This specification is divided into a total of 4 units, 2 AS units and 2 A2 units. Weightingsnoted below are expressed in terms of the full A level qualification.For an AS qualification, candidates will take any two options:RS1 25% 1¼ hour Written Paper 90 marks (100 UMS)Introduction to Religion and EthicsTwo structured essay questions out of a choice of four.RS2 25% 1¼ hour Written Paper 90 marks (100 UMS)Introduction to the Philosophy of ReligionTwo structured essay questions out of a choice of four.There will be two parts to each question, you should spend approximately: a) 25mins b) 12minsThrough the chosen areas of study above, students are expected to develop thefollowing skills:• to reflect on, select and deploy specified knowledge• to identify, investigate and analyse questions and issues arising from the course ofstudy• to interpret and evaluate religious concepts, issues, ideas, the relevance of argumentsand the views of scholars• to use appropriate language and terminology in context.Knowledge, understanding and skills are closely linked.AO1 Select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through theuse of evidence, examples and correct language and terminology appropriate to thecourse of study. In addition, for synoptic assessment, A level candidates shoulddemonstrate knowledge and understanding of the connections between differentelements of their course of study.AO2 Critically evaluate and justify a point of view through the use of evidence andreasoned argument. In addition, for synoptic assessment, A level candidates shouldrelate elements of their course of study to their broader context and to aspects ofhuman experience. The most able candidates will also apply and communicateeffectively their knowledge and understanding using the skills of critical analysis,evaluation creativity and synthesis.
INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION AND ETHICSTopic Issues1. Aquinas’ Natural Law • Strengths and weaknesses of Natural• Natural law as an Lawabsolutist/deontological moral theory. • Does Natural Law provide an adequateAquinas’ four levels of law — basis for moral decision making?eternal, divine, natural and human • Could Natural Law’s absolutist approach• Aquinas’ idea that the highest good is the promote injustice and/or morally wrongrational understanding and following of behaviour?God’s final purpose • To what extent can Natural Law as an• The five primary precepts which are absolutist and deontological theory workdeveloped in the secondary precepts, in today’s society?created in order to establish a right • How far is Natural Law compatible with arelationship with God religious approach to moral decision• The three revealed virtues (faith, hope making?and charity), and four cardinal virtues(prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance);interior/exterior acts and real/apparentgoods. Candidates will be expected to giveexamples of the application of NaturalLaw, which may be drawn from the issueslisted in Section 4 or from other issuesthey have studied. Candidates shouldconsider the degree to which Natural Lawis compatible with the traditional ethicalteaching of one major world religion.2. Situation Ethics: Joseph Fletcher • Strengths and weaknesses of Situation• Situation Ethics as a relativistic and Ethicsconsequentialist/teleological theory. • Does ‘agape’ provide an adequate basis• The reasons why Fletcher rejected for moral decision-making?antinomianism and legalism. • Could the principles of Situation Ethics• The concept of ‘agape’ love; Fletcher’s promote injustice and/or morally wrongfour working principles and the six behaviour?fundamental principles • To what extent can Situation Ethics as a• The biblical evidence used to support the relativistic and teleological theory work inrelativistic approach taken by Situation today’s society?Ethics—the teachings of Jesus and St Paul. • How far is Situation Ethics compatibleCandidates will be expected to give with a religious approach to moralexamples of the application of Situation decision making?Ethics, which may be drawn from theissues listed in Section 4 or from otherissues they have studied. Candidatesshould consider the degree to whichSituation Ethics is compatible with thetraditional ethical teaching of one majorworld religion.
3. Utilitarianism : Bentham and Mill • Strengths and weaknesses of• Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism Utilitarianism• Utilitarianism as a relativistic and • Does ‘happiness’ provide an adequateconsequentionalist/teleological theory. basis for moral decision making?• The principle of utility—the greatest • Could Utilitarianism’s use of the principlehappiness for the greatest number— of utility/the hedonic calculus promotebased on the quantity of injustice and/ or morally wrongpleasure/happiness (maximise pleasure behaviour?and minimise pain) and the seven criteria • To what extent can Utilitarianism as aof the hedonic calculus (intensity, relativistic and teleological theory work induration, certainty, remoteness, richness, today’s society?purity and extent) • How far is Utilitarianism compatible with• Mill’s Rule Utilitarianism a religious approach to moral decision• Higher and lower pleasures, based on the making?quality of pleasure/happiness and not thequantity.• Rule Utilitarianism: based on the factthat an act is right if it meets a set of rules,which as a consequence of being followedmaximise pleasure/happiness.• The different forms of RuleUtilitarianism: weak and strong.Candidates will be expected to giveexamples of the application ofUtilitarianism, which may be drawn fromthe issues listed in Section 4 or from otherissues they have studied.Candidates should consider the degree towhichboth Act and Rule Utilitarianism arecompatiblewith the traditional ethical teaching of onemajor world religion.4. Applied Ethics • In today’s increasingly secular society,The ethical teaching of one major world how relevant and/or adequate are thereligion religious responses to these issues?on: • To what extent can a relativistic• Sexual orientation approach to these issues be considered• Sex outside marriage, including sex more relevant in today’s society?between unmarried partners, gay and • Is the current move away from religiouslesbian sex, and adultery responses to these issues beneficial or• Marriage, including the purposes of harmful to individuals and society?marriage, sex within marriage, gay and • To what extent might traditionallesbian marriage and civil partnerships religious attitudes towards these issues beCandidates should consider the religious considered discriminatory and unfair?principles involved in response to the Where appropriate, candidates may alsoissues identified and should understand draw upon one or more of the ethicalhow such ethics are based on religious theories in the other sections of this
authority (sacred texts, leaders, tradition, Option when making their evaluations.conscience and reason). They should alsounderstand how religious concepts (suchas God as creator, the sanctity of marriage,agape love, responsibility to God and sin)affect moral principles and be aware of theemergence of absolutist rules, generalprinciples and priorities of doctrine overreasons/feelings/circumstances. Whereappropriate, candidates should be awareof diversity of ethical attitude andbehaviour within the religion studied.Past Exam QuestionsJan 20101. (a) Explain the role of human reason within Natural Law.  (b) ‘The strengths of Natural Law outweigh its weaknesses.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Examine why Fletcher favoured agape love and rejected both ‘antinomianism’ and ‘legalism’.  (b) ‘Greater use of Situation Ethics would lead to a fairer society.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Explain how Bentham and Mill used differing ways of measuring pleasure.  (b) ‘Utilitarianism’s teleological approach to ethics fails to work in today’s world.’ Assess this claim. 4. (a) Explain the ethical teaching of one major world religion about sex outside marriage.  (b) ‘Rejection of traditional religious attitudes to sex outside marriage is damaging to society.’ Assess this view. 
Jan 20111. (a) Explain the different types of ‘precepts’, ‘goods’ and ‘acts’ in Aquinas’ Natural Law Theory.  (b) ‘Natural Law is completely compatible with religion.’ Evaluate this claim. 2. (a) Explain why some religious believers reject the use of Situation Ethics whilst other religious believers accept its use.  (b) ‘The main strength of Situation Ethics is that it is easy to apply to any situation.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Explain how Mill developed Bentham’s ideas into his own form of Utilitarianism.  (b) ‘Happiness provides an inadequate basis for making moral decisions.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Explain the ethical teaching of one major world religion about gay/lesbian orientation and its sexual expression.  (b) ‘Religious attitudes towards gays and lesbians are unfair.’ Assess this view. June 20091. (a) Explain Aquinas’ deontological approach to ethics.  (b) ‘Natural Law as a deontological theory is outdated.’ Discuss how far this is true. 2. (a) Explain what is meant by Situation Ethics.  (b) ‘Situation Ethics is entirely compatible with religious belief.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Explain how Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism can be used in making moral decisions.  (b) ‘The use of Act Utilitarianism when making moral decisions leads to injustice in society.’ Evaluate this claim. 4. (a) Explain the ethical teaching of one major world religion about adultery.  (b) ‘When dealing with the issue of adultery, it is best to adopt a relativistic approach.’ Assess this view. 
June 20101. (a) Outline Aquinas’ Natural Law.  (b) ‘Natural Law’s absolutist approach to ethics is still appropriate in today’s society.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Explain how biblical passages may be used to support Situation Ethics.  (b) ‘Religious believers should reject Situation Ethics.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Explain why some religious believers might accept the use of Utilitarianism whilst other believers might not.  (b) ‘Using Utilitarianism as a basis of moral decision making promotes justice.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Explain the ethical teaching of one major world religion on the issues of gay and lesbian marriage and civil partnerships.  (b) ‘A relativistic approach to these issues is more relevant in today’s society than applying traditional religious values.’ Assess this view. 
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGIONTopic Issues1. The existence of God (i) – • Strengths and weaknesses of NaturalCosmological Arguments Law• The cosmological argument based on • Does Natural Law provide an adequate‘first cause’, motion and contingency basis for moral decision making?including reference to Aquinas • Could Natural Law’s absolutist approach• The kalam version with reference to both promote injustice and/or morally wrongCraig and Miller behaviour?• Additional cosmological arguments, • To what extent can Natural Law as anincluding Leibniz’ principle of sufficient absolutist and deontological theory workreason in today’s society?• Arguments against the cosmological • How far is Natural Law compatible with aargument, including those of Hume, religious approach to moral decisionRussell and Kenny making?2. The existence of God (ii) – • How strong is the teleological argumentTeleological Arguments in proving the existence of God?• The teleological argument based on • How persuasive is the teleologicalevidence of order, design and purpose as argument?originated by Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas • Whether the challenge of the counter• Developments of the argument, including arguments make the teleological argumentPaley (watchmaker analogy) and the ineffectiveanthropic and aesthetic principles • Does the evidence from science support• Arguments against the teleological, or discredit the teleological argument?including reference to Hume, Kant and thechallenges presented by natural selectionand the problemof evil3. Evil and Suffering • Whether there is an adequate religious• The challenge of evil and suffering to answer to the problem of evil.belief in the existence and nature of God • Whether animal, innocent, and immensebased on the ‘inconsistent triad’ and suffering are strong proofs against theconcept of God as Creator existence of the God of Classical Theism• The nature of evil (natural/physical; • How successful is each of the statedmoral), including appropriate theodicies in responding to the problem ofexemplification evil?• Particular problems caused by animal, • Whether either of the theodicies is moreinnocent and immense suffering convincing than the other in offering a• The Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies, solution to the problem of evilincluding both classical and modern • Whether both of the theodicies fail topresentations and unresolved issues of explain the existence of suffering in aanimal suffering, suffering of the innocent world supposedly created and controlledand extent of suffering. by God4. An introduction to Religious • What are the challenges for mysticism inExperience: Mysticism an empirical world?• The nature of mystical experience • How can the experiences of mysticism• Types of mystical experience, including affect religious belief and practice?
reference to William James • Should the challenge of difficulties• Mysticism in practice: a study of one relating to authenticity be allowed toreligious mystic chosen by the candidate, devalue a mystical experience?e.g. St Teresa of Avila; Meister Eckhart; • How can mysticism support religiousIsaac Luria; Rumi; Shankara belief?• Problems of objectivity and authenticity: • Does mysticism have any value in thethe challenges to mysticism modern world?Past Exam QuestionJan 20101. (a) Outline the cosmological argument with reference to Aquinas, Leibniz and the kalam version.  (b) ‘The strengths of the cosmological argument outweigh its weaknesses.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Examine the arguments against the teleological argument for the existence of God.  (b) ‘The arguments against the teleological argument have made it completely ineffective.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Explain how Augustine’s theodicy addresses the problem of evil.  (b) ‘The Augustinian theodicy successfully resolves the problem of evil.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Explain why some question the authenticity of mystical experiences.  (b) ‘The challenge of authenticity should not be allowed to devalue a mystical experience.’ Assess this view. Jan 20111. (a) Explain the cosmological argument for the existence of God.  (b) ‘The cosmological argument simply fails to prove God’s existence.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Explain the teleological argument with reference to Aquinas, Paley and the anthropic and aesthetic principles.  (b) ‘The teleological argument for the existence of God is not a strong argument, so it fails.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Outline the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies. 
(b) ‘There is no adequate religious answer to the problem of evil.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Examine the various types of mystical experiences, with reference to the work of William James.  (b) ‘Mystical experiences have no place in the modern empirical world.’ Assess this view. June 20091. (a) Examine two versions of the cosmological argument for the existence of God.  (b) ‘The cosmological argument demonstrates that God’s existence is probable.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Examine the origins and development of the teleological argument for the existence of God.  (b) ‘The teleological argument for God’s existence is persuasive.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Give an account of the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies.  (b) ‘There is no justification for the existence of suffering in a world supposedly created and controlled by God.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Explain what is meant by mystical experience.  (b) ‘Religious belief is totally dependent on mystical experience.’ Assess this view. June 20101. (a) Examine the arguments against the cosmological argument.  (b) ‘The cosmological argument is still a convincing proof for God’s existence.’ Assess this view. 2. (a) Explain the teleological argument.  (b) ‘Scientific evidence discredits the teleological argument.’ Assess this view. 3. (a) Outline what is meant by the inconsistent triad and explain the particular problems caused by animal suffering and immense suffering. 
(b) ‘The immensity of suffering proves there is no God.’ Assess this view. 4. (a) Describe, with reference to one mystic you have studied, what is meant by ‘mysticism in practice’.  (b) ‘Religious belief and practice should never be affected by mysticism.’ Assess this view.