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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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.

A Breakthrough in Growing Embryos

Scientists are excited about their findings after leaving embryos to grow past the normal moment they’d be implanted into a womb. There is a legal limit on how long you can allow an embryo to develop outside the womb, 14 days, but even that might soon change as scientists argue it should be extended so they can discover more.

It used to be up to a week that scientists would study a fertilised egg before it was implanted into the womb, but with the extra days scientists have discovered many things about the early stage of development which often results in developmental defects and failure to implant. So all this extra information that they’ve been able to glean should help them reduce infertility in the future.

embryo -a new organism in the earliest stage of development. In humans this is defined as the developing organism from the fourth day after fertilization to the end of the eighth week. 

foetus – a prenatal human (before birth) which is between its embryonic state and its birth.

Remember that at 24 weeks of pregnancy in England a foetus can no longer be aborted. Meanwhile Catholics believe that from the moment of conception a new life has been created and Muslims think that even though abortion is wrong if the mother’s life is at risk then up to 120 days the mother’s life has more value than the foetus.

Jane the Virgin – TV for GCSE RS

Thank you to Year 11 students for sharing the name of a TV series, Jane the Virgin, which is available on Netflix and all about a Catholic virgin who gets accidently artificially inseminated with a baby! Sounds far-fetched but with 7.8 on IMDb it is making a lot of people laugh.

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You can catch the main actress Gina Rodriguez talking about the TV show on Ellen or some clips from the series on YouTube.

Exit International – a pro-Euthanasia organisation

This week Professor called Avril Henry, aged 81, both had her house raided by police and killed herself. She was a member of an organisation called Exit International, who support Euthanasia and the police raid had resulted after a tip off from Interpol that she had illegally imported drugs in her house, ready to use to kill herself.

Henry wasn’t terminally ill, but he suffered from numerous chronic health conditions which she said made her life difficult, including recurring urinary tract infections, ear infections and cardiac and renal problems. She didn’t want to live anymore and wanted medical professionals to end her life peacefully.  She had hoped to travel to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal,but with  her health declining quickly she had decided that travelling wasn’t a possibility and she’d rather die at home.

GCSE RS students need to have an opinion on whether euthanasia should ever be legalised in England and Wales.

What British Muslims really think

A TV programme on Wednesday evening on Channel 4 might be worthwhile watching for our GCSE RS students. Channel 4 commissioned face-to-face, at-home interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the UK between 25 April and 31 May 2015 so they would be able to report on what British Muslims really think. Obviously a thousand is no where near the actual number of Muslims living in Britain (2, 706, 066), but as  a survey it is found to be enough to be representative. The Guardian has reported in quite some depth about the TV programme’s findings but I still think watching it would be worthwhile.

A few interesting facts were unearthed by the survey:

  • The research suggests that 86% of British Muslims feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain, which is higher than the national average of 83%.
  • A large majority (91%) of the British Muslims who took part in the survey said they felt a strong sense of belonging in their local area, which is higher than the national average of 76%.
  • However, when asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed.
  • 39% of the Muslims surveyed agreed that “wives should always obey their husbands”, compared with 5% of the country as a whole.