Students of any religious faith or none, who are interested in exploring issues of meaning and purpose, life and death, will be excited by the A-level Religious Studies syllabus.
Is there a God? Can anything be known about him/her on the basis of reason alone? Is religious experience an illusion or a valid way of gaining knowledge of ultimate reality? Are there any moral absolutes? On what basis should ethical decisions be made?
The course offers an introduction to philosophical thinking and the opportunity to develop rigorous intellectual skills that are valuable in any university course and any career. Students will adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion and learn to evaluate philosophical arguments. In the light of their learning they will reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes.
The AS course is in two units, each one examined in June. The A-level comprises a further two units, also examined in June.
AS programme of study: Introduction to Religious Studies
Unit 1 – Religion and Ethics: Utilitarianism, Bentham and Mill; Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics and its application to a chosen ethical issue; the nature and value of human life, free will and equality in the teaching of one or more religions; abortion and euthanasia.
Unit 2 – Philosophy of Religion: the Cosmological argument for the existence of God; Religious Experience – its nature and validity; Psychology and religion (Freud and Jung); atheism and postmodernism.
A2 Programme of study:
Unit 3 – Philosophy of Religion: the Ontological argument and the relationship between reason and faith; religious language and problems of meaning; body, soul and personal identity and Near Death Experiences; the problem of evil and its implications for belief in God.
Unit 4 – Religion and Human Experience: a synoptic paper offering a choice of topics for further individual research and study into either Life, Death and Beyond or Religious Experience.