Homosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to someone of the same sex
Heterosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex
Virgin: Someone who has never had sexual relations
Celibacy: Remaining unmarried and without sexual relations for religious reasons
Chastity: To absain from sexual relations
Bible on Homosexuality
There is no doubt that the Bible condemns Homosexuality and that God intended sex to be enjoyed by a married man and woman.
BUT it's important to notice that it has been grouped with other immortality such as lying, sex outside marriage, trading of slaves and promise breaking.
"Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men or thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God."
Churches on Homosexuality
Roman Catholic Church
- Based on Scripture, homosexuality cannot be approved of but homosexuals must be treated with sensitivity and compassion and not be discriminated against.
- They should not engage in sexual relationships (i.e. act on their homosexuality).
Church of Ireland
- Homosexual acts are regarded as 'Incompatible with Scripture'
- Most COI Parishes are opposed to homoexual practice
Churches recognise the importance of treating homosexual with compassion as this follows the example of how Jesus treated others.
Civil Partnerships - Allows same sex couples to legally register as civil partners.
Sex outside marriage
People are much more open about sex today. The Bible thinks sex is an enjoyable and wonderful gift from God. However, because it is sacred it should only take place within marriage.
The main churches agree that Christians who are not married should not have sex.
- This is what the Bible teaches: "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife and they become one."
- It prevents unwanted pregnancies outside marriage
- It decreases risks of spreading STIs
- It protects people emotionally. When a sexual relationship ends, people can be left feeling hurt, devalued and used.
A number of people are shunning married life and relationships in favour of being single. Why??
- Religious reasons - Hurt in the past
- Career driven - Death of a partner
- Haven't met the right person - Enjoy freedom
The Apostle Paul recommends single life.
"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs - how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world - how he can please his wife."
Should clergy marry?
Churches disagree on this issue. Clergy from the main protestant denominations are free to marry. The advantage of that is that they might have greater understanding for members of the congregation who are facing marriage or parenting issues/difficulties.
The Roman Catholic Church recommends required priests to remain unmarried because it allows them to to devote themselves completely to God, free of any 'distractions'. A number of Roman catholics argue that priests should be allowed to marry and that this might increase the number of young Catholic men wanting to enter the priesthood.
Marriage is the legal binding of a relationship between a man and a woman.
These can vary depending on the denomination, however some common features are listed below:
Introduction and declaration of purpose- The priest or minister will give a short homily or sermon on the importance and purpose of marriage.
The Vows - These are required by law although the wording will change from church to church. "To have and tohold from this day forward; for better for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; till death do us part."
Exchange of rings- These are exchanged as a symbol of the promise of unending love and the exclusive commitment which each partner is making.
Warning - The priest or minister quotes"Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together."
Pronouncement - In some denominations it is stated that the couple are now married.
Signing the Register - This is a legal requirement in which the couple and witnesses sign a register.
The Bible on Marriage
- Marriage is sacred. God created marriage and intends men and women to become 'one'.
- Marriage must be exclusive. Adultery is condemned in the 10 commandments.
- Marriage requires couples to work as a team and it involves give and take. "A man should fulfil his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfil her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs."
- Marriage should be built on love and respect.
Churches on Marriage
SACRED - The Roman Catholic Church states: "...the married state has been established by the creator and endowed him with its own proper laws...God himself is the author of marriage."
PERMANENT - The Methodist Church describes marriage as: "a life-long union in body, mind and spirit, of one man and one woman."
EXCLUSIVE- The Presbyterian Church describes marriage as: "a life-long partnership of man and wife with absolute faithfulness the one to the other."
FOR HAVING CHILDREN - The Church of Ireland suggests: One of the functions of marriage is to provide a stable family unit, within the wider community, in which children can be born and nurtured."
Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court.
Adultery Sexual problems
Money problems Domestic violence
Loss of job Infertility
Coping with elderly parents Children
Alcohol or drug abuse Bereavement
False hopes Lack of communication
Depression Health problems
Grounds for Divorce
The Matrimonal Causes Order 1978 states that a person has to prove to the courts that a marriage has irretrievably broken down for a person to be granted a divorce. In addition, one of the following grounds must exist.
- Adultery: by the other party
- Behaviour: which has made it unreasonable for the couple to stay together
- Desertion: for 2 years
- Separation and consent: the parties have lived apart for 2 years and the other party consents to the divorce
- Five year separation: the parties have lived apart for 5 years
Impacts of divorce (1)
Husband/Wife - Partners may be emotionally hurt
- There could be financial problems for one or both
- They may have to move out of family home and away from children
- Court cases can be expensive and stressful
Children - Children often blame themselves
- It can be very difficult if they have to choose who to live with
- Children may have to live between two homes
- They will see less of their parents
- Christmas and birthdays can be difficult/awkward
Impacts of divorce (2)
Family - Family events involving children can be uncomfortable
- May feel like they are losing a son/daughter
- May need to offer much more support to their family member
Friends - Can split friendship groups
- Couples may need to rely heavily on friends for emotional support or childcare
- Friends may not want to take sides
People in Church - Church events may be awkward
- May split friendship groups
- People must be very understanding and be careful not to judge
Bible on Divorce
"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
"The man who hates and divorces his wife, does violence to the one he should protect."
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and he two will become one flesh."
"But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace."
Churches on Divorce
Roman Catholic - Divorce is not allowed becase marriage is a sacrament which cannot be dissolved or ended. Even if a couple get a civil (legal) divorce, Roman Catholics believe they are still married in the eyes of God and are not allowed to remarry.
Presbyterian, CoI and Methodist - They all accept civil divorce as an end to marriage. They allow remarriage of divorced people in Church, but only if the minister is prepared to perform the ceremony.
War is an attempt by one state to either defend itself against another state or to try taking something such as land, resources or freedom from another power.
Bible on War
- The Bible recognises that war is inevitable "the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace."
- Jesus himself predicted that countries would fight against eachother when he was giving signs of the end of the world.
- Jesus also revealed that his presence on earth would cause conflict amongst family members and that they might turn out to be your worst enemies.
- Christians believe that is is always with justice that God judges and makes war.
- However, they also believe that it is only right to go to war when it is the will of God. If they disobey his command they will not succeed because they know that the Lord will not be with them.
Christians often view this concept as a contradiction in terms. How can a war (which often involves killing people and causing destruction) ever be Holy? However, religion and war are often linked and many soldiers go to war believing that God is on their side. Holy wars are usually:
- Called for by a religious leader or authority, such as the church.
- Fought to achieve a religious goal
- Expected to give a spiritual reward for those who tke part
The Crusades is an example of a series of holy wars. The aim was to capture the Christian sacred places and in the Holy Land from the muslims who lived there. Many Christians look back on such wars with regret.
Just war and Holy war
The difference between a Just war and a Holy war
A holy war is fought to protect the religion of the people concerned. A Just war is fought for any reason that is justified. The country that wants to go to war must demonstrate that there is a just cause to do so.
Just war is mainly Christian theory which begins with the belief that taking human life is wrong. However, it holds that countries do have a duty to protect and defend their citizens. In some extreme cases this means being willing to use force.
Just War Tradition
There are 2 questions a country must ask itself if it is under threat of attack:
1. Is it just to go towar?
2. How should such a war be fought?
The purpose of a Just War theory is to guide a state whn faced with potential threat and conflict situations. It helps a country decide whether or not to go to war. The theory shows that war is wrong, except in exceptional circumstances and that a just cause must be evident.
A war should only be fought for a cause that is morally justified.Prior to going to war, a state must prove that there is a 'just cause' to do so. A just cause may be
- In self-defence against an enemy's attack
- To defend the innocent
- To prevent an anticipated attack by a potential enemy
- To help a neighbour state that has been attacked
Criteria for a Just War
War must be:
1. The last resort
2. Lawfully declared by a government (ordinary people and terrorists cannot declare war)
3. A just cause and proper intention (keeping the peace or defending the innocent)
4. A reasonable chance of success
5. Good gained by winning war must outweigh evil caused by fighting it
6. Only appropriate force should be used
7. Innocent civilians should not be killed
8. Peace must be restored at the end