IGCSE Religious Studies


Topic 1: Prejudice and Discrimintation

Prejudice = Judging another person without any evidence. Bias for/against people or things without any proper reasons

Discrimination = Treating people differently because of race, gender, religion, etc.
Actions that result from prejudice

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Topic 1: Types of prejudice

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Ageism
  • Homophobia
  • Elitism
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Topic 1: Causes and origins of prejudice

  • Influence from parents
  • Influence from media
  • Ignorance
  • Scapegoating
  • One off bad personal experience
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Topic 1: Religious attitudes to prejudice and disc

Buddhist response involves 4 key concepts

  • Justice - To act or treat fairly
  • Tolerance - A fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions differ from our own
  • Harmony - Agreement in relationships
  • Value of the individual

Buddhism: Discrimination leads to suffering therefore it is wrong and should be avoided

The 5 Precepts - Belief not to harm others or use harmful language
Metta (loving kindness)
Sangha (everyone is equal)
Karma - Prejudice = Bad Karma
Dalai Lama: stated that the best way to live life is to 'always think compassion'
Dhammapada - Hate is conquered by love
Prejudice comes from six main delusions - Ignorance, greed, anger, pride, doubt and the doctrine of delusion.

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Topic 1: Effects of prejudice and discrimination

Feelings of isolation, exclusion, depression, anger

Discrimination leads to extremism if discriminated groups band together and share the anger

Positive discrimination: A reference to policies that take factors including race, colour, religion etc. into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually to counter the effects of a history of discrimination. Eg. Women only seats in parliament.

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Topic 1: Religious response to prejudice and discr

Religion provides practical and spiritual support to victims of discrimination.

  • A religious book may have teachings that offer comfort, support and perspective.
  • Religious leaders offer help and listen to issues
  • Meetings can be organised to highlight the problems and set up support groups
  • Tolerance and harmony can be promoted through school assemblies for example
  • People can pray for/with you and make you feel you are not on your own

Law: Race Relations Act of 1976, Equal Pay, Sex Discrimination, Disability Discrimination and Sexual Orientation Regulation

Groups: The Fawcett Society, Fare, Stonewall and Age Concern all fight discrimination

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Topic 1: Mahatma Gandhi

Worked to gain migrant Indian workers in South Africa basic rights

Peacfully protested the British rule in India.

Tryed to improve race relations between Hindus and Muslims.

Fought against unfair caste system.

Legacy of non-violence

"An eye for an eye...and soon we shall all be blind"

Studied as barrister but became a non-violent activist for human rights universally

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Topic 1: Martin Luther King

Black american born in a time of segregation.

Learned through Christianity that everyone was equal and that colour shouldn't matter.

Influenced by Gandhi, using non-violent means for the end of segregation.

Became political figure whose rousing speeches elicited change.

Used marches and boycotts to demonstrate that every child should have the same rights, education and opportunities.

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Topic 1: Desmond Tutu

Born in South Africa 1931 where there was a separation of the black and white community, with a white minority.

Became Anglican bishop in 1976, criticising the apartheid government.

With the risk of imprisonment, the apartheid system in South Africa was dismantled

Next elections gave first black President - Nelson Mandela.

Brought international pressure on the South African government to alter Apartheid Laws.

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Topic 2: Uses/abuses of animals Part 1

Transport and work - Mules, sniffer dogs, Trained cormorants for fish catching in Japan
Not natural, Often not fed/rested/cared for, Worked to Death

Farming - Organic, free range and battery farming
Animals not cared for, Forced to breed and grow, Focus on profits

Sport/Hunting - Horse/Greyhound racing, dog fights, badger baiting
Cruel training, injuries, no vet treatment and chance of death

Bull Fighting - Spain national sport.
Slow painful death, provocation and stress, poor vet care

Experimentation - Drugs/make up/surgery. Usually rats, rabbits, dogs, monkeys, guinea pigs
Suffering for man's benefit, possible alternatives, often useless due to differences

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Topic 2: Uses/Abuses of animals Part 2

Zoo - Not natural environment, Small cages, Stress to animals

Genetic Modification/Cloning - Altering DNA (glow in dark cats), Cloning (Dolly the sheep)
Usually don't work, Messing around with nature unaware of consequences

Fur/Ivory - Animals farmed and electrocuted for fur. Elephants/Rhino hunted.
Unnecessary items, Causes great suffering, Unregulated farms

Preventing extinction - All animals have a role in ecosystem. Extinct animal = Consequences
Some animals helpful in medical research, Planet affected for children

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Topic 2: Animals and Humans

Both are sentient beings

Peter Singer, philosopher, says that "speciesism" (we are more valuable than animals) equal to racism and sexism

Possible reasons we are more important:

  • Reason
  • Technology
  • Beliefs
  • Empathy
  • Language
  • Morals

Yet we are unsure that animals don't have some of these qualities

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Topic 2: Value of animals

RSPCA - Rescue animals who have been abused

PETA - Fight for animal rights and ethics

Animal Rights - Basic entitlements that animals should have food, water, shelter etc.

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Topic 2: Buddhist views on Animal rights

First Precept: "I undertake to abstain from taking life"
Second Precept: "I undertake to abstain from taking what is not freely given"
Show metta (loving kindness) and karuna (compassion) to all sentient beings.
Practise ahimsa (non-violence)
Buddha: "All living things fear being beaten with clubs. All living things fear being put to death. Putting oneself in the place of the other, Let no-one kill nor cause another to kill (Dhammapada)
Jataka Tales: When the Buddha attained enlightenment, he remembered all previous lives, animal and human.
Belief that because animals unable to engage in conscious acts of selfimprovement, they will continue to be reborn as animals until their karmic debt is exhausted. Only when they are reborn as human beings can they resume the quest for nirvana.

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Topic 2: Buddhism and Vegetarianism

Due to 1st Precept, ahimsa, metta, karuna and the buddha himself, many buddhists are vegetarian.
The Buddha forbade monks and nuns from slaughtering animals.
Many Buddhists feel that vegetarianism does less damage to the environment and enables the earth's resources to be shared more fairly

Buddhism expects individual to excercise their own judgement
Different interpretations of First Precept, killing an animal not the same as eating meat
If offered meat, it should be accepted as generosity(dana). Monks and nuns eat meat if placed in their alms bowls.
Vegetarianism not practical: Tibetan Buddhists eat meat as not enough land for sufficient crops
Dalai Lama eats meat for health reasons.

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Topic 3: Origins of Life

Three schools of thought

1. World came into existence by nature. Nature not an intelligent force. Goes on changing and works on its own accord

2. World created by almighty God, responsible for everything

3. Beginning of world and life is inconceivable since they have neither beginning nor end

Buddhist believe the third option. Opposite to Judeo-Christian religions.

Samsara cycle of birth - life - death - rebirth. Cyclical view of time.

Supported by Three Marks of Existence/ Three Universal Truths, particularly:

  • Anatta: No soul
  • Anicca: Impermanence-Everything constantly changing, nothing lasts
  • Together these suggest all things are interdependent. Nothing REALLY has beginning/end
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Topic 3: Buddha story about origin of world

One day a man called Malunkyaputta approached the Master and demanded that He explain the origin of the Universe to him. He even threatened to cease to be His follow if the Buddha's answer was not satisfactory.
In answer, the Buddha related the parable of a man who was shot by a poisoned arrow. This foolish man refused to have the arrow removed until he found out all about the person who shot the arrow. By the time his attendants discovered these unnecessary details, the man was dead.

Buddha saying that there are more important questions.
Understanding existence we have matters - being enlightened
This will give us the only chance of happiness/satisfaction we have

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Topic 3: Awe and Wonder

Awe and wonder words used to describe the special feeling people have when experiencing natural phenomena (beauty of a sunset, feeling of insignificence when looking at a starry sky, feeling of privelige to exist in such a world)

Other religions feel this is evidence of a purpose to life and a creator God.
Buddhism Beliefs:

Glimpse of three truths: Anicca and anatta = interdependence, Dukkha: once realised, we are not bothered by "unsatisfactoriness"
Realisation of possibility of acheiving Nirvana. Nirvana is an inner peace, feeling at one with all things. Not desiring anything, but feeling metta, karuna, uppekha, mudita
Overall, this sense of awe and wonder may be seen as a permanent part of an enlightened state.

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Topic 3: Religious response to stewardship

Stewardship - belief that people should care for the planet as a duty

Buddhist beliefs: Eightfold Path - Right livelihood(should not earn a living that violates Buddhist Principles), Right action - Five precepts - precept one (do not harm living beings)Anatta and anicca- all things interdependent, therefore harming the environment harms yourself.
Brahma Viharas - Metta, karuna, uppekha and mudita. Should be felt for all beings in the world. Supports caring for planet now and in the future
3 poisons (ignorance, hatred and greed) - These keep us in samsara and prevent us from enlightenment. Greed for money leads to destruction of natural habitats and abuse of resources. Buddhist duty to stop these poisons misleading their choices. Bodhisattva path also shows that Buddhists should help others to realise the truth.
Karma: continues after death therefore we should leave a good legacy.
Buddha's past lives: When enlightened, the buddha recalled all of his past lives, many as animals. Therefore we must protect the environment. This may symbolise the interpendence of life, therefore we must protect and respect all life.

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Topic 3: Climate Change

Climate is changing due to natural cycles of change in Earth's temperature. Due to path through space, goes through hotter and cooler periods. Yet most scientists believe that human activity over past 250 years has contributed to climate change

Consequences: average temperature increase between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius in 2100.
More extreme weather patterns e.g. hurricanes
Melting ice caps and rising sea levels.
Desertification leads to death of animals

Solutions: Find renewable energy sources.

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Topic 3: Pollution

Fumes from car exhausts pollutes the air, acid rain damages building and land, factories empty waste into rivers, fertiliser from farms gets into water cycle and poisons fish.

Light pollution from cities block out the stars

Litter can poison animals

Airports and flight routes cause noise pollution.

Waste produces greenhouse gases

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Topic 3: Destruction of natural habitats

Oil spills wipe out all life in an area.

Any time land is cleared, plants and habitats destroyed.

Deforestation: Creates grazing areas/mines/roads/accommodation leads to death of species

Also means fewer trees to photosynthesise and remove CO2 from environment.

Some plants have medical qualities that may never be discovered.

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Topic 3: Use/abuse of Natural Resources

Vegetation, minerals and fossil fuels.

Tech advances = more fossil fuels required

Alternative sources of fuel needed because :

  • Fossil fuels cause greenhouse gases and are major contributors to climate change
  • They are running out
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Topic 3: Modern Living

Reduce unnecessary use of cars, share lifts, recycle more, waste less food, buy organic food, avoid fast food that gets meat from herds grazed on deforested land, contact local MPs, never litter and actually pick up rubbish, join/donate to organisations like Greenpeace, don't replace tech so often.

Gandhi: You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Drop effect.

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Topic 3: International Efforts

Earth summit happens every 10 years

1972: Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan: set out principles for helping the environment

1982: Our Common Future: we must meet the current needs of people but not at expense of the future

1992: Rio De Janeiro: Commission for Sustainable Development formed

Ten years enough?

2002: Targets agreed to use cleaner fuels. USA and Aussie withdraw

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Topic 3: Sustainable Development

Aim that all new tech developments should be long-lasting

Conservation: Attempt to protect an area or species
Removing polluting factor from lakes and rivers, Planting trees to prevent landslide.

Holidays to help environment (Kenyan lion reserve, vegetation walls in Scotland)

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