Jesus chose Peter to lead the Church and, according to tradition, it was Peter who became the Bishop of Rome, the first Pope. Roman Catholics believe Jesus intended men to be leaders of the Church family. Roman Catholics do not permit women to become priests.

Liberal Protestants take a different view of woman in the church. Even though Jesus lived at a time when women had few rights in society, he permitted them to be his followers and showed them respect. The story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38–42) shows Jesus encouraging a woman to sit at his feet in order to learn from him. This was not something women were usually allowed to do. Christians believe that because the risen Christ chose to reveal himself to women first on Easter morning that it was clear that he held women in high regard. All this leads less traditional Christians to believe men and women can have an equal role in Church leadership. Most non-conformist Churches permit women to be ministers and the Anglican Church ordained its first women priests in 1994.

4 of 14

What is marriage?

The Catholic Church describes marriage as: 

"Marriage is the sacrament in which baptized men and women vow to belong to each other in a permanent and exclusive sexual partnership of loving, mutual care, concern and shared responsibility, in the hope of having children and bringing up a family." (Catholic Truth Society)

Marriage is a civil and a religious commitment for Christians. In the Christian marriage the couple’s relationship is publicly witnessed by the congregation and the marriage register is signed. Christians marriage is also a holy relationship. It is also seen by many Christians as a sacrament and part of God’s plan for humanity. Through marriage a couple can enjoy a loving relationship with each other that enables God to channel his love for them. Because Christian marriage is a religious commitment, the ceremony takes place in a church or a chapel.

5 of 14

What is the purpose of marriage?

All Christians believe the purpose of marriage is to:

• Help and support each other in good and bad times and allow them to grow in heart mind and holy spirit

• Enjoy a sexual relationship in a safe and correct enviroment

• It is the foundation of family life (ideal place for children to be brought up)

6 of 14

Marriage ceremony

A Christian marriage ceremony is very simple. It requires only the couple, a priest, a ring and two people to witness the ceremony in a church.The couple will make a promise to each other in the marriage ceremony. It is called a vow because the promise is made in front of God.

 I______, take you _____, to have and to hold, fr om this day forward: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow. 

At a Christian marriage, the ring symbolises that the marriage will be forever.

7 of 14

How marriage ceremonies reflect christian teaching

Each part of the marriage ceremony has a meaning which is closely linked to Christian teachings:

  • The ceremony takes place in a church because promises are made in front of God.
  • The priest asks the couple and the congregation if there are any reasons why this marriage cannot go ahead. This is to show that the Christian marriage is legally binding.
  • The priest asks both the bride and the groom if they want to marry the other person. This is to show that Christian marriage is a relationship, that is entered into freely and no one has forced them to marry.
  • Having children and bringing them up in the Christian faith is an important part of marriage and the priest explains this to couples in the opening address.
  • Couples say their vows in the presence of God and the congregation of Christians as witnesses, showing the sacred importance of the ceremony.
  • Prayers, Bible readings and the priest’s talk teach the couple about the importance of love in a marriage.
  • A ring is given to symbolise the unending nature of love and of Christian marriage. This shows a marriage is for life.
8 of 14

Civil partnerships

Christianity teaches that sexual relationships only belong within marriage. For that reason, many Christians do not accept civil partnerships. There are several passages in the Bible that condemn same-sex relationships.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither the sexually immoral... nor homosexual offenders.

The Catholic Church is amongst those that reject civil partnerships. In 2008 a Vatican official stated that ‘Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour. The activity must be condemned’, and the Pope told Catholics that homosexuality was a greater problem for the future of the world than climate change.

Some Christians accept civil partnerships as a loving relationship and allow same-sex couples to have a blessing ceremony after their civil partnership registration if they wish. Members of the Church of England vary in their response. Some priests will hold a blessing ceremony after a civil partnership and others will not.

9 of 14

Marriage is for life!

Christians believe divorce is wrong. Christian teachings and the marriage ceremony, both show Christians that marriage is intended to be a relationship for life. Marriage is a holy relationship and the vows the couple made were made in front of God and should never be broken. The ring given in the marriage ceremony symbolises that love is unending and that Jesus taught that marriage is for life. These beliefs mean there is much debate within Christianity about whether it is right or wrong to permit married couples to divorce.

Mark 10:10–11 Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate. Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.

Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

The Ten commandments says do not commit adultery. this shows it is a very serious crime in the eyes of God and divorce should never be accepted.

10 of 14

Roman Catholic view on divorce

Roman Catholics (and some Protestants) believe that divorce is wrong. They understand that marriage problems occur and try their best to resolve the couples problems. If that fails the Catholic Church will allow the couple to separate and live apart, not allowing re-marriage or sexual relationships with anyone else (would be adultery).

Sometimes the Catholic Church will annul a marriage. This means the marriage was not true so is cancelled, and appears to have never taken place.  An annulment can only be granted if  

  • one of the couple was under-age,
  • one of the couple wasforced to marry against their will or unaware of what they were doing due to diminished responsibility. 
  • The couple must have also never had any sexual relationships after marriage.
11 of 14

Church of England view

Although the Church of England believes that marriage is for life, they accept marriage doesn't always work, and sometimes even after the priest has tried to help resolve their issues they are unable to. The Church of England accepts that divorce may be the kindest thing for all concerned because it ends conflict and enables the couple to begin a new life.

  • Divorce is permitted because Jesus taught that the right course of action is the most loving thing to do. Forcing a couple to remain trapped in a loveless marriage would hurt them and everyone in their family, which cannot be right.
  • Some Christians believe a marriage ends when love dies between the couple, as well as with the death of a partner.
  • Others point out that Jesus did allow divorce for unfaithfulness.
  • Jesus lived in a Jewish society almost 2000 years ago, so some Christians believe it is right to interpret his message in the light of today’s society and permit divorce.

Only the Orthodox Church will grant a religious divorce. Otherwise it is a civil matter that is dealt with through the courts.

12 of 14


Roman Catholics, don't allow re-marriage in church after a civil divorce. Not all Christians permit a second marriage ceremony to take place in church because the divorced partner would be making promises in front of God which they have already broken once.

Other Christians accept re-marriage because Jesus also taught the importance of forgiveness if someone has made a mistake. The Church of England will accept either re-marriage in church, or a church blessing following a register office ceremony such as the Prince of Wales had.

Because some vicars disagree that promises which have been broken once should be repeated, they are allowed to refuse to carry out a re-marriage ceremonies. The couple must marry in another church or with another priest.

Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

13 of 14


Beliefs about contraception

  • The Roman Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception (condoms, coils and birth control pills) are wrong, but that natural birth control (restricting intercourse to times when the female is biologically least likely to conceive) is acceptable. The official teaching is based on the view that God created sex in humans primarily to bring children into the world to continue the human race, and that use of contraception contradicts God’s will The only method they will use is the rhythm method.
  • Many Christians disagree with this teaching. They argue that artificial contraception in justifiable, especially  to avoid bringing children into the world who will not be members of a loving family, and that God cannot want children to be born into poverty, illness and abandonment.

14 of 14


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Christianity resources »