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GCSE Philosophy, Ethics & Religion

Head of Department: Mr T Wright

Examining Board: OCR

Subject codes: RS J625/01 (J625/04, J625/06)


For thousands of years philosophers have tried to answer the big questions of existence. This GCSE is for students fascinated by issues such as: Is war ever justified? Should we forgive others? Are near death experiences real? How should we punish rioters? Why is there so much suffering? Does God exist? Is Britain a racist society? Why should people get married? Doesn’t the Big Bang disprove all religion? Are some people born evil? There is also a study of two major world religions and how they relate to the modern world.

Christianity has been a major force in the development of contemporary ideas, and investigating Buddhism provides a fascinating look at a different religious tradition.

We study a vast number of philosophical, religious and ethical areas, looking at the ideas of many thinkers throughout history ranging from Plato to Galileo to Jesus to Darwin to Einstein to Freud to Dawkins to the Buddha. We look at religious, scientific, humanist and atheist viewpoints and the aim of the course is to give students the opportunity to develop, argue and debate their OWN views. Given the wide-ranging nature of the factual material studied together with the key skills of analysis, empathy and argument that are covered, the GCSE provides a very strong background for many subjects both at A level and beyond.


The three sections of the course are:


How we come to know things, origins of the universe, existence of God, life after death, problem of evil and views of human personality and purpose.


Relationships and families, roles of men and women, equality, prejudice and discrimination, war, peace and justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, dialogue within and between religions and non-religious beliefs.


The beliefs and practices of Christianity (including nature of God, Jesus, salvation, prayer, pilgrimage, the

church), and Buddhism (including the Buddha, enlightenment, kamma, compassion, meditation, temples, festivals).

The course is assessed by three written examinations