Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics
“ Studying Religion and Philosophy at A Level requires depth of thinking and critical analysis. Girls ask questions and test out arguments.”Ms Bridgman, Teacher of RS Philosophy and Ethics
Is there a God? What is God? What is reality? What is mind? Do souls exist? Do miracles happen? Can we know anything beyond the physical world? Is there life after death? Why is there suffering in the world? What are religious experiences? What makes something right or wrong? What is right and wrong in abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, reproduction and embryo research? What is right and wrong in environmental ethics, sex, relationships, war, peace and justice? Are humans free? Are we responsible for our actions? What is conscience?
The course raises questions from the Philosophy of Religion that cut to the heart of what it is to exist as a human being, whilst the study of Ethics questions how we should live a good life. The material is often topical, and deeply relevant to us as individuals. The final component of Development in Religious Thought offers an opportunity to look at one religion in depth. Not only in terms of its key beliefs and practices, but also in terms of how it has shaped history, society and the individual’s sense of identity.
In lessons we discuss and debate with each other as well as learning analytical and critical thinking skills. Classes usually have a diversity of beliefs and opinions, so there is plenty of practice to be had. We work as a whole group, or in pairs to explore and map the topics, and then use a variety of ways to argue and evaluate
In the autumn term most of the A Level and IB Philosophy students attend an evening seminar course run by the Royal Institute of Philosophy at the Bath Literary and Scientific Institution. This gives them an opportunity to encounter material that is not directly related to their courses of study, to meet and discuss with Sixth Formers from other schools, and to get a taste of Philosophy at University.
This is a fascinating course, which offers challenge, insight and great deal of critical thought development, which supports the ongoing study of so many areas of further education.