Miracles from Heaven

One of our wonderful Year 11 students who has almost finished her time at Thomas Knyvett College has emailed to let us know there’s a great film to revise Religious Studies Unit 1 Section 1 ‘Believing in God’ called Miracles from Heaven.  Apparently it shows evil and suffering, miracles as well as unanswered prayers. Could this be a good revision film to watch for Year 10 students before Thursday?

On IMDb it says: MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

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Shocking advice from Pakistani Islamic group

A Pakistani religious leader has said that a husband is allowed to beat his wife lightly.

“If a woman does not fulfil her responsibilities in marriage first you advise her, if that doesn’t work, then you consult her relatives. If that doesn’t work then you desert her in bed. If all of this doesn’t work, then light beating is allowed.” The definition of marital responsibilities if she refuses to dress up for her husband; turns down demands of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take a bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.

When asked to be precise at what light beating means he said it was with a handkerchief or hat, but not on her face.

Shocking!

The reason the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in Pakistan came up with this shocking idea is because the Pakistan government just passed a law to allow women legal protection from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. Large amounts of the Pakistan population are now in uproar of the idea that women need a light beating to get them back into line. Social media has been using the hashtag trybeatingtmelightly:

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Perfect timing for some Year 9 keywords

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In class this week students who’ve just started their AQA Religious Studies GCSE at the end of Year 9 have been learning about Christian attitudes to pre-marital sex, adultery, contraception, marriage and divorce. Well one of the keywords which proves tricky as nobody has heard of it before and they definitely don’t use it in their everyday language either is – promiscuity! Well you can read about Amy Schumer discussing how she was never promiscuous in this interview in the Daily Mail.

You might have heard of promiscuous from a song a few years back by Nelly Furtado

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What does Islam say about homosexuality?

The Qur’an doesn’t mention homosexuality at all, and when it does mention “men who are not in need of women” it doesn’t condemn them. All of this might be surprising when you consider the impression most of the media has given about Omar Mateen’s killing of nearly 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The Independent reports how the recent rise of political Islam and jihadism by extremist groups, had lead to more homophobic talk by not only Muslim extremists but also the general Muslim population. A study in the UK over the last 12 months showed that 50% of Muslims thought homosexuality should be made illegal. I wonder what the Christian population of Britain would say? Would they have a similar opinion?

Whereas homosexuality is not explicitly condemned in Islam sacred writing, in the Bible it is clear: homosexuality is a sin.

  • Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
  • Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

However we know from studying Christianity that different denominations of Christianity follow these Bible teaching to different extents. That some Christians would rather follow the Golden Rule or try to follow Jesus’ teachings of always doing the most loving thing and remembering to forgive.

Early pronuclear transfer given the green light

This is one of those new stories which links to numerous school subjects, and reiterates the importance of concentrating and trying your best in everything you study and learn about.

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In GCSE Religious Studies we investigate medical ethics in our Unit 8 course and specifically about transplant surgery and fertility treatment. It is the latter which links to ‘early pronuclear transfer’. It might be our science knowledge that is going to assist us in understanding this one!

Early pronuclear transfer involves removing the parents’ key genetic material from an embryo within hours of fertilisation, leaving behind the woman’s faulty mitochondria.
The parental DNA, which contains all the key genes responsible for character and appearance, is then transferred into a donor woman’s embryo, which has its nucleus removed but contains healthy mitochondria.

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The BBC reports on this developing IVF technique which will help women who don’t want to pass on a genetic disorder to a healthy baby. It made the headlines because there will be 3 people providing DNA for the embryo and baby. What do you think religions will make of all this?

Human Organs Grown in Pigs

An incredible coincidence again, that our section 2 topic in Year 10 is about to be medical ethics and organ transplants. Freaky!

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This was some amazing news on Monday: that human organs are going to be grown inside pigs to be used later as organ transplants. Wow!

The BBC have a short video clip to explain how human stem cells have been inserted into pig embryos to produce human-pig embryos, called chimeras. This research has been going on in the US to attempt to overcome the worldwide shortage of organs for donation.

The Guardian also reports on this story, explaining that from the outside they will look like normal pigs but one organ inside it will actually be human. There are heaps of ethical issues with this. For example what happens if the brain is human inside a pig’s body? Obviously from an RE perspective there are questions about meddling with nature and God’s creation, or whether if God gave us this intelligence and free will it is actually acceptable?

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New Head of Human Rights group

At 30 years old Martha Spurrier has just started a tough new job, as Head of Liberty, a UK human rights group she’s stepped straight into the battle over the Human Rights Act being thrown away by the current government.

The Guardian reports:

The Human Rights Act, passed in 1998, allows individuals to defend their rights in UK courts while also ensuring that public organisations such as the police, and local and national government treat all citizens equally and respectfully. So it is no surprise that Spurrier is horrified by the prospect of its abolition – particularly as details of what might replace the act are so vague.

“We’ve got to a pretty bad place where a government is even considering repealing the Human Rights Act,” she explains. “I don’t think the government would put in its manifesto that it would repeal the Equality Act, and I can’t see the difference between that and the Human Rights Act.”

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