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Dec 14, 2012 (4 years and 7 months ago)

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Religion: Rights
and
Responsibilities

Key Words

Bible
-


The holy book of Christians

Decalogue
-


The Ten Commandments

Making Moral Decisions


the Bible

Many Christians use the Bible when making a moral
decision because…


o

They believe it is the word of God dictated to the Bible
writers. It is God’s guidance to human and has absolut
authority in decision making.


o

Contains the teachings of Jesus on how to live. They
should follow his teachings about moral decision making
e.g. the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus explaining the Ten
Commandments.



Bible records events of Jesus’ life.
Christians ask how Jesus would act in
certain situations and follow his
example. As God’s son his example is
the best to follow.



All Christians use the Bible as a
basis for making moral decisions as
it contains God’s teaching on how to
behave e.g. the 10 Commandments
(The Decalogue)

Making Moral Decisions


the Bible

Making Moral Decisions


the Bible

Not all Christians agree as to how
important the Bible when making moral
decisions.




Some say the Bible was written by
humans INSPIRED by God as such it
reflects the knowledge of a particular time
and needs to be revised for today’s society.




Some use the Church to tell them what
the Bible means for today so they put the
authority of the church above the Bible.

Making Moral Decisions


the Church

The Church: ‘
The community of Christian believers



(with a small ‘c’ it means a Christian


place

of worship).’

Church leaders are given a responsibility of expanding
on the meaning of the teaching held in the Bible and
relating that to modern life. This is because…

Making Moral Decisions


the Church



The church is the body of Christ = how Jesus
works in the world. It has the same authority
as Jesus.




Most Christians believe that God still speaks
today through the church.




If individuals were to make their own
decisions then there would be lots of
different opinions about how to behave. By
following Church guidance people can be
sure they are doing the right thing.



The Pope is believed to have been selected by God
so has supreme authority. He and the Council of
Bishops, authorise teaching on moral and religious
issues to Catholic Christians.

The Catholic Church

Making Moral Decisions


the Church

Making Moral Decisions


the Conscience

Conscience: ‘
An inner feeling of the rightness or


wrongness of an action.


St Paul and St Thomas Aquinas taught that Xians
should use their conscience as the final part of moral
decision making. You should consider the Bible and
the Church but your conscience should finalise any
decision you make.

Making Moral Decisions


the Church



Christians believe God speaks to them. To
them the voice inside is God and so they
should follow what it asks of them.




Church says Christians should follow their
conscience and they are meant to follow the
teachings of the church.




Teachings of the Church and Bible do not
come directly from God and need
interpreting. However, the conscience is od
speaking directly to individuals and should be
followed.

Why some Christians do not always follow

their conscience



Some have been mistaken about the
voice of God. Peter Sutcliffe became
known as the Yorkshire Ripper. He
claimed that God told him to kill
prostitutes.



Some fundamentalist Christians have claimed God had
told them to kill doctors who carry out abortions.


Many Christians believe that if they follow the Bible
and the teaching of the church then they should not
go wrong and do not need the conscience to be the
final word.

Why some Christians do not always follow

their conscience



If everyone followed their conscience we would have no
agreement in society on what is right.

Situation Ethics: ‘
The idea that Christians should


base moral decisions on what is


the most loving thing to do.


Joseph Fletcher was a Christian
ethicist who wrote the book

Situation Ethics
’ in 1966.

Moral Decision Making


Situation Ethics

Moral Decision Making


Situation Ethics

He said that Biblical rules should be taken
in consideration only with other, greater
rules, in mind. Fletcher stated:

Saw the Bible and Church as stating what is right or
wrong but to him life was not like that. Bible says it is
wrong to steal but what if a mad man had a nuclear
weapon?


He based decisions on Jesus’ commandment to ‘love
your neighbour’. This allowed flexibility and the chance
to adapt it to all situations.

Why some Christians use Situation Ethics



Jesus seemed to follow situation ethics when he over
ruled parts of the Old Testament he saw as unloving e.g
healed a paralysed man on the Sabbath (which was
banned).




Should be aware of the consequences of your actions
and so you should only do what will produce good results.




Jesus said the only laws are to love God and your
neighbour. You should do what will have the most loving
results.




See Christianity as based on love and forgiveness.
Should make decisions based on love, not laws.

Why some Christians DO NOT use Situation Ethics



God would not have given laws in the Bible if they were
not meant to be followed. So they follow the Bible when
making decisions.




Should follow what all Christians believe is the right way
to live e.g. 10 Commandments, rather than relying on
their own ideas.




Think the Church knows better what Christians
should do rather than the individual, so they
follow the Church.

Why some Christians DO NOT use Situation Ethics



They claim you can never know all the facts about a
situation and so do not know all of the consequences e.g.


Can save the life of an old man or a

mother of 3? Situation ethics would

save the mother. What if you

discover that the mother is a

murderer and the old man was

about to find the cure for cancer?


The results of this situation are

now changed once again.

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

Some may usually use only one authority but may use
others in complicated cases because…




Protestants might usually use the Bible as it is
straightforward to use. However, for a modern situation
e.g. contraception it is hard to use just the Bible. They
may see what the church says or listen to their
conscience.

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



Catholics would follow the authority of the church as it
interprets the Bible. The church is against contraception
but through situation ethics a Catholic might think it right
for people in Africa to be allowed to use condoms to stop
the spread of AIDS.



The right to life.


No one has the right to end your life.



Freedom from inhuman treatment.


Torture is banned.



Freedom from slavery.


Forced labour is outlawed.



Right to liberty.


Everyone has the right to do what


they want if it is not against the law.



Right to a fair trial.


Under UK law.



Retrospective penalties.


You cannot be charged with a crime if


it wasn’t a crime when you did it.



Privacy


You right to your private life.



Freedom of conscience & religion.


Hold the opinions and beliefs you


want to without persecution.



Freedom of expression.


Express your views so long as it


doesn’t break the law.



Freedom of assembly.


To gather with others and if


necessary to demonstrate.



Marriage and family.


To get married and have a family


(within the rules of the law).



Freedom from discrimination.


Not to be discriminated against for


an reason.



The First Protocol (Civil Liberties).


Have the right to own possessions,


have an education and participate


in the democratic process.

All these rights are declared to be
for all people for all time.

It outlaws discrimination against
Christians and others.

It allows for the freedom to have a
religion and meet together.

It is in line with Biblical teaching on
how we should treat others.

Human Rights
:
The rights and freedoms to which everyone is
entitled.

In 1998 the UK passed the Human Rights Act giving UK citizens by law, the
fundamental rights already laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Christians believe human rights are
important because:

They believe in the Sanctity of Life as
all are made in God’s image.

Xian groups could break the Act by
refusing to give a non
-
Xian a job.

Some Christians feel homosexuals
should not adopt children.

The Catholic church discriminates
against women as priests.

However, the Act can cause
problems for religious people.

Xians could break the Act if they
refuse to support gay marriage.

Why we should take part in democratic and electoral
processes

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

Political

party

A group which tries to be elected into
power on its policies e.g. Labour

Pressure

group

A group formed to influence
government policy on a particular
issue

Why we should take part in democratic and electoral
processes

As a democracy every UK citizen over 18 can vote for;


MPs who sit in the House of Commons


Local councillors


MEPs

(Member of the European Parliament)

Every UK citizen over 21 can be a candidate in any of these
elections.

Every citizen has the right to try and change the policies
of the government or local council by;



joining or forming a political party



joining or forming a pressure group



having a meeting with their MP or councillor.

Why we should take part in democratic and electoral
processes

Why we should take part in electoral processes.

Many people feel that as a citizen of a country you not only have a
right

to have your say, but you have a
responsibility

to take part in the
electoral process

(voting) and the
democratic process
(citizens
choosing and influencing Parliament). They think this because...

It gives you more
control over local
issues that affect you
on a day to day basis.

National government
make new laws that
affect your life. You have
a say in these laws.

National government
are responsible for many
things. You have a say in
the decisions made.

In the past, people died fighting
for our right to choose those who
govern us. We owe it to these
men

and
women

to use these rights.

Decisions in Europe
affect UK laws. We need
to elect people who will
speak out for us.

National government
sets our taxes to raise
money and chooses how
our money is then spent.

The term ‘democracy’
means ‘a government of
the people, by the
people, for the people’ .

Not all countries have a
democracy, their citizens have
no say over how the country is
run or who will lead them.

How can you
complain if you
don’t use your right
to have your say?

Christian Teachings on Moral Duties and Responsibilities

Golden Rule

The teaching of Jesus that you should
treat others as you would like them to
treat you.

Social change

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

Christian Teachings on Moral Duties and Responsibilities

Christians believe they should take part in democratic
processes. Many Christians believe they should bring
about social change so that society becomes truly
Christian. The main teachings that guide Christians in
this are…

1) The Golden Rule. (Matt 7:12)


So in everything, do to others as you
would have them do to you, for this
sums up the Law and the Prophets.


Christian Teachings on Moral Duties and Responsibilities

When voting Christians will look at policies and see how
they will affect other people and see if they would be
happy being treated that way e.g. a party wants to cut
benefits for the disabled. A Christian would ask if they
would be happy if that happened to them.

2) The Parable of the Sheep and
the Goats. (Matt 25:31
-
46)


Whatever you did not do for the
least of my people you did not do
for me.


Christian Teachings on Moral Duties and Responsibilities

Jesus said it was a Christian’s duty to
help the poor and hungry. Again this
would force a Christian to look at the
policies of a candidate. If they wanted
to imprison homeless people they
would not vote for them as it is not
helping them.

S H E E P

G O A T S

The bad/unrighteous

Didn’t give drink

Didn’t give food

Didn’t give clothes

Didn’t give shelter

Didn’t visit those in jail

Didn’t look after the sick

The good/righteous

Gave drink

Gave food

Gave clothes

Gave shelter

Visited those in jail

Looked after the sick

Christian Teachings on Moral Duties and Responsibilities

3) ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Gen.4)


Abel kills his brother Cain. God asks him where Abel is and
Cain replies with this quote. God punishes Cain by making
him become a homeless wanderer. This shows God
wanted us to look after each other (be ‘my brother’s
keeper’.


As such a Christian would vote for people trying to look
after those in need.

Most genetic research is based on two methods:

Gene Therapy
: This enables
changes to be made to cells that
pass on defective information
from one generation to the next,
allowing permanent changes to
be made.

Stem Cell Research

is the most recent
form of genetic research. Stem cells
are the ‘
building blocks of life’

and can
be used to create
(
clone
)

new organs
or cells to replace diseased ones. They
are ‘harvested’ from either embryos
created by in
-
vitro fertilisation (IVF) ,
bone marrow or blood.

PGD
: Pre
-
implantation Genetic
Diagnosis. This removes
defective genes from embryos so
women at risk of passing on
diseases can produce healthy
babies.

Genetic Engineering:
The deliberate alteration of a person by
manipulating its genetic framework in order to cure or prevent
diseases and disabilities in human beings.

Some people believe this
will eventually lead to us
picking and choosing any
characteristic of a child
including gender, eye

and hair colour, even

their sexual orientation.

Stem cell research is illegal in the United States of America.

However, it has been legal in the UK since February 2001 under certain conditions,
regulated by the

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

In May 2008 the UK
government made it possible
for scientist to use ‘
cybrids
’ for
research. That is; a
human

nucleus (the inside of a human
embryo) implanted in to an
animal

egg, to create a new
embryo for DNA research into
causes and cures for diseases.

From this research, scientist have found out
how to reproduce human organs. They
believe that they will eventually be able to

recreate all human tissue

and organs to help replace

diseased kidneys, livers,

lungs and even hearts.

It may one day be possible

to recreate a complete human being.

The
Human Genome Project
plans to map
out the complete human genetic outline.
It is believed if we can identify every
human gene, then we can remove the
defective ones, replace them with
healthy ones, and eradicate illnesses
completely.



Stem cell research, genetic
engineering and cloning, offer the
prospect of cures for currently
incurable diseases.



It is available in some countries and
so is only available to the rich who can
afford to travel and pay medical bills.



Cloning has been used to grow
healthy cells to replace malfunctioning
ones.



Genetic research is a vital tool in
medical science, it would

be wrong to ignore the

advantages genetic

engineering can bring.



The laws on what can

be done are strictly

monitored to protect

from abuse.



Genetic engineering treats the
human body as a commodity to be
manipulated no different to plants.



Once started there is no going back,
scientist will be able to reproduce
scientifically created human beings.


There is no information about the
long term consequences.



The process is irreversible so if
anything went wrong it would be




permanent.



It opens the way
for genetic
screening where
people could be
checked for likely
illnesses before
getting jobs or life
insurance.

Different Christian attitudes to genetic engineering

Some (mainly liberal Protestants) believe genetic
engineering is fine if it is to cure disease, but not to create
the perfect human. They support it because…



Jesus was a healer
who encouraged his
followers to cure
the sick.



An embryo is not
considered regarded as a
potential life until it is 14
days old.



Being responsible stewards
includes improving the lives of
others with the scientific
knowledge God has allowed
us to gain (or given to us).


Liberal Christians will

accept most of the secular

arguments for genetic

engineering.

Different Christian attitudes to genetic engineering

Some Christians, mainly Catholics, allow GE if it is to cure
diseases and does not use human embryos because…



Life begins at
conception, be it in
the womb or a glass
dish.



Killing an embryo is
taking a human life which
is banned by in the Bible
and by the Church.

Different Christian attitudes to genetic engineering

Some Christians are opposed to any forms of genetic
research at all. They believe this because…



God has created
the genetic make
-
up of a child for
people to overrule
that would be to
interfere with God’s
plans.




Cloning or creating a life
is taking the role of
Creator which is God’s
role.



They accept the non
-
religious arguments
against genetic
engineering.