Religious Studies A Level

Getting Ahead

Religious Studies A Level at Havant Campus

Are you studying Religious Studies A Level at Havant Campus in September? If so, you’re in the right place!

We have put together the following ‘Getting Ahead’ work to help prep you for your course over the summer.

We can’t wait for you to start College with us soon.

Did you know? Studying theology and religious studies allows you to explore how religious beliefs and practices shape and influence the world we live in.

people in prayer

The OCR A Level in Religious Studies will build on the knowledge, understanding and skills established at GCSE. You will be introduced to a more advanced approach to Religious Studies and will develop a deeper understanding of the beliefs, teachings, and philosophy they study.

You will study three components:

  1. Philosophy of Religion (01)
  2. Religion and Ethics (02)
  3. Developments in Religious Thought (03–07)

Whilst components 01 and 02 are mandatory, the third will be chosen from the five available options:

  1. Christianity (03)
  2. Islam (04)
  3. Judaism (05)
  4. Buddhism (06)
  5. Hinduism (07)

In Philosophy of Religion, you will study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience and the problems of evil and suffering. They will also explore philosophical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in the philosophy of religion. Religion and ethics are characterised by the study of ethical language and thought, with the exploration of key concepts and the works of influential thinkers. Ethical theory will also be applied to issues of importance: namely euthanasia, business ethics, and sexual ethics. Developments in religious thought provides an opportunity for the systematic study of one religious tradition. This will include the exploration of religious beliefs, values, teachings and practices that shape religious identity, as well as sources of wisdom and authority. Also central are the ways in which religious traditions have developed over time and religious responses to challenges and significant contemporary social issues.

Watch the following video and create a mind map for the ontological argument.



  1. Summarise the arguments highlighted in yellow
  2. Choose an argument highlighted in green from the list and say how you go about researching it – try and research the argument and summarise it – say how you found your information (Spinoza is done as an example)

St. Anselm, Proslogion. Followed soon after by Gaunilo’s critique In Behalf of the Fool.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa. Criticises an argument which somehow descends from St. Anselm.

Descartes, Discourse on Method. The argument of Discourse 4 is further elaborated in the Meditations. The Objections—particularly those of Caterus and Gassendi—and the Replies contain much valuable discussion of the Cartesian arguments.

Spinoza, Ethics. Intimations of a defensible mereological ontological argument, albeit one whose conclusion is not (obviously) endowed with religious significance.

Example: I searched in Google for Spinoza ontological arguments – I found an article called Spinoza’s Ontological Argument by Don Garrett in J Store ( and I read an article page for Spinoza. From here I found a book on ontological argument where I found a summary of Spinoza ontological argument where he concludes that either nothing exists or God exists out of necessity. The source of wisdom is called Ethics.

Leibniz, New Essays Concerning Human Understanding. Contains Leibniz’s attempt to complete the Cartesian argument by showing that the Cartesian conception of God is not inconsistent.

Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Part IX is a general attack on a priori arguments (both analytic and synthetic). Includes a purported demonstration that no such arguments can be any good.

Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. Contains famous attack on traditional theistic arguments. Three objections to “the ontological argument”, including the famous objection based on the dictum that existence is not a predicate.

Hegel, Lectures of 1831. In these lectures, Hegel says that “the ontological argument” succeeds. However, he does not make it clear what he takes the premises of “the ontological argument” to be; and nor does he make it clear what it would be for “the ontological argument” to succeed. Some scholars have claimed that the entire Hegelian corpus constitutes an ontological argument.

Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic. Existence is a second-order predicate. First-order existence claims are meaningless. So ontological arguments—whose conclusions are first-order existence claims—are doomed.

Hartshorne, Man’s Vision of God. Defence of modal ontological arguments, allegedly derived from Proslogion 3.

Lewis, “Anselm and Actuality”. A key critique of ontological arguments. All ontological arguments are either invalid or question-begging; moreover, in many cases, they have two closely related readings, one of which falls into each of the above categories.

Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity. Plantinga’s “victorious” modal ontological argument.

Gödel, Collected Works Volume III. Gödel’s ontological argument.

Sobel, Logic and Theism. Detailed critique of ontological arguments. See, especially, chapters 2–4, pp. 29–167.

Write in your own definition of each word below:





Anti- Realism  


Applied Ethics  






Categorical imperative  




Non Cognitivism  












Divine command Ethics (Theory)  








Empirical fact  


Error Theory  









Free Will  


Golden Rule  




Good will  




Hume’s Law  


Hypothetical imperative  




Is-ought gap  




Kantian Ethics  








Moral Dilemma  


Moral Realism  


Moral Anti-Realism  







Naturalistic fallacy  




Normative ethics  






Practical ethics  


Preference utilitarianism  












Right actions  






Summum Bonum  






Watch this video on a day in the life of a Buddhist Monk.

British Library Entry on Buddhist Canon
The Buddhist ‘canon’ is vast, complex, and difficult to define. Here Professor Tim Barrett outlines some of the key works for the different branches of Buddhism.

Like the adherents of many other religious traditions, Buddhists have always considered that some writings are particularly important to them and have taken steps to preserve them as a separate group. Given the long time span and vast geographical range of Buddhist history, it is inevitable that both the structure and the contents of these collections of ‘the word of the Buddha’ have varied markedly.

The Buddhist scripture was first compiled orally since writing was not in common use in the Buddha’s time in India. Thus, his teachings were not written down, and a pattern of memorised discourses and other materials therefore constitutes the oldest layer that was handed down. The origins of this heritage are said to have begun with an assembly of monks immediately after the Buddha’s death, at which his teachings were first recollected and recited. Secondly, everything he had said regarding the rules to be observed by the monastic community were recollected. Added to these was a third type of memorised material consisting of later analyses of the teachings by learned monks. This tripartite structure is central to all branches of Buddhism.

Read the full article here.

Work experience
It’s important to get relevant work experience to boost your employability prospects. Talk to professionals in the field you’re interested in and consider the different types of placements and work available.

If you’re thinking about work in a religious ministry, talk to local spiritual leaders and get involved in the life of your religious community to find out more about what’s involved.

If you want to get into teaching, you will need to have a minimum of two weeks’ experience working in a school with children of the age you want to teach. This will show you have the skills and motivation required.

Try to become involved with your local community if you’d like a role that involves working with people or look for work with charitable and volunteer organisations.

Typical employers
As a theology and religious studies graduate, you could work in a variety of different
roles in a range of employment sectors. Typical employers include:

  • national and local government, including the Civil Service and government agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • schools, colleges, and universities (for teaching and research positions)
  • charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations
  • social services and other caring professions
  • the church and other religious organisations
  • financial and legal firms
  • the National Health Service (NHS)
  • PR, advertising, sales, and marketing companies
  • media companies.

Skills for your CV
Studying Theology and Religious Studies gives you a thorough understanding of the major world religions, their historical development, and their relationship with the world we live in. You’ll gain insight into the theological, ethical, cultural, political and philosophical issues of religion.

You also develop skills that are valued by employers in a range of sectors. These include:

  • research, analysis, and presentation skills
  • critical thinking skills and the ability to interpret information, formulate questions and solve problems
  • organisational and time management skills
  • teamworking and communication skills
  • writing skills, including accurate referencing and the ability to construct a reasoned argument
  • IT skills
  • empathy and the ability to understand people and take on board others’ views
  • the ability to work methodically and accurately
  • independence of mind and the ability to think for yourself.

Further study
You may choose to increase your knowledge of religion/theology through a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters or PhD. Areas of research include theology, religion and culture, ethics and religious conflict.

Or depending on the career you want, you may need to take a vocational postgraduate course in an area such as teaching, journalism, librarianship, or law. Postgraduate courses are also available in subjects such as marketing, finance, human resource management or business/management, so think about which direction you’d like your career to take.

*This is a representation of your learning space and may not be the exact room you will be using

My time at the college was definitely life changing, I have learnt a lot of new skills, and obviously it’s a completely new experience. The support was great, there was always people there to help and try make it as easy as they can for you. The college is really fantastic, it has helped me on the way to get to what I want to achieve within my career goals.

Erin Morgan, BTEC student

I overcame a couple of barriers by working really hard to get the top grades. My experience was really good, with the course and the lecturers, the residentials and activities, together it was all really good. I had really great teaching support, I could always go to the lecturers and speak to them if I needed to.

David Stenning, Public Services student

College is definitely worth all the effort you put in, you get to meet lots of different people and it’s amazing.

Ebony Puttock, A Level student