The course comprises three components which are taught and examined as separate units of study.
Philosophy of Religion
- deals with philosophical issues and questions raised by religion such as identifying evidence for the existence of God; evaluating scientific theories about the origins of the universe; explaining why a powerful, loving God would allow suffering and evil to exist, and is evil personified in a Satan figure? We examine the meaning of religious experience and explore whether these are nothing more than products of the human mind. The challenges to faith from both Psychology and Sociology as well as the debate between Creationism and the Big Bang. Candidates should be able to discuss critically their own views as well as analyse the views and claims of a variety of thinkers and philosophers.
- provides the opportunity for students to acquire and develop knowledge and a critical understanding of key ethical concepts and theories, ranging from moral absolutism to the Utilitarian principle of act for ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number’. Candidates will study a number of ethical theories and analyse how to apply key decision making to a variety of moral dilemmas. Two specific areas covered in detail are the use animal experimentation for medical research, and the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
- is a new section which allows students to develop a more in depth understanding of a faith and the impact belief has on its follower’s daily lives. We will study Islam as it is a religion of real interest and impact in the world today but also as it is a faith that can be more easily understood by those with little or no experience of it, so there is no disadvantage in not having studied it at GCSE. The course covers key beliefs and teachings and analyses issues such as whether the Day of Judgement inspires fear or faith; the extent to which Muhammad was the ideal prophet and messenger; the extent to which the media influences Western perceptions of Islam; or whether or not Islam is accurately represented in Britain today.
The course does not assume or require any previous study of Religious Studies. The course is open to candidates from any religious background and success in this subject will in no way depend upon a candidate’s religious beliefs or lack of them. In fact, of almost two hundred and fifty pupils who have gained A-Level RS at WHGS, only about half would claim to hold religious beliefs themselves.
Those who have completed the course have found it both interesting and rewarding, with a pass rate of 98% currently.