Aim of the course
Religious studies offers a window to a higher-level theological and philosophical discussion.
We encourage students to discover truth for themselves, to develop the ability to articulate their own worldview, and to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach. In the course, students explore religious, ethical and existential questions through rational and critical enquiry and by studying the language and concepts people have used to talk about God.
Students have the opportunity to gain a thorough grounding in key Western philosophical concepts, themes, ideas and techniques and analysis and reasoning. It also helps students learn to form their own judgements and how to express them coherently, as well as how to contribute to the process of debate.
Students do not need to have taken a GCSE in religious studies in order to take the subject at A level, but they should be interested in philosophical ideas and writing evaluative essays.
Students explore the philosophy of religion, including arguments for the existence of God, evil and suffering, religious experience and language, miracles, self and life after death.
Students also take a module in ethics and religion, including ethical theories, issues of human life and death, issues of animal life and death, introduction to meta ethics, free will and moral responsibility, conscience, Bentham and Kant.
In Upper Sixth, students carry out a study of Christianity, including sources of wisdom and authority, expression of religious identity, gender and sexuality, science, secularisation and religious pluralism.
Students can attend study conferences in London and Cambridge to consolidate their knowledge and stretch their understanding. There are also opportunities for students to opt into smaller trips in and around the area on topics as diverse as Science Fiction and Religion, The Selfie and Identity, An Evening with Rabbi Lionel Blue and The Forgiveness Project Annual Lecture.
We have a well-stocked departmental library, including university-level study guides to primary tracts of the world’s great thinkers, and encourage students to read widely.
The student-led Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Society meets weekly for philosophical debate.
Four written papers taken at the end of the Upper Sixth.