Key Words Heaven - A place of paradise where God rules. Hell - A place of horrors where Satan rules. Immortality of the soul - Idea that the soul lives on after the death of the body.
Purgatory - A place where Catholics believe souls go after death to be purified. Resurrection - After death the body stays in the grave until the end of the world, when it is raised again.
Why Christians believe in life after death • Main Christians belief is that Jesus rose from the dead. All 4 Gospels say he was crucified and buried in a stone tomb. On the Sunday it was found empty.
2. The creeds teach that there is life after death. Christians should believe what they say.
3. Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Pentecostal churches have differences in what life after death will be like but they all teach that it exists.
4.Belief in life after death gives a meaning and purpose to life. Makes no sense for everything to end when you die. An afterlife where the evil are punished gives justice.
How believing in an after life affects the lives of Christians. • Believe they will be judged by God after death. Good go to heaven and bad to hell. They try to live a good Christian life following the Bible and Church teachings. I’m a loser
Being a good Christian means following Jesus’ teachings to love God and their neighbour as themselves. So Christian will demonstrate love for God by praying and going to Church. • Jesus encouraged Christians to feed and clothe the poor; visit the sick and befriend strangers. This is how they will get into heaven. This is why Christians set up charities like Christian Aid and CAFOD.
Believing life has a meaning and purpose affcts the way Christians act and live. Surveys show that Christians suffer from depression and are less likely to commit suicide than atheists or agnostics.
Non-religious reasons for believing in a life after death Paranormal - Unexplained things that are thought to have spiritual causes e.g. ghosts, mediums. There are three forms of paranormal evidence.
Near Death Experiences (NDE) – when someone about to die has an out-of-body experience. Happens when people are clinically dead for a time and are brought back to life. Research by Dr Sam Parnia found that 4 out of 63 people to survive a heart attack had a NDE. Similar results seen all over the world.
Feelings of peace and joy Floating out of the body What is an NDE? Meeting dead relatives Seeing a bright light Entering another world
Evidence ‘(research on NDE’s)…is very good…but it proves absolutely nothing about the soul.’ Dr Sue Blackmore ‘It is possible that these experiences happened during the recovery or just before the cardiac arrest. There is little evidence it happened when the brain was shut down.’ Dr Chris Freeman
2) Evidence for a spirit world Some see ghosts and ouija boards as evidence of peoples souls surviving death. Clearest evidence may come from mediums. Also called psychics or spirit guides. The help the dead to contact the living.
Evidence Robert Thouless left a coded message when he died. 100 mediums tried to solve it and failed. A computer solved it easily. So there appears to be no after life.
3) Reincarnation Belief that after death souls are reborn in a new body.
Evidence Taranjit Singh (1996) born to a poor family. Said he had been killed in a scooter accident 10/09/1992. Taken to the village where the accident was and it was confirmed. Taken to old parents and recognised them. Could write English and Punjabi alphabets despite being illiterate and his handwriting matched that of the dead person.
Evidence In only 11 of 1,111 rebirth cases has there been no contact between the two families in question. Of these 7 were seriously flawed.
Why some don’t believe in life after death • They don’t believe in God. • Evidence of science says nothing lives on after death. • Nowhere for life after death to take place e.g. heaven not in the clouds. • Majority of evidence is in holy books which contradict each other.
The sanctity of life – key word Sanctity of life - The belief that life is holy and belongs to God
Christian teachings on sanctity of life ‘While we are alive, we are living for the Lord, and when we die, we die to the Lord: and so alive or dead we belong to the Lord.’ (Romans. 14:8) Meaning – God made us and only he can decide when our life should end.
Genesis.1 – God made life in his image and it was good. Meaning – who are we to interfere with what God has designed and made. Exodus.20:13 – The 10 Commandments ‘Do not kill.’ Meaning – these are God’s direct laws that should be followed by Christians.
Key word Abortion - The removal of a foetus from the womb before it can survive.
Law on Abortion 1967 Abortion Act – 2 Doctors must agree that: • mother’s life is at risk • risk to mother’s mental or physical health • risk to mental or physical health of existing children • risk that the baby will be born seriously handicapped 1990 Act – can’t happen after 24 weeks, unless mother’s life is at risk
‘When does life begin?’ Begins at conception When capable of surviving outside the womb. ‘A woman can do what she wants with her own body.’ Freedom of choice Unborn child’s rights supersede that of the mother’s. Arguments about abortion
Christian attitudes to abortion 2 different views: • Evangelical Protestant and Catholic = abortion is always wrong because… • Only God can end life. • Life begins at conception. • 10 Commandments – ‘Do not kill.’ • Catholic catechism says it is always wrong.
Key concepts for abortion Doctrine of double effect - Take one action to achieve an effect knowing it will lead to another means I can’t be blamed for the second effect. E.g. mother has cancer. Chemotherapy would kill the baby. Primary aim is to stop the cancer; the death of the baby is secondary (the double effect). This means that an abortion has not occurred.
‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…The law must (punish)… every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.’ (Catholic Catechism)
2) Other Christians = abortion is wrong but should be allowed under certain circumstances e.g. mother’s life at risk, handicapped or social reasons.
They believe this because… • Jesus said ‘love they neighbour’, at times abortion might be the most loving thing to do. • Believe life does not begin at conception. • Should accept advances in technology e.g. amniocentesis tests help prevent disease and suffering.
‘Methodists would strongly prefer that…all abortions should become unnecessary. But termination as early as possible in the course of pregnancy may be the lesser of two evils.’ Statement of the Methodist Church in England and Wales
Nature of Euthanasia Murder?
Key Words Assisted suicide - Providing a seriously ill person with the means to commit suicide. The painless killing of someone dying from a painful disease. Euthanasia - Idea that life must have some benefits to be worth living Quality of life -
Non-voluntary euthanasia - Ending someone’s life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but there is good reason to think they want death e.g. switching off life support machine. Voluntary euthanasia - Ending life painlessly when someone in great pain asks for death.
There are different ways of providing euthanasia e.g. voluntary, non-voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide. British law sees all of these as a crime.But removing food and water is not. Some countries e.g. the Netherlands has made it legal if it is agreed to by the patient, patient’s family and at least two doctors.
Two Types of Euthanasia Passive Euthanasia – Withdrawal or withholding of treatment. Positive Euthanasia - This is actually bringing someone’s life to an end.
Why so Controversial? • Want to keep it illegal because… • There will be doubt as to whether it is what the person really wants. • Is the disease terminal? Could a cure be found? • Doctors should save lives and not end them.
Why so Controversial? Want it made legal because… • Some kept alive with poor quality of life. Only medical advances keep them alive. • Life support machines have brought in a form of euthanasia by turning them off. NHS cant afford to keep people on them for long. • Basic human right to control ending of own life.
Key concepts for euthanasia Doctrine of double effect - Take one action to achieve an effect knowing it will lead to another means I can’t be blamed for the second effect. E.g. give large amount of pain killer to ease suffering, knowing it will shorten the dying person’s life means I can’t be blamed for their death as all I meant to do was relieve their pain.
Christians attitudes to euthanasia It is wrong but there are different attitudes. • Most believe it is wrong, but don’t see switching off life support machines as wrong (as long as the person is brain dead). Not wrong to give dying people pain killers that will shorten their life.
They believe this because… • Believe in the sanctity of life. Only God decides when we die. Bible condemns putting ourselves on par with God. • See AS, VE, nVE as murder, which is forbidden in the 10 Commandments. • If someone is brain dead then they have already died. • Believe in the law of double effect.
‘The use of painkillers to alleviate the suffering of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, ca be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed…’ Catholic Catechism
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. Romans.14:8
2) Evangelical Protestants believe any form of euthanasia is wrong because… • Take Bible literally when it bans suicide. • Switching off a life support machine or giving large doses of pain killers is seen as murder.
3) Some liberal Protestants allow a limited use because… • Jesus’ teachings of love your neighbour and helping people in trouble could justify using assisted suicide. • Modern medical science means that we can no longer be sure what God’s wishes about someone’s death actually are.
Wanting to stay alive causes problems. Drastic chemotherapy is painful and may give only a few weeks of life. However, stopping all drugs could be seen as direct euthanasia.
The media and matters of life and death What do we need to know… • Arguments which say that the media should no be free to criticise what religion says about these issues. • Arguments which say that the media must be allowed to criticise what religion says about these issues.
Arguments which say that the media should no be free to criticise what religion says about these issues. • Criticising what religions say could stir up religious hatred which is banned by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act (2006). • Criticising a religious leader and what they say could be seen as blasphemy. • They could cause offence to believers. A Danish paper published a picture of Muhammed. It caused riots!