Course Aims

1) Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, including philosophical and ethical viewpoints, so that they can:

  • describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals
  • identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and worldviews
  • appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.

2) Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities
  • express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues
  • appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion.

3) Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:

  • find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, responding creatively
  • enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.  

Autumn 1 – Module 1

Philosophical approaches to arguments for and against God’s existence.  

Key Question: What is my own belief system and view on God’s existence?

  • Difference between objective/subjective
  • The Inductive argument/problem of evil 
  • The concept and challenges of free will 
  • Ludwig Feuerbach’s theory of God 
  • William Paley: The Watchmaker
  • Richard Swinburne: Theory of likelihood   
  • Irenaeus’ theodicy Vs Job

Autumn 2 – Module 2 

Examining different ethical theories and application of animal rights and human rights. 

Key Question: What is my worldview towards animals and stewardship?

  • Difference between absolutism/relativism
  • Christian concept the imago dei and its effect on personhood
  • Peter Singer: Ethics of ‘Speciesism’
  • Christian/Buddhist attitudes of animal rights
  • Stewardship: 5 Moral Precepts of Buddhism

Spring 1 – Module 3

Understanding different causes and types of prejudice.

Key Question: Can I evaluate mine and other people’s views objectively? 

  • Differences: prejudice/discrimination.
  • Original sin/Suffering and evil in the world
  • Richard Dawkins: Religion causes prejudice
  • Prejudice: War, conflict, indoctrination
  • The causes of prejudice in the Holocaust
  • Positive effect that religion has on society
  • Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi’s influences on the world

Spring 2 – Module 4

Exploring a range of different religious teaching and practices on abortion and euthanasia.

Key Question: How do I value human life?

  • Abortion: Religion and ethical arguments that life is/is not special and sacred e.g. pro-life Vs pro choice
  • Different attitudes religions have towards IVF/Euthanasia
  • Sanctity of life Vs quality of life
  • Ethics and the Law

Summer 1 – Module 5

Examine the aims of science and religion and the relationship between the two. 

Key Question: What is my worldview on science and religion?

  • Relationship/limits between science and religion
  • Religious views on rebirth, reincarnation and afterlife
  • Einstein’s views on science and religion
  • Richard Dawkins/Charles Darwin: Evolution
  • Religious truths about the origins of life/universe

Summer 2 – Module 6

Examine how Buddhism can help us.

Key Question: How do religious beliefs and teachings influence modern society?

  • The life of the Buddha and the meaning of life
  • The Eightfold Path 
  • Buddhism: The 3 poisons and 4 noble truths
  • Buddhist concept of “not-self”: impermanence (Anatta)
  • Power of mindfulness and meditation 
  •  Alternative religion: Scientology/Jediism/Rastafarianism