Religion and Early Life

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  • Created by: PARTHENON
  • Created on: 04-02-16 14:28

Topic 3 – Religion and Early Life

Key words and terms

  • The miracle of life: the idea that life is wonderful, amazing and/or special.
  • Children as a blessing: the idea that God has favoured a couple with a child. The same idea is sometimes referred to ‘children are a gift’ from God.
  • Sanctity of life: life is sacred because it is God-given.
  • Conception: when sperm meets the egg.
  • Viable: the point at which a foetus could survive if it were born.
  • Quality of life: a measure of fulfilment, which includes both physical and mental well-being.
  • Abortion: the deliberate termination (ending) of a pregnancy, usually before the foetus is 24 weeks and viable. The full phrase is procured abortion.
  • Miscarriage: when the women’s body aborts the foetus naturally.
  • Adoption: the legal process where a person (child) is taken (adopted) into a family as a son or daughter.
  • Fostering: the taking of a child from a different family in a family home and brining them up with the rest of the new family.

The Miracle of Life

  • Christians see all life as sacred (Sanctity of Life) so all new born babies are considered a blessing and a gift.
  • God chooses to create and destroy life and a baby is part of God’s creation and plan. Life is God-given and holy.
  • Buddhists see all sentient beings as important. This includes new life.
  • There is a teaching in Tibetan Buddhism that illustrates the importance of human life. A human life is the best type of life, but it only happens after millions of rebirths. It is like a blind turtle in an ocean that only comes to the surface every 100 years putting his head through a ring floating on the surface. The chances are so small.

When does life begin?

  • Christians believe life begins at conception. This is when the sperm fertilises the egg.
  • At conception the fertilised egg gains a soul. This is called ‘ensoulment’ and is a key Christian belief.
  • A child’s DNA is fixed a conception.
  • During the third week of pregnancy the nervous system and spinal column starts developing.
  • The heart starts beating in the fourth week of pregnancy.
  • At roughly 22 – 24 weeks the foetus becomes viable, which means it may survive outside the womb. It is very rare for a child to survive at less than 22 weeks after conception or under 500g.
  • To destroy the embryo or foetus at any stage goes against the Christian teaching of “Thou shall not kill” (Bible).
  • It is also against the First Buddhist Precept of abstain (avoid) causing harm to living things.
  • Some Buddhists may say, however, that the five skandas (or aggregates) are not complete before 22 weeks and the baby has no consciousness or mind.
  • Non-religious people may argue that the ‘child’ is not an individual until separate from the mother. Until then the embryo or foetus is part of the mother.

Quality of Life

  • The quality of life refers…


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