This course develops skills of interpretation and analysis. It equips students to be independent thinkers and to be strong in powers of persuasion. It encourages open mindedness while examining critically, various religious and ethical belief systems. It will develop essay writing skills and the ability to evaluate issues and develop critical awareness of personal points of view. This course will increase awareness of the beliefs and issues that affect our society today as well as considering on-going controversial issues.
Unit 1: Philosophy of Religion – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level
This unit studies philosophical arguments about the existence or non-existence of God as well as the nature and problem of evil. It also studies different views on life after death. It asks whether or not the soul can exist outside of the body. It studies the validity of religious experience and miracles and looks at whether or not religious language has any meaning.
Unit 2: Religious Ethics – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level
This unit studies the relationship between ethical theories and religious methods of ethical decision making. It contrasts religious and secular approaches to morality. It will also consider a variety of ethical issues such as euthanasia and sex and sexuality. It also studies freewill and determinism and considers to what extent the future is already mapped out. It also studies the nature and role of conscience in decision making and whether this comes from God or society.
Unit 3: Developments in religious thought – 2 hours written examination. 33.3% of total A level
This unit studies one chosen religion, looking at religious beliefs, values and teachings. It also studies the significant social and historical developments in that religion as well as the relationship between religion and society.
Due to the nature of this qualification, it can be applied to any university course or career because it develops skills that are valuable and can be applied in many areas – Law, Journalism, Teaching, Media, Social Work, Community Work. The ‘Ethics’ part of the course will sit well with Advanced Level Biology and will be of value for those thinking of going into medicine.
Good combinations of other subjects to study with Religious Studies are:
History, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, English, Biology, Business Studies.