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Religious Studies

Subject Leader                                                                   Advanced Level

Miss H Cook        Religious Studies (Philosophy, Ethics and Theology)

OCR (Course code H573)

Why study Religious Studies (Philosophy, Ethics and Theology)?

Religious Studies requires students to engage with many of the ultimate questions which have fascinated humanity for millennia. To be successful in this subject an enquiring mind, the ability to think critically, and an enthusiasm for debate are essential.  Students will need to question, analyse, interpret, apply and evaluate a range of theories concerning the nature of belief and morality. Throughout the course the ability to make comparisons and connections between various concepts is developed. Students must construct and communicate articulate arguments and this frequently requires students to understand and argue points of view that may be contrary to their own.

How will you be assessed?

This is a two year course which is externally assessed through three two hour examinations at the end of the second year of study.  Each exam is worth 33.3% of the final A level grade, and will require students to write three essays (each worth 40 marks).  There is no coursework.

What will you study?  
Unit 1 (H573/01)

Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Religion is concerned with exploring religious beliefs and concepts to see whether they can stand up to rational argument. Students will explore ancient philosophical influences including the thought of Plato and Aristotle; the teleological, cosmological and ontological arguments about the existence or non-existence of God; the nature and impact of religious experience; the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil and suffering; the nature of the soul, mind and body; the possibility of life after death; ideas about the nature of God, and issues in religious language.  Students will critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the philosophical perspectives examined.
Unit 2 (H573/02)

Religious Ethics

Topics studied will include normative ethical theories such as utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, natural law and situation ethics; the application of ethical theories to three contemporary issues of importance (euthanasia, business ethics and sex and sexuality); ethical language and thought; debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience; the influence on ethical thought on developments in religious beliefs and the philosophy of religion.  Students must be able to express and justify their own position in relation to the issues covered.
Unit 3 (H573/03)

Developments in Religious Thought (Theology)

In this unit, students will further develop their skills of evaluation and synthesis in particular.  Students will examine religious beliefs, values and teachings, how they are connected and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world. Focussing on the Christian faith, they will examine topics such as human nature, death and the afterlife, gender, liberation theology, and the challenges of secularism and pluralism.   Students will explore sources of religious wisdom and authority; practices which shape and express religious identity, significant social and historical developments, and the relationship between religion and society.
What will Religious Studies offer you in the future?

The skills and subject knowledge developed in Religious Studies can be of great benefit to those intending to study many Arts subjects at Higher Education. In addition, these skills are useful in careers requiring the ability to prepare, present and challenge arguments, good interpersonal skills and cultural awareness, (in particular law, education, journalism, medicine, the public sector, marketing, management and many more).