- Do ‘near death experiences’ provide reasonable grounds for belief in the afterlife?
- How successful are the challenges to religious experience from philosophy and science?
- How worthwhile is the pursuit of happiness, and is it all that people desire?=
At least 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above,including Maths and English Language.
Is this course for me?
- You enjoy debating and discussing philosophical and ethical ideas and themes.
- You want to understand how religion fits into the wider world and how philosophy fits into history.
- You would like the opportunity to have your personal beliefs challenged in a safe way.
- You enjoy reading as well as presenting and developing your ideas in written form.
Where does it lead?
Some students choose to study a degree related to Religious Studies at University. Religious Studies is an increasingly popular subject in schools and colleges. This means that there is currently a shortage of teachers, which provides an opportunity for those considering a career in teaching. The ability to understand and interact with people and organisations from a variety of religious and cultural traditions is highly valued by many employers in our multi-cultural society, particularly by those working in management and human resources. Regardless of whether or not students decide to take the subject further, by studying it at A Level, they gain skills including ‘arguing a case on the basis of evidence’ - a skill which is absolutely central to progress in many careers. The study of religion is excellent preparation for Higher Education courses in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
What will I learn?
Across the two years of the A Level qualification you will focus on Christianity as a major world religion.
Study of Christianity
You will learn about important elements of Christian belief, such as sources of wisdom and authority, key moral principles and how Christians express their religious identity. Later you will consider how Christianity deals with issues around gender and sexuality and how science challenges religious belief. Finally, you will analyse how Christianity can respond to the challenges of secularisation and religious pluralism to remain relevant in a fast-changing world.
You will learn about different types of ethical theory, particularly natural moral law, situation ethics and virtue ethics. You will then apply these theories to issues around human and non-human life and death. Furthermore, you will investigate the existence or otherwise of free will and the implications for moral responsibility. What role does the conscience play in ethics? Of particular interest are the ethical theories of the heavyweight philosophers Jeremy Bentham (utilitarianism) and Immanuel Kant (categorical imperative).
Philosophy of Religion
Is it possible to prove that God exists? How does the existence of evil and suffering challenge belief in God? Can religious experiences and miracles show that it is reasonable to believe in such a metaphysical being? You will also learn about the meaningfulness of religious language. One big topic you will study is self, death and afterlife: what constitutes personal identity and is it possible that something of that identity can survive the death of the physical body?
There will be a focus on understanding the influence on religion from philosophy/ethics and also how religion has influenced these areas in return. Throughout the course you will be asked to make connections between all areas studied.
How will I be assessed?
At the end of the second year, there will be two three-hour examinations that will assess you on the content of the entire course. One will focus on philosophy and religion, the other on religion and ethics.
During lessons you will use information from books and take part in discussions. Videos will be used to prompt debate and reinforce learning. You will also sometimes work in groups to present information to the rest of the class.
What activities can I get involved in?
The College has lots of exciting enrichment and CV building opportunities including the chance to earn the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, learn a new skill, learn a language, join a club, take up or develop a sport or take on a new challenge. See the College Prospectus for further information about what is on offer.