Religion and Ethics
Why Philosophy of Religion and Ethics?
Philosophy is not just about how to think; it is about how to live. This course looks at Western and Christian philosophy, both of which have influenced and shaped Western society. If you are a believer in another religion or of no religion at all, this study should be of use to you simply because you live in the West, and the ideas embedded in society have grown out of a ‘Western’ way of thinking. The big questions about life and death, why we are here, and the existence of God, are still being asked, and in today’s world we still need the capacity to think, and decide on what basis our lives should be lived.
Ethics is about moral choices – the values that lie behind them and the language used to describe them. This course introduces some of the main ethical theories, and looks at the contributions of many thinkers including Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant and Nietzsche. The course also explores important areas of moral thought – personal relationships, genetic engineering, abortion, euthanasia and global issues.
Unit 1 - Philosophy of Religion I
An introduction to major influences on the philosophy of religion and the traditional arguments for the existence of God with contemporary challenges to religious belief, e.g. the problem of evil. Girls recently attended the Wellington College debate: 'Atheism is the new fundamentalism'.
Unit 2 - Religious Ethics I
This unit looks at specific ethical theories such as Natural Moral Law, the Categorical Imperative, Utilitarianism, and also Christian Ethics as applied to medical ethics, e.g. abortion, euthanasia and genetic engineering.
Unit 3 - Philosophy of Religion II
This examines the distinctions between body and soul in philosophical thinking and the different ideas about life after death and the usefulness of religious language.
Unit 4 - Religious Ethics II
This looks at the concepts within ethical theory and the use of ethical language; Free Will and Determinism, the nature and role of the conscience, and the contribution made by Christian ethics to environmental, business and sexual ethics.
AS Level is assessed by means of written examinations for Philosophy of Religion I and Religious Ethics I. A2 Level assessment is by written examinations for Philosophy of Religion II and Religious Ethics II.
Beyond A Level
An A Level in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics is looked favourably upon by all universities and offers a very strong grounding for those who wish to pursue studies in theology, philosophy, psychology, education, medicine, law and politics, or any general humanities degree. In recent years the study of philosophy, ethics and theology has become a popular choice for The Abbey School students at undergraduate level.