GCSE introductory survey

Statement 1

‘It is likely there is life after death.’

Sandra says:

I feel that there is some kind of life after death.  I can’t really believe that this life is all that there is and that when I am dead, that is it – the end.  I think we all have a soul and that means that when the body dies, that soul can continue to exist.  Maybe it goes to heaven, maybe it is born again in a new body, I’m not sure, but there has to be more than just this life.

Michael says:

Life after death is a nice idea – we’d all like to continue to exist in some way, but it is just a wish.  There is just no evidence of life after death, or even of a soul.  Surely the most likely situation is that when we die, there is nothing else.


Statement 2

‘Forgiveness should be earned, not given.’

Matt says:

You can’t earn forgiveness, no-one can.  Forgiveness is up to the person who has been harmed.  If they choose to forgive, then that is there decision, but you can’t earn it.  Forgiveness is an important part of moving on with your life, but you don’t do for the person who has committed a crime, you do it for you own benefit.  Its your choice.

Ziggy says:

If you commit a crime, then it is right that you are punished.  And if you want to be forgiven, then you have to prove that you are really sorry and will live a decent life.  Being forgiven means having the chance to start again, and you have to earn that new start.  It would be wrong just to give it to you without being punished.


Statement 3

‘The existence of evil shows that there cannot be a good God.’

Simone says:

I hate watching the news on TV.  There is just so much bad stuff going on.  Either there is a murder, or loads of people have been killed or injured in an earthquake.  How can there be a God up there when there is so much bad down here?  If there was a God, he would do something about all this suffering, but he doesn’t.  Now either God enjoys watching us suffer, or there just isn’t a God there at all.

Jordan says:

God gave us free will and that means we make mistakes.  We have to learn from our mistakes and become better people.  If God kept intervening to prevent suffering, then we’d never learn for ourselves, just like when you learn to ride a bike, you might have to fall off a few times to get the hang of it.  If your parents never let go of the bike, you’d never learn to ride it for yourself.


Statement 4

‘The fact that there is a world proves there must be a God.’

Gabi says:

I think this is one of the biggest questions there is – why are we here?  Why is there a universe?  Science might be able to tell us how it happened, but there has to be an answer to why it happened.  For me, there must be something behind all this, there just has to be an explanation of why we are here.  For me, that explanation is God.

Danny says:

I accept that we probably can’t answer all the questions about the universe through science, but that doesn’t mean that there is a God behind it all.  There are so many mysteries in the universe that we can’t explain.  Just because we don’t know the answer to a question, it doesn’t mean that the answer has to be God.


Statement 5

‘Science can give us a complete explanation for where the universe came from.’

Kashif says:

It wasn’t that long ago that people thought the world was made in 7 days, but now we know about the Big Bang and evolution. It is obvious that science is the best way of understanding where the universe came from.  It is true that at the moment we don’t know all the answers, maybe we never will, but science is the only way of getting these answers.

Abigail says:

Science has done amazing things in helping us to understand the beginning of the universe, but it will never give us a complete explanation.  Science can only answer scientific questions, questions that often start with how or what.  What science can’t answer is the other kind of questions we have about the universe – these question usually start with why, for example, why are we here?


Statement A

‘Animals are not as valuable as humans.’

Katie says:

It is wrong to say that animals are not as valuable as humans.  Human beings are the result of millions of years of evolution, but so are all the animals.  We might think we are the most important, but that doesn’t mean that we are the most important.  We need to understand that human beings are just part of the natural world, the same as dogs and tigers and dolphins.

Ryan says:

Of course animals are not as valuable as humans.  Can animals think like humans?  Do animals invent things?  Of course not.  Humans are at the top and therefore we are the most valuable.  If it were a choice between saving a human life and an animal life, which would you choose?  The human of course, because humans are the most important.


Statement B

‘War is never right.’

Jav says:

War is never, ever the right thing to do.  I know there are some bad situations in the world and it looks like we have to go to war, but so many people die, on all sides.  It just isn’t fair.  There is always a better way to solve problems in the world than by causing the deaths of so many people.

Sabra says:

War is horrible, but sometimes it has to be done.  Sometimes we have to defend our country like in World War 2.  Sometimes we have to stop evil rulers from killing people.  Sometimes, the only answer is to go to war.  If we didn’t stop these evil dictators, then they would just carry on and lots of people would die anyway.


Statement C

‘Murderers should be executed.’

Tom says:

If you take a life, then you lose your life.  This is justice.  It is fair.  Murder is the worst crime you can do and the only suitable punishment has to be the death penalty.  Life in prison isn’t acceptable – a life for a life is the only right punishment.

Will says:

You can’t show that killing is wrong by killing someone.  If we allow murderers to be executed, that makes us just as bad as they are.  It is never ok to take a human life, and that includes executing criminals.


Statement D

‘Using nuclear weapons can never be acceptable.’

Maria says:

Obviously using nuclear weapons is a drastic thing to do and we hope they are never used, but it is matter of weighing up the numbers of people who will die.  If a war will kill one million people but using a nuclear bomb will kill less than half of that and end the war, then it has to be the right thing to do.  It would be the lesser of two evils.

David says:

Nuclear weapons are just too destructive.  They kill too many innocent civilians.  Destroying a city will kill thousands of people who were not soldiers, who were not fighting in a war.  It is just wrong to kill these people.


Statement E

‘Ending a human life is never the right thing to do.’

Bjarn says:

Though it is really difficult to think like this, there are some  people who are very ill, in lots of pain and with no chance of recovery.  Isn’t it the best thing to help them to die comfortably?  I know it is like killing, but this is about mercy.  It is about helping someone to die who has chosen to die.

Mollie says:

Killing a human is just wrong.  Human life is special and valuable.  It is sacred.  It might seem that sometimes helping someone to die is the nice thing to do, but it is still killing someone.  We don’t have the right to do that to another human being.