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Religous Studies A Level at Graveney School

Course description

A Level Religious Studies asks fundamental, controversial and challenging questions about the issues we grapple with throughout our lives. Does God really exist, and if so,
why do we suffer? Can we reconcile religion and science or are they opposed? How do we decide what is right and wrong? When is war acceptable, if ever? These issues,
although studied at GCSE, will be explored in far more depth - offering students the chance to really challenge their and others' preconceptions. In addition, we now offer
a paper in Buddhism, allowing students to learn about a religion fundamentally different to Christianity and Islam in many ways.

Theology is an ancient intellectual discipline, but no one can doubt the momentous social significance of religion around the world today. Religious Studies at A level provides an understanding of the intellectual underpinning of religious traditions, and of the social and cultural contexts for religious belief and practice. Engaging fully with the questions that the scrutiny of religions elicit will require you to become something of an historian and a philosopher, a textual and literary critic, and a linguist. To be able to employ these disciplines effectively will not only make you a scholar of religion but equip you to embark on a wide range of careers.

There is no requirement to be religious or argue in favour of religion - ardent atheists are just as welcome as passionate theists.

Course content

For each paper, the first three bullet points are studied and assessed in Year 12, and all six bullet points are assessed at the end of Year 13.

Paper 1 - Philosophy of Religion
The content for this paper helps students to explore some of the main contemporary philosophical issues and questions about religion.
Arguments for the existence of God (teleological, cosmolgical, ontological)
Religious experiences and their use in arguing for and against the existence of God
Problems of evil and suffeing in relation to God's existence
Religious language (analogy, symbols, verification and falsification debates, language games)
Works of scholars on atheism, agnosticism, probability and postmodernism
Life after death; religion and science including miracles,
creation and the Gaia Hypothesis

Paper 2 - Religion and Ethics
The content for this paper is focused on exploring both common ground and controversy in dealing with issues that arise in the areas of morality and religion in the context of the modern world.
Issues of the environment and equality (gender, race, disability)
A study of three ethical theories (Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, Natural Moral Law)
War and peace (Just War Theory/pacifism); sexual ethics (sex in and outside of marriage, homosexuality, contraception)
Ethical language (including the relation between religion and morality)
The ethical theories of Kant and Aristotle
Medical Ethics (abortion, euthanasia, embryo research, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, stem cells, IVF)

Paper 3 - Study of Buddhism
The content for this paper comprises a focused and in- depth study of Buddhism
Religious beliefs, values and teachings (four Noble Truths and other core beliefs)
Sources of wisdom and authority (life of the Buddha, the Tipitaka)
Buddhist practices (Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism;meditation)
Social and historical developments (the spread of Buddhism and the role of men/women)
Works of scholars
Religion and society (ahimsa, religious tolerance and diversity, response to science)


Year 12 - 1 hour exam for each unit (3 hours total). A mix of short-form and longer essay style question, none of which are optional.

Year 13 - 2 hour exam for each unit (6 hours total). A mix of short-form and longer essay style questions, including a study of an Anthology. None of the questions are optional.

Future opportunities

The subject is good preparation for a career in education (including post-graduate research and teaching), journalism, media, publishing, law, the civil service, social work, banking, management consultancy, accountancey, personnel mangement, teaching, the police force and religious vocations. Religious Studies produces students who have an enquiring mind, an appreciation of different viewpoints, and an ability to come to clear, balanced
decisions. These skills are highly valued by employers.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Graveney School directly.

Last updated date: 08 November 2017
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