Religious Studies AS/A Level

Scheme of work – Philosophy of religion and ethics

This scheme of work for A-level Religious Studies (7062) is designed to help you plan your teaching.

Assumed coverage

This scheme of work is based on 360 guided learning hours.

Arguments for the existence of God

Week Learning activities Resources
1–4 Ensure the following aims are covered for each argument: faith: as intellectual assent – the belief that God existsfaith: ‘belief in’ a personal relationship with God – not necessarily based on reason and ‘reasons’ may not be offered for itreason: as justification and defence of something people have already come to believe by other meansreason: as basis of faith (belief that)proof: deductive proof, inductive argument – ‘personal proof’, ie an argument that convinces/establishes beyond reasonable doubt but does not entail truth of the conclusion. The arguments may be: aimed at non-believers to persuade them of the truth of the beliefsaimed at believers to give them ammunition against criticsa reflection on faith to deepen understanding of, test, or confirm, what is already believed. Dialogues: these would all be useful in Dialogues. The evaluation of whether beliefs are reasonable is vital. Handout covering basic philosophical concepts for development during the course.
A handout with an explanation of the steps of the argument could be useful – but the process of working through those steps in discussion makes the reasoning clearer. A ‘borrowing’ chain as an analogy of a chain that cannot start without someone first having the money to lend can be a good analogy. Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the argument: students to look at the stages of the argument and finding weaknesses in each one. It is likely that they will raise points developed by Hume and/or Russell. These could be assessed as a 300 word AO1 answer. For AO2, students will need to be able to debate these criticisms. Students create a chart of strengths and weaknesses, leaving space to add contrasts and counters from the other arguments as they go through, eg the particular strengths of ‘a posteriori’ reasoning over ‘a priori’ etc. Explain the value for faith: Including the distinction between the ‘God of philosophy’ and ‘the God of faith’ Apply understanding of the concept of faith and, where relevant, understanding of the concept of God studied for Component 2. Dialogues: the above is useful. Extension: the problem of induction and drawing conclusions that go beyond the evidence available; impossibility of empirical proof for an immaterial being and the nature of inference from observation to the explanation of that observation both in science and in religion.    
Starter activities: images of workings of a watch/cogs and wheels etc, diagram of eye/butterfly’s wings – students to compare. Also ask students to look out of window and spot things that are designed, look at each other’s eyes, own thumbs etc. Summarise Paley’s watch argument from Natural Theology, the exact wording of Paley’s conclusion after observing the watch is worth using to elicit discussion and evaluation. Hume’s text (an extract from Dialogues concerning natural religion) is fairly accessible, but students may need help in organising their ideas by way of a chart or mind map. For discussion: two sets of criticisms may be found: of the reasoning supporting the claim that the universe has been designed from the reasoning that leads to the conclusion that the designer is God. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the argument and value for faith. Students could add to their chart from Cosmological. Extension: the ambiguity of the ‘evidence’ can be taken as support for the idea of a ‘hidden’ God who preserves human freedom by making his presence sufficiently clear to allow humanity to believe in him, but conceals it sufficiently for it not to be coercive. This will link to the epistemic distance of Hick’s theodicy. The whole topic anticipates the Problem of Evil debate. Paley, Natural theology, OUP Hume, Dialogues concerning natural religion
Identify the two forms of the ontological argument in Anselm’s Proslogion. The first form in Proslogion 2, the second in Proslogion 3. Dialogues: does faith require a basis in logic/reason? Would the argument have any impact on faith? Discussion of Gaunilo’s criticisms – links to second form of the argument. Discussion of Kant’s criticisms. Consider value for faith: Aquinas rejected the argument; the only characteristic of God considered is necessary existence so Anselm’s argument does not on its own show what kind of being may have that quality or explain why it/he may be worthy of worship. Extension: consider whether omnipotence, omniscience, consciousness (personal nature) could be argued to be necessary qualities of the GCB and the extent to which this God is the God of philosophy rather than of faith. Dialogues: the extension work also links. Students can add a section on Ontological to their chart, emphasise the strengths and weakness of the three arguments and how they can be used to critique each other etc. Dialogues: the evaluation of types of reasoning, value for faith, etc, is useful. Proslogion Article – objections to the Ontological argument

Evil and suffering

Week Learning activities Resources
5–6     Explanations of natural and moral evil, and presentations of arguments. In groups, students could mind map as many as possible and classify them; use newspapers etc. Then the examples of natural and moral evil can be used to ‘test’ the claims of the logical and evidential problems. Each student/small group of students should be able to explain the two problems of evil with reference to different examples. Summarise Hick’s soul-making: ‘the encounter with ‘evil’ is the way to maximise human potential’ and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses when applied to the problems of evil. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – the evidential problem of evil YouTube – free will defence Useful extension material: philosophy.lander.edu/intro/articles/dostoevsky-a.pdf Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, process thought, Nelson Thornes
Discuss key ideas of the free will defence, use examples such as Swinburne’s ‘toy world, Genesis 3, Hick’s robots etc. Identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses of FWD.
Key ideas of process theodicy according to Griffin. Consider the strengths and weaknesses. Summarise the three theodicies as responses to the problems of evil. Students could complete an AO1 style question explaining each theodicy or problem. In small groups plan AO2 responses evaluating the success of each theodicy, or whether evil means there is no God etc. Get students to use the mark schemes to self-assess their answers.

Religious experience and verifying religious experiences

Week Learning activities Resources
7–8   Visions: students can identify examples and explain the classification of each. They could write, or plan in detail, an AO1 essay on visions. Numinous experiences: explanation of each aspect. Mystical experiences: explanation of each aspect. (Passive and noetic are often the least well understood). Discuss the challenges of verification, science and the responses to the challenges. Students could work in groups and critique a variety of examples of experiences from the perspectives of science and other atheist/theist views, eg Teresa of Avila, Pam Reynolds, Moses and the burning bush, Mohammad’s night journey, the Buddha’s enlightenment, Davey Falcus, John Wesley etc. It is recommended, but not required, that students study the influence of religious experiences solely on the religion they are studying for Component 2. Dialogues: the above will also be useful. Discuss the influence of religious experiences.To avoid generalisations this needs to be specific, eg: source of knowledge of/about Godmotivation, including conversion‘proof’ of divine credentials. Discuss the value for religious faith: contrasting views could consider the positive contribution of such experiences both past and present and scepticism among believers today, both about the experiences of others from within their faith and the experiences of those from other faiths. The problem of contradictory revelations. Dialogues: include discussion. Britannica – Otto    Search mysterium, tremendum et fascinans The mystical experience registry James,W The varieties of religious experience Cole, P. Religious Experience

Religious language

Week Learning activities Resources
9   Link Year 1 and 2 content by spending some introductory lessons looking at ‘bigger picture’ issues in the study of Philosophy and Ethics, which can help underpin the Dialogues section from the outset. For example: are the beliefs of your chosen religion about the nature of God/Ultimate reality reasonable? Is any belief in a God reasonable? how does your religion approach ethical decision-making? Is it largely deontological, absolute, how useful is it in the 21st century for dealing with moral issues such as those studied at AS? Could your chosen religion work alongside ethical theories you have studied?  
10–11 Throughout this section consider how examples from chosen religion can be applied to language about God, life after death claims etc. Introduction: the problem with words used of God, eg ‘He’ and ‘Said’. The way language anthropomorphises or objectifies God. Link to the Ontological argument and the definitions of God used, the criticism of attempting to define God in human terms (eg Aquinas) and the responses to problem of evil based on our human lack of understanding of terms like ‘omnibenevolent’ when applied to God. Define and give examples of cognitive/non-cognitive statements eg ‘The Eiffel Tower is in Paris’ (observable by sense experience) and ‘This weather makes me feel happy’ (not directly dependent on observable facts). Overall consideration of whether religious language is cognitive or non-cognitive with reference to the arguments below from Hick, Hare, Wittgenstein. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – religious language Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – philosophy of religion Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, pg 21, Oxford
Verification Principle – A.J Ayer. Explain Falisifcation – Popper (scientific falsification); Flew and the example of Wisdom’s ‘Parable of the Gardener’. Evaluate these theories – draw on AO2 evaluative skills throughout by adding criticism to each viewpoint. Use examples of statements to help qualify claims made.  Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, Oxford pp 22-27
Eschatological Verification – Hick and his example of the ‘Celestial City’. Hare’s ‘bliks’ and the example of the ‘lunatic and the don’. Examples of ‘language games’ that can be applied to the ideas of Wittgenstein, eg explaining a game of cricket to an alien and talking about team spirit. Evaluate these theories. Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, Oxford pg 27 Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Link Paley’s design argument and Aquinas’ analogy of proportionality and attribution. (Extension: Ian Ramsey’s models and qualifiers). Via negativa – link to Religious Experience and the ineffability of God (Otto, Stace). Mainmonides, Aquinas. Symbols – examples of symbolism used within religious traditions, eg bread and wine of the Eucharist, water, light. Dialogues: link to content from ‘Religion’, eg God as Love etc. Explore Tillich as a possible solution to the problem of analogy and via negativa. Evaluation of these theories Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, Oxford pp 29-34 Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – Maimonides
Evaluation of all the above ideas. Does religious language have meaning? Dialogues: the meaningfulness of religious claims is a topic for discussion. Links to units on Miracles, Religious experience and Arguments for God’s existence and the impact of an understanding of language on their claims. This may help students to draw on useful examples to add to their answers. Ensure that examples from chosen religion are used.  

Miracles

Week Learning activities Resources
12–13 General introduction to the study of miracles could possibly include discussion of issues such as: are miracles a literal/physical possibility? Why does God do some miracles but let others suffer? If he created the world out of love and nature reflects him, then why is there a need for miracles? How can we understand miracles in light of scientific discovery? Explore whether or not it is rational to believe in miracles and perhaps look at Swinburne’s toys in the cupboard example. Dialogues: links to content on religious experience and verifying religious experiences. Choir miracle at West Side baptist church – Beatrice, Nebraska Parting the Red sea (Exodus 13:17–14:22) R.F Holland’s train example Miracles of Jesus such as walking on water (Mk 6:45–52); turning water into wine (Jn 2:1–11); raising Jairus’ daughter (Mk 5:21–43); woman with the haemorrhage (Mk 5:25–34) Modern ‘miracles’ can be found in various places and are useful for evaluation, including Catholic news agency
miracles as chance or coincidence; expression of God’s action through a person; events which have no known cause; violation of laws of naturerealist views generally accept the ‘truth’ in claims, such as scientific claims (contrast with Religious language). For a realist a miracle is a ‘real’ event, the resurrection for example is understood as a historical event by believers. Flew and Hume (Hume takes a realist view, although he believes that the claims that are made are false)an anti-realist will argue that we can have no knowledge of a mind-independent world, since the phenomena observed by our senses are interpreted by the mind. We can have no knowledge of a transcendent realm, so the idea of miraculous intervention in this world by a transcendent God is not a sensible idea. Miracles are ‘in the mind’ – they are mental states or attitudes that are to be understood in terms of psychology and sociology. Tillich and Hickif natural laws cannot be violated, then clearly miracles must be natural events. This approach would fit well with anti-real understandings of miracles such as those we looked at from Tillich, Hick and Hollandviolation of natural law – Mackie, Hume evaluation of these views. Jordan A, AQA AS Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, Nelson Thornes Internet encyclopedia of philosophy – miracles
  Jordan A, AQA AS Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, Nelson Thornes Article – David Hume
Dialogues: links to Science and religion from the perspective of the religion studied. How has the religion responded to scientific claims? Does science compromise the authority of such religious claims in a secular society? Evidence and observation versus faith?  

Self, death and the afterlife

Week Learning activities Resources
14–15 Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, pp 44–46, Oxford YouTube – chariot’s allegory: Plato
Materialism (Physicalism) – could be covered initially as part of the ‘nature and existence of the soul’. Useful views to consider could be Richard Dawkins and Gilbert Ryle’s ‘Ghost in the Machine’. Around the room display quotes from Dawkins, and others. Students can then gather these ideas and evaluate them in pairs along with contrasting them against the beliefs about the soul from Descartes etc. Dialogues: contrast with the view of the chosen religion on the soul and the possibility of continuing personal existence. Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, pp 39–44, Oxford Ryle G, The concept of mind, 1949   Article – David Hume Richard Dawkins’ views
Evaluation of these theories – is continuing personal existence possible? How conclusive is the evidence we have from NDEs, scripture, research? Dialogues: are any of these claims reasonable? Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: Philosophy of Religion, pp 47–59, Oxford The transfiguration, Mark 9:1–13 YouTube – Phylis Atwater: near death experience YouTube – NDE See the film ‘Heaven is Real’ YouTube – Pam Reynolds’ NDE YouTube – Hick’s theory of replicas YouTube – Hick’s theory of replicas: brief overview Article – John Hick Stuart Hameroff – consciousness

Normative ethical theories

Week Learning activities Resources
16 Introduction to ethics – focus on the debate between actions being intrinsically right and wrong and actions being wrong only because of their consequence, eg drinking alcohol. Students could create a handout summarising the view that drinking alcohol is intrinsically evil and the view that it may or may not be ‘good’ depending on the consequences. Use examples to illustrate two views of ‘duty’ the duty to obey the moral/ divine law, the duty to avoid harm to self or others, eg the killing of Bin Laden by US forces. Natural moral law – understandings of the concepts of Eternal law and Natural moral law from Aquinas. What is our purpose? Students could list ideas, or consider examples such as a pen, chair etc. Aquinas: ‘all those things to which man has a natural inclination are naturally (seen) by reason as being good.’ Evaluate this view as a class. Note: Aquinas treats the precepts as three – many sources list them as five. Self-preservation – a natural inclination humans share with all things. Those things that nature has taught all animals such as the inclination to sexual intercourse and education of offspring.To know God and to live in society – these inclinations are natural to human beings as rational beings. Dialogues: Natural moral law theory is conventionally described as deontological but like other theories may also be considered a hybrid system of ethics. Classroom activities could include: students to suggest secondary precepts following from primary precepts already identified. Examples of secondary precepts given by Aquinas – he regarded the following as wrong in themselves (intrinsically wrong) regardless of their consequence: masturbation; adultery; fornication; theft; lying; killing the innocent (murder). Most of the secondary precepts devised by Aquinas are absolutist, but he allows that there will be debate about what the primary precepts require people to do, the secondary principles ‘may be changed in some particular cases of rare occurrence’justifying your answer with reference to the primary precepts, why might it sometimes be right not to return to someone something they put into your care for safe keeping?  how would natural moral law apply to theft and lying? (could the example above could be considered theft?)construct a revision guide for the question ‘Explain what Aquinas believed was the difference between a good and an evil action’ which must include case studies (which may be related to the ethical issues that follow). Students can demonstrate their understanding of the four conditions by applying them to the case studiescreate a scenario in which lying might be justified by proportionalism. Refer to the value of lying for those involved, the intention of the moral agent and the disvalue. Repeat for a scenario involving ectopic pregnancy and double effect. Introduction to ethics and types of ethics Jordan A, AQA AS Religious Studies: religion and ethics, Nelson Thornes Aquinas’ Summa Theologica Doctrine of double effect Proportionalism    
17 Fletcher’s situation ethics as an example of teleological ethics. Creation of mind map/revision aid/mnemonic for concept of agape and how Fletcher justifies it as the ruling norm of Christian moral-decision making; contrast with natural law ethics. Apply the examples of lying and theft to show objections to following the law in specific situations and how a ‘loving’ decision is made and how that decision could be different in other circumstances. Also consider the following in groups: how would someone using situation ethics make a decision in the following scenario? A group of shipwrecked sailors in a lifeboat. One has been fatally injured, is unconscious, and obviously dying of his wounds. All in the boat are starving and will also die if they do not eat soon. Someone has suggested that they should kill the dying man and eat his fleshexplain why theft may be right in some situations but not in others according to situation ethics. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of situation ethics. Jordan A, AQA AS Religious Studies: religion and ethics, Nelson Thornes Fletcher J, Situation ethics: the new morality  
18 Discuss: what are the purpose(s) of education and how may these be seen to aim at happiness; is ‘happiness’ the ultimate goal/purpose in life? why pleasure, money and honours given by society may not be seen as ultimate goals in life  a working definition of happiness Aristotle’s context in classical Greek society – the idea of being judged by one’s character etc (clips of films like Troy could be useful). ‘Have a go hero’: a man steps in when he sees a man with a knife threatening a woman. Looking at the description of a ‘virtuous person’ above explain why this may or may not be a virtuous act. Doctrine of the mean: students can create scenarios in which they can apply various virtues and illustrate the mean. Role plays could be used. Devise scenarios in which lying is a possible course of action – the group should decide if lying can be justified by virtue ethics in those situations. Strengths and weaknesses of virtue ethics. Create a revision sheet with the three theories and their evaluations on; this can be used to complete an AO1 style question on the features of the theories, or their strengths and weaknesses. Students to self-assess which theory they need to practise the most, complete a question, then this could be peer-assessed using the mark schemes. Jordan, Lockyer and Tate, AQA A2 Religious Studies: ethics, Oxford Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics Article – ethics Free handouts – ethics  

The application of natural moral law, situation ethics and virtue ethics

Week Learning activities Resources
19–20 Review the approach each theory takes to moral decision-making, imagined as a general list for decision-makers. Students could create a ‘crib sheet’ for use when applying each theory to each ethical issue to aid scaffolding of answers. For each issue, students need to be aware of intended benefits and of the relevant ethical issues that need to be addressed; then, using this key information, they need to apply the theories. This can lead to evaluation work using questions such as: does the application to ‘real’ issues show any strengths and weaknesses of the theories? Do they lead to definite answers? Does the teleological approach work best? and so on. Dialogues: issues of human and animal life and death including analysis of ethical theory responses and those from the religion studied. Ethics resources Free handouts – ethics Podcasts and articles – ethics Article – animal ethics Compassion in world farming website Extension: Academia.edu   Foot P, The problem of abortion and the doctrine of double effect YouTube – Hursthouse, virtue, theory and abortion part 1 YouTube – Hursthouse, virtue, theory and abortion part 2  Hursthouse R, Applying virtue ethics to our treatment of other animals

Introduction to meta ethics: the meaning of right and wrong

Week Learning activities Resources
21–22 General introduction to types of ethics – normative, applied, descriptive, meta. Dialogues: link with Religious language. Discussion on whether religious statements have any meaning. what is divine command? Consider issues such as ambiguity, difference in religious traditions and their views on what God commandsChristian divine command theory, Barth, Calvinevaluation of this view, including the euthyphro dilemmaBetham’s utilitarianism (link to topic on Bentham and Kant) as naturalist because it rests on the observation of human nature and our motivation as hedonisticMill’s utilitarianismevaluation of this way of doing ethics as a consequentialist, naturalist, cognitive approach. Consider GE Moore’s naturalistc fallacy amongst other common strengths and weakness of utilitarianism and ethical naturalism in generalGE Moore (links to Religious language)WD Rossevaluation of this approach as a contrast to naturalism, discussion of divine command theory as non-naturalism. Dialogues: chosen religion’s view on divine command, moral absolutes etc. Evaluate each approach as you go, however doing an overall evaluation at the end and applying this to AO2 style questions would also be useful. YouTube – metaethics Article – the euthyphro dilemma YouTube – diving command theory Bowie and Frye, AS Religious Studies: ethics, pp: 19–21 and 26–28, Nelson Thornes Bowie, Ethical studies, pp 36–52 and 64–75 YouTube – utilitarianism

Free will and moral responsibility

Week Learning activities Resources
23–24 how genes/environment are claimed to affect behaviour, eg bullying, sexuality, drug dependencyhow one’s free will can be curtailed or compromiseddeterminism including: Locke’s ‘man in the locked room’, Spinoza, Skinner’s psychological determinism, theological determinism, scientific determinsim (inlcuding contrasts from quantum theory which suggest events are far more random)libertarianism (possible link to Descartes’ mind/body dualism) compatibilism: Humesocially deviant and criminal behaviour could be explored – how would each approach studied explain crime? Are the criminals morally responsible? How should it be punished? Religious responses relating to judgement, karma etc. Could be explored briefly also. Dialogues: how does this impact on moral decision-making, does acting out of fear of punishment compromise the ‘goodness’ of actions? Bowie R, Ethical Studies, pp 87–98 Article – theological determinism

Conscience and Bentham and Kant

Week Learning activities Resources
25–26 Religious views could include: Aquinas, Augustine, Fletcher, Butler, scriptural references to conscience. Application of the above viewpoints to the scenarios listed. Students to create a chart, conduct talk-show style interviews/hot seating to apply each perspective to the examples. Evaluation of the value of the conscience, considering issues raised by the above approaches and applications. Bowie R, Ethical Studies, pp 144–160 Article – the Bible and conscience Article – conscience AQA A-level Year 2 Religious Studies, pp 191–197
Bentham’s utilitarianism: hedonistic nature of humans, principle of utility, hedonic calculus, act utilitarianismKant: duty and good will, role of reason, three formulations of the categorical imperative. Bowie and Frye, AS Religious Studies: ethics, pp: 19–21, 26–28, 48–53 and 54–56 Nelson Thornes UCL – Bentham project Article – Jeremy Bentham Guyer P and Wood A (eds), The Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant, Cambridge University Press, 1992 Article – Immanuel Kant Article – Kantian ethics Article – utilitarianism Past papers and mark schemes for RSS01 (previous specification)

Scheme of work – Christianity

This scheme of work for A-level Religious Studies (7062) is designed to help you plan your teaching.     

Assumed coverage

This scheme of work is based on 90 guided learning hours.

It allows eight weeks for the Year 1 AS content and a further eight weeks for the Year 2 content, leaving approximately four weeks for Dialogues.

Sources of wisdom and authority

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
1–2 Underpins most/all discussions on the causes, and significance of similarities and differences in religious thought belief and practice among Christians throughout the study of Christianity. Different is taken here as ‘fundamentalist’ ‘modernist’ and ‘liberal’ positions. These are general (and in part contentious) labels and exemplification will be specific to avoid partially accurate generalisations. Textual example: creation narratives in Genesis 1. Another facet of the reasons for differences between Christians that may be applied in later debates. A Protestant perspective: Sola Scriptura, Baptists, Lutheranism. The importance of the individual believer in interpreting text (priesthood of believers). Catholic:concept of tradition as unbroken transmission of oral (unwritten) teaching and practice from the time of Jesus to the present; the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Catholic Church. Pope and Bishops believed to teach with the authority of Jesus. Biblical support/basis for the authority of the Pope. How beliefs about the authority of the Bible are dependent on teachings, in particular Churches – regardless of denomination. While related to the earlier debate on the nature of scripture and how far it may be taken as a record of Jesus’ teaching, this is focused on beliefs about Jesus and their implications and links to teaching on Trinity and Jesus as Son of God in next section. ‘Including’ means that questions can only be asked about the specified material but students may include other understandings in their answer. The study of the text extract is strictly contextualised – the topic is the authority of Jesus and its implications for Christian responses to his teaching and example.   Class activity identifying different strands of Christian thinking. This can function as an ice breaker. Independent research on ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘modernist’ and/or specific denominational attitudes to Genesis 1. The impactof contrasting views of the nature of the Gospels on beliefs about their authority/use as a source of beliefs and teaching. Matching statements to the different beliefs. Differentiation and extension:understanding general reasons for the emergence of biblical criticism (including eg impact of geology for the date of the earth and theory of evolution) can be supplemented with reference to specific scholars and their views. Different Christian attitudes to the authority of reason as a tool for understanding scripture. Independent research on Sola Scriptura and Catholic understandings of the authority of the Church Differentiation and extension: how the development of the Canon reflects the interplay between the authority of the Church and the Bible. Review of work on nature of scripture –reading Biblical passage and considering likely fundamentalist and modernist perspectives on it. (possibly Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: Genesis 3:1–23) Presentation of the contrasting views of Jesus’ authority – activity linking these to different Christian responses to Jesus’ teaching and example. Activity – based on the whole of the section on sources of wisdom and authority explain three reasons why Christians have different views about the authority of the teaching of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. In your answer you should refer to beliefs about: the nature of scripture; the authority of the Church, and the authority of Jesus. Differentiation and extension: how far can anyone who considers Jesus’ authority to be ‘only human’ be considered a Christian? Background reading on reasons for, and the general nature of, Biblical criticism and on reasons for the emergence of fundamentalism. A handout summarising contrasting Christian views of the nature of the Gospels. Selection of statements about the authority/accuracy /truth of the record to be matched to the appropriate belief about the nature of scripture. Britannica article – Christian fundamentalism Article – the authority of the Bible Article – creation and genesis Article – how to read the first chapter of Genesis Article – scripture and tradition Article – Sola Scriptura (teacher or advanced reading) Matthew 5:38–48 (any version) Mark 9:7 Matthew 28:18; John 17:2 Handout summarising the two contrasting positions and statements of Christian views – task to match the individual views to the positions taken.  

God

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
3–4 Contrasting threads of thought about God: the general, possibly impersonal concept that is not uniquely Christian, but may be supported by traditional philosophical argument; the distinctive Christian ideas of the Trinity, and Jesus as Son of God. This theme has many synoptic links, including links with ideas studied in AS philosophy content. Contrast, in part, with transcendent and unknowable. The Trinity: concepts of mystery and paradox – faith beyond understanding. Key ideas re each person of the Trinity and the relationship between them. Difficulties in understanding some events recorded in the Gospel in the light of John 10:30. (eg Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane). Jesus as Son of God:Contrasting perspectives of adoption and eternal sonship (eg alternate reading of Luke 3:21 – baptism ‘This day I have begotten you’). Son of God as a title for a human being (eg king) Son of God as second person of the Trinity. Father – links back to Trinity; Love – links forward to Situation Ethics. Descriptions of God as personal may be considered reductionist/evidence that humanity creates (the idea of) God in its own image/offering an opportunity for a personal relationship with God achieved by an individual through his/her religious experiences. Father: of Jesus only/all believers/all of humanity/whole of creation. If all believers, how does relationship between Jesus and God differ from relationship between any Christian and God, if at all? Galatians 4:4–7 Apostles Creed. Love:God as capable of feeling and expressing emotion? The nature of God’s love: ‘agape’ John 3:16; 1 John 4:7–8. Awareness of Biblical descriptions of God and God’s actions that appear to imply male and human, eg Garden of Eden Genesis 3. Challenge of literal interpretation – a limited view of God, theologically inadequate, God created in the image of man. Feminist rejections of male language (Father King). Key ideas: culturally conditioned/ reinforces patriarchal ideas of male superiority (if God is male, male is God)/God without gender or better described as female. Contrast with traditional theology (valid for questions on Christian beliefs about God as creator) and a focus on causes of differences. Will also be relevant to discussion of impact of science on Christianity (A-level), also appears in beliefs about afterlife and in problem of evil (AS philosophy). Preference for observation and reasoning over revelation and faith as a source of understanding about God. Review of previous work on Genesis 1 for doctrine of creation. Debate about how far Christians believe the universe was made out of God and is (part of) God. Present the idea of omnipotent controller.  Investigation of the influence of these beliefs on: attitudes to the created world, beliefs about free will and the possibility of mystical experience of God within creation (could introduce debate about whether God can do the logically impossible note – links with philosophy content can vary according to course structure). Transcendent/unknowable: strengths and weaknesses including reference to Christian deism. Influence of this belief on: (eg) attitudes to religious art, possibility of a relationship with God and of religious experience of God. Explore AS levels of response with an answer explaining the doctrine of the Trinity (350 words), could offer a draft for improvement by students/ draft too long, too narrative and ignoring any treatment of links between the three persons. Extension: heresy of Docetism and why it was rejected, implications of belief in incarnation for authority of Jesus’ teaching and value as role model. Exploring understanding of Personal: who rather than what. Differentiation and extension: relevance of philosophical arguments to belief in personal God. Analogy between knowing God and knowing a person (rather than knowing about or knowing the works/words of, importance of religious experience as a basis for such a faith – especially given limitations of personal language used to describe God. Background to the development of Process thinking – A N Whitehead and changes to scientific understandings of nature of reality. Give three different Christian beliefs about God as creator. Explain reasons for the differences between these beliefs. Article – what does it mean that God is transcendent? Isaiah 55:8-9 Article – the Christian God List of sources – Who is God? Article – How can one god be three persons? Article: the meaning of agape love For future debates about Situation ethics note John 14:21 List of anthropomorphisms in Bible Article – why God is father not mother Article – an overview of feminist theology The previous specification’s A2 textbook for AQA philosophy of religion has a useful section on Process thinking. For more advanced reading: Plato – God and creativity Note – most resources are much broader than needed to understand views about God as creator and God as omnipotent.

Self, death and afterlife

Week Guidance Resources
5–6 Links forward to the importance of good moral conduct. Be aware that the concept of an immortal soul is not Biblical but is an important part of Church (eg Catholic) tradition. Spiritual resurrection: needs careful definition of terms. The body dies and is not resurrected – only the soul/spirit is given life again (or continues) after death. Role of God in restoring/giving life – the soul/spirit really dies. The limited focus is on modes of interpretation. Consideration of each of the purposes which appear to imply (1) we exist for God’s benefit (to glorify God) and to maximise the quality of our life on earth (judged by our relationship with God). John 5:24 (2) that this life is only a preparation for the next. This can be linked to the idea that humans earn a place in heaven. (3) God’s kingdom ‘on earth’ suggests that the (or a) purpose for all Christians is to transform life so that all follow God’s will – that could imply political activism, but could also start with each individual Christian following the commandments. Note – Eschatological interpretations of the coming of the kingdom are not always to do with ‘on earth’. Each of these purposes influences actions/attitudes to life. New Testament references to ‘soul’ (psyche) (41 in total, only 4 in the Gospels). Does ‘soul’ simply mean inner self? Resurrection of the flesh – basis in accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, but difficulty in identifying nature of his body after the resurrection. Evidence from Gospel narratives and Augustine’s interpretation. Spiritual resurrection: reading of extract from 1 Corinthians 15. How it may/may not be taken to mean resurrection is only spiritual. Why some Christians may find this belief easier; how far it is/is not consistent with Christian understandings of the afterlife (see below). Awareness of some statements re these beliefs from Bible/Church tradition/individual Christians: book of Revelation 4:1–11 (Heaven)judgement and Hell – the eternal fire Matthew 25:41Revelation 20 11–12purgatory: search for images online. Influence of beliefs – including art; social control; motivation for good works/faith; faith in justice and fairness of life – vengeance against enemies. Article – the Lord’s prayer as a paradigm of Christian prayer John 9:3 biblegateway.com – keyword soul will give all references, filter can then be applied. Article – resurrection of the body Article – reflections on immortality Catechism of the Catholic Church 1021–1041 Article – what does the bible say Heaven is like? Pope John Paul II – Heaven, Hell and purgatory  

Good conduct and key moral principles

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
6–7 Links back to purpose of life and God as omnipotent creator and controller of all things. Key differences in Christian thinking. Links with ethics – but very focused. Core discussion (1) whether the sanctity of life applies to the embryo and the unborn child. Core discussion (2) whether use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), nuclear and/or biological, could ever be part of a just war. Links with ethics – but very focused. Justification by works: the view that individuals can earn their way into heaven through ‘good works’. Reminder: parable of the sheep and the goats. James 2:24; 2:26; 1 John 2.4 Justification by faith: the view that people have to be saved by God– a gift from God that has to be accepted through faith. Romans: 3:28; 4:5; 5:1. Arguments against the claim that the use of weapons of mass destruction could be part of a just war. Predestination: seen by some Christians as the obvious consequence of God’s role as omnipotent creator and controller. See Calvin extract. According to Christian teaching, what does the role of ‘steward’ involve in relation to animal life and the environment? As new knowledge about the impact of human activity on the environment is made available, the role of steward has to change. Explain why, with reference to (eg) global warming and the damage done to the environment by plastic. Discuss the influence of these beliefs on Christian understandings of the importance of good moral conduct. Independent research on both doctrines – 350 words in each case on ‘what do they mean’. Discuss different Christian views about when embryo/unborn child is a person deserving of rights. How these views are justified by the different groups. Research the meaning of both dominion and stewardship and explain the difference between them.   John Calvin on predestination Article – the just war theory Genesis 1:26, 28 Revision – care for the planet/animal rights

Expressions of religious identity

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
7–8 Only infant baptism – the two web pages cited are polar opposites in their views. Limited to Catholic and Baptist for practice, understandings and importance. Different understandings of Jesus’ actions at the last supper, but could be assessed separately, and contribute to reasons for the differences between Baptist and Catholic practices/understandings. How it has changed over time. Use examples to avoid generalisations. 1910 Edinburgh conference is a useful starting point. Divide group into two – each group researches one of the two web pages to list the arguments for and against baptism; in class one argument is offered by one group and the counter found by the other, so that by the end each has a point/counterpoint debate. Identify the distinctive features of each practice and the significance of the similarities and differences. Use the evidence from the webpages to list the main points about the meaning and importance of Holy Communion. Relevant areas to consider include: evangelical aims of missioncultural impact of western missionaries in non-western societiesattitudes to other faithsmission without evangelisation – ‘doctrine of love’. Article – infant baptism Article – why Baptists do not baptise infants Article – the Lord’s supper Article – baptism and the Lord’s supper What is communion? Liturgy of the Eucharist Article – what is the sacrament of Holy Eucharist? Church mission society Serving in mission  

Christianity, gender and sexuality

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
9–10 The focus is on theological arguments for and against women’s ministry – Biblical teachings (esp 1 Timothy: 2:8–15), church tradition, disciples as a precedent etc. Social reasons may be mentioned. A full analysis of Hampson and Ruether is beyond the demands of this course. The focus is on Hampson’s view that Christianity is irredeemably sexist and Ruether’s ideas about the androgynous Christ and her view that the female nature is more Christlike than the male. Ice breaker discussion – is the Bible fact or fiction? Teacher input – development of Biblical criticism. Group work – explain the implications of specific understandings of 1 Timothy 2:8–15: literalist/fundamentalistliberal. Independent research – make a timeline showing changing roles of women and rights given to women in society. Differentiation and extension –research scholars’ views and write a critical verse-by-verse commentary on 1 Timothy 2:8–15 Make table of arguments for and against allowing women to be: leaders in the Christian communityministers/priests. Research – prepare a portfolio of information and images on the history and achievements of the Movement for the Ordination of Women (1979–1994) and Women and the Church (1994–present). Teacher input and note-taking exercise – the patriarchal nature of Christianity with reference to the ideas of Daphne Hampson and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Group work – compile an information booklet explaining different Christian views on: celibacy and marriagehomosexuality and transgender issues Differentiation and extension –use a concordance or Bible dictionary to compile lists of Bible references that may influence Christian views on attitudes towards: womenmarriage and celibacyhomosexuality and transgender issues. Write your own response to each list. Ford D, General introduction to Biblical Criticism: Chapter 8, Theology: A Very Short Introduction British Library article – gender roles in the 19th century Telegraph article – women in the Church of England: a century of waiting Forward in Faith – women as Bishops and Priests – what’s the problem? Article – Philip North affair   TES article – a faith that crucifies women Hampson/Ruether debate in full Independent article – Daphne Hampson Radford Ruether Christology and feminism: can a male saviour save women? American list of church positions on LGBT issues Blog post – Ben Witherington – Jesus and Paul on singleness, marriage, and divorce  

Christianity and science

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
11–12 There are links between this section and the philosophy component: students should be strongly encouraged to spot links and record them, because they will be very important when they come to the dialogues section. Where different students are working on different parts of the specification materials, copies of what they have produced should be made available to all. It’s easier for students to understand the passions this topic arouses if they get under the skin of the protagonists. Students who have done GCSE Physics will have studied the big bang theory in some detail. Students who have done GCSE Religious Studies will have covered it in outline. The emphasis should be on Polkinghorne’s view that there is no real divide between religion and science. There is a useful summary of Polkinghorne’s main ideas in the AQA A-level Year 2 textbook by Frye, Thompson and Herring. Assessment questions are taken from AQA published specimen assessment materials. Please note that although in these examples, AO1 and AO2 questions are linked to the same topic, they are not required to be, and exam questions may be taken from the same or different sections of the specification. Introduction to scientific method: empiricism, inductive and deductive reasoning. Research – write a brief outline of one of these scientific discoveries, and trace its impact on aspects of Christianity and Christian thinking. heliocentrism and the church.quantum theory and God’s action in the worldneuroscience and religious experience. Group work – prepare and share presentation showing how science has affected Christian ethical thinking on: medicine and life issuesgeneticsenvironmental ethics. Differentiation and extension – explore how attitudes to animals (domestic, farming, sporting and medical/research) have been influenced by the relationship between Christianity and science. Print out the Genesis chapters. For each one, annotate the Bible narrative with the scientific explanation for both the creation and development of the universe and the evolution of species. Alternatively, this can be done in html using hyperlinks instead of annotations. Write out an explanation of the big bang theory. Then write two different responses to the theory: from the point of view of a Christian who accepts the big bang theoryfrom the point of view of a young earth creationist. Discuss the ideas of John Polkinghorne Research – building on the group work on genetics from the previous section, research and make notes on: the Human Genome Projectgenetic engineering of plangenetic engineering of humans. Debate the motion – this house believes that Christians should oppose genetic engineering. Differentiation and extension – write a response to John Polkinghorne from a creation scientist. Use Specimen Assessment Materials to assess AO1 and AO2 questions under timed conditions, eg AO1, 18 minutes, 400–450 words: Examine why there are different views in Christianity concerning the issues of: marriage; homosexuality. You should refer to both issues. or AO2, 27 minutes, 600–650 words: ‘Christian feminism has had little impact on Christianity.’ Evaluate this claim. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Religion and science Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 YouTube – an afternoon with John Polkinghorne Nature Education article – genetic inequality: human genetic engineering  

Christianity and the challenge of secularisation

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
13–14 Note that militant atheism is not concerned with violence or terrorism. The term was originally applied to Marxist-Leninism, and is now applied to those such as Dawkins and Hitchens who are outspokenly critical of all aspects of religion. Dawkins’ views are considered below. When reading Bible passages such as these, students should be reminded of the work from week 1 on Biblical criticism so that they read with an interpretive understanding. The specification does not require students to deal in detail with Dawkins’ The God Delusion, only with McGrath’s response to it. Although they need to be familiar with the outline, it is important to keep the focus on what McGrath says in defence of Christian belief. Both Fresh Expressions and House Churches may be active in your area. It may help students if you can use as an example a local FE project or house church community. Liberation theology is the way that the church acts within the secular life and communities of the poor and oppressed as well as offering them religious worship and pastoral care. Plenary – make a list of the ways individual behaviour, family life and national life incorporate religious thinking, ideas and practice today. Try and make a similar list for 1500 and 1900. A potted summary of the views of Marx, Freud and Feuerbach. Identify where their ideas may have changed the role of religion as a source of truth and moral values in the 19th and 20th centuries. Research – investigate how the authority and role of religion in society and public life was cut back during the Protestant Reformationduring the 19th and 20th centuries. Watch the suggested Hitchens video or a similar video showing the views of a militant atheist. Summarise why a militant atheist may think Christianity is not rational. Differentiation and extension –research the role of Bishops in the House of Lords. Make a list of reasons for, and reasons against, having religious leaders as part of the government of the UK. Then write a response to this exam style question: ‘Religious leaders have an essential role in government.’ Assess this view. Read Luke 16:19–31 and Acts 2:44–47. Outline the attitude towards wealth and possessions in the earliest church. Read Church in the Middle Ages and Chapter 33 of The Rule of St Benedict. Outline attitudes towards wealth and possessions in the Middle Ages. Read the Victorian article. Outline attitudes towards wealth and possessions in the Victorian period. Research and write notes on how the following are responses to materialistic secular values today: prosperity GospelBruderhof communitiesChristian Aid. Read the summary of the God Delusion and then watch the video of McGrath’s comments. Discuss these questions: why does Dawkins object so strongly to religion?how does McGrath respond to Dawkins’ objections?which of the two do you prefer, and why? Group work – research, prepare and share a presentation on: Fresh ExpressionsThe House Church movement in the UK. Liberation Theology – supporting the poor and defending the oppressed. Plenary discussion – How might liberation theology make Christianity socially relevant in the UK today? Differentiation and extension – write your own response to Dawkins’ The God Delusion. You are free to agree or disagree with his views, but you must support what you say with argument and evidence, showing that you have considered different viewpoints. Article – rethinking religion and belief in public life YouTube – tribute to Christopher Hitchens note: some strong language. Luke 16:19–31 Acts 2:44–47 British Library article – church in the middle ages: from dedication to consent Article  what the measure of excommunication should be Victorian article – the Church of England Bruderhof Christian Aid Summary of The God Delusion YouTube – Alister McGrath on Richard Dawkins Article – a concise history of liberation theology

Christianity, migration and pluralism

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
15–16 Some schools in multicultural areas may prefer to focus on their own local area for much of this. Others may choose to focus on their nearest big city or a city with which they may have links in other ways. Note that the ECHR is not linked to the EU, so Britain will continue to be bound by that after March 2018. Remind students about Biblical criticism as they work through the Bible material. The focus is on what these texts say that might be interpreted as supporting inclusive and exclusive views of people who are not Christian. Rahner’s work is difficult, but there is a good summary for teachers listed in the resources column. Cross reference the work on Hick’s views on religious pluralism with work students have done on Hick on eschatological verification in the Philosophy component. Print out the poster or a similar timeline of immigration to the UK and annotate with the probable religion of each group of immigrants identified. On a space on the poster, make a list of the faiths represented. Make a timeline of the legislation which protects freedom of belief in the UK. Pick a city near to your locality. Print out a large scale map of it and mark on it places of worship for different faith communities, community centres and organisations for cultural groups and shops or businesses that focus on specific cultural communities. Group work – print out and read the article by Ram Gidoomal. Split into two – half to collect evidence to support the view expressed, and half to collect evidence to challenge it. Collate evidence for both views on a poster, PowerPoint or other shared resource. Differentiation and extension –make a church parish magazine which could be distributed to all households in a multicultural, multi-faith community. Include information on worship, the work of the church in the local community, and information about youth groups, playgroups, lunch clubs for the elderly etc. There should also be a ‘Vicar’s letter’. Focus on making it welcoming to all the community without playing down the Christian nature of the church. Plenary – Read John 14. Discuss as a group whether Jesus is laying down something that applies to all people at all time, or whether he is saying something specific to his disciples. Refer back to the work on liberal/fundamentalist views from week 1. Note that an exclusivist view is only consistent with a literalist-fundamentalist interpretation. Individual work – read Acts 10. Explain how it suggests an inclusive view of other faiths for Christians. Explain the concept of ‘anonymous Christian’. Invite comment on how the following might respond to Rahner’s view: JewsMuslimsHindusChristian Fundamentalists. Make a diagram as shown in the resources section: draw three boxes so that the space between them is a triangle. Write ‘Church of England’, ‘Roman Catholic Church’ and ‘Protestant evangelicalism’ at the points of the triangle. Divide each box into two and write out how each church views the other. Read John Hick’s views on Religious Pluralism. Explore reasons why his views might be unacceptable to members of specific denominations and faiths. Research the cases of Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin. Explain in detail why one won her case and the other lost hers. Differentiation and extension – read about the religious discrimination case of John McAteer in the Republic of Ireland. Using information from the Irish Times report and Articles 9 and 10 of the ECHR, write a defence statement for Mr McAteer. AO1 and AO2 exam answers under timed conditions – AO1, 18 minutes, 400–450 words, examine how Christian teaching helps Christians respond to the challenge of secularisation. or AO2, 27 minutes, 600–650 words, ‘Christianity is not relevant in a secular society.’ Evaluate this claim. Video – 20th century immigration to Britain European Convention on Human Rights ONS – religion in England and Wales 2011 Spreadsheet – census data Freedom of belief legislation in the UK Ram Gidoomal Mission in a multi-cultural and multi-faith society John 14 1 Timothy 2:8–15. Acts 10 Summary of Rahner’s concept of ‘anonymous Christian’ Ut unum sint John Hick’s religious pluralism The Guardian article – Eweida and Chaplin cases: Article – John McAteer case

The dialogue between Christianity and philosophy

Week Guidance Learning activities
17–18 Students must develop synoptic skills. By the end of the course, they should be able to consider philosophical and ethical topics from the perspective of Christianity, and vice versa. Students may answer exam questions for this section using more material from philosophy/ethics or from Christianity. What is essential is that they debate the issue showing knowledge and understanding, relevant evidence, critical analysis and reasoned evaluation. Although there are two separate dialogues sections, it is helpful for students to see the links between all three components. This encourages them to use appropriate material in essays. Revise God, self, death and afterlife, Sources of wisdom and authority from Y1 work. Review Religion and science, Religion and religious pluralism from Y2 work. Revise/review arguments for the existence of God, self and life after death, Religious experience, Religious language and Miracles from Philosophy component. Use Philosophy and Christianity topic cards in two separate boxes labelled ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Christianity’. Draw one card from each box and then make a list of ideas, quotations and arguments that could link the two. Compile a list of terms that may be used, eg relationship, coherent, reasonable, meaningful, consistent with, relevant etc. Write a glossary of each of these terms and use each of them in a short paragraph to show their meaning clearly. Group task: Make a who’s who booklet or series of linked html pages on key thinkers in Philosophy, Ethics and Christianity. For each thinker, add a portrait image, dates, brief biography and an outline of key ideas. Where relevant, add a list of quotations. Cross reference where there is a link between them, eg Anselm, Gaunilo and Kant should be cross-referenced with respect to the ontological argument. Unpack and explain the difference between epistemological belief (belief that) and religious belief (belief in) Hand out a list of statements that all start ‘I believe…’ and ask students to explain what kind of statement each is, and explain why. Start with easy ones (I believe in the tooth fairy) and then get harder (I believe that God created me – misleading ‘that’). Using the words from the list of terms created above, to make a list of conditions that would make something related to, coherent etc. Use the Philosophy and Christianity topic cards to help. Individual tasks: students make up exam questions based on the topic material and the issues listeach question must have a statement, eg ‘Beliefs about xxx are reasonable’ then ‘Critically examine and evaluate this view with reference to the dialogue between Christianity and Philosophy.’students make up exam questions based on topic material and specific philosophers/ theories/arguments.each question must have a statement, eg ‘Christianity views of xxx are not consistent with science’ then ‘Critically examine and evaluate this view with reference to the dialogue between Christianity and [named philosopher]’. In pairs – for each suggested question, make a list of previously studied material that can be used to support arguments for the statement and for alternative views. Plenary – plan outline answers to a range of questions from above. Write responses to one from a choice of two philosophy dialogue question from the Specimen Assessment Materials under timed conditions – 45 minutes.

The dialogue between Christianity and ethics

Week Guidance Learning activities Resources
19–20 Once they have revised the content of the two components, students need learn how to map ethical systems on to Christian responses to specific issues and how to see ethical systems from the viewpoint of religious teaching and belief. The specification suggests that ethical theories challenge Christian teaching. Students are at liberty to question this suggestion.   Revise all work from the Ethics and Christianity components. Ice breaker – on three large sheets of paper, mind-map an outline of deontological, teleological and character based ethics notes from Philosophy component. Using coloured pens, write in where Christian responses may be deontological, teleological or character based. Each of these may figure on two or all of the ethical system maps. Which ethical theory has the most annotations? Three way debate – divide the class into three and give them time to prepare their argument. One third argue that Christian ethics is primarily teleological, one third that it is primarily deontological, one third that it is character based. Each argument must be backed up with specific Christian teaching and reference to key thinkers. Individual work – pick one ethical theory and two Christian response topics, eg Bentham’s utilitarianism, use of animals & wealth. Write two paragraphs, each explaining the link between Christian teaching on one of the ethical issues and the ethical theory chosen. Write a third, concluding paragraph, which argues whether ethical theory should determine Christian teaching, or whether Christian responses should start from ethical theory. Role play – either base this on a current news story or use a true story, such as one from My Death My Decision. Ask some students to script and act out a scene where they argue (eg, in court, or to a doctor, or to a counsellor) using specific Christian teaching, and arguments from conscience and ethical principles to undertake something that may be against the law, eg assisted dying, lying in court, attacking staff at an abortion clinic. After the performance, other students interview the participants (in role) and decide who is morally responsible for the wrong/s committed. Group task – use the who’s who booklets from weeks 5–6. Annotate each thinker (where relevant) with notes indicating their relevance to specific issues from the list above. Research activity – research attitudes of the Church of England towards homosexuality before 1967 and today. As far as possible, justify the views for each period from Christian teaching and the Bible. Teacher input: choose a specific issue, eg lying, and show how different ethical theories respond. Invite students to find biblical references and specific Christian teachings that give guidance on that issue. Lead them through the process of determining whether ethical perspectives challenge or support Christian views (this could be done using a PowerPoint presentation/ interactive whiteboard etc). Following on from this, give students one or more issues each to work on from the list, and ask them to undertake the same process to answer the question ‘Do ethical theories support or challenge Christian views on xxx’. Plenary – summarise the challenges to Christian ethical teaching that have been identified in these lessons. Discuss: what effect these challenges have on Christianity as a wholewhat they imply for the authority of the Bible, Church tradition and the teaching of Jesus. Encourage students to draw up possible exam style questions in a similar way to the ones they did in the Philosophy dialogues session. Write responses to one from a choice of two ethics dialogue question from the Specimen Assessment Materials under timed conditions – 45 minutes. Pre-prepared mind-maps of outlining deontological, teleological and character based ethics notes from Philosophy and Ethics component. Alternatively do this in the lesson. My Death My Decision right to die campaigning organisation Article – ethical principles from the Bible Knowing Jesus – 75 Bible verses about personal ethics  

Scheme of work – Islam

This scheme of work for A-level Religious Studies (7062) is designed to help you plan your teaching.     

Assumed coverage

This scheme of work is based on 90 guided learning hours.

It allows eight weeks for the Year 1 AS content and a further eight weeks for the Year 2 content, leaving approximately four weeks for Dialogues.

Sources of wisdom and authority

Week Learning activities Resources
1–3 The Qur’an Students should be aware of a diversity of Muslim views where appropriate. Students should understand: Muslim beliefs about revelation and compilation of the Qur’animportance of the Arabic text – how this is reflected in the treatment of Qur’an in worship and in everyday lifetranslation as interpretation and importance of trustworthy translation. Nature points to consider: revealed scriptureword of Godcreated and uncreated Qur’anfinal and completeconfirmation of previous scripturescompilation of Prophetic message delivered by the Prophet over 23 yearsvariant readings (recitations) and their significance. Authority points to consider: understanding of the importance of the Arabic text and the distinction between the Words of the Qur’an and their meaning and implications, which relate to the issues of translation and interpretation. Revelation points to consider: night of powerdescent of the Qur’an and the nature of prophetic inspiration. Note that the emphasis must be on explanation, not on summary or description of the event – better to approach it as a commentary on rather than an account of the event. Compilation points to consider: traditional accounts of the Prophet’s use of secretaries and written recording of Qur’anbeliefs about role of Prophet in ordering verses (but see Shi’a beliefs about Ali’s role below)role attributed to God in protecting the Qur’an and guaranteeing authenticity of text: 15:9 Preservation of Qur’an after Prophet’s death; role of Abu Bakr and UthmanShi’a beliefs about the compilation of the Qur’an by Aliearly debates among Muslims about the completeness of the record – an example: verse of stoning – see Hadith Muslim 17:4194; Hadith Qudsi. Importance of the Arabic text points to consider word of Godstimulus to spiritual experience (experience of being addressed directly by God being aware of the divine origin/speaker of the words) Develops taqwahthe nature of the script and the importance of accompanying recitation to guarantee correct word-recognitionvariant readings (Qiraat) – acknowledged as permitted by God but seen as having little impact on meaning of textWarsh and Hafs – two commonly accepted recitations todayimportance of, and limitations, of translations – need to understand Qur’an but open to interpretation. The influence of Muslim beliefs about the Qur’an points to consider: influence of beliefs about the Arabic textuse in worship eg recitationdevelopment of taqwah; basis of deen (Where worship is understood as living life in submission to God)everyday life: basis of deen (as above) handling of Booksuperstitious usage where words of Quran are popularly considered to contain divine powerart and architectureevaluation of claims about the accuracy of the record and of how complete it is, and of the importance of interpretation (eg Qur’an 4:34 for a verse translated/interpreted in a wide range of ways). Dialogues: Note also that this information can be used in the Philosophy unit as part of an investigation of the nature of religious experience. QuranIndex.net provides searchable Qur’an text, could be used for verses containing the words ‘The Qur’an’ Qur’an 2:2, 10.37, 12:2; 85:21–22 Compilation of the Qur’an by Ali – al-islam.org Various Muslim sources deal with early debates among Muslims, re whether Qur’an contains all that The Prophet revealed Argument that the Qur’an is all that is needed – quran-islam.org
The Prophet Much of the material covered above in relation to Qur’an could also be applied to questions about Muhammad and his significance for Muslims today. Consider the Sufi perspective. Cover Seal of the Prophets Qur’an 33:40: see Amadhi Islam Consider relationship with earlier Prophets – similarities and difference(s). Image of ‘Last brick in the wall’ from hadith. Note: there is a variant reading of khatim rather than khatam but with same meaning. Discuss: Hadiths: oral traditions re Prophet’s sayings and actions compiled by both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, eg Collection by Bukhari c 850 CEIsnad: the chain of transmission used to establish that the reported saying or action can be traced back to the Prophet himself, but very difficult to authenticate. Shi’a and Sunni Muslims only accept those transmitted within their own traditions (but many are transmitted along both lines)Matn: the body of the hadith including the context in which the action or saying takes place. The setting can be assessed for historical accuracy by comparing with other hadith/traditions concerning life of Prophet. The reported saying or action can be checked against the Qur’an and other authenticated hadith. The Qur’an cannot be contradicted, so any report contradicting the Qur’an would be considered falseclassification of hadith including the recognition that at the time of collection there were many false hadiths in circulationexamples of hadiths: can be used relating to any topic on the specificationvarying attitudes among Muslims: many give hadith a status second only to Qur’an and see it as authentic reports of actions and sayings of the Prophet and authoritative guide to behaviour. Contrast with those who reject the authority of the hadith and see the collections as representing the views of the scholars of the time, not the authentic revelation. See the Sunnah of Muhammad as that recorded in the Qur’an, not that evidenced by reported hadith.  
Imams Note that this is very focused and not a general study of the role and importance of Imams. Consider the status of an Imam: divinely appointed, unbroken succession. Cover the number of Imams: 14 infallibles; Twelvers; Severners   Discuss Imam Mahdi – and beliefs about how this Imam may/may not act as an authority for Muslims today – view of  Ahmadiyya Muslims. Discuss the relationship between the authority of the Imam and the authority of the Prophet. Shi’ite Encyclopaedia Qur’an 4:59; 42:23.

God

Week Learning activities Resources
4–5 Discuss oneness: unique – therefore cannot be compared to anything else and cannot be described using the same terms; ‘uncompromising monotheism’ – one creator, one controlling power – everything else is created and controlled (but see debate on pre-destination and free will below)God has no partners – sin of Shirk – attributing God’s power/authority to anything other than God. Extension: work could consider the relationship between the essence and attributes of God with reference to both the throne verse and the names of merciful and compassionate and differences in Sunni/Shi’a emphases. Note: contrast/tension with the ideas reflected here and beliefs in a personal God and Sufi perspective. Note: the work done here on religious language can also be applied in philosophy context and dialogues. Define personal God: God as ‘Person who’ acts not impersonal ‘power that’ affects things around it. Define the Bismillah – and the importance of these qualities of God. Discuss God as merciful and compassionate (7:156) and the source of these qualities in others. Discuss anthropomorphic language: hand and face (debate also applies to throne of God)Hanbali: stresses literal interpretation of Qur’anAshari: believe the statements without knowing what they mean/not like human face or handsMutazili: God does not have a body – esoteric interpretation of Qur’an. Give a general introduction to Sufism and mysticism (note the link to Philosophy paper) and esoteric interpretation of the Qur’an (unveiling its inner mysteries/hidden meanings). Cover a summary of Sufi cosmology – following Ibn al-Arabi (d 1240 CE). Discuss God – the ultimate reality expresses and conceals Himself in each level of creation.  All creation is God but at different levels of existence. Discuss three levels of divine unity pre-creation: aloneness but desiring to be known so expresses/manifests itself in Noor-e-Mohammad (light of Muhammad) which in turn expresses itself in Soul of Muhammad which is One with Allah. All of creation is within God and within the Soul of Muhammad, waiting to be expressed. (1) the expression of the attributes of God as they are shared among the potential individual human souls. (2) the expression of the potential souls in immaterial souls ‘the soul of celestial delight’. (3) the immaterial soul breathed into material bodies and a material world. All levels are expressions of God – the soul is part of God but covered or hidden by the levels of creation separating the material world from Aloneness. Al-Nur, the Light 24:35. Note: all the concepts interlink. Anthropomorphic Face of God eg 2:115 Hand of God eg 3:73 – and Throne verse. See YouTube for short videos on Ashari interpretation Quotes from Nahj al-Balagha to illustrate Shia belief ‘Senses cannot touch Him’: Wikipedia: Nahj-al-Balagha Key Sufi ideas are summarised in a range of online and textual sources including Brown. D, A new introduction to Islam Meditation on the meaning on Surah 24:35 lulsuficenter.org

Self, death and afterlife

Week Learning activities Resources
6–7   Discuss concept of worship: broadest meaning to live according to God’s will eg online article at Islam101.com  This links to concept of Muslim (see Expressions of religious identity). Moral test 76:2 – to be debated with reference to God’s omniscience and Al-Qadr below. Also martyrdom suggests relative unimportance of this life. Define Mutazili: free will Define Ashari: doctrine of acquisition – God creates all possibilities and the actions to match the choices humanity makes from among those possibilities – creative activity limited to God but humans responsible for their choices/intentions through which they acquire the actions God creates. God’s foreknowledge of the choices that will be made, have led some Muslims to argue for complete determinism and no free will. Define Bada:based on verses such as 13:11 – the belief that while the destiny of sinners may appear to be fixed, it can be changed if their behaviour changes. There is no change in God’s knowledge of the destiny of that individual, only the destiny they actually face. Discuss soul: range of beliefs in Islam – include Sufi ideas. Define Barzakh: ‘in the grave’ between death and final judgement. Discuss judgement, heaven and hell as they are described in the Qur’an 47:15 – the garden and the fire. Interpretations based on literal understanding of physical resurrection; symbolic interpretations suggesting spiritual continuation. Qur’an 51:56 Qur’an 76:2 Mawdudi ‘Let us be Muslims’ section on Worship Bada – 13:11 Soul – 39:42

Good conduct and key moral principles

Week Learning activities Resources
7–8 Make links to life as a moral test/purpose of life/preparation for judgement. Discuss greater jihad – personal spiritual and moral development; constant battle with personal weaknesses. Illustrations of ‘personal freedom and judgement’ may vary considerably – and reflect later topics of study (ie A-level only topics).  Shari’ah as a comprehensive guide to human behaviour but flexible in its application – three of five categories are left open to human judgement; some forbidden actions are permitted under certain circumstances, eg eating non-halal food permitted if ‘forced by hunger’. Some duties only become binding under specific circumstances, eg hajj. Understanding of Shari’ah also varies according to the school/tradition, eg use of Qiyas analogy, and ijtihad, and according to the value attributed to hadith. For those progressing to A-level this provides a basis for dialogues with ethical studies. Discuss examples of rulings: the embryo is not human – only a potential life; ensoulment does not take place at conception – majority view states 120 days. Embryos therefore have no rights and may be treated in the same way as any cell of the body, eg as a source of stem cells. IVF (AIH) permitted. unborn child – abortion permitted up to 120 days – and in the opinion of some modern jurists where it is the lesser of two evils after that time (ie mother facing death if pregnancy continues). Hanafi school gives most flexible interpretation – Maliki school contrasts – or Jafari (Shi’a). Lesser jihad – relevant points to consider: war at the time of the Prophet: arrows, swords, horseback – hand to hand fighting where enemies could be individually targetedcombat/fighting not permitted in Makkah when living among non-Muslimslimited combat fighting permitted, then made a duty for able-bodied men in Makkah when commanded by the Prophet. Examples of way use of force was limited – Battle of the Trench and conquest of Makkahkey verses in Qur’an. 21st century issues to consider: who has the authority to call armed Jihad?given the consequences of weapons of mass destruction can their use be consistent with jihad – consider contrast with nature of warfare at the time of the Prophetterrorism: definition and Muslim responses (for those progressing to A-level this provides a basis for dialogues with ethical studies)meaning of Khalifah (stewards) – Adam created as khalifahanimal rights in Islamrole – past and present, eg from preservation of local environment/food sources/water sources at time of Prophet to awareness of global influences of human activity on the environment such as fossil fuels/ greenhouse gases and global warming; pollution of waterways and rest of environment by plastic and waste; issues of packaging and over consumption. These may be evidenced and illustrated in a range of ways. YouTube search on ‘Islam sanctity of life’ Qur’an 17: 32–33; 5:32 Qur’an 23:14 for stages of creation within the womb Stem cell research aboutjihad.com islamicsupremecouncil.org muslimclimateaction.org.uk

Expressions of religious identity

Week Learning activities Resources
8–9 Discuss the concept of Muslim: one who surrenders or submits. Seen as the natural condition of the whole of creation but society and education may lead people astray from being Muslim.  One becomes a Muslim through personal commitment and living, not birth. Consider the declaration of shahadah – and acting that commitment out in life. Shi’a addition of ‘Ali is the viceregent of God’ (translated variously). Shi’a importance of obedience to the Imam of the age. Discuss: if a Muslim is one who lives in submission to God, an individual may only be truly called a Muslim at certain times, if not all of her life is lived in obedience to Godalternatively if ‘Muslim’ is ‘member of Umma’ one may still be a Muslim while breaking Shari’ah. Diversity of Muslim identity because of diversity of understanding Shari’ah. Define the concept of Pillar: supports on which Islam is based. Concept of 5 pillars from Sunni Islam – in Shi’a Islam Salah and Hajj are among a wider range of duties. Discuss purpose: variously explained by scholars, eg transformation of the character from imperfect human to perfect Muslimdevelopment of Taqwah (God consciousness)unification of Umma to reflect the oneness of Godreminder of teaching of Qur’an/IslamThese can be illustrated with reference to both Salah and hajj. Discuss Salahdifferences: Shi’a practice allows the five prayers to be combined into threeforehead may rest on a small piece of baked clay from Karbalathere are minor differences in positions of arms and legs during prayerdifferences in the Adhan (attributed to Umar) may also be referenced. Discuss the importance of outward actions: cause and witness of unityhelp develop right frame of mindimpossible for some disabled and elderlypointless without right intention/state of mind (except as a means to develop that intention/state of mind)underlying intentions and states of mind – essential for fulfilment of the purposes of prayer; especially significant among Sufis. Discuss hajj:note that as with Salah above – required knowledge and understanding is limited. Those who are not familiar with the ritual of hajj will need some awareness to explain its significance and importance. Hajj as practised early 20th century compared and contrasted with how it was practised at the end of the century – eg how modern transport/facilities/wealth/numbers attending have transformed aspects of hajj (and continue to do so) while the underlying practices remain the same. The significance and importance of hajj should be considered in the light of these, and ongoing, changes. Note: internet sources quote official figures for 1920 of fewer than 60,000 foreign pilgrims. Define significance and importance: spiritual significance/significance as a pillar – see above. Relevance to those living in poverty; limits on numbers and any restrictions. Discuss the changing role of the mosque in the community: this requires some understanding of what it was and what it has become, what it did and what it does now. Example(s) may but need not be limited to the UK, and may, or may not, be limited to the London Central Mosque. Students must be able to refer to the London Central Mosque when required to do so. worship including Jummah prayersmosques divided along sectarian or national lines – source of unity or division?central mosqueseducationsocial welfareshari’ah courtsoutreachpolitical activismlocal and national organisation. Mawdudi ‘Let us be Muslims’ section on Worship islamqa.org quran-islam.org Hajj from West Africa from a global historical perspective 19th and 20th centuries History of Hajj in Russia Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah, 1857 Epidemics and overcrowding on pilgrim ships – early 20th century iccuk.org

Islam, gender and sexuality

Week Learning activities Resources
9–10 Cover the Quranic view of gender: spiritual versus cultural Discuss: the view of creationrecipients of divine breathAllah’s trustees on earthmen and women have same religious responsibilitiesShariah law identifies equal economic statuschanging role in modern world – effects of spread of literacy, increase in public education and job opportunities for women, conversion from other religions to IslamQasim Amin’s Liberation of Women – consider how he saw the veil as a barrier and other views on that issue. He may also be considered a ‘feminist’ and is an example of someone who was influenced by western values. Do you agree?how did Amin regard the veil as a barrier to achievement – should it be seen as such? Using Amin as an example – how have historical and social factors influenced developments in Muslim attitudes to gender?   Amina Wadud: putting men above women is a form of shirk. Contrast this with 4:34 that ‘men are in charge of women’. How would feminists respond?   Questions to consider: why are there different views about female roles within Islam? (AO1.3)are women in Islam inferior to men? (AO2) explain the influence of Muslim beliefs on the role of women in Islam today. (AO1.2) Dialogues: how far are feminist interpretations in line with the status of the Qur’an as a source of authority? What does this mean for Islamic decision-making? Consider celibacy: frowned upon in Islamhigh status of marriagehadith of Muhammad condemning those who were celibatestill case today. Consider the status of marriage: high, rules for marriage different between men and women. Cover: homosexuality – contrast between Quran/hadith and modern attitudes transgender – Sunni view – operation encouraged to correct intersex but not allowed based on wishes of the person. Shi’a (Iran) identifies transgender separately from homosexual and allows it – Shi’a more liberal on this issue. These could form group presentations, a class debate on whether Muslim attitudes are positive overall, or essay style questions. Questions to consider: what are the key Muslim ideas about (1) celibacy and marriage (2) homosexuality and transgender issues – you must include DIFFERENT Muslim views on eachwhy are there different views in Islam about celibacy and marriage?why are there different views in Islam about homosexuality and transgender? Changing roles of women Roles of women articles 4:1 7:189 211 3:195 4:124 Natana J, DeLong-Bas,Women, Islam, and the twenty-first century Video: BBC news – British, female and muslim Video: real stories – women in Mosques Qasim Amin islamandfeminism.org The Guardian: Amina Wadud religionfacts.com/islam/homosexuality religioustolerance.org

Islam and science

Week Learning activities Resources
11–12 his can be studied alongside the philosophy topic on miracles – the relationship between scientific and religious discourses is also a dialogue topic.develops an alternative model of reality; provides explanations for events previously considered ‘acts of God’; relegates God to a ‘God of the gaps’, this both reduces ‘God’ to a theory and suggests that God as an explanation may become totally redundantDarwin’s theory of evolution: Human beings are the result of a natural process of evolution by natural selection(1) the theory of evolution is false and incompatible with Islam because it has a materialist view of humanity (ie we are only matter)(2) the idea of evolution was known to Muslim scientists before Darwin and is described in the Qur’an (eg 7:14).the theory is false, the Qur’an describes how God created everything in 6 days the idea of the Big Bang and of the expanding universe was revealed in the Qur’an long before it was discovered by science. if we have the knowledge and ability to improve the human condition and reduce suffering should we use it. if we have the ability to prevent any child with Epidermolysis Bullosa should we use it and are we responsible for the suffering of anyone born with that condition if we chose not to use it?how/why may science be seen to challenge Islam?how/why may science be seen to support/be consistent with Islam?what value has science for Islam? Consider: science as irrelevant; science as threat and science as support. See also Dialogues question on Additional Specimen paper 2A how/why does science stimulate Muslim ethical thinking? Use example(s). Explain the view of Maurice Bucaille about the relationship between Buddhism and Science. Identify different Muslim responses to genetic engineering (AO1.1) why are there different Muslim views? (AO1.3)/consider the influence of Muslim teaching on attitudes to genetic engineering (AO1.2). (This is the application of the same information in different contexts.) 4:1      38:71–72 7:14  18:37 7:54 51:47    21:30   41:11 The Guardian: Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) Adnan Oktar irfi.org muslimheritage.com islamicbulletin.org missionislam.com alislam.org hdcglobal.com islamweb.net

Islam and the challenge of secularisation

Week Learning activities Resources
13–14 process. Could look at USA and Muslim attitude to the election of Trump, for example. Could use specific example of Sadiq Khan and his response to his election as Mayor of London, first Muslim mayor of a Western city.how is Islam being challenged by secularisation?what are Muslim attitudes to wealth and possessions/why are they different/how does Muslim teaching influence attitudes to wealth and possessions? Note – same/similar content applied in different ways. give two different ways in which Islam has responded to the challenge of secularisation – why are there different ways?what does Islam see as its distinctive contribution to society?  The Guardian: can religion be replaced? traditionarchive.org  ted.com: militant atheism – Richard Dawkins   The Guardian: how can you be a militant atheist? It’s like sleeping furiously – AC Grayling masud.co.uk see responses to Dawkins from within Muslim community, especially after the cancellation of his Berkeley radio speech July 2017 Tariq Ramadan’s views islamnewsroom.com  particularly the pros and cons at the end theisla.org theatlantic.com attitudes to democracy 3:85 newstatesman.com mikerivageseul.wordpress.com      

Islam, migration and religious pluralism

Week Learning activities Resources
15–16 emphasis on exclusivism; its basis in the Qur’an; attitudes within Islam to minority Muslim groups. For example: particularly negative attitudes to Ahmadi, differences between Saudi-related groups and others, including when to start Ramadaninclusivism and its basis in the Qur’an with reference to both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic faiths: Shi’a Muslims accepted in Sunni mosques, Muslim Council of Great Britain, organisations such as Council of Christians, Muslims and Jews or 3 Faiths Forum which explore the commonalities between the Abrahamic faiths or the interfaith network for non-Abrahamic faithsthe debate about whether good deeds without faith in God or Islam are rewarded by God: Hadith says that non-Muslims are rewarded in this world but have no share in the afterlife. Some Muslims say that if the person has no knowledge of Islam then Allah will judge him and he may still go to heaven. is Islam a collection of traditions with little in common (AO2)? Note – if you start with a clear ‘Yes’ or No’ answer you must also show what counter arguments there are to you view and why you have rejected themwhy are there different views within Islam both to other forms of Islam and to other faiths?Muslim attitudes to other faiths – how may Qur’an 3:85 and beliefs about Abrhamaic and non-Abrhamic faiths influence these?does Islam have a positive attitude to religious pluralism?can Islam tolerate intolerance?   Centre for Islam and religious freedom