Have you ever wondered how the universe came to exist? Or who made God? How Jesus’ teaching became so influential in the Western world? Never one to shy away from a debate, Religious Studies takes an interactive approach to teaching, with students encouraged to think for themselves and come to reasoned conclusions. With religious fundamentalism and questions of ethics constantly in the media, Religious Studies takes current affairs and applies academic thinking spanning three thousand years, offering new insights into old discussions.
In the Philosophy of Religion unit, you will explore philosophical issues and the questions raised by religion and belief. This exploration begins in Ancient Greece, where you will look at the ideas of Plato and Aristotle. You will examine whether it is possible to use logic, reason and experience to prove the existence of God, and question whether there is too much evil and suffering in the world to believe in a benevolent God.
In Religion & Ethics, you will look at how ethical language has changed over time, studying four ethical theories and then applying them to real life situations, including euthanasia, and matters of business. You will also examine the role conscience plays in ethical decision making.
Development of Religious Thought provides the opportunity for an exploration of the religious beliefs, values, teachings and practices that shape religious identity. You will look at theological ideas about the person of Jesus, the nature of the afterlife, and salvation, as well as the role secularism and feminism has played in changing religious thought over time.
You will study the following units on A Level Religious Studies:
- Philosophy of Religion
- Religion & Ethics
- Developments in Religious Thought
Three exams each lasting two hours, to be taken at the end of two years, in each of the units studied.
Practical work, including microscopy and experimental investigations, forms an important part of the course. During these practical sessions, you will develop the skills necessary to complete the practical endorsement and components of the written examinations. Fieldwork is also undertaken and is carried out during the summer term of the lower-sixth year and includes day trips to areas of biological interest.
A Level Religious Studies complements other Humanities subjects, such as History or English. It can also be combined successfully with the Sciences. Previous Religious Studies students have gone on to study a wide variety of subjects at university, including Physics with Astrophysics, Zoology, International Relations, Law, Journalism and Psychology. Many of them have said that what they learned in Religious Studies has appeared again in their degree courses (even Astrophysics!)