Link to OFSTED Report
Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics)
OCR Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced GCE

In Religious Studies, we examine some of the deepest questions underlying human existence. Is there an ultimate intelligence behind the universe, and if so, how could we ever know? Why are we here? Is there such a thing as good and evil, right and wrong – or are they just human inventions, to keep people in their place? If there is a God, and God is both good and all-powerful, why is there so much evil in the world? Over the centuries, some of humankind’s greatest thinkers have suggested answers to these questions, and you will be grappling with these answers, as well as (hopefully) suggesting answers of your own.

A third of the course is devoted to an examination of Buddhism. Have you ever wanted to know more about the most enduring ideas of China, Japan, Korea or Thailand? If so, a knowledge of Buddhism is arguably indispensable. Is everything in the universe destined to change, and if so, what implications does that have for traditional notions of God and the afterlife? Is there something beyond our present experience that cannot even be spoken of? Is ‘enlightenment’ possible? Is everything in the universe, in some mysterious way, nothing? Can insight into ‘truth’ come about through the systematic contemplation of contradictions?

Religious Studies is an essay-based subject that requires the ability to argue and debate and also the ability to think for oneself. The teachers have tailor-made a textbook to the exact requirements of the specification, so that note-taking during lesson-time is reduced to a minimum and discussion can range widely. Sessions will vary: there will be lecture-style lessons, seminars and small-group discussions. Everyone is encouraged to take an active involvement in the lessons. The subject is valued by universities because it develops critical analysis and gives pupils the confidence to deal with the abstract.

TWGGS offers both Advanced Level and Advanced Subsidiary Level Religious Studies, although in years where insufficient pupils opt for the full A Level, only the AS will be offered. Both courses involve studying the same three units in the same proportions. The AS covers half the ground in each unit that the full A Level covers.

AS Examination - all modules are examined

1 Philosophy of Religion

Arguments for God’s existence; free-will versus determinism; the problem of evil; Ancient Greek thought; ideas about the “soul”; religious experience.

33.3% AS Level

2 Religion and Ethics

What is moral right and wrong? Is there really such a distinction to be made? How far, if at all, is it linked to religious beliefs? A consideration of the different theories and their limits.

33.3% AS Level

3 Developments in Buddhist Thought

Examination of the central theological ideas of Buddhism: meditation, Nirvana, The Six Realms of the afterlife.

33.3% AS Level

Advanced Level Examination - all modules are examined

1 Philosophy of Religion

What is meant by the word “God”? Is it possible to talk about “God” at all, and if so, how? How plausible is humanistic atheism?

33.3% A Level

2 Religion and Ethics

What is moral, as opposed to aesthetic or other values? What is “conscience”? Business ethics; sexual ethics; what is “natural” for humans?

33.3% A Level

3 Developments in Buddhist Thought

Examination of the central theological ideas of Buddhism: Zen and Pure Land Buddhism; Tibetan Buddhism; schools of Japanese Buddhism. Nagarjuna and the significance of ‘nothingness’.

33.3% A Level





Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus