Religious Studies

Course Overview


Religion is a powerful force in our world. Throughout history it has shaped people, cultures, art and politics. It has been the background within which our understanding of ourselves, of the forces that shape and make the universe and it has set the standards by which we decide what is right and what is wrong. It has been blamed for great evil but more importantly for the great good that it has brought to human existence.

Despite the belief and view that religion is a diminishing force in the world, with the certainties expressed by science and technology, it is also true that religion still has a major impact – as newspapers, films, the internet and the radio remind us every day. It is also a fact that religion still commands the lives of the majority of people across the globe with two thirds of the world believing in the existence of God and subscribing to a religious faith.

Religious Studies and Me

Religious Studies is not about making you ‘religious’, it is about enabling you to think for yourself about religious, cultural and moral issues. It is about you and your life and the issues you will face when you leave school and go in to the multi-ethnic, multi- faith society of the world.

If you enjoy:

  • Learning about other people’s beliefs and exploring your own, the nature of the society you live in and the big issues in life which generate debates
  • Getting an understanding of what causes prejudice, hatred and violence in our world
  • Having the opportunity to explore religious and moral beliefs in a safe and questioning environment free from prejudice
  • Debating about difficult issues
  • Recognising the transformative effects of a spiritual side to existence and the great good that human beings can do

Then Religious Studies is a subject that you will thrive in.


What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

Religious studies follows on from what you have been doing in RS lessons, philosophy and tutor time sessions in Key Stage 3. You will have been expected to learn some skills and knowledge in:

  • Critical thinking
  • Understanding why different people have different attitudes to religious and moral problems
  • Expressing and explaining your own opinions about religious and moral issues
  • Understanding and evaluating the different sides to every argument
  • Respect for everyone’s opinions and personal beliefs and the ability to reflect on your own

What will I learn?

  • The major beliefs of 2 major world religions (Christianity and Islam) including their beliefs about God, the impact of significant people in the religious tradition, ideas about life after death and judgement, how they worship and express their religious beliefs in the world.
  • Relationships and the family – sexuality, marriage, contraception, divorce, gender equality and the family in the 21st Century
  • The existence of God and revelation – why do people believe in God and others do not, the nature of revelation and different ideas about the nature of God
  • Religion, peace and conflict – what is violent protest and terrorism, why do people go to war, nuclear war and mass destruction, why religious people go to war – the Just War theory, Holy War and Jihad, pacifism, peace and responding to the victims of war
  • Religion, crime and punishment – why do people commit crime, different types of crime, the aims of punishment, causes and consequences of suffering, the treatment of criminals including the death penalty and the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation.

How will I be assessed?

  • Regular in school assessments
  • Homework set regularly to strengthen and deepen your understanding of the course

What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

The course prepares you for life and gives you the skills you will need to make the decisions every adult faces.

It is also an excellent preparation for:

  • A level Social Sciences (Law, Sociology and Psychology)
  • A level Philosophy Religion and Ethics, History, Theology, English and Classics

Careers that value the skills, knowledge and understanding that Religious Studies GCSE give you: medicine, law, the civil service, the police, teaching, NGO charities (e.g. Amnesty International), the armed forces, the caring professions(social work, nursing, care work, probation service), journalism.


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