GCSE Religious Studies
Why study Religion, Philosophy or Ethics?

These areas have always been with us. Throughout history, it has expressed the deepest questions human beings can ask, and it has taken a central place in the lives of virtually all civilizations and cultures. As we think all the way back to the dawn of human consciousness, we find religion is everywhere we turn.

This may be true of the past, but what about the present—and the future? In recent times, critics have suggested that religion is on the way out. Technology and science have changed our view of the world radically, leading some to say that we’ve entered a new stage of human existence, without religion. Soon, they argue, it will truly be a thing of the past.

In our day and age, rumors of religion’s demise seem very premature—and perhaps there’s no grain of truth in them at all. Religion persists and is often on the rise, even as scientific and non-religious perspectives have become prominent. We still find religion everywhere, on television, in film, in popular music, in our towns and neighbourhoods. We discover religion at the center of global issues and cultural conflict. We see religion in the lives of the people we know and love, and in ourselves, as we live out and wrestle with our own religious faith. Why does religion continue to thrive? There are many reasons, but one thing is certain: religious traditions are adaptable in important ways. For many, contemporary religion has room for skepticism, science, and the secular, which allows it to keep going strong in our rapidly changing world.

Why Choose This Subject At GCSE?

Overall, religion is powerful and persistent, and it shows no signs of disappearing. It provokes heartfelt commitment, eloquent expression, forthright action, and intense debate. For both practitioners and observers—for everyone who wants to be informed about the world around them—religion is an intensely curious phenomenon that calls out for better understanding.

  • Modern and engaging – can gain a deeper understanding of two religions, and explore philosophy and ethical studies in the modern world.
  • Designed to inspire – The specification includes exciting content that explores relationships and families, peace and conflict, belief in God and non-religious belief.
  • Skills for today’s world – Religious Studies can open up the possibility of in-depth debate, which leads to critical evaluation and analysis.
Summary of the Course

Component 1: Beliefs and teachings & Practices

Learners are required to study two religions from:

  • Christianity and Islam

Component 2: Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective

Four themes are to be studied:

  • Relationships and families: Marriage, sexuality, gender
  • The existence of God, gods and the ultimate reality: Philosophical arguments for God, the epicurean paradox, atheism
  • Religion, peace and conflict: Warfare, violence, terrorism and Just War Theory
  • Dialogue between religious and non-religious beliefs and attitudes: medical ethics, secularism, challenges to religion and within religions
religious education
How is This Subject Assessed?

Component 1: Christianity: 63 marks* 1 hour written paper, 25% of total GCSE

Component 1: Islam: 63 marks* 1 hour written paper, 25% of total GCSE

Component 2: Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world: 126 marks** 2 hour written paper, 50% of total GCSE


OCR GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies J625