Moral Issues - How
are Christians affected?
This paper is one
and half hours long and asks five questions. You have to
do three. (Doing any more is just a waste of time
as they won't be marked). Each question is subdivided into three
a) Describe - worth
8 marks, and reel off as much relevant info to the topic
as possible. Remember Bible Quotes!
Explain - worth 7 marks. Remember Bible
Evaluate - worth 5 marks, give both sides to the argument,
and end with your opinion. Remember Bible Quotes!
Hmm, did I mention? Bible
Quotes are pretty important... On with the revision!
this (take a look at the Bible Quotes page) but
probably the most famous is Exodus 20: "Thou shalt not kill".
Sanctity of Life
Most people think
life is valuable, but most Christians feel even stronger; because
of their belief that life is a gift from God, they believe
all life is precious.
There are many Bible
So what exactly is the "Sanctity
of Life"? Basically it's all the issues that are to do with life:
- Abortion / Contraception
There's others, of course,
but those are the main ones that the exam might ask you on...
Contraception (or birth control)
is a way of preventing pregnancy. There are a number of different ways
this can be done (no doubt some of you will have experienced some...)
For example: the Pill, (that's oestrogen for you science studiers)
condoms, and the coil. A natural way is to only have sex when a woman
is least fertile.
The Christian View: Like
with most things, Christians are divided. Some think that contraceptives
are terrible, as it is stopping God's decision that they should have
a baby. This is usually the Roman Catholic interpretation,
which is why devote RC families usually have many offspring.
God has a plan: Just
where does life begin then? If we look towards the Bible, we're told
that life begins even before contraception. According to Psalm
139, God has a plan, a reason for every human, and by using
contraceptives we are preventing His way...
Think about this: than prevented
pregnancy could have grown up to be anything, doctor, scientist, professor.
Something that could have helped society. (Though they could always
have ended up as some lazy good-for-nothing...)
Another interpretation is
that life doesn't begin until birth, and so for other Christians, contraception
is part of a their sexual relationship. For a responsible relationship,
they think, you need control. For example, there are a number of situations
where birth isn't appropriate:
- They may not want (any
- They might be too young
to raise children properly.
- They may not be in a committed
- They may want to control
the age gap between children.
- They might not be financially
able to support a child.
Another useful thing to bare
in mind about condoms is that they also protect against sexually transmitted
It's up to you: Where
you stand only matters in an evaluation. Just as long as you understand
the (varying) Christian stance, and can talk about it, that's all you
really need to know about Contraception.
to contraception is abortion. It's the next stage up: the expulsion
of a foetus medically from the womb. Killing off an unborn
been legal in Britain since 1967, if one (or
more) of the following circumstances it met:
- Birth will
put the mother's life at risk.
- Risk of
severe injury to mother - physically or mentally.
- Risk of
severe disability to child.
child will physically harm the health of children within the family.
it has been lawful to abort the child until the 24th week of pregnancy.
However, if either the mother or child are at serious risk, there is no
time limit. For the abortion to take place, two doctors are
needed to sign a certificate.
|For young girls it will
wreck hopes for education, a future...
||Luke 12 - Life is precious.
|Young people are also
not responsible enough to look after a child properly.
||There's always adoption
if the parents are unable to care for the child.
|It would be awful for
||"Thou shalt not
|What's better? Growing
up in an orphanage, for ever wondering why your parents abandoned
you, or never living at all?
||Child could grow up to
be a doctor, the next Shakespeare, etc.
|Woman might die in birth
and child might die too. Surely it's better to save one life?
||If you didn't want a
child, you should have been more careful.
|Keeping the population
under control = richer country.
||Mother can be forced
into abortion against her own will.
|Child could grow up to
be a trouble maker, thief, killer, etc.
it different to killing? That's against the law.
|The child might be born
with metal/physical disabilities.
|Avoids problems of unsafe
Big stuff, isn't it? Share
your views on the forums!
The Christian View:
There are different views.
- Roman Catholics believe
that abortion is wrong and should never even be considered. The same "God
has a plan" quote can be used as contraception. The Pope totally
- The Church of England (protestant)
believes that abortion shouldn't be chosen, unless it is the very
last resort. They believe in some cases, abortion is the kindest
is it? Euthanasia
is "mercy killing". It is ending a person's life deliberately,
but for compassionate reasons.
about these scenarios:
person has lived a good, full life, but is now left suffering and
will die soon anyway. Is it better to prolong the suffering, or kill
cases of physical or mental disability can leave someone as good
as dead. Again, should we end this suffering?
person may feel their life is terrible, and that they cannot go on...
only trouble is a person could murder someone, then claim it was a
mercy killing. It's illegal in Britain.
Christian Stand: There
is nothing in the Bible linked directly to euthanasia. Of course,
there is Exodus 20, but denominations' views differ.
the Roman Catholic Church, it is only acceptable if the dosage of
painkillers would kill them -- they aim to stop the suffering.
denominations argue that it's quality of life that makes it precious.
usual opinion is that is is wrong, because of all the pro-life teachings.
Death is better than
life in some cases, e.g. in suffering.
|Luke 12 - Life is precious.
|You might wish to die,
but be unable to commit suicide.
||If you kill someone you
love, you might regret it later.
|It's the most loving
thing - a mercy killing.
||"Thou shalt not
|People should have the
right to decide whether or not they continue their lives.
||People exploit it - kill
for money, for example.
If someone is so mentally/physically
disabled, they have no idea what's happening and no chance of
recovery, death is better.
|The person may not be
stable enough to make a decision.
|It's legal in Finland,
||Death is not the only
|It costs to keep someone
alive - money better spend on someone with a future.
||It's murder. You're "playing
is it? Suicide is the act of taking your own life. It used
to be illegal in Britain, but is now legal.
Christian Stand: The
most common stand is that it's wrong. Because of all the pro-life
teachings. They believe that anyone that desperate needs help, not
- Roman Catholics
believe to take your own life will automatically lead you to hell.
|You should have a right
to choose when you end your life.
- e.g.: GENESIS 1, PSALM 139,
LUKE 12, 1 CORINTHIANS 3, EXODUS 20
|People are desperate,
and cannot go on with life.
||Nothing is too bad that
death is the only option. Counceling should be offered.
|Life is not worth living,
i.e. in pain or suffering.
||It would hurt any loved
ones left behind.
|Quality of life - not
||It's "playing God".
is it? Embryo research is studying human embryos in order
to prevent diseases and disabilities, such as Parkinson's Disease.
The law states that embryos cannot be stored for more than five years.
Christian Stand: Most
Christians oppose it. Because of the belief that God has a plan,
these embryos had a reason for existence (although it could be said
that reason if to help develop a cure). Again, they think it's "playing
God" and it goes against all pro-life teachings.
embryology must take place, commented Andrea Minichiello Williams of
the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, "We believe that from
the moment of creation, an embryo has value and dignity; the preservation
of the life of that embryo is of paramount importance. An embryo is
a human life and should be accorded commensurate protection." Find
out other real opinions here.
is it? Creating
a genetically identical human (in the case of human cloning). In
England human cloning is banned. It is so complex, no one yet has
succeeded. For example, the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep
did the procedure 227 times before it produced a viable lamb. And
Dolly had genetic problems, that she aged and died much sooner than
an ordinary sheep.
Christian Stand: Again,
Christians are strongly against it. They believe it morally wrong
as well as religiously. It is against all pro-life teachings, the "God
has a plan" and also a foundation for this is their belief in
the soul, which a fetus receives on contraception. With cloning,
this never happens.
interesting site: here.
"The love of money is the root of every evil" --
1 Timothy 6:10.
Money is a key
issue for Christians. There are more teachings about it in the Bible
than there are on heaven and hell. What does the Bible actually say?
- Exodus 20: "Thou
shalt not covert" (desire). Want of money is just another
form of desire, which you shouldn't be desperate for.
- Matthew 19: "It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a
rich man to enter into the kingdom of God". Rich people
should help the poor. In heaven, then, they will have the true treasure.
- Matthew 19 (again): "You
cannot serve God and Money".
- Luke 21: The story of the
Widow's Mite - she gave the least, but in the eyes of God she gave
the most, as she gave all she had. Use your money to help those
- Leviticus 25: "do
not take advantage of each other". Don't cheat.
So, it's pretty obvious that
Christians have an obligation to help the poor, whether they themselves
are rich or not. Money is not the root of all evil (a common misinterpretation),
but the love of it. Christians are not discouraged
from gathering wealth, (lawfully), but it's what they do with their
money that is important.
We see this is the case with
many Christians. A large organisation is Christian Aid (it's
recently been Christian Aid Week, so it would be good to mention this
in the exam). They aim to provide help to poor countries, and provisions
in times of war, but their greater aim is to help make countries self-sufficient.
You may have heard a number
of their quotes. For example:
“Give a man a fish & feed
him for a day. Give a man a rod & feed him for a lifetime.”
"You add. We multiply".
Using their money, Christian
Aid will "fight" on the behalf of the people in lawsuits
for the land, "fight" for democracy, and aim to educate the
people. Education is the one way they can break free of this Cycle
The Cycle of Poverty
Breaking the Cycle
it would be useful to look into Liberation
Theology and Gambling.
the difference? Prejudice is
a preconceived opinion or bias, usually negative against something. Discrimination
this one stage further, as you are acting on the prejudice. For example,
hating Jews is prejudice, having them all slaughtered in Discrimination
both prejudice and Discrimination are illegal (the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights/Sex Discrimination Act) it doesn't
stop them happening. Even in Britain today, the amount a woman can
earn is lower than a man in the same position. People are turned away
from jobs, just because of their race, etc.
a whole, Christians are against Discrimination Turning to the Bible
(as ever) we see many, many examples that show equality. Here are a
few you could use:
10: Parable of the Good Samaritan. Only the "enemies" of
the Jews would help the man, showing you should treat everyone equally.
heals a Roman Soldier.
saves a woman from adultery.
you can see, Jesus was willing to mix with anyone. Probably the best
quote though, for equality is:
is no Jew nor Greek; there is no bondman nor freeman; there is no
male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
However, it would
be very valid to mention that not every Christian organization stands
against prejudice. One group that openly told of its prejudice was
the DRC (Dutch Reformed Church). They actually supported
the apartheid. They believed that though humans are spiritually the
same, they aren't physically equal.
They claimed from Genesis 1, as God separated animals, plants, etc,
He also separated humans into black and white.
When they were
challenged by the DRMC, they eventually repented their
for and against prejudice...
|It's impossible to stop
it - you cannot see/change people's opinions.
||All people have the right
to be treated the same. How would you feel if someone was
prejudiced against you?
|We might be "spiritually
equal" but we aren't physically.
||Pre-made opinions are
usually wrong. You should get to know someone before making a judgment.
|People can't help the
views they've been brought up to believe.
||Prejudice often escalates
into real crime, which has to be stopped. Wars have been started
because of it.
to have free will. Doesn't that include the right to believe what
ever I want?
||There are so many different
races/religious/etc, it's impossible to live peacefully with prejudice.
|Jesus mixed with anyone.
over here, take our jobs, disrupt out economy, etc".
||Genesis 1 and Galantines
3 tell us everyone is equal.
It's not down to men
being stonger than women, or whatever. Religion has such a huge
influence over the world. Remember the Goddess? Anyways, it all
comes down to the downfall of Eve, which lead to "Original
Sin". Kind of stupid really, since the world wasn't created
in 6 days, it's an extended metaphor at best, Genesis.
Two different Bible interpretations:
1 Timothy 2:
"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,
but to be in silence". Women should remain silent and have no authority
"There is no Jew nor Greek; there is no bondman nor freeman; there is
no male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." There is
no male or female, everyone's equal in God's eyes.
Because of these conflicting views,
there has been much conflict in recent times over female priests. The Roman
Catholic and Orthodox, for example, still won't let females be priests. They
- When a priest celebrates Mass,
he is recreating Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus was male.
- There were no female disciples.
(Mary Magdelene, anyone?)
- Above bible quote...
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originally wished to become
a lawyer, he became a Baptist Minister, and gained a Bachelor of
Divinity degree in 1951.
Luther King, Jr.
one of the most famous campaigners against Discrimination is
Martin Luther King. There's almost always a question asking you
about the work of a famous Christian, and he's a great example.
Luther King was born January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia,
USA. Though he
In 1935, when he was just six
years old, he was told he couldn't play with his friends, because they were
white and he was black.
This was perhaps one of the
early factors that lead him to disagree with the segregation
of blacks and whites in America.
Being a strong Christian, he
also saw the many preaching of Jesus, how there should be equality.
This was clearly not the case in America, where black and white people
had separate bus seats, building entrances, parks, cinemas, swimming
When a woman
named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat
on a bus,
with the Jim Crow Law, she was arrested, and this was the trigger
for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by King. It lasted for
382 days. Though King's house was bombed and he was imprisoned for
a time, his actions caused the US Supreme Court to outlaw racial segregation
on buses. This was only the beginning to King's protest.
techniques did King adopt?
- King was a firm believer
in non-violence (see below). He looked to
the example of Mahatma Gandhi.
organized boycotts such
as the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, and lead marches, for
example in 1963 to Washington. This was also where he gave
his famous "I
have a dream" speech. (Listen
to his speech and you should be able to identify all his
devices for english.)
- He also
gave interviews, wrote books, preached about
- Because of his educated
background, he was able to get his opinions
across to anyone, politician or common person.
Martin Luther King received
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Ironically, he was shot down in
1968, but he had left his mark. Others continued to fight for
are varying views on war and violence within the Christian
denominations. All the pro-life teachings (Exodus 20, Luke
12, 1 Corinthians 3) would suggest that Christians should
be against it.
5, Jesus said:
have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'
But I tell you, Do not resist
an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn
to him the other also."
Christians would argue, though, that to allow your enemy to
hurt you is a sign of weakness, and you should defend yourself.
They might also support war on the premise that it is "the
lesser of two" evils. For example, it was better to stop
Hitler, than let him slaughter further.
Jesus being "divine" there is one mark of humanity, in the
Bible, where he turned over the tables in the Temple. (Mark
11). Though he used violence, he hurt no one, and Christians
believe it was justified.
some Christians think war can be justified. To
meet this requirement they have set out a number of conditions:
- The war must be started and controlled by the
authority of the state or ruler.
- There must be a just cause; those who attacked must deserve
- The war must be fought to promote good or avoid evil. Peace
and justice must be restored afterwards.
- The war must be the last resort; all other possible ways of
solving the problem have been tried.
must be ‘proportionality’ in
the way the war is fought, e.g. innocent civilians should
not be killed. Only enough force should be used as
is needed to achieve victory.
- The good gained by victory must be greater than the evil
which led to war.
This is where Christians
believe they are fighting on God's behalf. The most famous
example is the Crusades of the Middle Ages, where Christians
fought Muslims to "free" Jerusalem.
However, a Holy War
seems to be a contradiction of all that is "holy".
"blessed are the peacemakers" said Jesus in Matthew
5, and yet Holy Wars have slaughtered millions. Even in the
modern world, look at the extreme Muslims. Suicide bombers
who think they are fighting for their God.
is the belief that war is not, on any level, acceptable. Jesus
was a pacifist. Another useful quote is: "Put your
sword back in its place… for
all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew
the group most strongly associated with pacifism, although
in all denominations of Christianity. Martin Luther King
was a famous pacifist, who followed the example of Jesus and
the First and Second World War, many pacifists were imprisoned
or even killed because of their beliefs. These "conscientious
refused to join the army, or fight.
Reasons for and against War and Violence
|Mark 11: Jesus
turned the tables. If it can be justified, it can be right.
||Life is precious
(Luke 12); "Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20); etc...
|The lesser of
two evils would be to go to war.
other cheek", "blessed are the peacemakers".
|You cannot stop
people from being violent; if you're attacked you should
only lead to more killing. If everyone believed in non-violence,
there would never be any wars.
||War kills many
innocent people. It can never be justified.
do you think? Discuss on the forums!
stuff is more general, than specifically Christian, but there
are some useful quotes to bringing up children in the Bible:
6: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."..."And,
ye fathers, provoke not your
children to wrath". Basically it should be an equal
relationship: children should respect their parents, and parents
should respect their children.
20: "Honour thy father and thy mother".
to raise kids - the Christian way
At a child baptism,
the following question is particularly important: "Do
you promise to raise your child in the love
knowledge of our Lord?" This shows the stress that Christianity
put on indoctricati....teaching young children the Christian
To what extent
this is, of course, varies between families.
important family values are:
for the elderly.
both religious and moral
values to children and in effect...
young children into
mature, responsible adults.
is one of the seven sacraments, so in the eyes of Roman Catholic
and Orthodox denominations, it is still very important. In
today's day and age though, marriage is lessening, as more
couples choose to live together unmarried...
does the Bible say?
19, Jesus said: "Whosoever shall put away his wife,
except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another,
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put
away doth commit adultery." In other words, if
you remarry you are in effect committing adultery.
Bible is very clear on the matter of not committing adultery
-- Exodus 20: "Thou
shalt not commit adultery."
is a lawful contract in the eyes of God, in which Christians
should keep until "death do us part". (There is
no marriage in heaven as everyone is at one with God...) Many
practice Chastity (not having sex before marriage) and Fidelity
(only having sex with husband/wife). Basically if they don't,
they are committing adultery.
words of a marriage: (Not
to be confused with Bible quotes).
have & to hold
From this day forward
For better or worse
For richer or poorer
In sickness & Health
To love & to cherish
Till death us do part
has three purposes in Christianity:
with most things, Roman Catholics are strongly
against divorce, so much so, that they don't allow it at most.
The best you can get as a RC is annulment, which sort of pretends
there was a problem with the lawfulness of the marriage, and cancels
got the adultery quotes that can be used again.
Christians, though, such as the Anglican denomination, have
a less extreme view. They accept that some relationships
just don't work out, and will
However, it's often the aim of a priest to convince a couple
to stay together and help them sort out their problems.
In the Roman
Catholic Church especially, priests often become skilled marriage
Churches are no longer as strongly opposed to this (besides RC
of course) and it is now possible to be remarried in a Church.
Because the Bible teaches forgiveness, some Christians believe
you should get another chance too. The circumstances
of the previous marriage are taken into account, and it's usually
up to the priest to decide.
environment is another important issue for Christians. (And
the last I'll
talk about, yey!) There're all kinds of environmental problems
we face (most of them caused by us). For example:
- Global Warming
- Depletion of natural
resources (which of course is a strong contributor to both
pollution and Global Warming
it's very important to protect the world. In Genesis 1, God placed
us as "masters" of the world, "stewards" or protectors.
Ways to save
- Cut down on wasted
resources, food, fuel, electricity.
- Go renewable!
- Recycle more things.
Paper, plastic, etc.
- Public transport/bikes
etc. reduce the number of cars on the roads. (cars = pollution).
- Joining organisations
Of course, this issue
is important for us all, so c'mon guys, save the world!
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