Religious Studies - Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and the Development of Christian Thought

  • The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that Religious Studies A Level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’. 
  • Subject staff are always available to offer guidance and support. Students are encouraged to utilise this support in their quest for success.
  • Course materials are current and varied and constantly updated. Students attend a variety of relevant courses throughout the two years of the course

Course content

Three components are involved:

1. Philosophy literally means – the love (phil) of wisdom (sophia). It involves critical investigation into what is real and true. The philosophy of religion is an analysis of certain elements and concepts in religions.

It raises such questions as:

  • What is reality?
  • How can God be all powerful and all loving and evil and suffering exist?
  • Is there life after death?Is there such a thing as infinite regress and how does this affect the idea of God?
  • Is the universe merely a ‘brute fact’? (Bertrand Russell)
  • How does religious language seek to explain God?

2. The Study of Ethics which ranges from the theories of Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics to Kantian Ethics and Aquinas’ suggestion that there is a Natural Moral Law common and accessible to all humankind. Alongside this, we examine the notion of conscience and medical and sexual ethics.

3. Developments in Christian Thought. In this component, learners have the opportunity to undertake a systematic study of key concepts within the development of Christian thought. Learners will explore religious and secular beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections, how they have developed historically and how they are presently discussed. You will learn to develop an enquiring mind, the ability to analyse a point of view, to develop reason through arguments and reach a logical, justified conclusion which is presented in an organised academic format. You will be supported by the teaching staff throughout the course and encouraged to explore your individual avenues of philosophical interest.

Course requirements

Ideally, students should have gained at least a grade 7 in Religious Studies or one of the other Humanities subjects at GCSE. However, the most important asset is an open and enquiring mind and an ability to see beyond the unfamiliar nature of a new subject to the future possibilities which it offers. Students are encouraged to accept the freedom to challenge the theories of Plato, Descartes, Nietzsche and their colleagues and formulate their own responses.

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