Flashcards in Challenges for Religion Deck (26):
What is the importance of Christian religious traditions in British society?
Britain is a neo-Christian country, which means that not everyone in the country is Christian, but the social traditions are Christian:
- School terms are arranged around Christmas and Easter
- We celebrate Christian days, e.g. St Valentine's Day, Shrove Tuesday, Hallowe'en
- There are restrictions on the hours shops are allowed to be open on Sundays, and they cannot be open on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday
According to the most recent census, what is the proportion of different faith groups in the UK?
Other religions: 3.7%
No religion: 24.7%
Religion not stated: 7.2%
Why might Christianity being the established religion cause a problem?
- The number of Christians has declined by 12% between 2001 and 2011
- The number of people with no religion has increased by 10% between 2001 and 2011
- The number of Muslims has increased by 10%
- This shows that, although Christians still form the majority of the country, their numbers are declining, and there are more people of no religion or different religions
- Christianity as the established Church can be seen as unfair to all those in the country who are not Christian
How is Christianity linked to politics in the UK?
- The Monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England
- The Church of England as the established Church could be a problem even for other Christian denominations (e.g. the Head of State cannot be catholic; in theory the Prime Minister cannot be Catholic: Tony Blair converted after he resigned)
- There are 26 bishops in the House of Lords - this means the Church of England can play a significant role in the governance of the UK
How are Christian rites of passage relevant to most people's lives?
A lot of people are baptised, marry in Church, and are buried in Church, even if they are not Christian, as these are the standard rites of passage in the UK.
What public holidays are based on Christian celebrations?
- Good Friday (remembers the death of Jesus)
- Easter Monday (emphasises the importance of Easter Sunday and Jesus' resurrection)
- Christmas Day (celebrates the birth of Jesus)
- Boxing Day (celebrates the Feast of St Stephen)
What is the Church's role in education?
- A third of state-funded schools in England are faith schools; 68% of these are Church of England and 30% are Catholic
- In 1944, a large percentage of UK schools belonged to churches, so to convince them to join a larger union of schools, RE was made compulsory. All schools have to offer RE.
- This is a contrast to secular countries such as the USA or France, where teaching religion in schools is banned
- The Education Act of 1988 declared that in state schools, over 50% of assemblies have to be Christian
What is secularisation?
The idea that religious beliefs, practices and organisations are becoming less important in society.
What are the effects of secularisation on religion?
- Secularism seeks to ensure freedom of religion, but also to give people the right to freedom from religion
- Religion is a private matter that should not be linked to politics or everyday life
- Religious beliefs, ideas, and organisations should not enjoy privileged protection from the right to freedom of expression
- There should be absolute freedom of religious practice, so long as it does not affect the rights and freedoms of others
- The main aim of secularism is to protect non-religious people from having their lives and rights affected by religion, e.g. Secularists promoted same-sex marriage as they believe religious people should not decide who can marry who
What is humanism?
The belief that the most important thing is human society - seeing the world using science, logic, and reason, and rejecting religious beliefs and ideas.
How has humanism grown in popularity since its beginning?
- Before the middle of the eighteenth century, the Christian Church dominated European thinking
- The idea began to develop that human goodness and ethics come from human reason rather than God
- Initially humanists maintained their Christian faith, but eventually humanism split - what we know as humanism now is non-religious
- In 1967, the British Humanist Association was formed. It currently campaigns to disestablish the Church of England, to remove the right of Anglican bishops to sit in the House of Lords, and to abolish faith schools.
What are some potential clashes between religious and secular ethics and values in schools?
- All state schools must teach religious education; the National Secular Society believes students should also learn about non-religious and humanist world views
- More than half of assemblies in state schools must be Christian: secularists are against this, as it means that many of the students who are of other religions or not religious are forced to take part in Christian worship.
What are some potential problems with faith schools?
- There are issues on teaching topics such as evolution, where scientific development clashes with religious teachings
- They can cause problems as they separate people of different faiths, e.g. in Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic children usually went to different schools. This led to fear and misinformation, causing conflict between them
- Religious schools may sometimes teach extreme views, e.g. a news report in February 2018 found that there were around 300 illegal schools in the country, most of which were faith schools. One Muslim school taught its students that homosexuals should be executed, women wearing perfume are committing adultery etc.
What are some potential clashes between religious and secular attitudes towards marriage?
- Civil marriage is a secular, legally recognised union of two people
- The Church of England recognises it
- However, the Roman Catholic Church does not; for them, marriage must take place in a church according to the laws of the Church
- Same-sex marriage is legal in the UK (except Northern Ireland)
- The Church of England is opposed to same-sex marriage in church, however it recognises its validity
- The Roman Catholic Church is totally opposed to same-sex marriage and does not recognise its validity (however, individuals may disagree with this, e.g. Canon Robin Gibbons)
- Civil marriages can be dissolved through a divorce and individuals are free to remarry
- The Church of England does not support divorce, but allows it and, if the vicar agrees, can carry out remarriages in church
- The Catholic Church does not recognise legal divorces, therefore divorcees are not allowed to remarry in a Catholic church.
What are the Christian responses to arranged, forced, and child marriages?
- Arranged marriages are supported by the law and the Church, as long as both parties consent
- If they do not consent, it is considered a forced marriage: these are illegal in the UK but still legal in some parts of the world. The Church of England and the Catholic Church both condemn forced marriages, as consent is very important in a marriage
- In England and Wales, couples can marry at 16 with parental consent, and at 18 without parental consent. In Scotland, couples can marry at 16 without parental consent.
- The Catholic Church law allows males to marry at 16 and females at 14. However, it allows bishops to set ages for their own countries. In the UK, the Churches set the minimum ages for marriage in line with UK laws.
What are some potential clashes between religious and secular attitudes towards the Equality Laws?
- Christianity teaches that all people are equal, because God created the human race in his image, and loves all humans equally.
- Many Christians have fought for equality, e.g. Martin Luther King Jr and Trevor Huddleston.
- However, there is a lot of discrimination towards women in the Bible, e.g. in 1 Corinthians 14:34 Paul writes "Women must remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says."
- The Church of England eventually allowed women to be priests, but the Roman Catholic Church teaches that it is against the will of God. Pope John Paul II said "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women".
- This clashes with the Equality Act of 2010, which requires equal treatment of men and women in access to employment. Priests, monks, nuns and ministers of religion are exempt from the provisions of the Act.
What are the four types of euthanasia?
- Voluntary euthanasia (when the patient requests to end their life)
- Involuntary euthanasia (when the patient is unable to request to end their life, so a relative or a doctor decides for them)
- Passive euthanasia (a patient has the right to reject treatment that would keep them alive)
- Active euthanasia (ending a patient's life with e.g. lethal drugs)
What are Christian attitudes towards euthanasia and the right to die?
Most Christians believe euthanasia is wrong due to:
- The sanctity of life
- Deliberate killing = murder
- Christians have a duty to care for those who are suffering
- The Catholic Church believes euthanasia is always wrong as only God should have control over who lives and who dies
- The Church of England is against euthanasia as it places a burden on relatives and the person carrying it out, and ending a life implies it no longer has meaning, which disagrees with the sanctity of life. However, it does recognise the importance of personal autonomy/self-determination.
What are Christian attitudes towards abortion?
- Christianity teaches that life begins at conception and a fertilised egg is a sacred life that should have the same rights as an adult. A YouGov survey from January 2013 showed that 50% of Anglicans and 60% of Catholics believe life begins at conception, compared to 34% of non-religious people.
- However, from a medical point of view, about 70% of fertilised eggs do not become implanted in the uterus, and about 25% of those that do are lost through miscarriage
- This means many non-religious people think conception is not a good point to mark the beginning of life
- Some people believe a foetus's rights should increase as it develops
- Some believe the birth of the baby marks the beginning of its life
- The Catholic Church believes abortion is always wrong: it will only accept abortion if it is necessary to save the mother's life
- The Church of England is against abortion but will justify it if the pregnancy will lead to the mother's death or if the baby would be severely disabled so would only live for a short time. Issues of rape or disability would be individually discussed
- Quakers do not encourage abortion but believe the mother's rights are more important than those of a foetus
- Mary Warnock was Chair of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee. She forwarded the idea that you become a human being when you have a single historical tract, when you can no longer become two separate people or merge into one (about 14 days after fertilisation)
What is therapeutic cloning?
Taking a cell from someone's body and placing its nucleus into an empty egg cell. The resulting embryo contains stem cells, which can be used to repair damaged cells or replace organs.
What is the Catholic Church's attitude towards therapeutic cloning?
- Absolutely opposed to it
- It sees the embryo that is created as a human being, therefore the destruction of the embryos after the stem cells have been removed is wrong
What is the Church of England's attitude towards therapeutic cloning?
- Acknowledges that an embryo can be seen as a human being
- Also recognises that it has the potential to be a human being but isn't one yet
- 'Therapeutic cloning may be thought of as ethical, as it does not result in another human being'
What is the Catholic Church's attitude towards artificial insemination?
- Believes conception should happen only through sexual union
What is the Church of England's attitude towards artificial insemination?
- Acceptable if conception through loving sexual relationship impossible
What is the Catholic Church's attitude towards in vitro fertilisation?
- Believes conception should happen only through sexual union
- Sees destruction of embryos as murder