The Miraculous Journey

‘The Miraculous Journey’ (2005 – 2013) consists of fourteen large-scale bronze sculptures that chart the gestation of a foetus from conception to birth. This impressive art work is by controversial British artist Damien Hirst. It can be found outside the new Sidra Medical and Research Centre in Doha, Qatar.

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‘The Miraculous Journey‘ begins with the fertilization of an egg and ends with a fully formed baby. The huge bronze figures range from 5 to 11 metres in height and the whole structure weighs 216 metric tonnes. They were individually cast in over 500 panels at Pangolin Foundry in the UK before being transported to Qatar.

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Hirst explains that the work came from, “a desire to create something monumental, whilst essentially human.” He states: “Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life. I hope the sculpture will instill in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder at this extraordinary human process, which will soon be occurring in the Sidra Medical Center, as well as every second all across the globe.”

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Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority who commissioned the work, made the point to the New York Times: “To have something like this is less daring than having a lot of nudity. There is a verse in the Qur’an about the miracle of birth. It is not against our culture or our religion.” In the Qur’an it says, [We] then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (Qur’an, 23:14).

This really interesting artwork which teaches people about the incredible nature of human development from conception, embryo, foetus and birth  links to what we learn in PSHCE about pregnancy and also what we study in RS classes about  Islam and abortion.  The main fact to remember is that it is rarely permitted after 120 daysMuslims regard abortion as wrong and haram (forbidden), but many accept that it may be permitted in certain cases.

As with most moral debates, a religion like Islam will have a variety of viewpoints. All schools of Muslim law accept that abortion is permitted if continuing the pregnancy would put the mother’s life in real danger. This is the only reason accepted for abortion after 120 days of the pregnancy.  Different schools of Muslim law hold different views on whether any other reasons for abortion are permitted, and at what stage of pregnancy if so. Some schools of Muslim law permit abortion in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, while others only permit it in the first 7 weeks. However, even those scholars who would permit early abortion in certain cases still regard abortion as wrong, but do not regard it as a punishable wrong.

The Qur’an does not explicitly refer to abortion but offers guidance on related matters.

Eat less meat to cut carbon emissions

Scientists have said eat less meat to cut carbon emissions but the UK’s climate minister Claire Perry has told BBC News that it is not the government’s job to advise people on a climate-friendly diet. Friends of the Earth are not impressed at all. They think it is a dereliction of duty and that government ministers should show leadership on this difficult issue. Would you stop eating meat in an effort to help slow down climate change?

It is a shocking facts that raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprits.

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Experts say that our battle over climate change is going to have to get more personal.  This might involve:

  • driving smaller cars
  • walking and cycling more
  • flying less
  • buying less fast fashion
  • wearing a sweater in winter
  • eating less meat

There will need to be a cultural shift and they want governments support those messages to it will be an impossible task keeping the global temperature rise at 1.5C. Religious groups are already preaching to their supporters about how to act now on climate change. Operation Noah was set up in 2004 to provide a Christian response to the climate crisis. They work with all Christian denominations and support interfaith work on climate change. Their catch phrase is faith motivated, science informed and hope inspired.

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Saving Cash, Looking After Mental Health and Avoiding Hangovers

These might be the reasons why less under 25’s in Britain are drinking alcohol.

Sarah, who stopped drinking for Go Sober October, said “I find it easier to feel a bit happier, two of my other friends are doing it for mental health reasons as well and it’s really about learning how to have fun without getting drunk.” Georgie also stops drinking alcohol for at least part of the year, “A few years ago I decided going sober during the summer, just because I enjoyed my nights out more. I saved a lot of money as well so now it’s something I do every year and just look forward to the winter with nice warming cocktails instead.”

The advice for how much adults should drink states that men and women should consume no more than 14 units a week. That’s no more than six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine in a week.

The health risks associated with excessive drinking  or sustained drinking of alcohol are a real worry:3.-60-medical-conditions

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Follow chicken from the farm to the fryer

A short 10 minute documentary on the BBC showed chicken lover Hezron Springer how the fried chicken he eats travels from the farm to his local fried chicken restaurant. He’s shocked that chickens only live until 39 days old when they are killed for their meat.

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It is always good to know where your food is coming from, either from a health or ethical  view point

Mental Health and Addiction is an Everyday Battle

The story of George Green is one of too much too soon and the dangers of drugs to people’s mental health. In 2011 aged just 15 years old George Green was signed for £2 million by Everton and was immediately compared to Wayne Rooney, another youthful Everton success story. But just a few years later it had all gone wrong.

“Before I turned 18 you wouldn’t catch me out at night. As soon as I was 18 it was like a new world opened up. I was drinking, doing drugs and playing football. The first time I took drugs I’d gone to watch football in a pub with mates. I was offered cocaine and it changed my life,” explains George in a BBC interview.

You don’t have to be a budding football star to find out the hard way the risk of drugs. Cocaine can give a powerful high but also an incredible low when you come down.

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Didsbury Church explains its move to be fully inclusive

Watch a short video about Lizzie Lowe who four years ago aged only 14-year-old took her own life because she thought she wouldn’t be accepted as a gay Christian. And how her church called St James, in Didsbury, Manchester, has become an inclusive church  which embraces everyone, no matter the gender, race, disability or sexuality. You could say it’s a shame that a tragic loss of life was needed to make this change, but at least it’s happened and the inclusivity can help others feel welcomed and loved for who they are.

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Designs of the Year show Uncertainty

The Design Museum in London has just announced its 87 candidates for the Design of the Year Award, reports the Guardian.  The Design Museum holds this exhibition each year and is an excellent way to learn about developments in transport, architecture, fashion and graphics. This year Aric Chan who curated the exhibition says, “Designers are always very good at responding to the world around them and, if anything, the world around us is probably defined by uncertainty … things that seemed clear in our minds are no longer so. That might include what is human or natural and what is artificial, or the blurring of gender.”

The Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition runs from 12th September until 6th January. Some of this year’s highlights might be the boot made from mushrooms to be worn on Mars – created using human sweat; the costumes designed for the film Black Panther; or an activity centre and museum in southern Denmark made entirely from Lego. You will learn about environmental, social and political issues at this exhibition which fits nicely with the critical thinking needed in PSHCE.

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The Design Museum in London is located near Holland Park. The exhibition referred to on this page costs £9.50 as a student, £6.50 for a child and £12 as an adult. However there is also a decent amount to see at the museum which is completely free.