Nature and Value of Human Life

  • Created by: Bridie
  • Created on: 10-05-11 18:57

Concentrating on one religion, examine the religion’s religious perspectives on the nature and value of human life (45 marks)


The nature of human life leads humans to question what makes up a human being and how this curiosity links to each individual. This issue has been divided into two contrasting perspectives; Religious and Secular. The Secular approach adopts a mechanical approach to issues such as evolution and science, whereas the Religious approach adopts questions addressing matters like freewill and the immortality of the soul.

Alternatively, the value of human life leads humans to question whether there is a purpose in life and what it means to be human. From a religious perspective they would ask are our lived entwined into a relationship with a divine being but from a secular perspective, the defiant nature of Humanism is embraced where secular humanist follow Socrates and his guidance; to not attempt to derive sets of values and laws from faith.


From a religious approach the nature of human life points to the control of a divine being which gives us an objective sense of purpose and therefore shapes us as individuals.  Are we created by God or simply a stage in existence relying on DNA? And if this answer were to be revealed would our personal identities as humans be put in jeopardy? In the words of Thomas Hobbes “the life of man is nasty, brutish and short”. Dualism is a religious theory that there exist both bodies and minds, distinct from one another, but linked together in some way, whereas materialism demonstrates the secular view saying that our minds are inseparable from our bodies. For a dualist a human being is made up of two parts; the body and the soul, in which the mind determines out personality but the body simply acts as an outer shell. Plato was a dualist and idealist who, in his writing “The Republic” he stated that the soul belonged to a level of reality that was higher than that of the body, and therefore immortal. This idea reflects the nature of a human being as for Plato for everything in existence; a perfect idea or form existed, and our soul allows us to enquire into higher realities such as truth, goodness and knowledge. Materialism is derived from the secular approach of the nature of human life where the materialist rejects any existence of the soul, the body is contingent and so death is seen as the end with no afterlife. Hick was a materialist but his re-creation theory contained implications of dualism. For Hick there only way humans could survive death is if an exact replica would appear resulting from God being all powerful. Hick confided in God because he viewed him as all-powerful, therefore making it logical for an exact replica to appear, so to Hick death destroys us, but God re-creates us.


Following on, the nature of evil carries great importance when approaching the nature of human life. The


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