RELIGION STUDIES P2
- Abortion refers to the removal of a foetus from the womb before it can survive outside the womb.
- Abortion can be carried out if the mother's physical or mental health is at risk.
- It can also be carried out if another child will put at risk the mental or physical health of the existing children.
- It is permissible if there is a substantial risk that the child can be born seriously handicapped.
- Abortion can take place within the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy.
- The law allows abortion on demand for children from the age of twelve. (10)
- Abortion destroys self-concept of the mother.
- She lives with the guilty conscience that she committed murder.
- She may never get pregnant again.
- She may sustain internal injuries.
- A woman may be stigmatised and be despised by the community.
- Her love life and marriage may be affected negatively.
NOTE: Other relevant points must be credited. (10)
EXAMPLE 1: CHRISTIANITY
- Life is holy and belongs to God. Only God has the right to end a pregnancy.
- Life begins at conception, as there is no break from conception to birth, abortion is therefore taking life.
- The Ten Commandments say thou shall not kill. Therefore abortion is wrong.
- Every person has a natural right to life.
- The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion is wrong whatever the circumstances are.
- In the Book of Jeremiah 1:5 God says: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you came to birth I consecrated you.'
- A foetus is a potential person and abortion destroys its right to life.
- Some Christians believe that abortion is wrong but must be allowed in some circumstances.
EXAMPLE 2: ISLAM
- If the birth of a child puts the mother's life at risk, abortion is allowed.
- Kill not your children on a plea of want. We provide sustenance for you and for them, come not nigh to shameful deeds, (Surah 6:151).
- The Islamic teaching permits abortion to be committed up to 120 days of pregnancy.
- It is also permitted if the health of the baby is at risk.
- According to the Shari'ah, the life of the mother always takes precedence to the life of the unborn baby.
- Some Muslims believe that the soul is given at the moment of conception, so the foetus is a human being. This is why they reject abortion.
- The Qur'an says murder is wrong and for that reason abortion is murder, because life begins at conception.
- Some Muslims believe that the Qur'an bans abortion.
- The jurists state that it is permissible to take medicine for abortion as long as the embryo is still unformed in human shape.
EXAMPLE 3: HINDUISM
- There are different attitudes to abortion in Hinduism.
- Some Hindus believe that abortion can never be allowed whatever the circumstances.
- Some Gurus say that all abortion is wrong.
- They believe in the sanctity of life and that taking life gives bad karma.
- Some Hindus believe that abortion is only permissible if the mother's life is at risk.
- They argue that, Hindu teachings on ahimsa state that violence should only be used as a last resort, which would be when mother's life is at risk.
- The sanctity of life means that abortion is wrong unless the foetus threatens the sanctity of the mother's life.
- The teachings of Gita on not being able to harm the soul are taken to mean that abortion will not affect karma.
- They believe that life does not begin until the foetus can survive outside the womb. (16)
- Religious organisations must organise youth camps to discuss issues around abortion.
- They must also use the health services to assist the youth who threaten to commit abortion.
- Religious organisations must give spiritual support to people who have lost hope because of abortion.
- They must educate the community about the situations that lead to abortion.
- They should also ensure that appropriate facilities for safe abortion are made available in their communities.
- They must teach about abortion in their own places of worship.
- They must teach their adherents not to discriminate against those who have had abortions.
NOTE: All relevant points must be accepted and awarded marks. (14)
2.1.1 EXAMPLE 1: TAOISM
- In Taoism, there is no such thing as evil since everything is the Tao.
- The belief is that everything is as it should be.
- The Tao-te Ching has little to say about the existence of evil or about the fight against it.
- The Tao-te Ching has a lot to say about human suffering and how life can be lived in a way that minimises suffering.
- Human suffering arises when human desires are thwarted.
- Taoists believe that there is no reason for us to be in conflict with things.
- According to the Tao, in aligning yourself with the true nature of the Tao, and then a kind of miracle happens – you discover that life has an almost miraculous power to be engaging and enriching because that is its nature.
EXAMPLE 2: JUDAISM
- The members of the Jewish Religion believe that people are born good
- Each person has a holy spark, a divine soul with the unlimited potential for good.
- God gives everyone free will to choose whether or not to retain this goodness.
- It is most important to do what GOD wants you to.do.
- Through personal growth we can overcome evil.
- Judaism believes that God is all loving and that all things that emanate from Him are good.
- The study and practice of the Torah are seen as the antidote to evil.
- When one commits a sin, through repentance one is able to draw close to God and improve oneself.
2.1.2 EXAMPLE 1: TAOISM
- According to the Tao, the world is in line with its concept of the divine or the universe.
- The world came into existence automatically as part of the activity of the Tao.
- Along with everything else, the world simply emerged.
- The world consists of processes of creation and destruction, or oscillation between the yang and the yin.
- To the Taoist, the truest description of the observable world is that it seems to consist of opposites that alternate between each other, and, this is the nature of the universe.
- Because it is incredibly difficult to pinpoint when processes change direction, Taoists say that this unpredictability is what is fundamentally true of the Tao.
EXAMPLE 2: JUDAISM
- God created the heaven and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day.
- In Judaism the seventh day is a Sabbath or day of rest.
- The world was created perfect for human and animal life to live
- The earth and all living things belong to God.
- Man was created after Gods image to rule the world on His behalf.
- Adam and Eve were the first people created by God at the garden of Eden. (10)
2.1.3 EXAMPLE 1: TAOISM
- According to the Taoists, death is simply a process of transformation in which you go from one form to another.
- In this religion, the faithful are encouraged not to be scared of death and that they should make fun of it.
- The Taoists do not mind death, they are taught to appreciate it.
- Death is also understood as a stage in the ongoing process of transformation which characterises the universe as a whole.
- The belief is that one does not need life after death or the kind of heaven.
EXAMPLE 2: JUDAISM
- The thirteen articles of faith say that in the time of the Mashiach, there will be resurrection of the dead.
- Judaism maintains that when people die, their souls move on to another existence.
- The Torah does not discuss this world but just hints at it.
- The oral tradition expands on the understanding of this world yet a number of mysteries as to the exact details remain.
- It is also stated in their belief that a person attains a place or portion in the world to come by performing good deeds.
- The belief in the world to come is based on the belief that the soul returns to a place of spiritual closeness to its source i.e. from God. (10)
- The Big Bang Theory is currently the most popular scientific theory about the creation of the universe.
- This scientific theory maintains that before the big bang, it was not known what existed.
- After the big bang the universe appeared and filled out to an enormous size.
- The big bang occurred 15 billion years ago.
- Small temperature differences in the first explosion led to varying densities throughout the universe.
- These eventually formed into clusters throughout the universe.
EXAMPLE 1: HINDUISM
- To the Hindus, the universe is the creator; the creator has existed and will exist for all times.
- The creator has no limitations and therefore is not a he or she or anything else.
- The creator is simply the creator. The creator exists in either active or passive state.
- After a very long time the creator becomes active. This is when parts of the universe look and are different from other parts and creation begins.
- Humans are a product of creation.
EXAMPLE 2: MIDDLE EASTERN RELIGIONS
- The scriptures of the Middle Eastern religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are said to be inspired by God or to be the direct word of God.
- They share a similar view of creation.
- There is one omnipotent, omniscient and perfect being.
- He created human beings as the centrepiece creation.
- Creation took six days. It started by separating light from darkness.
- It was made from nothing and there were only two humans to start with.
- The human beings had been made from clay.
NOTE: Credit should be given for any one Abrahamic faith. (20)
3.1.1 EXAMPLE 1: ISLAM
- There is no clergy in Sunni Islam.
- Any faithful member can serve on a community board
- In governance the sunnah of the Prophet is observed.
- Scholars of Islam and community members serve on governing board of mosques, madrassas and schools.
- The Shi'a revere the descendants of the Prophet, and believe that they have divine right to lead them.
- Government is in the hand of mullahs.
- The mullahs also have considerable political influence.
- They reserve the title 'imam' for certain past leaders who were believed to be chosen by God.
EXAMPLE 2: HINDUISM
- Traditional Hinduism has no central control.
- Reformers worked within the existing system. There was no breakaway movement.
- Traditional governance was centred around the home and local temple.
- In India, each temple is independent in terms of governance.
- Local priests determine rituals to be practised within that community.
- Today in countries with major Hindu presence outside of India, there are structured Hindu movements.
- In South Africa such body is the South African Hindu Maha Sabha.
- There are also regional organisations with linguistic and cultural focus (for example Gujarati, Telegu). (14)
3.1.2 EXAMPLE 1: ISLAM
- Religious practices are strictly in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet, as laid down in the Hadith.
- An 'imam' is simply the leader of congregational prayer.
- Imam does not denote formal training in Sunni Islam.
- The concept of Muttah (temporary marriage) is not recognised in Sunni Islam.
- The teachings of Ali and Fatima, daughters of the Prophet are given more prominence.
- The shrine of Husain in Karbala is an important pilgrimage for Shi'a.
- Muttah is allowed in Shi'a Islam.
- There are two schools of legal opinion – Akbari and Usuli.
EXAMPLE 2: HINDUISM
- In traditional Hinduism, performance of domestic and temple ritual is obligatory for all.
- Much time is taken up by these rituals
- Hindu believers engage themselves in the lighting of lamps and the correct preparation of food.
- In Neo-Hindu movements, less emphasis is placed on rituals.
- In Neo-Hindu movement emphasis is placed more on individual and group devotion (bhakti)
- Devotion is also directed to a specific form of God.
- In many cases such devotional sessions involve a formal ritual element.
- Worship takes place at home and in the temple.
- Debates and exchange of ideas are encouraged between schools and traditions. (16)
EXAMPLE 1: HINDUISM
- Hinduism originated in India in the Indus Valley from about 2500- 1700BCE.
- The term 'Hinduism' and 'Hindu' were derived from the name of the river Sindhu which rises in the Himalaya Mountains in northern India.
- The Persian immigrants referred to the river as 'Indus' and people living alongside it as 'Hindus'.
- Consequently their religion and culture later came to be known as Hinduism.
- The sacred books for Hinduism are Veda the old version and the common one, the Bhagavad Gita.
- They are divided into two main categories, namely Shruti and Smriti.
- The Shruti literally means what is heard and Smriti means what is remembered.
- Shruti form the core of all Hindu thought and therefore it is the most important body of scripture.
- The Guru (spiritual teachers) has played a major role of being the transmitters of wisdom.
- Those who had received divine revelations (shruti) traditionally handed it down to their generation orally.
- The origin of this sacred knowledge veiled in the mist of time.
- They have been in circulation for a long time before their codification and compilation.
- It is impossible to establish the authorship of these scriptures.
EXAMPLE 2 :BUDDHISM
- The sacred scripture for Buddhism is the Pali Canon.
- Originally passed along by the oral tradition, it was finally written down in Prakrit language.
- Sometimes they call their book Tripitaka, meaning 'three baskets'.
- It was first written on palm leaves, which were put in three baskets.
- Verses from the Pali Canon (Dhammapada) are of high moral and earnestness.
- It is generally considered poetic and beautifully written.
- It contains many truths that people of various religions can appreciate.
- It is divided into three sections, Vinaya Pitaka, Abhidhama Pitaka and Sutta Pitaka.
- Vinaya Pitaka – describes right conducts and rules of monastics discipline.
- Abhidhama Pitaka – contains philosophy, poetry, commentaries and doctrines.
- Sutta Pitaka – contains the teachings of Buddha.
4.1 Divine inspiration
- It refers to the breath (power and knowledge) of an extra ordinary being that have been breathed into a person.
- The extraordinary being or power comes into an ordinary person and taking that person's own breath
- Divine inspiration is a very significant normative source in various religions.
- Divine inspiration is believed to have taken place to those people who stood face to face with God or divine power.
- The founders of various religions were inspired to establish the different religion e.g. Moses, Jesus, The Buddha, Muhammad and Baha'u' llah.
- Contemporary Inspiration means a current inspiration that is taking place at this era.
- The religious leaders and other ordinary members of religions who are being inspired during this era are conducting contemporary inspiration.
- Contemporary inspiration is used as a guidance to the followers of a particular religion.
- Today we still find people who get inspired to write books and hymns.
- These individuals usually commit themselves to a particular life and experience. (10)
- Grammar and historical context
- Clearest meaning
- Plan, purpose and context
- Meaning of words
- Figurative Language
- Other sacred text (10)
- Secularism is the belief that government and morality should not be based on religion.
- Most modern western democracies are secular states.
- Misconduct by religious leaders causes people to be disillusioned with religion.
- The split between the Roman Catholic and Protestants was one of the causes for the rise of secularism in the west.
- Most people thought that society would only be peaceful if there is separation between religion and the state.
- The development of printing contributed to the spread of secularism as more people became literate.
- The unfair distribution of economy which resulted in class struggle also contributed as most higher class were clergy.
- In the East, religion is still a very powerful uniting factor.
- Examples are India, Indonesia and Japan.
- In all these cases, culture is closely associated with religion,
- This reinforces religious beliefs and practices.
- There is a more harmonious relationship between religion and technology in eastern civilisations.
- This is illustrated by Eastern religions having no problem with Darwin's theory and the Big bang Theory.
NOTE: Other relevant points must be credited. (10)
4.4 EXAMPLE 1: ISLAM
- Islamic religion teaches that Allah is the creator of all that is in heaven and on earth.
- The first human was Adam, whom God made from clay.
- Allah breathed His spirit into Adam, and he came to life.
- These humans were given highest status of all Allah's creations.
- Eve (Hawwa) was then created from Adam's rib.
- They originally lived in Paradise.
- Humans were created that they may worship Allah.
- According to theory of evolution man were not created perfect.
- Man like all other species gradually evolve (change its form) and become more complex by developing along the path of successfully variation.
- Darwin believed that man was not given higher status but, in fight for survival, man adapted better and was favoured while those that are not was struggling to survive.
- Both the world and species change over time.
EXAMPLE 2: HINDUISM
- Hindus have no problem with evolution because the universe is based on evolution.
- Hinduism is the only religion that shows relationship with evolution.
- They have more advanced theory of evolution than the scientific, because the scientific is based on observable facts.
- Hinduism provides a more comprehensive view because it includes the spiritual.
- Scientists see evolution as a process that happens by chance.
- Hindus believe that you have control over both physical and spiritual evolution.
- Good life leads to gradual evolution to advanced form.
- Ultimately, you will achieve liberation from the physical and become one with God.
- Darwin's theory did not create a conflict with Hindu thought and belief.
- Darwin's theory contributed to the understanding of evolution towards Moksha.