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Religious Studies

Judaism: contraception and abortion

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Making decisions on moral issues is not easy. Religion helps followers to make decisions that are pleasing to God and create a society where people respect and care for each other

Making moral decisions

People draw on a variety of sources of authority to help them make a decision. For example:

  • scripture
  • religious leaders and the official teaching of their religion
  • personal conscience
  • reason

There are two types of morality that affect the decisions people make – absolute morality and relative moraility.

Absolute morality

If you believe in absolute morality you will have faith that there is a right course of action to take in a moral dilemma, which is true in all situations regardless of culture, religious tradition, time or age.

How would a follower of this sort of morality respond to the commandment ‘Do not kill’? They would try to make sure that they were not involved in any killing, which would affect their views on issues such as war, abortion and euthanasia. They would say that these actions are wrong in all circumstances.

Relative morality

If you believe in relative morality you would agree that different courses of action might be needed in different situations.

How would a follower of this sort of morality respond to the commandment ‘Do not kill’? They would agree that killing is wrong, but would look at a range of other issues as well and say that sometimes killing might be necessary in a particular situation, such as abortion, if continuing the pregnancy would result in the birth of a very disabled child, or if the mother had been raped.

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