At our school the topics we chose to study for the legacy AQA RS course are:
Early life (abortion and children)
Medical Ethics (fertility, cloning, transplants)
Elderly and Death (euthanasia)
Crime and Punishment
Remember we chose these to be our topics because they come in from 1st to 4th on the exam paper. There were fears that if we’d studied topics 5 or 6 then you might not have known which questions to answer in the exam.
You can use some other school’s excellent revision resources but just take care to stick to the topics you’ll be expected to answer on the exam…
For students completing the new AQA GCSE (9-1) the whole of the website is useful with its information on how the Bible is used, Festivals, issues Christians face, Jesus, life as a Christian, and places.
Quite often in Religious Studies lessons our discussion lead us to the NHS – the National Health Service in Britain which provides free medical treatment to people resident in the country. If we are discussing the causes of crime; illegal drugs; alcohol and cigarette addiction; multi-faith society; and immigration we often at some point mention the NHS and its benefits and flaws.
So what do we think about some NHS trusts having a criteria which puts smokers and obese people at the back of the queue for certain treatments like hip and knee operations? The critics call it ‘lifestyle rationing’ whereas the NHS Trust says they advise patients to improve their lifestyle over 6 months as health optimisation. Now other NHS Trusts might take up this policy and so people are debating whether it is morally fair: the Evening Standard, The Sun, The Independent, and BBC all reported this story.
What might a religious person think about this debate? With regards Christianity we could refer to: sanctity of life, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Sheep and Goat, Do Not Kill, the Golden Rule, Love Thy Neighbour, live like Jesus, and situation ethics. Whereas for Buddhism we could refer to the 5 Precepts focusing in on Do not Harm and Do not Take Drugs, Karma, Tanha (craving), Karuna (compassion) and Upaya Kausalya (skilful means).
There are so many different ways of protesting or trying to bring about change.
To protest (verb) – express an objection to what someone has said or done
If you decide to go out and protest then you can consider: signage, shouting, sit-ins, petitions, silence, marches, boycotts, putting your body in the way, mock awards, vigils, silliness, singing, praying or flash mobs. There are hundreds of other ideas on non-violent protest and sometimes you can do something specific to the cause you are protesting about.
This is what has recently happened in the Netherlands, where men are showing their support for gay men being able to hold hands and openly express their relationships. Over the weekend in the Dutch city of Arnhem there was a vicious assault of two gay men. Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes suffered four missing teeth and a severed lip, whereas Jasper Vernes-Sewratan was left with injured ribs. Jasper said they usually hide their relationship, but had decided to hold hands as they walked home after a night out. Dutch politicians as well as celebrities are joining with other Dutch men to show their solidarity to the gay men who were attacked – by holding hands.
The politician Alexander Pechtold attended a meeting at The Hague with Wooter Koulmees a financial specialist.
Canada will be the first G7 country to completely legalise marijuana use if the plans which are starting to go through parliament are successful.
The prime minister Justin Trudeau made the promise to legalise it stating that by legalising it the drug could be better regulated, kept away from children and profits would be kept out of criminal hands. At the earliest the new laws will be passed by probably 2019. Until then, Trudeau has stressed that in the absence of legislation, recreational marijuana remains illegal across Canada. “Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” he told reporters.
Here in England cannabis is a Class B drug. Other Class B drugs are: Amphetamines, barbiturates, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine). Being caught in possession of a Class B drug can bring up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Whereas being caught dealing or producing can mean up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
In South Africa there was Apartheid from the late 1940s that saw the separation of black and white people and was enforced by law. Apartheid came to an end in the 1990s.
Many Christians who believed in the Bible’s teaching about equality campaigned against Apartheid. Trevor Huddleston was a white vicar who lived in a black township, he organised non-violent protests and urged countries to boycott sporting and cultural links with South Africa until Apartheid came to an end.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was born in South Africa in 1931. He became a priest during the apartheid regime and spent years campaigning to end it. He was a black bishop who used his sermons and speeches to explain how apartheid was against Jesus’ teaching, he travelled to pursue other governments to help bring apartheid to an end. He led non-violent protests and saw prayer as vital to seeing change.After Apartheid had ended, Archbishop Tutu wanted to encourage black and whites to both admit the wrongdoing they had caused and he set up the ‘Truth and reconciliation’ Commission to look into human rights abuses and protect those who were willing to admit what they had done.
“God does not show favouritism” is a quote from the Bible which reflects the belief Christians have that God loves everyone equally. “If there is an alien living in your land do not ill treat him” is another quote that suggests prejudice and discrimination against people of different races or ethnic origin is wrong and that instead we should, ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated’ (the Golden Rule).
Why would a Christian be against Racism?
Everyone is made ‘In God’s image’ therefore should be treated equally
Jesus taught people to ‘Love your neighbour’ with the parable of the Good Samaritan teaching that everyone is our neighbour and we should treat people equally regardless of race.
Martin Luther King was a Christian who fought against racism in America through non-violent peaceful protests. His beliefs in equality for all regardless of race prompted him to change people’s attitudes towards black people in America.
St Paul wrote, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, all are one in Christ.” This suggests that we shouldn’t discriminate as we all equally valuable regardless of race, gender…
Stephen Daldry, a famous director, has announced he’s working on a film about Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini.
Mardini who was already a promising swimmer before she left the civil war in Syria travelled with her sister to Lebanon, then on to the Turkish port of Izmir, before getting onto an overcrowded dinghy bound for the Greek island of Lesbos. But less than half an hour into their journey the motor stopped and the boat threatened to capsize: out of the 20 people aboard, only three knew how to swim: Yusra being one of them. For more than three hours, they did what had to be done, swimming alongside the dinghy, pushing, pulling and cajoling it until they reached land.
“I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer,” Yusra recalls
She eventually settled in Germany, joined a swim team in Berlin and within months she was in Brazil, one of the 43 stateless athletes competing in Rio as the first ever refugee team. The film of her life is going to be both interesting in how it shows the escape from a war torn country as well as the determination of a young athlete aiming for swimming glory.
In class this week when discussing with Year 8 students what their human rights are we’ve mentioned Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.