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Religious Studies A Level at Lansdowne College

Course description

Religious Studies is a subject relevant to everyone living in today’s globalised civilisation where religion has again become a prime mover.

This course focuses on the philosophy of religion and religious ethics. Students develop an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to questions of great life significance. Religious Studies invites students to examine questions relating to the meaning of life, purpose and values. Students can work out what they really believe, and why. They benefit from acquiring a range of skills, such as analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and the ability to produce extended evaluative pieces of writing.

The course does not assume any previous study of the subject and is suitable for students from any religious background (or none).

Course content


Philosophy of Religion

  • Ancient Greek influences on religious thought from Plato and Aristotle
  • Judaeo-Christian influences on religious thought. Biblical teaching on God as creator and as lawgiver and judge
  • Traditional arguments for God’s existence, from Anselm to Paley
  • Modern challenges to religious belief, including Freud, and the problem of natural evil

Religious Ethics

  • Is morality subjective?
  • Can reason discover a Natural Law for living?
  • Normative ethical theories, including Kant, Bentham and Mill
  • Divine Command theory – Is God telling us what to do?
  • Applied ethics including the right to a child, abortion, genetic engineering, euthanasia and the principles of ‘Just War’

Philosophy of Religion

  • Religious language – how can finite human language be meaningfully applied to God?
  • Religious experience – is this experience merely within our own minds?
  • Revelation through Holy Scripture – issues related to God making himself known
  • Divine attributes – what philosophical problems arise from our concepts of God?
  • Death – what changes when we die, and how?
  • Miracle – does God interact with humanity through special divine action? Can modern people be expected to believe in miracles? God’s activity in the world

Religious Ethics

  • Meta-ethics – What is the status of ethical discourse?
  • Choice and destiny –  Do you possess free will or is human behaviour predetermined?  Are you responsible for your worst actions?
  • Conscience – Do you have one? How authoritative is it?
  • Virtue ethics – The principles of VE, from Aristotle to contemporary society
  • Applied ethics topics include business ethics, sex and the environment


Candidates answer questions with essays which they must plan and structure for themselves. There is no coursework requirement.

AS – 2 exams (2 x 1hr 30mins)

A2 – 2 exams (2 x 1hr 30mins)

Future opportunities

Religious Studies develops essay writing skills necessary for higher education. Students develop maturity of thought and expression, as well as analytical skills.

Religious Studies can be studied at university. It also intersects with academic disciplines such as Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, Psychology, Philosophy and Theology. Religious Studies is suitable for students planning to enter a wide range of careers, such as journalism, law, business, advertising, the civil service, government and the social services.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lansdowne College directly.

Last updated date: 15 August 2016

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