Religious Studies

Overview

Religion Studies is a subject that is central to world history, society and human life. It is very relevant for the world in which we live, since it informs our values, which are reflected in what we say and how we behave. A study of religion provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. A level Religious Studies lets you study the various philosophies and beliefs that underlie popular religions. It helps you understand the perspectives and motivations of believers and non-believers alike.

Anyone who is interested in questions about the meaning of life, the historical basis for religion and the ideological foundations of human history and contemporary events will want to study Religious Studies, which investigates such issues in an intellectually serious way. Students of Religious Studies will grapple with ideas, which are often difficult but always interesting.

Religious Studies is a well-regarded A level subject. The rigorous intellectual discipline that students develop, will assist them in almost any further study or career, since it is a subject which requires students to ask the big questions about human behaviour and motivation. Popular career options are law, journalism, counselling, community development work and charity fundraising.

The Religious Studies Department is committed to providing a supportive and purposeful learning environment. We aim to develop inquiring minds that are open to new ideas as well as being able to critically engage with them. As our students explore religion, ethics and philosophy it helps them develop a better understanding of the world around them and what motivates humans to constantly examine life and question the nature of their own existence.

Curriculum

Students who choose to study A level Religious Studies will follow the OCR A Level Religious Studies specification. This requires candidates to study three modules: Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics, and Developments in Christian Thought.

Topics taught include:

Philosophy of Religion:

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language.

Religion and Ethics:

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to euthanasia and business ethics
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

Developments in Christian Thought:

  • Augustine’s teaching on human nature
  • Death and the afterlife
  • Knowledge of God’s existence
  • The person of Jesus
  • Christian moral principles
  • Christian moral action
  • Religious pluralism, theology and society
  • Feminism, society and theology
  • The challenge of secularism
  • Liberation Theology and Marx

There are ten lessons per week and the course is typically taught by two teachers. Students are provided with a core textbook plus additional department handouts and digital resources. Students are regularly assessed through the submission of essays and seminar presentations.

The course is examined by three 2 hour exams at the end of the Upper Sixth.

Trips, activities and clubs

In addition to our teaching there are a range of opportunities to support the development of Religious Studies knowledge including:

  • Philosophy Society
  • Lunchtime drop-in exam surgeries.
  • Cross-curricular trip to Auschwitz, with the History department. During the trip, students explore the Problem of Evil and issues of conscience and morality.

Staff

  • Miss E Haste BA (Head of Religious Studies)
  • Mrs S Stileman MA