R.E Short Course Revision Notes - Edexcel

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Marriage and the Family

Statistics tell us:

-         Number of marriages have dropped

-         Number of divorces have risen

-         Cohabitation has risen


Sex outside marriage:

Christian teachings:

-         MOST CHRISTIANS believe that sex should only take place in MARRIAGE and that sex before marriage and adultery and both wrong.

-         The bible teaches “ Thou shall not commit adultery” Based on teachings of the pope for CATHOLICS and general synod for PROTESTANTS.

-         SOME CHRISTIANS believe sex before marriage is okay as long as the couple are in in love and do plan to marry eventually.


Muslim Teachings:


-         Muslims believe that sex should only take place inside marriage and that sex before marriage and adultery are both wrong.

-         The Qur’an teaches that sex before marriage and adultery are a great sin.

-         Marriages are arranged by parents although British Muslims play a part in the selection of their own partner.

-         To prevent sex outside marriage girls and boys are separated after puberty and men and women never have mixed gatherings.

-         Muslims are expected to marry because the Prophet married and so it is sunnah. You cannot have legal partnership in Islam unless you are married.



Christian teachings:

-         SOME CHRISTIANS (ROMAN CATHOLICS) believe there divorce is not allowed at all. They believe this because :

1. Jesus banned divorce

2. When you marry you make promises to God which cannot be broken.

3. They can get annulment (pretend the marriage never happened)


-         Other Christians (mainly Protestants) believe that if a marriage goes wrong and there is no chance of bringing the couple back together, then they can divorce. This is because God is always prepared to forgive our sins if we are determined to live a new life. They also believe in the lesser of two evils.



Islamic Teachings:


-         Divorce is allowed in Islam because marriage is a contract.

-         However, there are few divorces because Islam teaches that divorce is a bad thing and breaks up the family.

-         The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “Among all lawful things, divorce is the most disliked by Allah”. So divorce is allowed as it is lawful.

-         There are ‘steps’ over 3 months which must be gone through before the couple divorces – in case they decide to get back together, the women is pregnant ect.

-         Islam has strict rules about how the children should be brought up if the parents divorce.



Family Life:


Christian teachings:


-         Children are seen as a gift from god.

-         All Christians believe that children should be brought up in a nuclear family that has 2 parents (unless one parent has died).

-         Christian marriage services say one of the major purposes of marriage is making a family and bringing up children in a


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