Religious Studies is a subject which explores the beliefs and practices of different groups of people. It will develop knowledge and understanding of key teaching and sources of wisdom.
It will develop a students’ ability to construct well argued, well informed, balanced and structured written arguments. It will demonstrate their depth and breadth of understanding of the subject.
It will provide for opportunities for students to engage with questions of belief, value, meaning, purpose, truth and their influence on human life.
It will challenge students to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in the light of what they have learnt and this will contribute to their preparation for adult life in a pluralist society and global community.
Students will deepen their understanding of the relationship between people. They will become informed about common and divergent views within traditions in the way beliefs and teachings are understood and expressed. They will demonstrate and understand that the religious traditions of Great Britain are in the main Christian. They will understand that the religious traditions of Great Britain are diverse and include the following religions: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, as well as other religions and non-religious beliefs, such as Atheism and Humanism.
The GCSE is examined by three exams in Year 11 covering the units on religious, philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world.
Our A Level course uses the OCR specifications covering the philosophy of religion, religion and ethics and developments in Christian thought. Each unit will look in detail at classical and modern theories which address the philosophical ideas about God. In ethics we look at classical and modern theories which look at questions of morality and rules and how ethical theories are applied. In developments in Christian thought we look at theological questions relating to God, Jesus Christ, questions of church and state, liberation theology, gender issues.
Many of our A Level students go onto to study at university, choosing to read degrees in theology, philosophy, philosophy politics and economics.
Religious Studies Course Content
Unit 1: Philosophical and ethical studies in the modern world. Relationships
This paper looks at relationships and how family life has changed over time from the traditional nuclear family to a range of different types. We explore marriage from both a religious and secular view. We look at divorce and how religion and secular views differ and complement one another. We investigate the use of contraception and how traditional beliefs and modern ideas have developed in society. We look at the roles of men and women in society and how traditional and modern views are presented. We investigate the sanctity of life and link this to abortion and euthanasia. We investigate beliefs about life after death and look at funeral services. We look at god and evil and link it to crime and punishment. We investigate forgiveness and is it always possible? We look at human rights and social justice. We investigate prejudice and discrimination. We look at issues of poverty and wealth.
Unit 2. Christianity
We investigate traditional ways to describe God as being omnipotent, omniscient etc. We look at what the incarnation or birth of Jesus means to Christians. We investigate Christian beliefs concerning creation. What look at beliefs and teaching about the person of Jesus Christ and how he is believed by Christians to be the saviour of mankind. We look at beliefs about the afterlife and judgement. We investigate forms of worship and the sacraments. We look at pilgrimage and the world wide Christian church.
Unit 3. Islam
What do Muslims believe about the nature of God? What do Muslims believe about the nature of prophets? What do Muslims believe about angels? What do Muslims believe about holy books? The five pillars of Islam. Obligatory acts in Shia Islam. Celebrations in Islam. Sources of wisdom.
This stimulating course gives students an opportunity to explore some of the most profound questions asked by mankind over the last 3000 years. The subject can be particularly useful for building a student’s skills of analysis and evaluation. Everyone who takes the course can make a valuable contribution, as philosophy is very much about unlocking and understanding the human experience.
The College expects students to have
Grade 5 or above in English.
The subject enables students to develop skills that are especially useful as preparation for courses and careers that involve researching, analysing and synthesising information. Examples include law, government and media work.
Unit 1: Philosophy of Religion
Students study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience, the nature of the soul, mind and body and the possibility of life after death.
Unit 2: Religion and Ethics
The unit is characterised by a study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers. Relevant current issues in religion and ethics are used to illustrate the debate.
Unit 3: Developments in religious thought
Students study one religious tradition in detail. This will include exploration of religious beliefs, values and teachings, sources of wisdom and authority and practices that shape and express religious identity. There are five options to choose from: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Unit 4: Additional topics
Including: ancient philosophical influences, soul, mind and body, life after death and challenges to belief. Twentieth Century Perspectives examines the challenges posed by logical positivism, language games and the falsification symposium.
Unit 5: Additional topics
Including: debates surrounding the significant ideas of conscience and free will, the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs and the philosophy of religion.
Unit 6: Additional topics
Including: significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought and key themes related to the relationships between religion and society.