Rights and Responsibilities - The Polesworth School

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Religious Studies

GCSE Religion:
Rights &
Responsibilities






Contents page:


Page 3


Programme of study for this unit
.


Page 4


Keywords for this unit
.


Page 5


Different influences on how Christians make moral decisions.


Page 6

& 7



The Bible as a source of authority
.


Page 8


Strengths and weaknesses
of using the Bible
.


Page 9


The Church as a source of authority
.


Page 10


Strengths and weaknesses of using the Church.


Page 11



The Conscience, strengths and weaknesses.


Page 12



Situation Ethics, strengths and weaknesses.


Page 13



Christians

using a variety of authorities and Tasks.


Page 14



Human Rights.


Page 15



Why Human Rights are important to Christians.


Page 16

& 17




Democratic & Electoral processes.


Page 18, 19 & 20


Christian teachings on moral duties & responsibilities.


P
age
21


Genetic Engineering.


Page 22



N
on
-
religious attitudes

to genetic engineering.


Page 23 & 24


Christian attitudes to genetic engineering.


Page 25


Exam question.




This section is based on a study of Christianity only.


In

this topic you will l
earn and will need to know for your GCSE
:




Why some Christians use only the Bible as a basis for
making moral decisions.




The authority of the Church for Christians and why some
Christians use only the Church’s teachings as a basis for
making moral decisio
ns.




The role of conscience and why some Christians believe
conscience is the most important guide in making moral
decisions.




Situation Ethics and why some Christians use only Situation
Ethics as a guide for making moral decisions.




Why some Christians us
e a variety of authorities in making
moral decisions.




Human rights in the UK.




Why human rights are important for Christians.




Why it is important to take part in democratic and electoral
processes.




Christian teachings on moral duties and responsibilitie
s: the
Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), the Parable of the Sheep and
the Goats (Matthew 25:31
-
46), Am I my brother’s keeper?
(Genesis 4:1
-
10, 1 John 3:11
-
18).




The nature of genetic engineering, including cloning.




Different attitudes to genetic engineering and

cloning in
Christianity and the reasons for them.









Keywords for this unit:

You must learn this list of key words for the (a) part of the
question:


Bible

The holy book of Christians
containing 66 books.

Church

The community of Christians.

Conscie
nce

An internal voice and a way of
knowing what is right and
wrong.

Decalogue

The Ten Commandments.

Democratic processes

The ways in which all citizens
can take part in government
(usually through elections).

Electoral processes

The ways in which voting

is
organised.

Golden Rule

The teaching of Jesus that you
should treat others how you
would want to be treated.

Human rights

The rights and freedoms to
which everyone is entitled.

Political party

A group which tries to be
elected in to power on the basi
s
of its policies (e.g. Labour, the
Conservatives).

Pressure group

A group formed to influence
government policy on a
particular issue.

Situation Ethics

The idea that Christians should
base their moral decision
making on whatever is the most
loving thing

to do.

Social change

The way in which society has
changed and is changing (and
also the possibilities for future
change).













Christians
look to God as the ultimate source of authority to decide what is
right and what is wrong. However, many Chris
tians look in different places to
consult God’s authority.







Moral decisions are answers to difficult personal questions about right and
wrong behaviour, e.g.

in matters such as a relationship or honesty.





Bible



Church


Situation
Ethics



Conscience

Where do
Christians
find out what
is the right
thing to do?







For some Christians, the Bible is the best source of authority. They believe
that it was inspired by God, this means that what is written there has God’s
authority.


Some Christians think that this is the best place to find out wha
t God thinks is
right and wrong.


One reason is because it contains his direct teachings and rules e.g
.

the
DECALOGUE (Ten Commandments) in the Old Testament.



Task:

Write the 10 Commandments into your exercise book in modern day English.




It is also important because the New Testament contains the

stories and teachings of Jesus and others:


Jesus taught the
Sermon on the

Mount
,

which told
people what sort of
behaviour gets
people in to Heaven
e.g
.

Blessed are the
peacemakers.




Jesus taught many
parables to help
people understand
his teachings better
e.g. the Good
Samaritan.







There are the stories
and teachings of St.
Paul who helped
newly formed
Christians groups
make the right moral
decisions.







However! All Ch
ristians agree that the Bible is important but there are different
views on how to interpret it:




Some think it must be interpreted for today’s society. This is because it
was written by people and so it may not be God’s exact word. It
r
eflected the time
and culture it

was written in and needs adapting e.g.
the attitude to women and animals have changed, as have the moral
issues of the day e.g. organ transplant, IVF which was not around in
those times.




Other Christians believe that it is the exact word of

God and so it must
be followed as closely as possible.




Whilst others think that it should be used and interpreted by Church
leaders and then the message should be passed on to the
congregation (followers).















Strengths VS Weaknesses



Strengths



It is clear and in writing
for all to see and it is
easy to understand e.g.
the Decalogue.




It was inspired by God
and so following it will
mean people go to
Heaven.




Individuals can read it
and get answers for
themselves.




It gives the stories of
Jesus an
d so there is an
example to follow of how
to behave.







Weaknesses



Lots of it is

not easy to
understand and being a long
book it is not easy to dip in
and out of
.




There are no teachings on
modern problems as they
weren’t around at the time it
was writt
en
.




It was written by people and
so may be what they think,
not God’s views
.




It was written for a different
culture in a different time so
is not relevant to us now
.




There is no flexibility and
personal circumstances can
not be taken in to account
.

Tas
k

c)* Explain why some Christians would say that the Bible is all they need to
make moral decisions. (8)





































The Church

-

The Church
with a big C means the whole of
the Christian community, whereas
a little c means the buildin
g. So
be
careful that you do

not

write

about
the wrong thing!



The Christian Church is made up of the trained leaders (clergy) and the
followers (called the laity).


Some Christians believe priests/vicars will know what is ri
ght and so turn to
them for help because they have spent many years studying the Bible and
learning how to interpret it.


This authority can be traced back to the time of Jesus. Jesus passed his
authority from God on to his disciples, who became the first

bishops. This
tradition has been continued ever since and it is believed that God and the
Holy Spirit inspire Church leaders to know what the right thing to do is.


How the Church decides what is right and wrong:


Through
discussion and prayer

leaders ove
r the centuries have come to
understand how God wants his followers to behave. These ideas have
become teachings and are now what priests learn about as well as the Bible.


The Church elects members to meet as an assembly to discuss modern
issues. They agr
ee what teachings can be passed on to the followers by
priests/vicars.


Each Christian denomination (group) has its own assembly, for example the
Roman Catholics have the Council of Bishops, led by the Pope. They believe
that their decisions are guided by
the
Holy Spirit
. They believe that the
decisions will be correct as the
Pope’s rulings come directly from God.


Many issues are discussed, including modern day ones such as IVF and
homosexuality. Leaders believe that through prayer God inspires them to
kno
w what He wants


this is then passed on to the Christian community.












Strengths VS Weaknesses


Strengths
:





The C
hurch has many centuries of experience and keeps Christians
united.




It can provide

one on one advice and so is more personal.




The guid
ance is clear and so Christians do not have to worry about
getting it wrong
.




The teachings are inspired by God and the Holy Spirit
.



Weaknesses
:




Not all Christians have easy access to the clergy (Church leaders).




There is no flexibility and so personal

circumstances can not be taken
in to account.




Some people may disagree with Church teachings e.g
.

the Roman
Catholic Church teaches that using condoms is wrong.

























Conscience



This is the little voice ins
ide your head which tells you what is right from
wrong. We have freewill and so it doesn’t
make

us do something, it just
informs

us what the right thing is.

Some Christians believe that they should follow their conscience when
making moral decisions becaus
e:


It was given to us by
God as guidance. It
is the voice of the
Holy Spirit which
leads people to do
the right thing.

It is the most reliable
guide we have
.

B
ecause it is led by
God. It is universal
as everyone has one
and most people
recognise that
mur
der, theft, rape
etc are wrong.

Non
-
religious people
recognise that they
have a conscience
too as there is a
worldwide agreement
of what is right and
wrong.


Strengths VS Weaknesses

Strengths



Everyone has one!



There is a general agreement about what is ri
ght and wrong



It is easy to access


Weaknesses



There can be a difference between consciences e.g. people believe
different things about abortion and euthanasia.



Not all consciences say good things e.g. the Yorkshire Ripper
claimed that he heard God’s voice

as his conscience telling him to
kill prostitutes.



There is not a universal conscience


if there was then there
wouldn’t be wars.


Task

b) Do you think that laws could be abolished if everybody acted
according to their conscience?

Give
two
reasons for yo
ur point of view. (4)





Situation Ethics



do the most loving thing



Christians are not in total agreement about this and when it was first
introduced there were many arguments over it.


Nevertheless, there are still some Chris
tians who say that it is a good guide
as it is
based on the teachings of Jesus and nothing else
.


Jesus gave the Golden Rule (treat people how you want to be treated) and
said that people should ‘love thy neighbour.’ He often went against tradition
because

it served love the best e.g. he went against the law and said that the
adulterous women should not be stoned to death as it was the most loving
thing. This follows these teachings.



Strengths VS Weaknesses

Strengths



The rule is simple to apply
.



It takes
in to account all aspects of a situation
.



It follows Jesus’ teachings
.


Weaknesses



People can disagree about what the most loving thing to do is (e.g
.

issues of abortion)
.



Some moral dilemmas are too complicated to be solved in this way



Not always easy to
see what the most loving thing is, and how far in
the future do you need to consider?



What if the most loving thing breaks the legal law (e.g
.

euthanasia)

















Why some Christians use a variety of authorities in
making moral decisions



Each source

of authority, be it the Church, the Bible, Conscience or Situation
Ethics have their advantages and disadvantages. For some Christians, this is
not a problem. The authority they decide on provides clear, reliable guidance
that they believe is right. This
can be a great help because it r
e
moves the
worry and responsibility about what they should do.


However, other Christians believe that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Because moral dilemmas are often complicated, they may require different
approa
ches. So it is quite common for Christians to use a variety of different
authorities depending on the situation they are faced with. They do not regard
that as a weakness. All of the authorities rely on God for their ultimate
authority. The Christian is s
imply seeking God’s guidance in the most
accessible form at that moment.


Tasks


1.

With a partner, read the diffe
rent cases below and decide which
is the best source of moral guidance for a Christian in each case,
and why:


a)

A twenty
-
pound note has been left on the floor in the classroom.
How will a Christian know what to do about it?


b)

Your Mum comes in wearing an abs
olutely hideous skirt. She
asks you if it suits her. If you were a Christian, how would you
react? What source of authority do you think offers te best
guidance?


c)

You hear a juicy bit of gossip about one of the girls in your class.
You have no idea if it i
s true but your mates would love to hear it.
If you were a Christian, how would you decide what is the right
thing to do?


d)

One Christian wants to get divorced because his wife is having
an affair. His wife doesn’t want to get divorced because she
promised
to remain married until death parted them. How will
they know what is the right thing to do?


2.

A (d) style question:

“Having a variety of different ways of making moral decisions is
just confusing for Christians.”

(i)

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion
. (3)

(ii)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you.
(3)





Human Rights



Human rights means the freedom and entitlement people shoul
d have
because they are human, f
or example th
e right to equality, the right to life,
freedom and personal security.



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

After the human rights abuses of World War II, the United Nations drew up
this declaration in 1948:

1)

Right to equality,

2)

Freedom from discrimination,

3)

Rig
ht to life, liberty and personal security,

4)

Freedom from slavery,

5)

Freedom from torture or degrading treatment,

6)

Right to be recognised as a person by the law,

7)

Right to equality before the law,

8)

Right to a fair hearing if your rights are broken,

9)

Freedom from a
rrest with no reason and exile,

10)


Right to a fair public hearing if accused of something illegal,

11)


Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty,

12)


Freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and
correspondence,

13)


Right to free movement in and
out of the country,

14)


Right to asylum in other countries if being persecuted at home,

15)


Right to a nationality and freedom to change it,

16)


Right to marriage and family,

17)


Right to own property,

18)


Freedom of belief and religion,

19)


Freedom of opinion and informati
on,

20)


Right to meet peacefully with others and join groups,

21)


Right to participate in government by voting and standing for election,

22)


Right to social security,

23)


Right to work safely for equal pay,

24)


Right to rest and leisure,

25)


Right to an adequate living sta
ndard,

26)


Right to an education,

27)


Right to participate in cultural activity e.g. the arts,

28)


Right to have society run in a way which protects your rights,

29)


Everyone has duties but these should only help achieve everyone’s
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The Declaration of Human Rights is not law in the UK but it is the foundation
of them. If people in the UK feel that their rights have not been given then they
can appeal to the Europ
ean Court of Human Rights.


The UK tries to protect all of its citizen’s human rights, no matter where they
are in the world. For example our government may get involved if a British
citizen is sentence
d

to death in another country for a crime they have
co
mmitted and appeal for a difference sentence to be given.


Task

In pairs, decide which 5 statements from the Declaration you would consider
most important. Be prepared to justify your decision.



Why human rights are important to Christians




The very firs
t book of the Bible teaches that God made everyone equal
and that we are all related as we come from Adam and Eve.




The Bible says to remember those who are in prison and those who
are tortured as if it were you being tortured.




Jesus went out of his way to ensure that even the social rejects of his
time were treated fairly e.g. he gave help to a Roman soldier who
would have been despised, he was also kind to a prostitute and a tax
collector.




Jesus’ behaviour and teachings suppo
rt human rights. The parable of
the
Good Samaritan
teaches that the way a person acts towards
others is what matters the most.




Archbishop Desmond Tutu campaigned against how the white South
African government treated black South Africans as 2nd class citi
zens.




Statements have been issued by the Church and others saying that
human rights matter e.g. the Catholic Church said “these rights and
duties are universal and inviolable.”









Why many people think it is important to take
part in a democratic and el
ectoral process





















I think it is vital to take part in the electoral
processes of this country. By voting in an
election, whether it is a local council one or a
general election
, we get the chance to say ho
w
we want things run. I want my voice to be
heard. Voting is the way to do that.


I’m particularly keen to vote because my great
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Voting in an election
gives people a say
of
how they want things
run from school to government.




If no one voted who would end up running things


you can’t
complain

what the government does if you didn’t take part.





It gives people the chance to
be a part of social change

and
creating the society
we want.




Woman campaigned
for years to get a say and so voting respects
their efforts.




At all levels from being on a school council to voting for the next
government, it means that
taking part does change things that
affect your own life.





I voted in the last general election

because
everyone with the vote should. That’s what
living in a democratic society means; we have
all got the chance to be involved in social
change. To be honest, I’m not convinced any
political party


Conservative, Liberal
Democrats or Labour


can real
ly do all things
they say. But at least in a democracy we can
speak out for or against the government and
that can influence things.





Christian teachings on moral duties and
responsibilities


There are four main teachings regarding moral duties and responsibilities
in Christianity:

1.

The

Golden Rule

2.

The Parable of the Sheep & the Goats

3.

Am I my brother’s keeper?

4.

Love one another


The Golden Rule

“Do for others what you want them to do for you.” (Matthew 7:12)



The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats


When the Son of Man comes as King and a
ll the angels with him, he will sit
on his royal throne, and the people of all nations will be gathered before him.
Then he will divide them into two groups just as a shepherd separates the
sheep from the goats.

He will put the righteous people on his righ
t and the
others on his left. Then the King will say to the people on his right, “Come, you
that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has
been prepared for you ever since te creation of the world. I was hungry and
you fed me, thirst
y and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you
received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you
took care of me, in prison and you visited me.”


The righteous will then answer him, “When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry
and fee
d you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a
stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did
we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?” The King will reply, “
I tell
you, whenever you did this for one o
f the least important of these
members of my family, you did it for me!”


Then he will say to those on his left, “Away from me, you that are
under God’s
curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his
angels! I was hungry and
you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not
give me a drink; I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your
homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you
would not take care of me.”


Then they will answer him, “When
, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and would not help you?” The King
will reply, “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of least important
ones, you refused to help me.” These, then, will be se
nt off to eternal
punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.









(Matthew 24:31
-

46)




Am I my brother’s keeper?



Then Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she became pregnant. She
bore a son and said, “By the Lord’s help I have acquired
a son.” So she
named him Cain. Later she gave birth to another son, Abel. Abel became a
shepherd, but Cain was a farmer. After some time
, Cain brought some of his
harvest and gave it as an offering to the Lord. Then Abel brought the first
lamb born to one
of his sheep, killed it, and gave the best parts of it as an
offer
ing. The Lord was pleased with A
bel and his offering, but he rejected
Cain and his offering. Cain became furious, and he scowled in anger. Then
the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why

that scowl on your face? If
you had done the right thing, you would be smiling; but because you have
done evil, sin is crouching at your door. It wants to rule you, but you must
overcome it.”


The Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out in the fields
.” When they were
out in the fields, Cain turned on his brother and killed him.

The Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

He answered, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”









(Genesis 4:1
-
10)



Love one another



The message you heard fr
om the very beginning is this: we must love one
another. We must not be like Cain; he belonged to the Evil One and murdered
his own brother Abel. Why did Cain murder him? Because the things he
himself did were wrong, but the things his brother did were rig
ht.


So do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the people of the world
hate you. We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it
because we love our brothers and sisters. Whoever does not love is still under
the power of death
. All who hate others

are murderers, and you know that
murderers have not got eternal life in them. This is how we know what love is:
Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for our brothers
and sisters! Rich people who see a bro
ther or sister in need, yet close their
hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God. My children, our love
should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in
action.”









( 1 John 3:11
-
18)












Task



For each acco
unt explain what the meaning is for a Christian.















The

(d) question:

‘If everyone treated others as they would like to be treated, we wouldn’t
need laws.’

In your answer you should refer to Christianity.

(i)

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3)

(ii)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3)








Genetic engineering means changin
g the gene structure, primarily to cure
genetically inherited diseases by modifying affected genes.


In 1953 two scientists were able to unravel DNA


a complex molecule found
in all cells. In 1990 the Human Genome Project began an attempt to see if it
was

possible to see how individual genes worked, which could ultimately lead
to the development of drugs to deal with many human diseases. In theory
though this technology could also be used to create ‘designer’ babies, where
parents select the characteristic
s that they would like their child to have such
as intelligence, physical attractiveness and gender.


Today there are 3 things which are possible to do with manipulating most of
the genes in the human body:


1.

Genetic engineering.
This process manipulates DN
A directly, allowing
a particular characteristic to be deleted, altered or replaced. By
changing the genetic code the new characteristic will be passed on to
the next generation.


2.

Gene therapy
This is when a defective gene is replaced with a new
one. This
can be used to help people with cystic fibrosis and other
conditions. Cloning processes can now be used to grow healthy cells
to replace malfunctioning ones. This involves creating stem cells from
embryos produced from IVF and are not used, or from bone m
arrow or
blood.


3.

Xenotransplantation.
This method transplants organs between one
species and another. In the last few years pig organs have been used
as short term replacements for humans.







Where as no one can doubt that genetic engineering has the potential to help
cure thousands of people each year and save countless lives there are
concerns about the technology from non
-
religious as well as religious people.


One of the most

recent developments is cloning. Scientists can use stem cells
to develop most of the cells in the human body. They are the building blocks
or master cells of the blood and immune system and it is hoped that this
technology can lead to cures for diseases s
uch as Alzheimer’s Disease.
However, there is a fear that cloning could not just be used to treat medical
conditions, but be used to clone human beings. Scientists have already been
able to clone an animal with relative success. Dolly was the world’s first

cloned sheep. Currently the UK has put a ban on trying to clone a whole
human, but for how long?





Another
issue raised is the potential option for parents to have their unborn
foetuses tested for conditions which may lead to an early death. This would
then give parents an option to abort a baby that may be a carrier of an
incurable disease. Is this a good thin
g or a bad thing? It could mean that
incurable genetic diseases could be wiped out.









Dolly was born in 1996 and
was the world’s first cloned
animal. She lived for 6
years. Sheep normally live
11
-
12 ye
ars






The

Protestant Christian
poin
t of view,

such as the
Church of England

and
the
Methodist Church
, believe that humans have a God
-
given responsibility
to look after the whole of creation. There is a concern however that some
genetic engineering scientists may over step the mark and go be
yond the
authority that God has given them. Most Protestants would agree though that
the scientific community does act responsibly and that genetic engineering
can lead to a lot of good.


Protestant Christians believe that some parts of genetic engineerin
g are
acceptable as an essential part of Jesus’ ministry was concerned with healing
the sick: the deaf, the blind, and the physically and mentally incapacitated.


“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the good news of the

kingdom, and healing every disease and
sickness among the people.”

Matthew 4:23


One area that Protestants do have an issue with is human cloning. They
believe that the creation of life must begin with God and the means that He
has provided to bring thi
s about


an egg fertilized by sperm. Protestants think
that nothing should interfere with this.




The
Roman Catholic Christian

point of view is ve
ry different. Catholics are
totally opposed to any type of genetic engineering as they believe that the
genetic make
-
up of a person gives them a unique identity which has been
given to them by God. If humans try to interfere with this then they are
interfe
ring with God’s plan. Trying to make people and the earth perfect is
wrong and impossible as only heaven was intended by God to be perfect.


Genetic engineering could help
current Alzheimer patients and may
be rid the world of this and other
genetic diseases. Is that such a bad
thing?






Roman
Catholics are
opposed to genetic engineering even if it means that it
could stop the suffering that some illness’ cause as it exceeds God’s
authority. They argue that suffering is a necessary part of life, from which
people can learn valuable spiritual les
sons. Again, it is part of God’s plan.




Task

The (c)* question:

Explain why some Christians agree with genetic engineering and some do
not.










(8)





Section 1


RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

You must answer ONE question from this section.



EITHER


1 (a) What is Situation Ethics?






(2)




(b) Do you think pressure groups should be made illegal?


Give
two

reasons for your point of view.




(4)



(c)
*

Explain how the Church is used by Christians in moral


decision making







. (8)



(d) ‘No good can come from genetic engineering.’


In your answer you should refer to Chris
tianity.


(i) Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion.



(3)


(ii) Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3)














(Total for Question 1 = 20 marks)



OR



2 (a) What are democratic processes?





(2)



(b) Do you think Christians should accept cloning?


Give
two
reasons for your point of view.




(4)



(c)* Explain why human rights matter to Christians.



(8)



(d) ‘Conscience is the best guide a Christian has when making a moral



decision.’


In your answer you should refer to Christianity.


(i) Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion.



(3)


(ii) Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3)








(Total for Question 2 = 20 marks)