Religion (Buddhism), Philosophy and Ethics
Religion, Philosophy of Religion and Ethics explores major questions: life and death, meaning and purpose, practical ethics and arguments for an against the existence of God. You will investigate religious texts and figures, and explore answers from a variety of points of view, focusing on Buddhist views and those of ethical theorists and philosophers. You will assess the impact of beliefs on life and society and adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion.
Lessons are varied, including written work in every lesson, group and individual tasks, use of audio-visual materials, discussion, experiential and written work. The course will develop your ability to evaluate different points of view before making clear and balanced judgments in extended written responses.
Watch a video of our Religion and Philosophy students talking about their courses:
There are three strands to this A level:
1) Buddhism: the study of religious beliefs and practices
You will examine Buddhist teachings and beliefs; different schools of Buddhism such as Theravada, Mahayana, Zen and Triratna; Buddhist values and ethics; and Buddhist practices such as meditation.
2) Philosophy of religion
You will consider arguments for the existence of God; the problems of evil and suffering; the nature and influence of religious experience; philosophical analysis of religious language; beliefs about life after death; and debates between religion and science.
You will study ethical theories, ethical language, and applied ethics—war and peace, sexual ethics, environmental ethics, equality, animal rights and medical ethics.
The course is assessed by examination at the end of Year 2 in three 2-hour examinations assessing extended essay responses.
Is it for me?
You will enjoy and benefit from this course if you:
- have the ability to relate to moral and religious theories and to examine issues logically, critically and systematically;
- want to explore issues that matter about the meaning and purpose of life and how beliefs influence lifestyle and society;
- can explore ideas through discussion and in written work;
- are keen to carry out independent investigative research, including using the internet, rather than just listening and reading. Independent work is integral to the course.
At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Maths and English. A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in Religious Studies if taken at GCSE level.