REthink Issue 7

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Issue 7 – April 2021

Editor’s Note We hope you enjoy this issue. Let us know what you think! Welcome Re-Thinkers to the seventh edition of REthink! It is safe to say a lot has happened since our last edition – our lives have been thrown into turmoil following the announcement of a national lockdown. Again, we hibernated in our homes and Microsoft Teams provided the only window to the outside world. Yet, REthink rallied in these challenging times, continuing to meet remotely every week. As ever, the club provided a fantastic opportunity to re-think, discussing existing ideas and exploring new ones. This term, we have been blessed with a fabulous variety of talks, ranging from those with a traditional theological focus to others exploring ethical dilemmas in biology and geography. For me, this term in REthink has demonstrated the scope we can explore considering theology, philosophy and ethics – something also reflected in our latest edition! This issue also marks the departure of our Upper Sixth editors, Sofia, Misan and Annabelle, who will be greatly missed by the REthink team. They were unfailing in providing captivating presentations and adding insightful remarks in discussions. Not only this, but they have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate these magazines, which many hours and equally many tears go into. Hence, as the new leaders of REthink, Loulou, Desiree and I recognise, we have big shoes to fill. So far, we have been delighted to run the first-ever REthink Week! Highlights of the week included daily talks, nature walks, debates, quizzes, tote bags and a speaker’s corner to name a few. It has been truly wonderful to witness the extent of participation throughout the week, with both those in Marden and Junior REthink providing thought-provoking ideas. As for the Lower Sixth, we have enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and having engaging discussions. Following the success of REthink Week, we hope it will become an annual event, providing a vital opportunity to both discuss ideas and think critically. As for the latest issue, REthink fanatics may notice it is slightly different from previous editions since we have adapted the format according to feedback. On that note, if you have any feedback regarding the latest format, please do let us know. Equally, if any articles have sparked your interest, feel free to come and discuss them with us in REthink shortly. We always love hearing your opinions. Finally, I wanted to pass on a ‘Thank You’ on behalf of the REthink team to everyone who has come along, presented or written articles – your engagement is so valued. But it seems most important to thank Sofia, Misan and Annabelle for all they have contributed to REthink and simultaneously wish them the best of luck for the future. Thank you.

Molly C

Navigation: Click the links on the right to go to an article of your choice and then click the REthink image (right) & in the bottom left corner to return to this page


Inside Issue 7 Editors' favourites Rethink Week Politics Wales, Wellbeing and what We owe the future Does religion still influence politics? Evangelical Americans and their effect on the Trump administration Are Political Advertisements ethical? Is the potential legislation against the Hijab stopping gender separation or is it an attack on Islam ?

Theology How to live a Pious life according to Renaissance Theologians In memoriam: Prince Phillip How Prince Phillip became a God for tribes in the South-West Pacific Is Epicurus right in saying that ‘A wise person shouldn’t fear death’? What is the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental wellbeing? Modern Latin in the Vatican



Is natural evil compatible with an omnibenevolent God ?

How Mathematics impacted reality during the Coronavirus outbreak

Finding Solutions for the Japanese Dolphin Trade

Junior REthink

Why is fishing an unethical practice? Business & Economics Can Businesses Ever Be 100% Ethical? How meritocracies inhibit human flourishment

How ethical are UK tabloids? Animal Rights Why is the Bible unreliable? Does God intend us to be vegan? Can God forgive murder ?

Literature Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels?

Are Hypnotists blessed with Divine Power? Vaccines


Editors' favourites Loulou

Ancient Greece Declassified podcast

Micheal Sanel’s lecture series on justice (available of YouTube)

“Philosophy Bites is a very good way to get your philosophy fix! With digestible twenty-minute episodes.”

“I am really enjoying the condensed and considered breakdowns of Plato’s Republic that are currently being released “


“My favourite is philosopher Kierkegaard for his teachings on faith.”

Podcast combining religion and politics

Desiree The great ideas series “Penguin books series is both aesthetically pleasing and full of short academically enriching books, on a variety of topics”

“Nottingham University offers a fabulous selection of lectures!”


REthink Week REthink Week hit the ground running with the Year 9s debating the motion ‘The Catholic Church should aim to support more feminist issues’. The Year 9s had loads of fabulous ideas about the role of the Church in social activism and the role of tradition, which seemed to be in tension. Overall, we were all in agreement that the Catholic Church should do more to support feminist issues, due to the huge impact it could make.

Year 9s debating Feminism and the Catholic Church

During the first day of REthink Week, we also launched our Instagram and sold limited edition tote bags to raise money for the Cardinal Hume Centre!

Our first discussion of the week was on ‘how to be pious according to Renaissance Theologians’ led by Molly. We talked about a tension between the old and new commandments, one which preaches love of God and the other, love of one’s neighbour. We questioned how possible achieving this was due to our fallen nature and if our hearts had the capacity to love both God and all of our neighbours. We thought perhaps the idea of respect was more compatible with human nature, respecting God and our neighbours where we might lack the capacity for love. Marden Natural Theology Nature Walk

Molly's Talk on Piety

On the second day of REthink Week, we held a nature walk for Years 7 and 8. We were impressed at how quickly the Mardeners grasped Paley’s Natural Theology, drawing on the analogy of a watchmaker. During the walk, we discussed how the world came to be, if it was designed like Paley suggests and what evil in the world means for the prospect of God. We also stopped at the fishpond to talk about if Jesus really walked on water, before discussing Jesus and what he reveals about God in front of the Jesus statue.


REthink Week Our second after-school discussion was led by Loulou, questioning ‘Did Machiavelli champion amorality?’ Loulou began by talking about the terming of politicians like Donald Trump as Machiavellian and explaining the lack of moral principles in Machiavellian thought. We had a fantastic discussion on this, drawing on the Machiavellian idea that appearing good was enough rather than actually being good, especially in terms of leadership. Loulou also explained different interpretations of Machiavelli’s writing, such as interpreting him as a satirist. Thus, we discussed the use of satire in criticising society and producing change. Overall, it was clear that Machiavelli’s political thought did neglect moral principles and thus was amoral.

Sixth Form Speaker's Corner

Loulou's Talk on Machiavelli

We kicked off our third and final day of REthink Week with the Sixth Form’s speakers’ corner. We wanted to give the Lower Sixth an opportunity to speak about and rethink pressing issues in an impromptu way, followed by a discussion. We enjoyed passionate speeches delivered by Abi, Ellie and Desiree. We discussed the relationship between religion and politics which we agreed was unfavourable but inevitable. We also discussed the role of social media as a form of activism following the Super League and how the outcry for this among men on social media surpassed their outcry following the murder of Sarah Everard. Pessimistically, we concluded that most people only care for issues which affect them. We also discussed climate change, incorporating ideas of stewardship and how to move forward at the climate change summit.

Following speakers’ corner, Father Gerry helped to host the REthink Mass, which provided a quiet time to reflect on the week and worship God. The mass contained a reading by Desiree and a sermon by Molly about wonder. We aimed in REthink week to inspire wonder throughout the school community and asked the congregation in Mass to reflect on the wonder, beauty and complexity of God’s creation that surrounds them.


REthink Week

Desiree's talk on freewill and rights

On Wednesday, we launched our REthink quiz, to win merits and other prizes. We also held a treasure hunt, where people had to find quotes around the school and figure out which female theologian said them. Finally, we were treated to a wonderful discussion led by Desiree on what free will means for human rights. We discussed how laws and rules impacted our free will, if they limited free will or in fact enhanced it. We questioned if our free will was orientated towards good or bad or neither from birth. But also, how our freewill is influenced throughout our lives by society and advertising. The conversation developed into a discussion about the importance of free will in satiating the human desire for control. Playing into this desire for control, we said was part of this need for certainty which is provided by religious belief. Overall, we agreed that humans use their free will to gain control in their lives.

Molly C


Wales, Wellbeing and What We Owe the Future In 2015 Wales passed the Future Generations Act, and appointed a future generations commissioner (Sophie Howe) to facilitate Wales' fight against ‘A number of challenges now and in the future'. Howe consults with public bodies to ensure that any decisions made now do not have a detrimental impact on Wales' ‘well-being goals’ in the future. These ‘goals’ extend beyond GDP to include issues of health, equality, language and culture. The economic roots of many of these well-being goals or the need for a separate body alongside the Welsh Parliament, to ensure that the Welsh challenges are tackled, could be debated in great depth. However, the "Future" element of the Act is most closely allied to philosophy hence, it is the area I shall explore here. Firstly, intragenerational justice refers to justice within a generation, under its umbrella falls many social issues including race, gender, disability and sexual orientation. Intergenerational justice refers to justice between generations; however, it is imperative to note that all considerations of justice have a temporal element as the implementation of any alterations to our actions must occur in the future. What do Welsh people owe to future generations? Some would argue very little as since unborn descendants do not exist they cannot possess anything; therefore, cannot possess rights and cannot be entitled to influence our actions or their limitations. Others would claim that total increases in welfare now or centuries from now should be considered with equal weighting. J.S. Mill, a key utilitarian thinker, was an early advocate for limits to economic growth to preserve the environment. A third way of considering future moral obligations attempts to reach beyond the short-termism of electoral politics whilst also recognising the importance of personal proximity to motivate action, by considering a scale of weighting the future. The strongest weight attached to our short term welfare, but a reduced weighting in the moderate term that slowly dissolves in the longer term. Against the backdrop declarations of a 'climate emergency' by many figures and groups of authority, it is clear that there is a shrinking gap between the impact of a climate disaster and ourselves or our close representatives. Therefore, we must assess the weighting we assign to temporal proximity. Very few are capable of completely adopting a stance of impartiality, contrary to the idea that we should weigh increases in overall welfare globally above the weight assigned to smaller total increases of welfare concentrated amongst people we personally know and care for. If we are to reject the ability to adopt an impartial moral standpoint when considering to whom we are obligated, we must also ask whether personal interests impact what we owe. Divergence in opinion between the value of environmental beauty over man-made residues of innovation is as old as time, the debate over building a relief road for the M4 in Newport, Wales is a very modern iteration.


Wales, Wellbeing and What We Owe the Future (Continued)

Should we, or the Welsh, or the Welsh Future Act commissioner be able to impose their personal views onto the opportunity cost that future generations should accept? Some, such as Wilfred Beckerman, have vehemently argued against ‘sustainable growth’ with claims that previous generations have not considered our environmental habitat, therefore, why should we? Beckerman suggests that what we owe to future generations is the strengthening of human rights, building on, not blindly adopting, the attempts of past generations that we have inherited for free. He would most likely consider spats about relief roads to be distractive suppressors of innovation.

Making some sacrifices to avoid the demonstrably devastating consequences of a business-asusual approach to climate change would promote the moderate term maintenance of humanity for the people to whom we have some moral obligation whilst restricting the imposition of our personal priorities for more personal environmental concerns. Without downplaying climate issues, we must recognise the remarkable opportunity of our generation to strengthen human rights, fulfilling and exceeding our moral obligations to current and distant generations without any partiality of preference.

Interestingly, the right to freedom of expression, highlighted as the human right that is key to philosophical, technological and political innovation is upheld by the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations and their semi-annual Intergenerational Justice Review, which contains an exemplary Is the Welsh Future Generations level of breadth and divergence of Act a good path to fulfilling these future moral obligations? The Act thought. brings much-needed attention to One angle of opposing Beckerman is logistical and moral issues that to argue that the climate change often slip through the supply and emergency would trickle down to demand of electoral cycles. quash human rights advancements, However, the commissioner’s meaning that climate action should be reliance on soft power is weaker the focus of intergenerational justice. than governmental commitment, Both arguments uphold the idea that underpinned by public support, to the future impacts of climate change the prioritisation of human rights and future human rights are (working with climate change for our global interdependent. With unprecedented action) levels of knowledge concerning our contemporaries and generations impact on the natural world, we could to come. use an awareness of this dependency to become a generation whose Loulou N attempts to strengthen human rights are successful.


Does religion still influence politics? - Evangelical Americans and their effect on the Trump administration After the events of the Holocaust, many Western states agreed that the Zionist movement would be allowed to have a Jewish state in the state of Israel, which gained independence in 1948. The area which is recognised by some Western countries as Israel is also the home of native Palestinians who resent the influx of Jewish immigrants entering Palestine. This has led to an IsraeliPalestinian conflict over the territory. The decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine has led to differing views and foreign policies in many Western countries. Historically, religion has had a huge influence on society including politics, where political parties have centred policies around ideologies of different religions, but in more modern times political parties have moved slightly away from this practice. In the United States, the majority of religious people identify as Christian, but the number of Christians in the United States is declining. In a survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre in 2019 amongst adults in the United States, 63% believed that religion should be kept out of political matters, 76% said during election seasons houses of worship should not come out in favour of one candidate over the other and 37% of Americans said religious organisations have too much influence over politics. So, in the United States what influence has religion had over the politics of the nation? Looking specifically at a large group in the United States called Evangelists and their beliefs on Zionism I will be commenting on their influence on religion and specifically Donald Trump, the last President of the United States and his administration. What is Zionism? The term Zion is associated with the city of Jerusalem. The land of Israel has always been sacred in Judaism and many Jews seek the return to Zion. In the early 20th century, there was a growth in a Zionist political movement and immigration of Jews to Israel became popular. Zionism is essentially the belief that all Jews belong to a single nation and should have a sovereign state to return to.

In 2016 26% of voters in the United States were white Evangelical Christians, this is over a quarter of all voters in the country highlighting their political influence. Understanding the way Evangelical Christians in the USA interpret the bible is important to see how they influence politics. Evangelicals interpret the bible literally, and they believe that following the stories of the bible in modern life is very important, especially the bible's predictions of the future, including the second coming of Jesus. During the Trump administration support for Israel became a pillar for Conservative ideology in the States due to the influence of Evangelical Christians.


Does religion still influence politics? - Evangelical Americans and their effect on the Trump administration (Continued)

In Judaism there is a belief that when the Messiah comes the Jewish people will return to their holy land, Evangelical Christians share the belief that the second coming of Jesus will happen after a series of events including the return of Jews to Israel; this belief is called Christian Zionism. They believe that they will be rewarded by God for helping Israel and that God will judge the countries on the Earth based on how they treated Zion. They believe that the USA supporting Israel is seen as a fulfilment of the prophecies set out in the Bible. For some Evangelical Christians, the bible isn’t just a foundational text it’s a prophetic road map that tells the future and shapes the way they view the present and for an influential group of them that motivates their support for a foreign policy which they see as affirming those prophecies. For Trump, a president who relied on their votes, this was very important. Although the movements support for Trump separated the Evangelical community in the United States about 80% of white Evangelicals supported Trump in 2016 and at least 75% did so in 2020.

prophecies. Trump’s administration also put out a peace proposal that would give Israel full control over Palestinian land. These are all examples of Trump’s pro-Israel policies. As recently as January 2021 white Evangelical Christians were linked to Trump extremism with many Christian rituals, symbols and language present at the Capitol riot on January 6th. However, after the riot at the Capitol Building some Evangelical leaders who were previously supportive of Trump distanced themselves and their faith from him and the extremist rioters. Still, it is believed by many that it will be too difficult to try and distance white Christian culture from Trump because of their previous influence in getting him into office. Since then, the Evangelical community has been split in their beliefs post-Trump with one new republic soapbox article stating that the Evangelical communities’ embrace of an ignominious president is forcing a long-overdue reckoning with the movement's embrace of white supremacy and illiberal politics. The idea that politics can split up a religious community shows that although we know religion can influence politics, politics can also influence religion. The multifaceted relationship between politics and religion is still highly influential in many countries all over the world. We can see in other countries the expected rise in Islam could be influential in politics especially in areas such as the Middle East where Islam is the most followed religion.

To Evangelicals and Christian Zionists, the foreign policies and the leaders of the United States must support the state of Israel. So how did this influence Trump and his administration before and during his time in office? Some critics have criticised Trump’s dealing with his clash with Iran, Trump’s handling of relations with Iran can be credited to the influence of Evangelicals. Iran is one of the biggest supporters of Palestine and has firm anti-Zionist beliefs, we can see through the actions of the USA against Iran that Evangelicals in the USA are set on punishing Iran for its threat to the state of Israel. Both the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence who have a huge influence over foreign policy identify as Evangelicals, and an investigation found that Mike Abi T Pence’s office rerouted money earmarked for humanitarian projects to Christian groups in Iraq. One of the most significant events of Trump's time in office was in January 2020 when he approved a drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander Qasem Solemani, which according to the Washington Post was encouraged by Pence and Pompeo. When Trump moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is in Palestinian occupied land, he received great support and praise from Evangelical Christians for carrying out biblical


Are Political Advertisements ethical? In the western world, we live in a democracy which is supposedly a more ethical government system. A political campaign should show the character and the policies of the candidate. This helps the voter to decide on who they would like to elect. But these political campaigns are often unethical, using tactics that may confuse voters on what is real. Sissela Box explains that ‘unethical campaigns reinforce cynicism and negative feelings about government’. So, campaigns should not have immunity from ethics as the voter is unlikely to want to vote for a candidate that used lies and deceit to sway their decision. There are two types of political campaign ad positive and negative ones (neither of which are necessarily truthful). A positive ad would be one that promoted the politician's view, such as Biden’s ‘make life better’ ad. This ad explains that Biden is there for everyone who lives in America. On the other hand, a negative ad would try to prove that the other political candidate is not suited for office.

An ethical ad would be respectful of the opponent’s views. Often ads showing voting records of other candidates can still be seen as ethical as it allows the voter to decide whether they would like to elect the candidate. Too often campaigns are used to hinder an opponent. In 2016 Donald Trump used Cambridge Analytica ‘a data-driven communications company’ to sway voters to vote for him.

They would bombard voters whose minds could easily be changed with personalised content until they voted for Trump. They used anti-Clinton propaganda and targeted messaging to change the voter’s behaviour. Alexander Nix, the CEO, used psychological profiling and disinformation to manipulate American voters. It is debatable whether an opponent’s private life should be exposed to the public. Some voters believe that it is relevant, but the line is unclear. Many believe the youthful actions of a candidate are unnecessary. Many believe that it is unfair to dig too deeply into an opponent's life, such as Donald Trump's mentioning of Joe Biden’s son's drug addiction.

Propaganda is another example of unethical campaign ads. Propaganda is immoral as it exploits biases and spreads lies which undermines the ability to form rational decisions. The use of propaganda is often seen in countries such as North Korea. Political advertisement can be ethical when it enlightens a future voter on the politician’s policy. Although this is not always the case, as seen by Donald Trump who used disinformation and used the opponent’s private life to try and fuel his success. The use of voter manipulation and propaganda strays political campaigns from ethical advertisement. Although political advertisement should be ethical this does not mean that they are. Teleological theory would agree that political advertisement needs to be ethical as this would be morally right. It is wrong to use lies and deceit to manipulate people to vote for a certain campaign. Hannah A



Is the potential legislation against the Hijab stopping gender separation or is it an attack on Islam ? They believe ‘Hijab’ of the clothes should go alongside: ‘Hijab’ of the eyes, ‘Hijab’ of the heart, ‘Hijab’ of thought and ‘Hijab’ of intention. Zahrah Mahmoud (a hiker) said “ The Hijab to me is more than the cloth on my head, it’s making sure my speech, my movements, my thoughts and most importantly what’s in my heart is as pure as possible”.

On March 31st 2021, the French Senate (the upper house of Parliament ) voted in favour of underage children not being allowed to wear the Hijab in public. Supporters of the legislation argue that the wearing of the Hijab by women divides the two genders, making them inferior to men. French senators approved this proposed law as they think that it introduces ‘antiseparatism’ of men and women. They claim that the “prohibition in the public space of any conspicuous religious sign by minors and of any dress or clothing would signify inferiority of women over men”. The vote has been met with strong backlash in the media with #HandsOffMyHijab trending, as people protest against and express their disagreement with this law.

Other religions that also incorporate veiling and covering of the head are two other monotheist religions, Judaism and Christianity. In Christianity, veiling of a woman during mass or in a church is a tradition in Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Many nuns use habits that consist of a veil as a sign of humility and recognition of self to God. Veiling by Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish women symbolises their modest and visible reflection of the laws of the Torah. There are similarities in the symbolism of veiling in these religions and the symbolism of the Hijab; universally, it a sign of modesty and a way of feeling closer to one's religion.

The Hijab is an Arabic word, meaning barrier or partition. In Islam, Hijab has an expanded meaning; it symbolises the principle of modesty and separation between two individuals. The Hijab is not a scarf or something you wrap around your head; this would be a Khimar. The Hijab represents external and internal modesty and privacy from unrelated males. There are six points of criteria on the Hijab that apply to both men and women, one of the criteria being ‘the clothes worn should not be transparent'. Although there are rules on how one follows the practice of the Hijab, it still includes moral conduct and behaviour. Some Muslims believe people that only follow the Hijab in terms of clothing are doing so in a limited sense.


Is the potential legislation against the Hijab stopping gender separation or is it an attack on Islam?(Continued) I believe that the ban of the Hijab is an attack on Islam and an act of Islamophobia. I refute the claim that there would be a reason to introduce ‘anti-separatism' because, as previously considered, the Hijab does not just apply to women; there are also regulations men have to follow concerning the Hijab. I think the Hijab does empower women who choose to wear and practise it because it makes them confident to be who they are and pulls them closer to their faith. Zainab Alema (a rugby player) said, “The Hijab is part of my identity as a Black Muslim Woman, and I wear it with pride. You look at me and see a Muslim woman and I like that visibility”. Arguably it is of concern as to why the French Senate wants to ban the wearing of the Hijab and not veiling in other religions. Veiling symbolises similar things in different religions, an important one being it makes one closer to their deity. Asma Elbadawi (a basketball player/coach) shared their experience of how “[the Hijab] became one of the ways I connected to and maintained my relationship with Allah”. This brings up the question: why is there a ban on the Islamic practice of veiling? France is not only trying to pass this law but has a draft bill called “reinforcing Republican principles”. This bill has numerous laws that make it harder for Muslims to practice their faith. The MPs said they are fighting Islamic radicalism, conversely, they are making it harder for the Muslim community to express their beliefs. For example, one of the laws prohibits home schooling unless it is for medical reasons, in response to the claim that too many girls had to attend schools where their education consisted only of prayers and a limited range of subjects. This law does not allow Muslim children to learn about their religion and faith. The government said, “Schools must first and foremost instil the values of the Republic and not those of religion, and educate citizens, not worshippers”. It may be so that the banning of home schooling is more so criticising how Muslims learn their faith than showing concern for ‘Republican values’. Furthermore, it seems like these values are not in support of the ways Muslims execute and learn their religion, and not allowing them to be themselves. In conclusion, these legislations are doing worse than good to the Muslim community.

Naomi O


Is natural evil compatible with an omnibenevolent God?

It is at the core of Christian faith that God is the creator of our planet, everything we know was made in imago dei. He created the beautiful scenery around us and the earth we walk upon. If he did, however, create all of nature and is a being of omnibenevolence, omnipotence and omniscience, then the problem of evil will forever be put into question. Perhaps moral evils can be explained due to humanity’s fallen nature after The Fall and our God-given free will which leads us to make unrightful decisions. But natural evil is almost unexplainable. Natural evils can be described as ‘bad states of affairs which do not result from the intentions or negligence of moral actions.’ This means humans have no control or contributions towards the end and problematic result. Examples of natural induced evils are the likes of natural disasters (earthquakes and tsunamis), and a global pandemic causing over two million deaths (coronavirus). These scenarios are very prominent today and result in some kind of painful damage immediately or in the future. It seems fair to wonder if an omnibenevolent creator could ever be compatible with such evils and whether this puts God as a creator into question. The main topic of natural evil this article will discuss is global climate change, referring to the average longterm changes over the entire Earth. Major adaptions to the climate occurring currently include rapid changes in precipitation patterns and global warming. The heating of our planet has resulted in various horrifying events such as rising sea levels, ice melting at a fast rate and changes in flower and plant blooming times. Whilst these changes may seem like minor inconveniences - the effects are negative and long-lasting. Habitats are being destroyed, the weather is becoming extremely hazardous and natural systems are being thrown off balance dramatically. But what does any of this have to do with God’s creation of the Earth? Well, a planet ridden with habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss, species extinction and pollution does not seem too wonderful. Earth is far from perfect. An omnipotent creator would surely be powerful enough to develop a world that can live without the suffering and dangerous consequences that can be attributed to climate change. It seems evil for an all-loving God to form a place where these conditions are so prevalent, or for Him to not prevent the issues at hand.


Is natural evil compatible with an omnibenevolent God? (Continued) This suggests an omnibenevolent God and the creation of our imperfect world cannot be mutually inclusive. Despite this, there are many beliefs that suggest God did in fact impose climate change to teach us how to be responsible for every living being on this planet (as it says in Genesis 1). Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University and evangelical Christian argues that believing in climate change and God is not incompatible with believing in God as the creator. Hayhoe deduced that stewardship is a profound Christian value, that God initiated various natural evils, so we learn to come together to combat the challenges nature throws at us. Maybe caring about and acting on climate change is a way to love others and the planet the way God loves every human. The only problem with this view is the alliance between conservative theology and conservative politics - many Christians around the world refuse to believe in climate change. Global changes which have long term damaging outcomes are not entirely compatible with the traditional, loving Judeo-Christian teachings about God. However, a Pew survey in 2009 showed that 51 percent of scientists believe in God or a spiritual/higher power. But why? A powerful God and a weak world cannot make sense? Because it would be wrong to assume that evils like climate change have nothing to do with humanity and are all God’s doing. The increase in earthly temperatures is vastly driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases. Our free will means we can choose to manufacture goods and drive cars that contribute to climate change. We know they’re wrong, yet we still do them. Human choice and the actions we make can therefore contribute to natural evils on this occasion .In response to the evilness of volcanic eruptions and destructive events, though, there is no denying humans have no role to play in the cause. Bad things happen to humans when by chance they are in the path of colossally powerful forces of nature. Greek mythology responded to natural disasters as phenomena that occurred because the gods were angry and guilty humans were being punished. This ideology still relates to modern times. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, many Jewish, Buddhist and Christian adherents claimed the disasters came because of people’s sins or following the ‘wrong’ religion. But critics were quick to point out in that natural evils like this do not select between the innocent and the guilty - when babies are often amongst the victims. Philosopher Behrendt then questioned God’s role in disasters because ‘Surely God can differentiate between those who try to live godly lives and those who spurn both God and man alike.’ To conclude, natural evil is a reminder that the world is far from the way it should be. While there are elements of the Earth that reflect the beauty described in the Psalms, the suffering that takes place cannot be fully compatible with an omnibenevolent creator. This is not to say, however, that God is an all-powerful being who tried to create a peaceful realm for humans - something Adam and Eve took for granted. If God is in complete control of natural evils, only He will know the reasons for this, but they can teach us important lessons about taking care of the planet we have been given. Therefore, love is given to humanity via God’s teachings, the way a father teaches his son lessons out of love. Ellie M, Lower Sixth


Finding Solutions for the Japanese Dolphin Trade

Taiji is a small town on the south eastern coast of the mainland of Japan. It has a population of 3,428 people yet this little town has become the eye of a storm of global controversy. The reason for this is, every year Taiji holds an annual dolphin hunt from October 31st through to April 30th. Local fishermen, using their boats which ‘create a water wall of sound’, herd pods of dolphins into an infamous shallow cove South of Kyoto where every year the water turns blood red as an average of 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered and many captured. The dolphins are slaughtered for meat for local Japanese markets and as a means of pest control and they are captured to perform in marine parks. Bottlenose dolphins are preferred for these marine parks as they are easier to train to perform the tricks that many people are guilty of loving. Trainers come from all over the world to ‘select’ their dolphins, the majority, however, coming from China where the dolphins then spend a lifetime in captivity in one of China’s 85 aquariums. Once in these aquariums the animals, which in the wild swim on average 25 miles a day and live in stimulating and vibrant social groups, are drugged to manage stress-induced aggressive behaviour and to relieve ‘the monotony of swimming in circles’. . Bottlenose dolphins, which most people are familiar with, are exceptional creatures and worth the battle of conserving: 1. They can remember whistles of other dolphins they’d lived with after 20 years of separation. 2. They are believed to have the longest memory of all non-human species. 3. They have been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. Not only this but environmentally, they play a vital role in sustaining the equilibrium of marine food chains as they eat mostly fish and squid but are themselves food for sharks and other marine life.


Finding Solutions for the Japanese Dolphin Trade (continued)

Therefore clearly, dolphins are unique and spectacular creatures, and we cannot risk losing the sight of their pods swimming inquisitively side by side our boats out at sea. As you are reading this you might be questioning why dolphin hunting is so much worse than people visiting pigs and cows on a farm and then having them on their dinner plate. I can tell you that nine of the different species of dolphin are endangered many of these are coming close to extinction. Bottlenose dolphins which most people are familiar with are exceptional creatures and worth the battle of conserving. However, it is very easy for me to sit here typing this out in my ivory tower and condemn Taiji for its dolphin hunting. Looking at this more closely, it becomes clear this is a more complicated issue than at first glance. The Japanese government has stated that dolphin hunting has long been a tradition in Taiji since the 17th century, it is ingrained in the local people, this is their way of life. A senior fishery official in Taiji, Yoshifumi Kai, highlighted ‘We don’t have industries here, and the available land is limited. In this environment, we have no other way but to try to gain sources of living from the sea’. I have found it is easy to quickly criticise the acts of the Taiji people yet here I realise that dolphin hunting provides money for them to support their families and survive. Dolphin meat brings in $500 and a captured bottlenose dolphin used for training is worth $8,000-$10,000. This is a huge sum of money for people who may not have many other alternative ways of living. Researching this reminded me of the Inuit people, who have whaled in the Arctic for thousands of years. Their culture is ‘intricately linked’ to the bowhead whale utilising them for meat and also their bones are transformed into knives and hunting equipment. Like the people of Taiji, the Inuit people are not killing the animals out of spite, but using them to survive and make a living. Nevertheless, I am not agreeing with dolphin or whale hunting at all, I am merely pointing out it is more complicated than just looking at Taiji from a distance and denouncing this small town. I believe it is fundamental that instead of criticising people for their way of life we find a solution and encourage an alternative for Taiji to effectively stop dolphin hunting for good. Solutions can be found, changing cultures can be done. If we look at Iceland another previously huge whaling country, in 2020 it announced it would no longer hold an annual whale hunt. Two of Iceland’s whaling companies, IP-Utgerd, which specialises in minke whales, and Hvalur hf, began to skip this whale hunt in 2018 and two years later Iceland no longer has an annual whale hunt. Instead, they have turned to ethical whale watching with the International Fund for Animal Welfare co-hosting the ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign. This encourages tourists to go whale watching instead of eating whale, which used to be an Icelandic delicacy. In 2018, 345,000 people whale-watched in Iceland bringing in around $26.5 million annually to Iceland. Thus highlighting the huge success of turning away from whale hunting towards ecotourism and conservation, preserving wildlife but not at the expense of the local people.


Finding Solutions for the Japanese Dolphin Trade (continued)

Iceland isn’t on its own. There are many other countries and businesses which have come to realise that conservation cannot only work alongside business but benefit them too. Marty Odlin is CEO of Running Tide, a company based in Portland, Maine which uses advanced technology to sell oysters. In the future the company is aiming to ‘seed oyster reefs and clam beds along the shoreline, and restore kelp forests’, all of which will not only profit the business but return biodiversity back to the oceans and improve water quality so that we can see them flourish with life and colour like they used too. This shows that it is possible to benefit both the local people and wildlife. Now, because Tokyo, as of 2020, is the richest city in the world with a GDP of $1,520 billion and home to the highest number of millionaires living in the same city in the world, I believe it has a responsibility to follow other countries like Iceland to find a solution for Taiji and recognise that if a business off the coast of Maine can benefit from conservation, then there are endless possibilities for Japan to profit from conservation. As one of the richest countries in the world the Japanese government has a moral duty to both fund the banning of dolphin hunting in Taiji and support the local people who will be stripped of their livelihood. The people of Taiji will need another way of life if dolphin hunting is banned but Japan has the money to provide the basis for this and we can see that there are success stories in fighting back for marine life but not costing the livelihood of the local people. I feel Japan has an obligation to help both the dolphins it is home to, but the local people of Taiji too, to successfully stop the slaughtering of these precious marine mammals.

By Flo B, Lower Sixth


Why is fishing an unethical practice? Our ocean is the most bio-diverse place on our planet with it being home to more than 80% of our wildlife, and we are all aware we are destroying this wildlife but not in the way we may think. Plastic is a huge issue in our oceans with beached whales now containing on average 30 single-use plastic bags which come from several places in the ocean. The biggest rubbish patch is in the Great Pacific and this is having devastating impacts on our ocean. One garbage truck of plastic is being dumped into our oceans every minute with 150 million tons already being in the Great Pacific garbage patch. The plastic here is then broken down into micro-plastics which exist in numbers 500 times greater than stars in the Milky Way. We are painted the picture by media and environmental organisations that the issue is plastic, but it is not. The problem is fishing. Fishing is causing the biggest damage to our bio-diverse oceans and also can have a detrimental social and economic impact. Further, fishing is a highly unethical practice as this article will demonstrate. Firstly, whale and dolphin hunting is having a huge impact on our oceans and seas. While whale and dolphin hunting was banned throughout all countries in 1986, since then three countries have pulled out of the agreement, these being Japan, Iceland and Norway. Japan was the first country to go against it and withdraw from the international whaling commission. A hot spot for hunting in Japan is Taiji, which is a prime example of what is going on in these mass murders. Every day 700 dolphins and whales are cornered into a cove for slaughter with the baby ones then being transported to tanks for show. The Japanese government is cautious about people finding out about this, banning tourists and photography, having police everywhere and filling hotel rooms with microphones and cameras to see what is going on. The reason for these murders? The Japanese government and private corporations see dolphins as a pest as they are predators to the fish they want to catch, decreasing the amount of money and fish accessible to humans. But the real reason for a shortage of fish in the area is overfishing done by humans. This murder of dolphins and whales will have a domino effect on the food web as they play a key role in the food chain and transporting nutrients throughout the ocean. While some people see whale hunting as more sustainable than the meat we eat on land, as one whale has the same amount of meat as 2,000 chickens, the damage to the food web is far greater than chicken, so this is just nonsense. Also, the method of capturing the dolphins and whales is highly unethical. The animals are being scared into the cove by loud sounds and it is ignored that they have nervous systems like humans. It is just animal cruelty. Bluefin tuna also contribute to the issue of dolphin and whale hunting in Japan. It is the most expensive fish in the world, each fish selling for over $3 million. But the Bluefin tuna is going extinct, with less than 3% of its former population still alive. We are overfishing Bluefin tuna, but again dolphins and whales are blamed. Between 2000 and 2015, for every one dolphin captured within the governmental guidelines to stop ‘pests eating fish’, twelve more were killed, illegally hiding behind the truth and law. Sharks. An animal that almost every human is scared about having in the ocean, but in reality we should be more scared of what would happen to us if they were not - this is the end of human life. Sharks are hunted for their fins as part of a multi-billion industry. The sharks are killed for the fins which are then shipped to Asia, predominately China, for shark fin soup. Shark fin soup is seen as a status symbol in Asia, yet it does not provide any nutritional benefits and has minimal taste with a price tag of over $100 per bowl. Hong Kong is a hot spot for shark fin soup and is known as shark fin city to many fishermen. The streets are filled with sharks’ fins, but no one is allowed to film or take any photographs of them immediately showing that they are doing something wrong. For if the shark finning industry was ethical, then why would the government try to hide it from the public? Without having sharks in our oceans, the oceanic ecosystem would collapse. There would be a loss of all coral reefs and a huge reduction in fish because the ocean would turn into a swamp due to the lack of nutrients and photosynthesis that will be occurring. Without plants and photosynthesis, the ocean will no longer be an oceanic carbonate pump meaning more there will be more carbon in the atmosphere and extreme global warming. Sharks are also becoming extinct, in the last few decades with less than 99% of wild hammerhead sharks being left due to fishing.


Why is fishing an unethical practice? (Continued)

Not only are sharks, dolphins and whales being hunted, but they are also one of the many animals murdered as bycatch in fishing. By-catching is when other marine life gets caught in the fishing nets when trying to target and fish a specific species. Fifty million sharks are killed this way. While, on average sharks kill 10 people per year, we kill 11,000 – 30,000 sharks per hour. Sharks, dolphins and whales are level one in the food chain. If you take away level one, then slowly two,three and four will disappear due to a domino effect. The problem with eating fish is far worse than shark fins due to shark fins only being eaten in Asia, but fish are being eaten worldwide. While bycatch is classed as accidental by governments, it is formally recognised that this happens whilst fishing, so perhaps it is not accidental at all but completely unethical. One small fishing boat in Iceland caught 900 seals of four different species, 5,000 sea birds and 269 dolphins in one year, and they were awarded the label of being ‘sustainable’ and won awards for their methods of fishing. Yet it is clear their fishing methods are the complete opposite of sustainable and ethical fishing. They are using the grey area in between the law of right and wrong. Due to the governmental guidelines being easy to get around and governments not having any care towards enforcing it, private volunteer groups are now being used to try and stop the high rates of bycatch. An example of this is Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd has sunk whaling and fishing ships and rammed vessels without harming a single human being, stopping huge levels of bycatch. During their time working so far, they have made some shocking discoveries not just in Asia but close to home too. The west Atlantic coast of France, a place where many of us go on holiday, is a hot spot for high rates of dolphin murders in bycatch. This being 10,000 dolphins per year killed in bycatch and this figure is 10 times more than Taiji Japan where they are purposely killing dolphins, this is “accidental”. Whales are also prime to bycatch, with almost 300,000 killed in bycatch per year. It is clear that the purposeless damage to marine life caused by fishing is highly unethical.

The issue of plastic in the ocean is the area that gets the most attention, about human damage, from the media, yet it is the smallest damage and the information and tips we are given are not the issue with plastic at all. The largest garbage patch in the world, the great pacific patch, is 50% made up of plastic fishing gear. This is not plastic bottles, cotton buds or straws but nets and fishing gear. Fishing vessels discard nets every day and random places in the world are now being swarmed with nets. The number of longline fishing nets thrown in the ocean every day is enough to wrap around the planet 500 times. The attention is also given to turtles being killed by plastic and although 6/7 species of turtles are endangered this is caused by fishing not plastic. While 1000 sea turtles die every year from plastic, 250,000 are killed in old fishing nets. Although the problem of plastic straws is highlighted to us, these only account for 0.03% of plastic in the oceans, with over 55% being fishing equipment. The great pacific rubbish patch is growing with the addition of fishing nets every day. The best way to stop this is to not eat fish, but people don't know this, they are unaware of what is going on.


Why is fishing an unethical practice? (Continued) Say we stopped using plastic today and not another single piece entered the ocean, we would still be ripping apart our ecosystem due to fishing. Fishing is far more dangerous than plastic and oil production. Oil production and drilling in the oceans is looked at as being horrible and environmentally catastrophic but in reality it is better than fishing. The Gulf of Mexico oil drillers leaked in 2010 and this looked to be killing an excessive amount of animal and fish, but in reality, what extra marine life (not including fish) that were killed over the three months was the same amount killed in one day of commercial fishing. Due to the oil spill, it meant fishing was not possible during the three months, so this gave the ecosystem time to recover. Something that appeared to be killing the ecosystem was bringing it back to life. We as humans have painted a very unrealistic image of what fishing is. We all see the perfect image of Captain Birdseye on his little red boat coming home every evening to his family, but in the reality, it is far from it. The little red boats are not little in the slightest, but in fact, huge ships known as “death machines” due to the sheer destruction that they cause. The boats are huge technological machines that have a vast amount of power in the engine to drag the nets across. The workers barely ever come home, and the job is dangerous, with many losing their lives. Putting this into perspective with the idea that fossil fuels and plastic got all the attention, but nothing was looked at the “perfect pretty” yet highly destructive industry of fishing. The whole ethical and sustainable image of fishing is false. The methods of fishing ar completely unethical as well. The main method that is used is trawling, however, this is also the most destructive. The nets are so huge that they could drag the whole of a cathedral. They have huge heavy weights attached to them that drag along the seafloor, destroying all the beautiful wildlife that once stood on the seabed. They are not leaving anything behind, almost the equivalent of deforestation in our rainforests. The deforestation of our forests is highlighted daily by the media, with rainforest losing 27 football pitches of land every minute or 25 million acres each year. Yet the oceanic floor, the key to our survival and battle against climate change, is being destroyed at a rate of 4,316 football pitches per minute with 3.9 trillion acres destroyed each year. That equals the same amount of land in Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Iran, Thailand and Australia. The amount of destruction would be all over the media if it was on land, yet as it is underwater, out of our sight, it is allowed to continue to operate in this way. As I have mentioned before, the impact and damage fishing has on our ecosystem is massive. Coral reefs, one of the earth's most beautiful things, are also being heavily impacted by the fishing industry. By 2050 it is predicted we would have lost 90% of all of our reefs due to us overfishing in the area. Coral reefs need the fish to keep them alive. Without fish swimming around and excreting the nutrients needed for the coral, the coral will die. Also, throughout all of our reefs, we have already lost 90% of the fish in the coral reefs due to the rate we are extracting fish. This rate is so fast that by the middle of the 21st century, at the rate we daily fish, there will be no fish left in the sea. The phrase ‘no fish left in the sea’ used to be a saying in the past that was used as a joke or something said to a child to eat all their food, for example. Yet the sad reality is something that used to be a saying or joke that is now becoming the reality of the world we live in with no fish in the sea. Mankind as we know it cannot survive without the sea, yet we are the sole and only things that is destroying it, ironically destroying the thing we can’t live without. At the rate we are fishing five million fish that are caught and killed every minute. No other industry kills this many, plus kills new wildlife - potentially killing a cure for cancer without us knowing we had it in the first place. If the trends continue, we will see empty oceans by 2048, which is very soon. The reason fish are also so vital for our survival is they are connected to the oceanic carbonate pump. Tiny living animals called phytoplankton take in carbon in the ocean and use it to make shells where it is stored when they die. If we damage the food web by taking all the fish, we put all in the oceans into the atmosphere leading to a climate disaster. This is because 93% of the world's carbon is stored in our oceans and putting it into perspective, 1% is the equivalent of 97 million car emissions over the car’s lifetime. Also, plants in the ocean store 20 times more carbon than plants on land. Simply, these emissions cannot end up in the atmosphere, otherwise, we simply won’t survive.


Why is fishing an unethical practice? (Continued)

Can we ever fish sustainably? Is it possible for largescale extraction of wildlife to be sustainable? No. The answer is no. One of the first issues is how to decide who can fish and to make sure they are fishing using the correct method and fish are being caught sustainably. But the whole concept of sustainability is a myth. Sustainable has just become a marketing phrase, printed over every single product, yet it does not mean what we all think, as consumers, it means. The sustainable tag on fish is marketed to get people to purchase their product over someone else’s, otherwise they will lose out on money and support. Oceania, the world's largest marine conservation group, do not mention on their website the damage fishing is doing and the potential ways we as consumers can decrease the impact it is having. This is because they state saying ‘do not eat fish’ is too extreme, yet the same group of people, the EU nationals, banned all single-use plastic items overnight. One rule for one thing that suits them, another for something that does. MSC, which is the common blue tick you see on fish packets, have certified fisheries as being sustainable by the number of fish it takes. Yet the same fisheries have the highest rates of bycatch.

This is not what the consumer is looking for when they purchase a product under the title of ‘sustainable’. They do not expect it to be killing other animals and birds, so the label now means nothing. MSC doesn’t care about looking after the oceans at all. 80.5% of their almost £30 million income per year comes from licencing their logos onto products, the more blue ticks the more money. They have only denied the label to five fisheries over the past 20 years, which is nothing. Anyone can get access to the blue tick as it benefits MSC and the business selling the product. Governments have tried to enforce ‘sustainable’ fishing, yet this backfired horribly. Governments sent out observers to sea to oversee ships, but they never return. They were being murdered at sea or thrown overboard due to them finding out the truth. The truth of what was going on. The truth is so bad it is costing innocent lives. It should not be interfering with people’s lives that drastically to have a piece of fish on your plate at a cheap price and the expensive price to the environment. The sustainable label on tuna products specifically is terrible. In catching 8 tuna, 45 dolphins are slaughtered, yet the tuna gets a 'dolphin safe' label. What part of killing 45 dolphins is ‘dolphin safe’. Nothing. People are taking captains’ words on whether the fish is being caught in a ‘dolphin safe’ or ‘sustainably’ due to governments not being able to manage the 4,600,000 commercial fishing ships on our oceans. There is also a link between the people in charge of illegal fishing and the people in charge of sex, drug and human trafficking.


Why is fishing an unethical practice? (Continued) This is because due to the fishing industry being classed as essential it is given a subsidy. A subsidy is taxpayer money that is given to industry to keep the price of a product artificially low. Even if someone stops eating fish, they are still having an impact due to their taxes. On average, $35 billion worldwide is the subsidy given to fish yet to stop world hunger we need $30 billion. The purpose of the fishing subsidy was to gain food security, yet ironically it has given us more insecurity and loss. Also, another major issue with the subsidy is that it is destroying local economies. Cheap fishing industries, supported by the EU and the subsidy programme, are fishing on the West African coast. The industry is using up all the fish there, taking it away from local fishermen who rely on the fish for income and food. Without the fish, they will starve. Due to one in three fish eaten in America coming from different seas, people are having to swap to eat different animals to survive. In Somalia, people used to rely on fish to feed their families, but when it fell into civil war other countries took advantage and started illegally fishing in the area, pulling the fish from mouths and leaving Somalians with no occupation and no food. Because of this, people are now having to hunt wild animals on land. These animals are not safe to eat, so they are increasing the rates of disease outbreaks such as Ebola. Also, fishing is not a safe job to be in and due to fewer fish, the local fisherman is going out further to find fish, but they are putting their lives at risk as the waters are dangerous. Sea Shepherd also attempts to tackle this issue by questioning ships found fishing in West Africa to try and stop illegal boats. Sea Shepherd has the authority to give out huge fines, shut boats down and bring them to shore, but they cannot manage it all on their own. They also are interested particularly in West Africa; it contains many different species of wildlife that needs to be protected. Fishing is also going against human rights. The main economies that are using slaves for fishing are the Thai shrimp and prawn industry. Thailand has over 51,000 fishing boats, which attempt to increase profits and reduce tax by finding cheaper methods of fishing by using slaves or low-paid workers. Slavery onboard these ships is kept very undercover, yet governments know it occurs and benefit from it. They are just covering it up. People’s experiences on these ships are devastating and no one should ever have to work in these conditions. They are on these boats for an average of 10 years and there is no way off. They are constantly monitored and are murdered if they try and escape or swim away. This highly affects their mental health with extremely high rates of depression and suicidal thoughts as they are kept and treated like slaves. They are brainwashed or lied to by captains to get them on the ships. They act kind and caring, but once onboard, they are completely different. They bully and abuse the workers by splashing boiling water over them when they are sick and tried to get up. Also, they hit them with an iron bar and threaten with guns. The bodies of people they did kill were sometimes kept in fridges as threats to the workers still alive. They also threw kids overboard if they annoyed them. Workers witnessed innocent children drown and then float to the surface of the water, and the captains lied to the authorities about how many people were being killed. Consumers are completely unaware and do not care how it is farmed, but they would if they knew it involved forced labour. Due to the devastating impact we have on fishing in this specific way, people have looked at fishing other ways, one way being farmed fishing. Farmed fishing is fish that is bred in cages and from the outside, it looks good; no bycatch, illegal fishing, seafloor damage or killing of any other species. But the reality is not as pretty and perfect. The food that is given to them is having a huge impact. To produce 1 kg of farmed salmon, 1.2kg of food is needed. The food is made up of dried fish and oil. So, trying to not overfish and using farms is killing more fish due to the food having high rates of fish. The fish are also kept in cages with poor sanitary conditions. Salmon farmed in Scotland, for example, produce the same amount of organic waste as the whole Scottish population in one year on one single farm. Because of this, the fish are catching Anaemia, Lice, Chlamydia and heart diseases. This is a total waste of resources. Perhaps the saddest thing with farmed fishing is recent research which shows that fish feel the same amount of pain as humans. Pain, fear, anger, sadness and joy. Locking fish up in cages for their whole life, swimming around in circles, to then get a disease and never make it to a plate is a waste of a life and matter.


Why is fishing an unethical practice? (Continued)

This article has highlighted the numerous ways in which fishing is highly unethical, but what can we do? The simple answer is to not eat fish, but that is easier said than done. It raises issues of people being concerned about missing out on nutrients. However, cutting out fish would do the complete opposite. It would decrease the levels of iron and industrial pollutants, such as mercury, which we consume when eating fish. Also, fish “containing” omega-3 fish oil is a myth. The fish themselves do not contain the oil; it comes from the algae they eat. This, therefore, means we as humans would not miss out as we could go directly to the source of the nutrient rather than going through fish. Plant-based diets are the best way to go forward.

Cows and chicken farms also impact the oceans as the toxins from the farms drain into the oceans, so reducing them would also help the ecosystem. The marine ecosystem can bounce back rapidly. We could see more whales and coral reefs in a matter of years if we stop eating fish now. The ocean can recover if large areas are closed to commercial fishing and governments take action. We can see a good and ethical future for fishing if we take the necessary steps now. Jemima S


Can Businesses Ever Be 100% Ethical? Business ethics is ‘the application of ethical values to business behaviour’. There are 12 principles: honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, loyalty, fairness, respect for others, concern for others, law-abiding, commitment to excellence, leadership, reputation and moral accountability. Can you honestly say these principles of business ethics are the words that cross your mind when you think of any business? No, it is likely they are not. However, if they were, then you have been sucked into believing the different marketing strategies used by businesses to blindside their market audience into believing what the business wants them to. Your favourite businesses, including Zara, Amazon, Nestle, Lush, The Body Shop, all take advantage of easy advertising tricks, including the use of magazines, social media, websites etc. into deceiving their audience that they work ethically. For example, Nestle, a large, worldwide corporate company which holds many brands under an umbrella, including Smarties, L’Oréal, Garnier, KitKat etc. are culprits of extremely unethical actions, including child labour, taking water from those who need it most, human trafficking and much more. Yet, until recently, this side of Nestle has been hidden from consumers by the wonderful powers of false marketing. An example of this clever advertising is through their breastfeeding products. Nestle suggest that mothers should start weaning off their baby from breastfeeding at six months and move on to the products they sell, saying that otherwise, their baby could become anaemic. Whereas, the World Health Organisation advises that a mother should breastfeed for six months and then continue with this until they think it is necessary to use solid foods. However, most women in developing countries do not have access to this information, and so would blindly purchase Nestle’s products. Mothers in these countries have become reliant on Nestle for their products, with the company taking full of advantage of their vulnerability with aggressive marketing tactics. It is worth delving deeper to understand how difficult it is for a business to ever be 100% ethical. What is Ethics? The official definition is, ‘moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.’ What some might consider unethical, others might view as ethical, and so it is fair to say that there is universal confusion surrounding what this really means. Setting up a business is not easy, and there are many challenges to overcome in order to be successful.

Firstly, a new business will have limited finances and setting up a business is expensive. Start-up businesses need to use the cheapest resources and labour to keep production costs at a minimum in order to maximise their chances of making a profit. Therefore, at the start of their life, businesses have to take advantage of cheaper resources such as child labour, paying minimum wage etc. – all of which are unethical, to varying degrees. Often it is only when a business becomes successful that they have the resources and finance to make decisions based on ethical considerations However, some might seek to argue that the use of social enterprise businesses (businesses that trade with the aim of improving a human and environmental mission), do not operate for profit and have a clearer ethical mission at the heart of their organisation. Here it seems that business and ethics coincide, but when you look closer even these businesses are put in situations where conflicts can arise. For example, the ‘Time’s Up’ charity, which was set up to help put a stop to sexual harassment in the workplace, spent $1.4 million on salaries, and only a small amount of its income was used to help victims. This is not the only example, as there are many scenarios where businesses create a specific ethical mission statement, personal to their company, but work unethically in other areas of the business to succeed.


Can Businesses Ever Be 100% Ethical? (Continued) It can certainly be said that maintaining an ethical stance in the modern world we are living in is important, as many large corporations have to manage the competing interests of shareholders who are becoming more and more interested in a business’s ethical stance with the need to make money and remain competitive in challenging environments. Corporates of any size are put under pressure from shareholders and customers to trade with ethical principles and in accordance with a moral code. This rising concern for ethical behaviour is something all businesses need to focus on if they want to succeed, as customers will look elsewhere and look to use more ethical companies. The power of the consumers and the interests of shareholders will often force businesses to become more ethical in order to survive. However, by using ethical positions to their advantage, are they really acting in an ethical way? As Thomas Aquinas argued – intention matters. Our reason for doing something is just as important as the act itself, and so if a business only acts in an ethical way to keep customers and improve profit, can you really argue that they are 100% ethical? Surely they are just creating an illusion by adapting to different strategies in order to suit their business goals? 100% Ethical - Is this statement ever really achievable for imperfect humans to reach? Surely there is always room for improvement – new ways to become more ethical are always emerging. Furthermore, ethics is harder to incorporate in businesses than in day to day life, as there are so many complex challenges and acting ethically might not always be at the forefront of a decision if it is the right decision for a business. This is because making your business profitable has to be paramount and business ethics is only a small proportion of this. There will always be a moment where a decision has to be made quickly by a company that will result in the highest growth or success rate, to get an edge over your competition that will outweigh the ethics.

In conclusion, although many businesses will try to adopt more ethical techniques and will certainly use marketing to create the impression of greater ethical awareness and values, ultimately creating a profit will outweigh the need to make their business 100% ethical. It is fair to say that businesses are taking steps in the right direction but it is absurd to argue that business and ethics can be completely compatible. India H


How Meritocracies inhibit human flourishment meritocracies violate rights by allowing the elite to rise further to the top through a combination of better opportunities, connections and weighted luck. Thus, suggesting that this needs to be counterbalanced with measures promoting a view of individualism and equality which stems from a position of equality and promotes individuals with just reasoning.

Meritocracies are intended to be the superior model for social mobility, aiming to balance the liberal ideals of equality and individualism with a merit-based system that awards people (primarily monetarily) based on their talent rather than their social class. It is a theory that initially appears like something most of us would be on board with, which is likely why it is our current socio-economic system. The problem is that this model assumes we are in an initial system of equality from which we are all able to rise together based on our supposed "talents“. This is often not the case, thus from meritocracies we often see unmeritocratic results evident from gender, racial, or class bias, just to name a few of the problems in our society. The problem is summed up by Daniel Markovits who describes meritocracy as "a pretence, constructed to rationalize an unjust distribution of advantage" (the meritocracy trap), pointing to the fact that this meritsbased system creates disparities rather than promoting a 'hard work and talent pays off' climate. This is likely why a large proportion of political philosophy schools reject meritocracies, for example, the libertarians who argue that

Inequality from meritocracies most obviously limits human flourishment, yet I would argue that the most pressing issue is how this model impacts our happiness. As described, the clear result of inequality in the system will be detrimental to those at the socio-economic 'bottom of the bunch', but for those who do benefit from the model or who are trying to clamber up the meritocratic ladder, the way of life can be equally as damaging for our flourishment in terms of happiness. Hustle culture, referring to the exhausting effort of working as hard as possible in the obsessive effort to strive for success, is a term that has crept into 21st-century language in response to the emergent culture of the new capitalism. In Richards Sennett's book ‘The Culture of New Capitalism', he explains the problem which has caused the rise of hustle culture, stating that previously capitalism focused on craftsmanship, the idea of "doing something for its own sake“, a very Kantian view of capitalism which was grounded in duty and stability.


How Meritocracies inhibit human flourishment (Continued) The model is that if you were a decent person who followed the rules you would naturally progress up the working ladder. You would become a craftsman or expert in your field, stay in your lane, do what is required and you will succeed. However new capitalism takes a meritocratic approach, by equating talent and potential to personal worth rather than skill, breeding a 'winner takes all' mentality which promotes competition and encourages people to be proactive rather than productive to succeed. From here, there has been a change in the way people worry in the workplace. For the old capitalist the fixation was on dread, dread that the company would do badly etc. However, the new culture is fixated on anxiety and anxiety that if you do not go above and beyond to show that you have talent and potential you will stay where you are or be disposed of. This follows the liberal smith model that to be successful you have to do more than expected, often at the expense of perfection and skill. I believe this new approach has changed the psyche of the modern individual to be anxiety-driven and at the constant mercy of a toxic hustle culture. The system is contrary to what many philosophers consider a life of happiness to consist of. Soren Kierkegaard argued, “Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to experience", supporting the conclusion of many of this term’s REthink discussions, which have closed with the idea that we all need to increase our sense of wonder and appreciation for the world around us. Following the ideals advocated by Kierkegaard, we should strive for "doing something for its own sake" rather than constantly pushing ourselves to the next level by partaking in a competition where the goal seems ever more blurred and distant, the closer we come to it. What I am alluding to is Slavoj Zizek's hypothesis that unhappiness persists because humans do not know what they want, so we keep moving towards being more talented, more innovative, 'more' everything in an attempt to achieve happiness which we don't understand. The general attitude of philosophers is to combat this by increasing our attention to present wonders, develop relationships and remove our attachments to physical temporal pleasures, the most famous example of these concepts exemplified in the Aristotelian rendition of happiness known as 'eudaimonia'. A eudemonic happiness is achieved by cultivating our virtues through rational activity, these cardinal virtues being prudence, justice, bravery and temperance. This is further exemplified in the Buddhist approach to economics, where people try to maximise community income rather than individual income, following the idea that we need to practise compassion and focus on relationships to be happy The fast-paced culture of meritocracies does not aid in the Aristotelian or Buddhist version of happiness, as we are encouraged to turn away from community and virtue, to focus on competition which inhibits the development of our virtues. Additionally, meritocracies don’t allow humans the time to be present and to wonder if we are constantly trying to be proactive in our work. Systemically it is unlikely that the flawed meritocratic system will change any time soon, but a modern push for wellness and the revival of new age spirituality does show signs of hope for the development of wonder, virtue and community focus over hedonistic trends. More immediately, you can join the REthink team in increasing our awareness to wonder in this wonderful world, to focus on cultivating your happiness. Desiree F


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? Jane Austen is arguably one of the most loved novelists of all time; however, why does society venerate her novels to the extent it does? She is renowned for her wit, her use of dialogue and her presentation of women, yet if her novels are reduced to their simplest form, they all follow the same three-stage process before the heroine can marry: firstly, the obstacles, whether they be socio-economic, circumstantial, familial or psychological, obstruct the story; next, they enable the story, and finally, the story draws a veil over these obstacles. It then becomes apparent that if it is possible for us to reduce all of her novels to this one plot, yet still be enthralled by each one, we are bound to ask: what is her genius? As previously mentioned, there are qualities to her writing which are exceptional, and the way she remarks upon Regency England catches the imagination of the reader, yet despite this, it could be argued that her genius is how she can confine herself to such limitations and still produce remarkable novels. This then creates another dilemma, and we are led to consider how she can work in these limitations. The answer is that she makes subtle variations each time she writes, and a key way in which she does this is through her use of virtue ethics throughout her novels which means that, rather than being psychological constructs, her characters become moral ones, and the obstacles become moral tests which determine whether a character is virtuous, and will attain a 'happy ending' or not. The concept of virtue ethics originates from Aristotle who suggested that virtues are the good qualities that work together to shape a moral man, therefore humans have a duty to cultivate their talents to be the best they can be in order to work towards good, or eudaimonia, which means happiness. For those influenced by virtue ethics, the ultimate goal is to achieve arete, which is "moderation, justice, happiness, and moral duty in their perfect states", thus conveying how this excellence in moral virtue defines when a person is being the best they can be and so is allowed to obtain eudaimonia (or happiness), which, according to Aristotle, is "the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence". By applying this idea of pursuing and spreading excellence and virtues in her novels, Austen could then focus on her characters' failings, conveying how and why they initially do not reach eudaimonia, and charting their journey as they strive for arete. This was evidently extremely important for her since she did not believe in the concept of a faultless heroine, as shown in a letter she wrote to her niece, Fanny Knight, in which she declared, "pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked". When considering Austen's application of virtue ethics in her novels, we are naturally led to consider her characters and the different virtues and vices they display. Aristotle said, "virtue is a matter of passions and actions; and excess and deficiency are errors where passions and actions are concerned, while the mean is praised and achieve success. And praise and success are both outcomes of virtue", thus conveying how, to be virtuous, a person must find the harmonious balance between the two vices of deficiency and excess, showing it to be a very difficult and delicate position rather than a linear concept of improvement. Austen's second novel, Pride and Prejudice, is a prime example of how she projected the concept of virtue ethics onto her characters, not least due to its title which reflects the two main vices Austen will consider, but also as a result of the plethora of characters and their intricate natures. Taking, for instance, the example of Mr Darcy, it is evident from the moment of his introduction that he has many vices to overcome before he can attain true happiness. The first impression the reader gains of him is his surly nature when he utters the words, "she is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me", displaying a complete deficiency of friendly civility which earns him the contempt of the whole village, thus acting as the first obstacle he must overcome before he can even entertain the idea of marrying the novel's heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. .


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? (Continued)

As previously mentioned, Austen disliked the idea of "pictures of perfection", therefore her protagonist also has vices representative of the obstacles she must overcome. For example, Elizabeth (Lizzie) displays intemperance in her lack of restraint in the judgement of others (hence the importance of prejudice in the novel), and her stubborn nature means that she is unwilling to accept that Darcy could be a good man, thus enabling the plot twist of Lydia's elopement with Mr Wickham which fulfils the second stage of Austen's plot. It is only after this that Elizabeth's opinion changes as she makes the shift from seeing the world from her own limited and unbalanced perspective to looking at it through a more distant, third-person perspective which allows her to see the greater moral consequences of her private actions.

Continuing with the example of the Bennet family, the complexity of virtue ethics and its implications can be seen as Austen displays contrasting vices amongst the family members, such as shamelessness (a deficiency of modesty) in the character of Lydia Bennet and bashfulness (an excess of modesty) in the character of Jane Bennet whilst their mother displays the vice of over-ambition, once again contrasting Jane's character. This then conveys how Austen's genius can be seen as her ability to display such a complex range of virtues and vices that it is possible to come full-circle when analysing the various characters and the vices they represent, providing the intricacies and developments needed to break away from her simple, three-stage plot.


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? (Continued) Austen’s use of virtue ethics is made more prominent through her employment of the free, indirect narrative style which seamlessly takes the reader into the character’s thought and feelings, thus allowing their true natures to be seen. This is particularly prevalent in Austen's Emma, as she uses this style to reveal the protagonist's arrogance and self-delusion which prove problematic in the novel: “He was silent. She believed he was looking at her; probably reflecting on what she had said and trying to understand the manner. She heard him sigh. It was natural for him to feel that he had cause to sigh. He could not believe her to be encouraging him.” In this extract, Emma is remarking upon the behaviour of Frank Churchill whom she believes is on the verge of proposing; however, we later discover that she is wrong and that his awkward behaviour was because he was about to reveal his engagement to another woman. Despite what is discovered later on, in the instance of the extract, the reader immediately think that Frank Churchill must be about to propose because the narrative, which has passed from what Emma supposes ("she believed"), to what she hears ("she heard him sigh"), to what seems to be fact ("it was natural"), is completely ruled by her conscience. In so doing, not only does Austen manage to ridicule Emma for her absurd self-assuredness and arrogance, but she highlights this as one of her heroine's greatest vices simply by placing the narrative in her mind. This, therefore, shows the importance of the free indirect style as the subtle movements of perspective dramatize how we move from one view to another, encouraging us to reflect on our thoughts and actions, and therefore our virtues and vices. However, Austen goes further than merely commenting on her characters' vices in her novels, rather she provides a moral vision, showing us how to look at and analyse ourselves so that we can identify and reflect on our moral characters. An important feature of her novels is the omniscient narrator's moral gaze which immediately draws out a character's moral integrity to reveal their vices, and it is through this that Austen can set a standard by which she judges her characters, thus directing the readers' views of their virtues and vices. To achieve this moral gaze, Austen uses two main features in her novels; namely, the societies she creates and the use of the word, 'ought’. The societies in which Austen sets her novels are an extremely important way through which she judges the characters' virtuosity because the social setting of the novel acts as a microcosm of greater society and morality. This means that there are, in effect, two sets of judgements on the characters: firstly, by the society of the novel, which tends to be more subjective, and secondly, by the aforementioned moral gaze of the narrator, which is more objective, giving wider context and projecting the values of society at large onto the characters. This can be seen in Austen's first novel, Sense and Sensibility, in which the heroines face the constant battle between their inner, private desires and society's public judgement, hence the importance of good, or common sense as a virtue. Extending this idea, characters who can orient their actions and judgements based on their position within their communities and the consequences their actions will have on these communities, such as Elinor Dashwood, are more likely to obtain a good judgement from society, thus eventually being able to achieve eudaimonia. In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor is portrayed as the epitome of common sense as she can see the world with such impartiality and reflectiveness that she can see everything just as it ought to be, thus shaping the narrative of the entire community. Although it often comes as a detriment to her inner desires, this quality is extremely significant for the novel as a whole, not least because she offers a stark contrast with her sister, Marianne Dashwood, but also because it gives the reader a representative of the virtue of common sense which everyone seemingly strives towards .


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? (Continued)

By using Elinor's eyes as the narrator's vision as well, Austen can present a unique display of how private life looks through the gaze of society due to Elinor's position both as society's judgement and a key member of the novel's private sphere. This then means that her sister, Marianne, who cannot make the distinction between public and private life, becomes the main spectacle of the story, with her actions being condemned both by the novel's characters and by the readers. Contrary to what the novel's title may suggest, when considered under the lens of virtue ethics, it is apparent that the novel focuses not on the contrast between the two terms of 'sense' and 'sensibility', but on the different 'senses' and 'sensibilities' that are required to form a virtuous society. Throughout the novel, the reader discovers that there must be sensibility to the extent that there is concern for the greater good and common societal values, and there must also be sense so that everyone understands their duty to accommodate their strong desires to the needs of the social world. These two ideas can be represented through the characters of Elinor and Marianne; however they both begin the novel at the extremes of sense and sensibility since they both suffer from an excess of their respective qualities, therefore neither sister can achieve eudaimonia until they have gained a harmonious balance between sense and sensibility. Once this is achieved, both Elinor and Marianne will then be able to act in a way that takes both themselves and the greater good of society into account, and through this,

Austen can argue that individuals are at their best when they are furthering the ends of the whole, as those who think inwardly about themselves, such as Marianne, are judged unfavourably by society, and those who are 'too' altruistic, such as Elinor, can never be content within themselves, thereby reinforcing how characters can only be loved when they are aspiring for the biggest, most perfect good, which, as previously explained, is the Aristotelian concept of arete. However, perhaps the most forceful way through which Austen manages to give a voice to society is through the use of the word 'ought'. She uses this to represent the moral idealism (or in terms of virtue ethics, arete) that all characters strive for in her novels, setting a standard of decorum and propriety through which they are judged if they fail to pursue this 'most perfect good'. By creating a clear distinction between what is and what ought to be, Austen uses the ought both as a representation of the characters' imaginings of what the world ought to be, and society's views of how the characters ought to behave in contrast with their present situations, once again furthering this distortion between desires and the private life, and society and the public life.


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? (Continued) The extent of the ought's influence over characters varies to accentuate which characters are virtuous or not; for example, Mr Woodhouse in Emma uses it to describe food and the weather, whereas others such as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park are held so tightly to the ought of society that their desires become almost indistinguishable from those of society, as shown through this extract: “My aunt is acting as a sensible woman in wishing for you. She is choosing a friend and companion exactly where she ought, and I am glad her love of money does not interfere. You will be where you ought to be. How shall I ever thank you as I ought, for thinking so well of me?” Here, Edmund (Fanny's favourite cousin) is consoling her on the prospect of her leaving the manor house to live with their Aunt Norris, whom Fanny greatly dislikes; however, his use of the ought in describing Fanny's position as one distanced from the actual family of Mansfield Park could be taken with some offence due to the implication that she is not desired to stay with the other young people and enjoy herself. Contrary to this expectation, however, Fanny understands her position as an observer to events and takes no offence, despite not wanting to leave Edmund and Mansfield Park, thus her willingness to completely submit herself to society's ought highlights her as a virtuous character according to Austen's standards of morality and decorum. Contrasting Fanny Price's complete submission to society's ought, Austen also displays defiance of the ought through the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice who uses it as a means of humour and wit. After Lizzie confesses her love for Mr Darcy, her sister Jane asks, "Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought to do?", to which Lizzie replies, "You will only think I feel more than I ought to do, when I tell you all". On the surface, what could seem a potentially rude question from Jane, and a characteristically witty response from Lizzie, is transformed into a paradoxical reinforcement of the importance of objective standards, and the danger of seeing the world from a first-person, somewhat narrow-minded perspective. Lizzie's reply deliberately opposes a suggestion of unbalance or disproportion, which is implied by "more than I ought", through the syntactical placing of, "when I tell you all", at the end of the sentence, which is suggestive of harmony and perfect proportions, thus marking the point at which Lizzie begins to move to a more objective view of the world. By joking about the idea of being indecorously in love, Lizzie highlights how, in the novel, the ought to be often used as a subject for irony, both preserving the significance of Jane's question as a reminder of the importance of the ought as a moral principle, but also underscoring the importance of each character's attempt to abuse or distort it. Thus, Austen's ought is an integral part of her writing to convey how, although characters may try to defy it, its importance and impact on their lives will never cease since it is the epitome of virtuous behaviour and moral idealism, which, according to Aristotle, is the shared objective of humanity. In conclusion, Jane Austen is often described as one of the greatest moral philosophers of her time, and her application of virtue ethics in her novels is a prime example of why she continues to be considered thus.


Jane Austen & Virtue Ethics: What is their Importance in her Novels? (Continued)

Images are of all the books mentioned during the article (have a read)

She conveys how her characters must be able to harmonise their inner desires with those of society, which acts as the moral and ethical judge of her novels, suggesting that it is only when they work towards the greater good of society that her characters can achieve arete, and so can be happy, highlighting the eternal bond between one's inner desires and what one must do for society as a whole; an idea perfectly summarised in the opening line of Pride and Prejudice:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife". Sophie D


How to live a Pious life according to Renaissance Theologians

The virtue is also drawn on in Dante's Divine Comedy, where the protagonist’s love for his family triggers a despair at seeing them in hell, inspiring pious living. In his depiction of Mary, Michelangelo is successful in capturing both piety and compassion at once. Controversially, Michelangelo depicted a younger Mary in La Pieta, to show her piety, reflective of Michelangelo's belief that chastity equated youthfulness. Further, Mary's compassion or filial love is striking in her cradling of a vulnerable Jesus, portraying her as the ultimate motherly figure.

While in the modern world, theologians discuss how it is possible to live a pious or religious life, Renaissance theologians sought a life following the virtue of ‘pieta’. Piety, meaning the quality of being religious, has its etymological roots in the Latin word “pieta”, from which we also get the word pity. “Pieta” referred to religious and filial piety, an affection towards God and one’s family. Thus, the virtue of pieta synthesises Pope Francis’ assertion that ‘true religious piety consists in loving God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbour as oneself’. Michelangelo attempted to capture the essence of this Roman virtue in his marble sculpture La Pieta. The sculpture, one of Michelangelo’s first commissioned works, depicts the withering dying body of Jesus cradled in the arms of his mother, Mary. Inspired by the works of Dante and Virgil, Michelangelo sought to capture the coexistence of loving God and loving one’s neighbour. Primarily, the virtue of pieta is displayed in Virgil's Aeneid , when Aeneas carries both his father and religious icons when fleeing Troy - showing the possibility of having love for God and love for one's neighbour.

While Michelangelo, Virgil and Dante saw it possible to love God and love one's neighbour simultaneously as commanded by Pope Francis, the task contains numerous challenges. Primarily, the removal of the word pieta from our language indicates the difficulty of achieving both of these concepts. Linguistically, pieta’s split to form piety and pity could be reflective of them being better understood as individual concepts – loving God and one’s neighbour distinctively. Additionally, In both Protestant and Catholic traditions, humans are flawed by the original sin of Adam and Eve. Considering this, it seems challenging that we should have the capacity in our hearts to love both God and our neighbour. Henceforth, initial tensions in Renaissance theology are apparent; between our nature and love, forgiveness and pieta, God and our neighbour.


How to live a Pious life according to Renaissance Theologians (Continued) Challenges within the virtue of pieta have persisted to this day, in the form of the Augustinian phrase, ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin'. This phrase is often employed by Evangelicals in modern debates about homosexuality as, in theory, the phrase fulfils the conditions of pieta. For in 'love the sinner', the Evangelical completes their task of loving their neighbour but in 'hate the sin', the Evangelical maintains their religious standing. However, the use of this phrase is highly problematic, primarily because it is a paradox - perhaps reflective of how paradoxical it is for humans to be capable of loving both God and their neighbour considering our fallen nature. Further, the phrase has been criticised by atheists and Christians alike, not least because of the dubious claim that homosexuality is sinful but because it seems impossible to love someone yet hate part of their identity (such as their sexuality). Additionally, the passing of judgement in 'hate the sin', is incompatible with Christian teachings on forgiveness, highlighting the challenge of forgiveness due to our sinful nature. Beyond tensions existing within the definition of pieta, there are also tensions in Renaissance theology about how to achieve pieta. Protestant theologian John Calvin argues that true pieta is knowing what God wants and embracing this, commenting in The Institutes that the 'whole of Christian life ought to be a sort of practice of godliness'. For Calvin, a pious life consists of acts that glorify God, which is ultimately our purpose. Further, Calvin argues that glorifying God should not be done with the end goal of achieving salvation. But yet again, considering Calvin's Doctrine of Total Depravity, stating we are in a state of deprivation due to our sin, we are led to question if this is truly feasible. Perhaps for Calvin, it was, in the blessing by the sanctification of Christ, we could live in accordance to pieta. However, another Renaissance theologian who discusses pieta is Desiderius Erasmus, who adopts a completely different approach to Calvin. For Erasmus, piety is an inner mental quality, opposing the importance that Calvin and other contemporaries placed on ceremony. Erasmus argued that rituals and ceremony of the old testament had been replaced by the new covenant of 'love thy neighbour'. He rejected monastic behaviours such as fasting because for him, piety was the priority of the soul over the body, of the inner over the outer person. Living a life following Pieta, for Erasmus, was achieved by showing Caritas - a love for one's neighbour, contradicting Calvin’s emphasis on worship. Overall, it is apparent numerous tensions exist in Renaissance Theology regarding how to live a pious life. The era is almost divided between the old and new covenants - the overarching message of the old and new testaments. While in the old covenant, importance was placed on love of God and worship, in the new covenant, importance was placed on love of one's neighbour and good deeds. Thus, it is unsurprising that how to live a pious life has been a source of confusion for Renaissance theologians . Coupled with this is the tension existing between the demands of pious life and human nature, which some may argue dooms us to impiety. However, both the old and new covenant are connected by respect. The old covenant emphasised respect for God through service, the new a respect for one's neighbours shown through good deeds. Perhaps too, living a respectful life avoids issues of human nature, while we may find it challenging to love everyone, we can at least have respect for everyone. Thus, in conclusion, through synthesising tensions in Renaissance theology it becomes apparent that living a respectful life is our route to fulfilling the virtue of pieta. Molly C


In memoriam: Prince Phillip How Prince Phillip became a God for tribes in the SouthWest Pacific On the 9th of April, many were left unsurprised but saddened by the news of Prince Phillip's death. In the following days, tributes were paid to the Duke by many, including his grandsons who described him as an ‘extraordinary man’, one of ‘service, honour and great humour.' Indeed, many of us have been indebted to Phillip’s servitude, participating in the eponymous Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, whose expeditions caused pain and triumph. Phillip was an Anglican and an environmentalist but also a controversial character, whose blunt humour transpired into a source of offence - making simply unacceptable comments on trips abroad. This article, however, will look beyond the late Prince's character and explore how he became transfigured into a God for tribes on the Melanesian islands. To understand Prince Phillip's deification and its implications, it is necessary to look at the history of tribal communities in the South-Western Pacific. From the 1920 European occupation of the Melanesian islands, anthropologists witnessed an outbreak of cargo cults. The cults were symptomatic of a Millenarian movement in Melanesia; a religious response to the social unrest caused by European presence on the islands. With European occupation, the Melanesians were introduced to new, foreign technologies of steamships and aeroplanes, which they witnessed delivering European goods. While islanders observed the arrival of such goods to European troops but never their manufacture, the conclusion followed that a European God delivered cargo via strange means of transportation. In turn, the Melanesians came to believe that at their Millennium, European goods (cargo) sent from their dead ancestors would arrive, triggering the start of a new age. Cargo cults triggered social upheaval in an attempt to ensure the coming of cargo from dead ancestors. This included destroying artefacts, abandoning male initiation rituals and traditional beliefs. Others sacrificed pigs and danced or mimicked European behaviours by hosting tea parties.


In memoriam: Prince Phillip How Prince Phillip became a God for tribes in the SouthWest Pacific (Continued) Initially, cargo cults were observed by anthropologist F.E. Williams in Vaiala on Apia Island where hopes arose of the return of ancestral spirits carrying cargo on ghost ships. Williams termed what he witnessed, 'Vailala madness', advising the Australian government to take necessary steps to end disruption by drawing on Plato's political theory that mass social change was the product of evil. Throughout the 1930s, cargo cults spread beyond Vaiala in response to seemingly alien European technologies, steamships and aeroplanes. Characteristic of all cargo cults was the belief that ancestral spirits once controlling natural forces (e.g. fertility) were now becoming technologically wise learned in the secrets of cargo. Other cults channelled discontent at the presence of Europeans, who were seen to be intercepting cargo already being sent by ancient ancestors. In the late 1930s, cargo cults on the island of Tanna were visited by a self-proclaimed prophet - John Frum. At the time of Frum’s arrival, Presbyterian missionaries had banned traditional Tannese customs such as kava drinking. But Frum’s prophecy predicted that with the resumption of Tannese traditions, he would return to the island with cargo, triggering an upheaval of order against the white missionaries. In the following years, John Frum cults on Tanna constructed an airstrip allowing him to return to the island. Belief in John Frum persisted until 1974, when Prince Phillip visited the island, becoming the next cargocarrying deity. Amongst Frum's prophecies was one decreeing that a tribesman would leave to find a powerful wife abroad, returning as a god. Phillip, decorated in white military uniform and heralded as the royal consort, fulfilled this prophecy. In the following years, worship of Prince Phillip became prevalent in the villages of Yakel and Yaohnanen, where he was viewed as the 'recycled descendant of a very powerful spirit.' Currently, on the island, the Tannese are undergoing mourning of their deity, which will culminate in a traditional ceremony. This will involve the sacrifice of pigs, processions, a ritualistic dance, a display of Prince Phillip memorabilia and drinking kava. Tribe leader, Chief Yapa, is also undergoing discussions for the deity to replace Phillip, which many islanders expect to be Charles, left to continue the late Duke's mission. Nevertheless, while Phillip rests in Windsor, the Tannese believe his soul is journeying across the Pacific Ocean to reunite with his true family on the island. Meanwhile, anthropologists have sought an explanation for cargo cults and their deities, establishing a consensus that they formulate a systematic response to colonialism. Before colonial presence on the island, the Melanesians had never witnessed wealth in the form of cargo and thus concluded it was a gift bestowed by a deity. Understandably, in the presence of alien European technology, cargo cults fell subject to Clarke’s Third Law, that any sufficiently advanced technology becomes indistinguishable from magic. The islanders’ wonder at foreign technology, aside from anything they had previously experienced, meant they perceived it as magic, something of godly origin. Prince Phillip’s transfiguration into a cargo-deity is perhaps unsurprising, his worship sourced from wonder was accompanied by the belief that he was trying to plant the ‘seed of Tanna’ at the heart of the Commonwealth. For journalist Dan McGarry, the Tannese used this belief to position themselves above colonial powers in regarding the Prince at the forefront of the Commonwealth as one of their own.


In memoriam: Prince Phillip How Prince Phillip became a God for tribes in the SouthWest Pacific (Continued)

Overall, religion in the form of cargo cults was the Melanesians’ response to witnessing a new and unseen wealth exhibited by colonialists on their islands. Islanders felt injustice at how favoured Europeans were by their gods, who continually sent cargo on strange technologies and trusted in their dead ancestors to resolve this injustice. After understanding how cargo cults form, it appears their name undermines the validity of the cults’ beliefs, as a natural response to exposure to new technologies by colonial powers and an overwhelming sense of inequality. While, in Britain, Phillip is remembered for his service and controversy as the royal consort, amongst the Tannese his legacy is a Godly one. In current debates about the existence of God, the deification of Prince Phillip has been used to demonstrate how fickle religious belief is. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion parallels the worship of Prince Phillip amongst cargo cults and the worship of Jesus in Christianity, arguing that there is a human readiness to worship charismatic characters.

Further, Dawkins parallels the wonder which Melanesian islanders equate to new technologies to Christian awe regarding how the world came to exist. For Dawkins, Christians and Melanesians use gods as an explanation for gaps in their knowledge and understanding. However, even if the origin of the universe is explainable without a deity (as with new technologies), perhaps the wonder we feel cannot be. We respond to that beyond our understanding with wonder - an emotion with no benefit for our survival. We can appreciate complexity, responding to it with complex emotions exhibited by us, complex beings. Thus, Dawkins misses the point, while he claims the Tannese wondered at Prince Phillip, in a way Christians wonder at Jesus regardless of if our wondering has credibility; this experience of wondering in its own right provides evidence for a deity. Fittingly, Dags Hammarskjold remarked to Prince Phillip while touring him around the UN General assembly, 'God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.' While remembered as insulting and controversial, Phillip was also notorious for his challenging and questioning rooted in wonder, the same wonder felt by the Tannese that led to his deification. Thus, in memoriam of Prince Phillip, we should wonder. Molly C


Is Epicurus right in saying that ‘A wise person shouldn’t fear death’? Death. One word that we grow accustomed to as we get older, yet it’s still so impactful. Usually, we're introduced to death as children going to the funeral of a deceased relative. As we grow up, we’re forced to come to terms with the loss of loved ones and grief. But do we ever truly “come to terms” with death? And should a wise person fear death? The answer is they shouldn’t. Firstly, I must answer the question of what Epicurus himself believed. During the Hellenistic age, Epicureanism aimed to eradicate the fear of both life and death by encouraging people to find happiness in their private lives. Many would rightly argue that a wise person shouldn’t fear death, because they would be knowledgeable enough to know that death reminds us that we need to live life to the fullest. One of Epicureanism’s maxims was “live unknown”, which means we must find happiness with our friends and family, and cherish those precious moments in our private lives, instead of trying to achieve fame or wealth. A great example of this is in Judaism; where for some Jews, as little is written in the Torah about life after death, they are encouraged to live their best life on Earth, by performing Tikkun Olam - acts of kindness said to repair the world. Therefore, Epicurus was right; a wise person shouldn’t fear death, because they would know that death reminds us to have a joyful and purposeful life. Additionally, Epicurus was right in saying that a wise person shouldn’t fear death, because, with their good judgment, they would understand the human necessity for deadlines. A simple analogy for this is being set an assignment. If we're given a deadline for it, we’re more determined to get that work done and to do it to the best standard we can before the due date. If we're not given a deadline, then we usually just push the work aside and forget about it. When we do eventually complete it, it’s usually hurried, making it a stressful and unpleasant experience. In this analogy, the due date is death, and it shows that we need deadlines if we're to achieve anything. By accepting that we don’t live forever, we’re motivated to have a meaningful life by taking every opportunity which comes our way. As Ray Kurzweil said, “Death gives meaning to our lives. It gives importance and value to time.” Some may wrongly disagree with this point, by arguing that constantly thinking about when you're going to die is unhealthy and exhausting. They may argue that a wise person should fear death because having the mindset that “I don’t know when I’m going to die so I must make my time worthwhile” will make you extremely paranoid, as you’ll always be doubting whether your life has been meaningful enough. This self-doubt will ultimately lead to self-loathing, which is, without a doubt, a harmful mindset to have. However, Epicurus remains right because a wise person thinking of death won't be paranoid. Instead, they'll be forced to accomplish things in their lives, that'll make their time on Earth meaningful - which is why many consider immortality a far scarier prospect than death. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes”. Without deadlines such as death, we would adopt the belief that “I’ll do it tomorrow”, meaning we would forget our purpose and therefore become unmotivated to do anything that would benefit others or ourselves. Additionally, many theists would agree with Epicurus, because death is what reunites us with God. Others may try to argue that a wise person should fear death because Hell could be waiting for us. Jesus states that “any sin and blasphemy can be forgiven… but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31). In many religions, there is the belief that there will be punishment for those who sinned when they were alive, for example, in Catholicism it is believed that the wicked "will go to eternal damnation." Moreover, in Islam, the Surah states that “when their skins have been burned away, we shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain”.


Is Epicurus right in saying that ‘A wise person shouldn’t fear death’? (Continued) We have all sinned, and so there is the inescapable threat that death may lead us to eternal damnation, meaning Epicurus would be wrong. However, people of faith would argue that modern interpretations of God have emphasised His limitless mercy. So, for those who have not blasphemed “against the Holy Spirit”, scripture from religions such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity say that death will lead us to a peaceful afterlife. For example, in Catholicism, “whoever lives and believes in (Jesus) shall never die.” (John 11:25) and they shall be part of the beatific vision in Heaven. Additionally, many Jews believe in Gan Eden, where “the spirit returns to the God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Therefore, a wise person shouldn’t fear death, as it is the beginning of everyone’s journey to eternal life, where we shall be reunited with God. Furthermore, Epicurus argues that gods by nature are omnipotent and eternal. Therefore, they wouldn’t send us to Hell, because they wouldn’t get involved in human affairs such as death and so, as Epicurus states, “we have nothing to… fear” from them.

We fear the physical pain that comes with old age or a terminal illness, and that is what terrifies us, not death. Moreover, if atheists are correct and there is no afterlife, then a wise person shouldn’t fear death. To state the obvious, death is an absence of life. This also means it’s an absence of any human suffering we may feel when we are alive, and through their experience and knowledge, a wise person would realise this.Some may wrongly try to argue that surely a wise person would then realise that death is also an absence of joy, although this is a weak argument, as proven by the extreme examples of suicide and euthanasia.

Some may weakly argue that Epicurus was wrong because death is a mystery to us and, as the author Andrew Smith said, “People fear what they cannot understand and what they cannot control.” They might argue that since wisdom is based on experience, and we can never be certain what the experience of death will be like, then a wise person should fear death. Despite our best scientific efforts and medical research throughout the centuries that attempt to cure illnesses and increase our lifespan; we haven't truly conquered death. Death has still overcome the wisdom of humanity; therefore, they might argue Epicurus was wrong. However, to counter this, most people would agree with Epicurus because we don’t fear death itself, but the prospect of the pain before death.


Is Epicurus right in saying that ‘A wise person shouldn’t fear death’? (Continued)

When we are dead, we can never be hurt, we can never feel emotional or physical pain and because we are dead, we won’t remember what happiness is, so its absence won’t be a disadvantage to us. Therefore, a wise person shouldn’t fear death, as their experience of human suffering means they’ll understand that death is what relieves us of pain. In conclusion, Epicurus was right that a wise person should not fear death. The definition of ‘wisdom’ is “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement." A wise person will have enough experience of life to know that the only way to escape inevitable suffering is through death, they will be knowledgeable enough to understand that death is a natural part of life and they'll realise, through good judgement, that it is unlikely that a merciful God will send us to Hell.

Further, through their knowledge, a wise person won't fear death because they understand that it makes our time on Earth meaningful, by having deadlines so that we don't take the precious moments with our loved ones for granted and hence, achieve true happiness. Once we die, “the pious of all nations will have a portion in the world to come” (Maimonides), without the anguish or suffering that comes with life. Therefore, Epicurus was right; a wise person shouldn’t fear death because they know that it encourages us to live our lives to the fullest now, and then it relieves us of pain when we do eventually die. Tilda G


What is the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental wellbeing?

Historically, religion and psychiatry have been very closely linked with religious institutions which were responsible for the care of the mentally ill in the early 19th century. There has been evidence to show that religion does play a significant role in impacting the brain and its mental wellbeing. Both religion and spirituality can have a positive impact on mental health, given its order and structure, as well as promoting mindfulness. Also, in recent years many psychologists have conducted studies to investigate the psychological impact of religion on parts of the brain and how it influences our personalities and decisionmaking. Although there is much evidence to show that religion has a positive psychological impact, it is speculated that some beliefs can be unhelpful, leading people to feel guilty or in need of forgiveness.

Firstly, religion has been shown to have a positive psychological impact on the brain and mental wellbeing, through its practises and community. Religion helps to provide structure and encourages people to connect in a group, both of which can have a positive impact on mental health. Research has suggested that religion reduces suicide rates, alcoholism and drug use. The main mental health benefits of religion are shown through aspects such as the community, which provides social connections and helps create a sense of belonging. Ritual can help someone cope with difficult life problems as well as provides regularity. Additionally, teachings offer guidelines to live by and teaches compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. As spirituality is closely linked to religion, it also promotes mental wellbeing benefits through individuality and unity with surroundings. Religion may also help offer hope and support, to improve someone's mental health. Being part of a community leads to more support and friendship and some may find it helpful to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. Also, religion can help to make sense of one's experiences and make someone feel more at peace with themselves and those around them. Recent research has suggested that religious involvement in general improves mental health. Many patients with psychiatric disorders have been shown to use religion to cope with their distress. Regarding other mental health disorders, 2/3 of studies done show that those who are religious have lower rates of depression with fewer depressive symptoms.


What is the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental wellbeing? (Continued) Also, it has been found that religion enhances remission in patients with both medical and psychiatric illnesses, who are depressed. Religious beliefs may also provide solace and peace to fearful and anxious people and encourage recovery from anxiety and depression. Overall, it promotes a positive worldview and meaning and answers greater questions. Therefore, it can be said that religion has a positive psychological impact on our brain function, particularly the question of our existence and our mental health and general wellbeing. However, there is also evidence to suggest that religion can have a negative psychological impact on the brain, with arguments for this running back to Sigmund Freud in the 19th century. As mentioned before, psychiatry and religion were closely linked until the early 19th century as a divide was created between religion and mental health care. The divide emerged when Charcot and his pupil, Sigmund Freud, associated religion with hysteria and neurosis. Since, religion has been seen by some Western mental health professionals as irrational, outdated, dependency forming and to result in emotional instability. Freud in particular saw religion as a form of universal obsessional neurosis, however, there is evidence to show that religion may encourage people to be more scrupulous, but not to an obsessive state as he believed. It is said that one of the negative psychological effects of religion is excessive devotion to religious practice. Religion can also promote rigid thinking, overdependence on laws and rules, an emphasis on guilt and sin, and disregard for individuality and autonomy. Other psychologists, connected to Freud, have characterised religious beliefs as pathological and see religion as a social force that encourages irrational thoughts and ritualistic behaviours. In conclusion, religion is also shown to have negative psychological effects due to arguments raised by psychologists and neurologists, suggesting that religion can lead to obsessive and unhealthy devotion, as well as irrational behaviour and thoughts. Lastly, there have been many trials carried out focusing on the impact of religion on neurological function. The findings support evidence to suggest that religion has both positive and negative psychological effects on brain function and well-being. It has been suggested that religion may fill the human desire for meaning, thereby sparing us from existential angst and encouraging us to support social organisations. Researchers who study the psychology and neuroscience of religion have attempted to explain why beliefs are so enduring. Their findings show that religion may be a by product of the function of the human brain. The brain has cognitive tendencies to seek order, anthropomorphise our environment and believe that the world we live in was created for us. A command thread to these cognitions is that they lead us to believe that the world was created with an intentional design and by something or someone. Further research suggests that adults, in particular, tend to search for meaning, especially during times of uncertainty. Findings in a study enacted in 2008 in Science by Jennifer Whitson, PhD, and Adam Galinsky, PhD, suggest that humans are primed to see signs and patterns in their surroundings. Psychologist Justin Barrett, PhD, director of the cognition, religion and theology project in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at Oxford University, claims that people have a bias for believing in the supernatural. Besides, the memory system in the brain appears to be excellent at remembering the type of stories found in many religious texts, with research finding that humans can easily recall stories with some counterintuitive or even "supernatural" elements in them. This suggests that these stories are more readily transmitted from person to person, says Ara Norenzayan, PhD, who is a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. This research supports the notion that religious thought in many ways is an inescapable by product of the function of the human mind.


What is the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental wellbeing? (Continued) Further findings show that, neurologically speaking, we think about God as we would other people and religious beliefs affect the brain in the same way as other beliefs. In 2009, Jordan Grafman, PhD, the director of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, published an fMRI study. It showed that religious thoughts activate the area of the brain that is involved in reading other people's emotions and intentions, an ability known as the theory of the mind. Grafman explains that these findings suggest that when someone thinks about God, it is neurologically similar to thinking about any figure of authority, for example, one's parents. He also explains that contemplation is not just subjected to religious thought and that certain traditions such as prayer and meditation could require selective kinds of thinking processes. Overall, Grafman believes that the brain uses the same circuits to think about and experience religion as it does to think about and handle other thoughts or beliefs. Religion also positively influences our ability to cope with trauma and may have therapeutic implications for mental health. Other studies show that religious people are less prone to mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Psychologist Richard Davidson, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin, has used fMRI and EEF to measure the brain activity of long-term Buddhist meditation practitioners during meditation. The results show that they have a stronger and better-organised attention system than beginners. Overall, meditation enhances attention and turns off the areas of the brain that focus on the self, as well as Davidson saying, “Meditation is a family of mental exercises that change the circuits in the brain involved in the regulation of emotion and attention.” Additionally, University of Toronto psychologist, Micheal Inzlicht's PhD centres on “error-related negativity”, a brain wave generated by the anterior cingulate cortex which spikes when humans make mistakes.

He explained that the anxiety caused when we make an error is due to our preconscious and emotional cortical alarm bell. In his study, published in Psychological Science, Inzlicht measured the alarm bell response in people in the standard colour-naming Stroop task. All study participants made mistakes; however, the ERN firing was weaker in those with more religious beliefs and a greater belief in God. In the second set of studies published in August in Psychological Science, Inzlicht and his colleagues tested whether people born with a lower ERN response gravitate toward religion or if religion itself lowers the response. Participants were asked to write about religion or something that makes them happy and found that those who wrote about religion had a lower ERN response, indicating that religion lessens this anxiety response. All of these findings are part of a large body of research and clinical reports that religious people are less prone to depression and anxiety, says Plante, editor of the book “Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation and Health”. Additional research also shows that religious people live longer, are less prone to depression and less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Religion encourages people to be more charitable by promoting belief in a supernatural agent according to Norenzayan in his research, who found that participants who were primed with religious thoughts gave an average of $2.38 more than other participants.


What is the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental wellbeing? (Continued)

He also says that religion outsources social monitoring to a supernature agent. Nevertheless, although religion brings people together, it has also caused extensive divisions, explained Scott Atran, PhD. The distrust caused by religion has influenced much of the world’s violence and strife and contributes to one of the reasons “new atheists”, such as Richard Dawkins, want religion to disappear. This research is significant in highlighting that religion affects us neurologically, influencing our personality and actions, having both positive and negative effects on the brain and the overall mental well-being. In conclusion, the psychological impact of religion on the brain and mental well-being is both positive and negative. It also contributes to the way the brain functions, dictating our actions and thought process.

The positives are that religion provides people with a sense of self, a sense of something bigger and reassurance, as well as fostering community. The negatives include that it encourages ritualistic and sometimes even obsessive behavior, leading to emotional instability and unhealthy dependence on rules and religion itself. Overall, religion plays a big psychological role as it can influence brain function, as shown through various recent studies. It also has a beneficial impact in terms of mental health, enhancing medical and psychiatric recovery and lower rates of mental illnesses in religious people. Rhea W


Modern Latin in the Vatican

I think it would be fair to say that the majority of the world sees Latin, in the original sense, as a dead language with its influences seen linguistically through modern languages, particularly the romantics. But in the Catholic faith, Latin has been officially used since 395 AD, following Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD. Under Pope John XXIII this was changed to encourage participation from the congregation, allowing them to understand what they were expressing, moving into current times. Despite the relaxation of the use of Latin in local churches, it remained the official language of the Synod of Bishops. It also remained the official language of the Vatican until it was replaced by Italian in 2014 . However, Latin is still the official language of the Holy See today. The use of Latin to discuss modern issues has been quite a problem as the Romans didn’t have words to talk about some of the things that exist today. Much like most languages, both Latin and Greek have their lexicons. This is a large dictionary of every word in the language and its English and other modern language’s counterpart. The Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) was most recently updated in 2012, introducing new words that have been made up for new concepts. These include: Bicycle=birota Cigarette= fistula nicotiana Shampoo=capitlavium Terrorist=tromocrates Miniskirt=tunicula minima Hot pants= brevissmae bracae femineae These semantic changes are neologisms, meaning a newly-coined word or expression. An English example of this would be ‘brunch’, ‘spork’ or ‘villa’ in the modern sense (coming from the word house in Latin). These are a key way in which a language evolves and are one way dialects are formed. The other way in which Latin remains prevalent in the Catholic Church is through hymns. As many people know, the Church likes a good ‘Ava Maria’ every so often. And even though this has been a tradition through the history of Catholicism and Christianity as a whole, this is very much not the same language that people spoke every day over 2000 years ago, much to many Classicists’ dismay. This is because the mainstream use of hymns was only introduced to the church in the 16th century, in an evolved version called the Ecclesiastical Latin. This vernacular was popularised in hymns in the Middle Ages along with the expansion of Christianity through the crusades’ dubious methods. The dialect includes words from Greek and Hebrew that are re-purposed with Christian meaning and incorporates the more informal forms of the language, with the pronunciation being standardised in the 8th century. The majority of hymns still sung in Latin now are still in the language purely because they sing better than their translated equivalent. In conclusion, the language is quite prevalent in its spoken use among the Catholic Church, and I’m waiting in anticipation for which words will appear in the Latin lexicon next. Kiera Y


How Mathematics impacted reality during the Coronavirus outbreak Throughout the spread of the Coronavirus, the UK government and media outlets have used mathematics to control the public reaction and response to the pandemic – effectively altering the reality people perceive. Mathematics offers clear, unarguable and direct information to the people, which can have both positive and negative impacts on the government and its decision-making. Mathematical information has been manipulated and conflicted throughout the outbreak, which has brought both confusion and clarity to the UK at this unprecedented and unnerving time. The use of mathematics in the early news coverage of Covid-19 in the UK and its manipulation of public response. Mathematics is a useful presentation method of information because it is clear, direct and unarguable. When the BBC first began to broadcast information about the coronavirus in January 2020, they used mathematics to directly compare the severity of the coronavirus with other epidemics around the globe, including SARS and Ebola, by comparing their respective mortality rates. The rates were presented as a percentage (Ebola being 70% and Covid-19 being 2%). This meaning, the public was to perceive the coronavirus to be less threatening. This provided an effective method of manipulating the public response to the news of the coronavirus as people are comforted in the knowledge that the virus is comparatively weaker than past epidemics. In this way, the virus was introduced to the public in a manner that reduced speculation and uncertainty about its danger because there was indisputable and factual evidence insinuating the virus to be of minimal threat, proving the value of mathematics as a tool for manipulating reality. The second piece of information given to the public through the BBC in the early stages of the coronavirus was this map displaying the distribution of the virus:

The clear display of the low number of cases globally in January caused the public to perceive the virus as unthreatening, adding to a reduction in panic about the coronavirus. This map also allows for direct comparison between the UK and the rest of the world, putting the two cases in the UK into a global perspective, further reducing the appearance of a need to panic. The calm that remained in the early stages of the outbreak is seen in the workplace as most businesses still operated as normal throughout January and into early February. These examples from the BBC demonstrate that mathematics provides clarity and reassurance because it puts forward the undeniable facts which change our perception of the coronavirus outbreak to appear significantly less threatening than it might have if left to people’s explanation and interpretation of events. The changes in the effect of mathematics throughout the outbreak. It is clear from the early stages of the outbreak that mathematics has the potential to control panic to some extent when the data showed the virus to be unassuming. However, the opposite effect takes place when the maths identified the severity of the pandemic.


How Mathematics impacted reality during the Coronavirus outbreak? (Continued) As the number of cases and deaths climbed higher and the groups of people proven (with the aid of mathematics) to be more at risk were identified, the reaction of the public changed to mass panic. Global stock markets have faced a drastic decline since the outbreak of the virus as a result of the compromise, social distancing, quarantine and isolation measures place on the economy. The Bangkok Post shared these graphs in which the fall in stock markets around the world in the week of February 17th - 28th is presented.

This collection of mathematical data that was presented caused mass panic showing maths how maths impact people’s perception and their behaviour. This is evident through the actions of the public. The Guardian claimed that hand-sanitiser products were selling for more than 5,000% of their recommended retail price online, with bottles worth 49p selling for £24.99. The BBC interviewed someone from an organic toilet paper brand that claimed in March it had seen more than a 5,000% increase in its sales on Amazon's website before it sold out. These instances of panic buying show the change in attitude in the public from a state of calm and control to fear and panic - again highlighting maths impact on reality.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, actions of the people go against the advice from politicians and people with more depth of knowledge and power. Directly relating to the examples aforementioned, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, responded to a question from an audience member on BBC One’s “Question Time” about panic buying, insisting there is “absolutely no need” for it. Despite the advice from an individual more knowledgeable on the matter than most, people continued to bulk buy food and household essentials. This demonstrates the great importance of mathematics in our society as it is proven that more trust is placed in data given than an opinion or advice from a professional, in turn revealing that it has a greater impact on our perception of reality. Statistics make people feel they can make justified decisions for themselves with the use of mathematical information put before them. Individuals may also see the conflict between the mathematical evidence and the advice of a politician and will act based upon the mathematical evidence due to its unopinionated and undisputable nature. In this way, mathematics can hinder the power of parliamentary advice, causing the government to have less control over its people because it has less trust placed in it. This affected government decision making as the lack of people following the governmental guidelines meant that restrictions had to be enforced. The importance of data presentation methods in bringing clarity to the public. Data presentation methods in the media have provided some clarity about the Coronavirus. The concept of the “peak” was introduced as a way of monitoring the spread of the virus. The concept refers to the maximum point of a line graph of the number of new cases per day.


How Mathematics impacted reality during the Coronavirus outbreak ? (Continued) Relaxing of restrictions, such as the opening of shops and businesses, were conditional to passing the peak. This was an effective method of interpreting the data as it was a simple concept that could be universally understood. It also provided an insight for the public as to the decision-making of the government. Ultimately, revealing that maths could bring clarity to an uncertain reality. However, other presentation methods have not been as effective in conveying information clearly to the public. An example of this is the cumulative frequency graph of the number of deaths, as was addressed in a recent “daily coronavirus briefing”. This is because at a glance it appears that the death toll kept rising even though in actuality there was a decrease. Many people found this unhelpful because the graph for cases followed an “n” shape whereas this graph did not, causing less clarity as the data presentation methods were not cohesive. This depicts the importance of mathematics in media coverage of the coronavirus because it can bring clarity or confusion depending on how it is used and manipulated, showing again how mathematics influences reality. The relative importance of mathematics. Although mathematics has importance, problems would arise from relying solely on the data and statistics as a source of information. Unless accompanied by explanation, the mathematics alone does not allow the average person to gather the significance of each figure. In some ways, mathematics does not hold any value without explanation. For example, if someone was told 22 people had died from coronavirus in London today without any more information or comparison, that person would not have any idea if this was a positive or negative number. Therefore, perspective and rationale need to be coupled with mathematics to display all the information. When this happens, mathematics is most effective in shaping our perception of reality. However, problems could be created as data can be manipulated to have different façades. This further implies the importance of mathematics in governmental decision-making and media coverage of the virus because information could be misconstrued but believed if backed by mathematical evidence. Overall, mathematics has been enormously influential on both our perception of reality and reality itself during the pandemic; contributing to news reporting, decision-making by the government and the public reaction to the pandemic. The undisputable and reliable nature of maths led to control over the country in the first instances of the outbreak but led to panic and mistrust in political advice further into the course of the virus’ spread. The power of maths over reality is also shown during this time as it can bring clarity to a nation, for example, mathematical conditions for altering restrictions were expressed in the form of the term “the peak”. But ultimately, for mathematics to have the greatest contribution to our reality, it requires perspective and explanation because the value of the data provided would be otherwise unknown. Alexandra T


Designed by Emma G, Year 9


Junior Editor’s letter We have had a thought-provoking Spring Term filled with original and interesting topics. We delved into the Bible and talked about God’s relevance in the world today. A talk on, ‘The Reliability of the Bible’, led by Anjali, Charlotte and Hattie, discussed whether the Bible is still relevant today and if it is actually historically accurate. Mya questioned, “Can God forgive murder?”, which led to an intriguing debate on whether forgiving everyone is always possible and if God would do the same. Later on in the term, we watched The Truman Show and debated the ethics of reality TV; does it really present the truth or just a version of the truth? Allegra spoke on animal rights and Phoebe and Sophie wondered, “Does God want us to be vegan?” We debated the ethics of how animals are treated in the food industry and the impact humans have on the planet. Alice wrote an article on “Is it ethical to refuse the COVID vaccine?” - regarding the controversy and rumours surrounding it. A final article by Mia discussed, “The ethics of tabloid newspapers in the UK,” questioning how they operate, discover information, and present it. This has been a fascinating term for Junior REthink and we are so excited to continue our theological and philosophical debates in the summer! We hope you enjoy reading our articles and forming your own thoughts and opinions.

By Mia M, Editor


How ethical are UK tabloids? Currently, tabloids like the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Metro are more popular in the UK than quality broadsheets such as the Daily Telegraph and The Times. These two types of newspapers, tabloids and broadsheets, both have different ways of presenting and gathering news. Have you ever wondered how your favourite tabloid got a certain picture, or news story of a celebrity? Or how they always seem to ‘know’ what that person is doing? In lots of media, celebrities are portrayed in a bad light. Quite often people in the public eye hold a lot of disdain for media. So why is this and how ethical are these newspapers in the way they gather information? Privacy is a huge part of ethical journalism. Journalists should not intrude into the private lives of ordinary people. But sometimes these rules are set aside for public figures like politicians, celebrities or those who carry a public responsibility, such as police officers, teachers and doctors. People whose private affairs may have an important impact on their public duties are exempt from full privacy in the eye of the media. Media intrusion, ethically justified by reasons of the public interest, exposes hypocrisy and dishonesty. But whenever it is used it must be justified. It is surely not right for the press to interfere so fully in other people’s lives. An interesting example to look at is the portrayal of Meghan Markle in the British media over the course of the last four years. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry said that one of the reasons they left the Royal Family was because of the tabloids. Prince Harry said he was worried history would repeat itself, referring to his mother’s death, Princess Diana — for which he blames the media. The tabloids labelled this ‘MEGXIT’ and continued to blame Meghan for their choice to leave the Royal Family. So, knowing that tabloid scrutiny was a factor in Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the royal family, there are clearly issues with how tabloids present people in the press. Tabloids are in a different business than traditional journalists, and their coverage makes a business out of being critical. But, there are ways to improve the ethical guidelines regarding this area of reporting. Journalists usually justify their actions by saying it’s in the public interest. Public interest refers to the common good, the general welfare and the security and well-being of everyone in the community. It means that journalists simply do what the public want. This places some of the blame on consumers for their constant want of information. This gives journalists the moral authority to ask hard questions of people in power, to invade the privacy of others and to sometimes test the limits of ethical practice in order to discover the truth. As long as there is an appetite for intrusion into people’s privacy, there’s always going to be somebody willing to interfere. People who consume that news know what they’re consuming. A member of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, research organisation said. “I just think people are genuinely fascinated in the misfortunes of the rich and famous.” There are many ways that these newspapers can aim to be more ethical. The first is sticking to the facts when presenting information. Journalists should always source things properly and acknowledge where their information came from.


How ethical are UK tabloids?

In addition, journalists have to maintain a balance, measuring the harm that could be caused versus the potential good that could come from the reporting. Weighing between those options before reporting anything is the most important aspect. In conclusion, considering everything that goes on, it’s clear to me that there are several issues with the way that journalists gather information and how it is presented, whether this be invading people’s privacy or presenting them in a bad light – in a way they don’t necessarily deserve. This does not mean that the public should not be aware of what goes on in the lives of people in the public eye, it just depends on how the information is gathered and if it is presented truthfully. Ethical journalism can be a part of tabloid journalism but for this to happen both the reporters and the consumers have to reach an ethical and moral middle ground. It just depends on whether people are willing to change, after all its only going to benefit them in the long run.

Mia M, Year 9


Animal Rights Animal rights refers to the idea that animals should be entitled to live lives that are free from abuse by humans. In the UK, there are laws designed to protect animals from cruelty. For instance, it is a crime to neglect or mistreat an animal, including when an animal is being transported or slaughtered. It is also illegal to stage fights between animals for entertainment, or to test cosmetics on animals. Some forms of hunting are also illegal, and people can be fined or face imprisonment if they cause unnecessary suffering to animals. While most people believe it is acceptable to use animals for food and clothing, increasing numbers of people are becoming vegetarian or vegan. This may be due to the belief that animals deserve rights. Many religions view humans as superior to animals. For example, Jews and Christians believe that when the world was created, God told humans to rule over it, and therefore they can treat animals however they like. Non-religious people, such as Humanists, point out that the Theory of Evolution presents a big challenge to the idea that animals were put on the earth by God for us to use. How could animals have been made for us to use if we evolved from them? A 2007 survey to examine whether people who believed in evolution were more likely to support animal rights than creationists found that this was largely the case – according to the researchers, the respondents who were strong Christian fundamentalists and believers in creationism were less likely to advocate for animal rights than those who were less fundamentalist in their beliefs. “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26. Some Christians take this as God giving humans dominion over his creation. Others realise that animals are a part of God’s creation and therefore deserve equal respect. Few Christians nowadays think that nature exists to serve humanity, many think that human dominion over nature should be seen as stewardship rather than domination and exploitation. God has the right to have everything he created treated respectfully - wronging animals is wronging God. Furthermore, the example of a loving creator God should lead human beings to act lovingly towards animals. Finally, animals are weak compared to humans. Jesus told human beings to be kind to the weak and helpless. In comparison to human beings, animals are often weak and helpless. Christians should therefore show compassion to animals. Peter Singer is a utilitarian moral philosopher, who popularised the term speciesism. Speciesism is the idea that humans have greater moral rights than other living beings, based simply on the fact that they are human. Singer opposes speciesism, as he believes that all living beings should be treated equally. He holds the interests of all beings capable of suffering to be worthy of equal consideration and that giving lesser consideration to beings based on their species is no more justified than discrimination based on skin colour.


Animal Rights (con) He argues that animal rights should be based on their capacity to feel pain more than on their intelligence. “Animals have interests,” Singer said. “When these are similar to ours, or their pain is on a similar level, why give them less consideration?” Singer therefore fights for animal rights and promotes veganism. In conclusion, I don’t agree that animals deserve the same rights as humans. We rule the world, and animals can’t do what we can. For example, they can’t make technology, build buildings etc... But you could say that we all live on this planet and are a part of God’s creation, so it is for us all to share. Furthermore, we depend on animals, so we have to give them rights; it is only fair to treat them well. Christians say that God created the world and all animals too. God gave us dominion over the animals but also asked us to be stewards of creation. I therefore think that we can use animals but not mistreat them unnecessarily.

By Allegra H, Year 9


Why is the Bible unreliable? Firstly, fundamentalist Christians view the Bible as the inerrant word of God. They therefore say that people should live according to these biblical teachings. However, modern analysis of the Bible provides many reasons for why the book cannot be considered a reliable guide. Furthermore, we looked at who wrote the Bible. Since God was not the author how can we truly trust that what has been written is true and not just made-up things that will suit the actual writer? Moreover, humans are imperfect and fallible beings and thus the Bible is likely to consist of mistakes and inaccuracies. Since the Bible was written thousands of years ago, we are unable to check whether what is written in the Bible is historically accurate. The fact that the Bible includes many contradictions, cruelties and facts that have been proven to be scientifically false suggests that we may not be able to trust it. What else written inside is a lie? What divides the idea of fiction and non-fiction, fairytale and reality? Who does the Bible favour in society? A reason that we can't trust the Bible is that it uplifts certain groups in society and forgets others. This sets a bad example today of how people should treat others if the scriptures we read don't show true equality. So, the standards of the Bible do not match up to the standards of today's world. The Bible says that all people were created equal because all were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Unfortunately, this statement doesn't mean that people are treated equally. White men were given privileges such as being the only disciples of God. Is racism what we want to be reflected in Christian societies today? To continue talking about the disciples of God, we can notice that they only consisted of men. What do the people think? Another reason why the Bible may not be particularly trustworthy is that there is a clear division between the views presented by churchgoers and non-churchgoers.

In a survey done of a group of people who belonged to no religion, 24% of them said "the Bible is actively against racial equality," and a further 21% believed that it was mixed in its messaging.


Why is the Bible unreliable? This concludes to a total 45%, nearly half of the people surveyed, think the Bible's position on race is, at best, questionable. This is a stark comparison to the views of the churchgoers, of which 82% think that the Bible is in favour of racial equality. Of course, a survey of this type begs the question – how are nonchurchgoers supposed to know how truly the Church supports racial equality, if they are not familiar with the teachings of Christianity. On the other hand, it may be easier for the non-churchgoers to see the true ethos, as they are not involved, and their views are not muffled by loyalty or bias. Nonetheless, it is a huge perception gap, and stands to show the difference in belief that some people have about the same teachings.

Are the facts correct? Another large point as to why the Bible is unreliable is that it was written by many people over a long time period. Human memory can be very unpredictable, leading to mistakes when retelling stories to be written, and such a number of writers can lead to many different interpretations and recounts of the same event, causing confusion and unreliability in what truly happened. This is represented, for instance, where there are conflicting genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:32-28. Both verses list the male genealogy of Jesus’ family, but there are large discrepancies between the two accounts. Luke lists 79 names, while Matthew only lists 39, and such a large difference makes it almost impossible to work out which one is correct, or if both of them are false. Additionally, another large mistake, which seems to only have appeared far later than when the Bible was written, is the colour of Jesus’ skin. This belief seems to have spread from European colonisation, where they spread images and taught about a European Jesus. However, as he was from the Middle East, Jesus would have had the brown eyes and skin of all the other Jews. However, this does not make the teachings of the Bible inaccurate, it rather shows how these teachings can be warped and easily mistaken or changed. Is the Bible outdated – does it match up to the norms of modern society? The Bible was completed about two thousand years ago, and many things that were once considered wrong at the time of the writing of the Bible are now seen as normal. This raises the question as to whether the Bible is outdated and needs to be interpretated in the light of modern day teachings and beliefs. For example, sodomy is referenced in the Bible as 'an abomination', and that those who do it shall be 'put to death'. Yet nowadays, we know that this is simply how some people are made, and it is, for the most part, an accepted part of society. Conclusion: In conclusion, the Bible can only be classed as unreliable depending on the person giving the idea. For instance, such as with the survey of non-Christians and Christians, the reliability of the Bible in one’s life is dependent on how they perceive it and how it affects their life. Beliefs and ideals that are taken from the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, and is entirely based on the mindset or view of the reader. Hence, the Bible cannot be called unreliable, but it also cannot be called completely trustworthy, rather, it is based on the perspective and involvement of the person taking the knowledge from the text.

By Charlotte B, Hattie C & Anjali P


Does God intend us to be vegan? Additionally, in Mark 7:19 it states that “Jesus declared all foods clean.” The adjective “clean” means that eating meat is/should not be thought as being unacceptable and illegal. As meat is a food, it is therefore adequate and suitable to eat animal products.

In REthink Junior we looked at the topic “does God intend us to be vegan.” Some people (Christians and some other religions) believe that God created the universe and all the living beings on the planet. In the Bible it states that we should look after all his creation, however there are parts that say that God created animals for us to eat. So, is it right for us to kill or use animals for our own benefit? In the Bible, God suggests that the purpose of animals is to provide people with food. The well-known miracle where Jesus feeds five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish explains this. If God was not happy with us eating meat, why would Jesus give people meat and other animal products? The story tells us to be compassionate and loving for the hungry, and therefore if we need to use animal products to feed people then that is ok. Furthermore, in the Bible it explains that animals have been created to be eaten and to satisfy our need for food. In Psalm 24:1 it states that “Animals, which provide meat, do not belong to themselves. They don’t belong to the earth. They belong to the Lord, who provides his people with their needs for food. So, eat them. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” The section of the quote “so eat them” implies that there is nothing wrong with eating meat and that it is their purpose and reason for being created. God supplies us with crops and other forms of subsistence and also created animals so, therefore, animals are our food.

On the other hand, in the Bible God also suggests that we should not harm animals but care for them as we care for human beings. Throughout the Bible God suggests that we should not eat meat or even eat products that come from animals, suggesting that perhaps we should be vegan. The Bible states:“And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food” (Genesis 1:30).


Does God intend us to be vegan? (Continued) This quotation implies that we should not kill animals for food or use animals for food or materials (using them for milk, eggs, leather, honey, cheese, wool etc.) when there are other alternatives for food such as vegetables, fruits, bread, and many more. Humans can easily live off a vegan-friendly diet so why do we choose to harm and use animals for food? Another example that suggests that the Bible does not support eating meat and harming animals is when it says “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble” (Romans 14:20– 21). When the Bible says, “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God” it means do not destroy Gods' creations (animals) for food, again implying there are other options for food that do not involve harming animals. God expects us not to harm animals but to care for them as we care for humans. All of this shows that God intends us not to use animals for food. God says we should eat other foods that do not involve harming any other animals; God has provided us with a wide variety of foods which do not involve using and abusing animals. So, when we have the choice of harming animals for food or not, we should choose not to harm animals. To conclude, the question of whether God intended us to be vegan is difficult to answer as the Bible is very contradictory. On the one hand, God says that we should care for animals and look after his creation. However, on the other hand, the Bible says that God created animals for the purpose of providing humans with food. Upon reflection, veganism is more of a modern lifestyle and because the Bible was written thousands of years ago, before the concept of ‘veganism’ really existed, I do not believe God intended us to be vegan, but instead left it up to humanity to decide how we treat and use animals.

Phoebe W and Sophie M


Can God forgive murder? The Bible does not say, “If anyone is a murderer, I, God, will put him to death.” However, in the Ten Commandments it does state “you shall not murder.” So what does God mean? Are there circumstances in which God would tolerate murder? Also, note that God differentiates between murder and accidental killing, which we call “manslaughter.” Accidental killing is different than murder, and it is treated differently under God’s law. The amazing thing is that if someone truly repents and puts their faith and commitment in God for salvation, he can forgive them, even a murderer! There is no sin that is too big for God to forgive; when Jesus died on the cross, he died to pay the penalty of the sins of the entire world. In the Bible there is the famous story of Abel (Genesis 4) where God has to deal with a murder.



There are two brothers named Cain and Abel. God gave Adam and Eve two sons, Cain and Abel; the first, Cain, was a farmer and the second, Abel, a shepherd. Each son gave a sacrifice to the Lord, however God preferred Abel’s sacrifice. Cain was angry that God did not like his sacrifice and because he was angry, he became dangerous. Cain disobeyed God. He was still angry. So, one day, when he was in the field with Abel, Cain let his anger rule, and he killed his brother. Immediately, Cain wanted to hide his sin and Abel’s death. When God questioned Cain and asked where Abel was, Cain pretended not to know. Since God is omniscient, he already knew what had happened. Sin cannot be hidden from God because he is omniscient. When God saw Cain’s sin, He was sad because He knew sin’s cost. Cain’s sin had to be punished so God sent Cain away from His presence. Cain was sad to leave God. Cain’s sin led to being sent away from enjoying fellowship with God. However, this story leaves us with a question: why did God not forgive Cain? Is God not all-loving and merciful? Perhaps Cain did not truly repent and thus God can always forgive murder unless that person fails to repent and seek forgiveness.

Mya Rose T


Are Hypnotists blessed with Divine Power? In the late 19th century, psychologists like Pierre Janet and William James thought that hypnosis, tapped into a 'subconscious' or 'subliminal self' beyond our rational control, which explained many religious (or paranormal) phenomena, like faith-healing, visions, and trances. They thought that hypnotic states could often be profoundly healing and could perhaps connect us to God. There are theories among Christians that hypnosis may open the mind to demonic influence. When a person's critical thinking and decision-making skills are turned off and their imagination is more prevalent, they are more susceptible to lies and harmful influences. This would seem to be a key time for sinful influence. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us that we need to be self-controlled (make our own decision) and alert (think critically) to be protected against the devil. Also, hypnosis has long been associated with those in the occult who want to reach evil spirits. In fact, leading hypnotist Derren Brown experimented to see if he could get people to steal by using subliminal messaging and triggers. Almost all subjects did end up stealing a case of cash by threatening its owner with a fake gun (which they thought to be real) outside a bank in London. Although Brown has dipped in and out of believing in God, he identifies as an atheist. The Bible is very against giving up control of yourself. Galatians 5:22-23 mentions that we need to control ourselves, not give control to someone else. Romans 6:12-13 says we need to submit ourselves to God, not someone else. And Romans 6:16 warns us against submitting our decisions to another. So, the Bible warns all Christians to never submit to mind control. Further, throughout time ‘brainwashing’ has been used to induce people into joining cults. Therefore, supporting the fact hypnotism is demonic. Cults that use mind-control techniques have been able to do so with impunity, and the people who are victims of these techniques get no treatment. Psychologists who do treat someone claiming to be a mind-control victim from a destructive cult might face a malpractice action. Therefore, they are vulnerable to challenge in the courts, which has to stop. There is no reason why people who are true victims of mind control or people who think they are victims and are wrong should not receive treatment. Especially when being brainwashed is such a harrowing experience. And so, in some cases, malicious hypnosis can ruin lives. Although, there is something called faith-healing and hypnotherapy. Hypnosis has been studied for pain control. Derren Brown proved that hypnosis could block out the feeling of extreme cold by inviting someone from the audience to get in an ice bath after being induced, then snapping his fingers and the cold immediately sinking in. There is scientific proof behind hypnotherapy. Faith-healing is said to have divine power to cure mental and physical disabilities. This can be through prayer or an individual healer, from a strong belief in a supreme being to visiting a shrine.


Are Hypnotists blessed with Divine Power? (Continued)

All scientists and philosophers say faith-healing is a pseudoscience, (consists of beliefs or practises that claim to be scientific and factual but don’t coincide with the scientific method) or ‘magical thinking'. There isn’t much difference between hypnotherapy and faith-healing except for the credit going solely to divine power. The power of suggestion is present in strong religious beliefs and almost a ‘placebo effect’ is in place. The relation between them shows that hypnotherapy can also be fuelled by divine power or, in turn, faith-healing can be a type of hypnotherapy. By Emma G


Vaccines Recently, the COVID-19 vaccine has been developed and released to the public. First, they were given to the people who were most at risk; people with heart disease, asthma and the elderly. Most have accepted the vaccine, some with extra caution, but a few have refused to take the vaccine. In this article, I will be discussing whether it is acceptable to refuse a vaccine such as this, when the world is attempting to exterminate a disease. In the cases where our world has been in a global pandemic, the only way we have managed to exterminate the disease, is by a vaccine. However, many will not want to take a vaccine which is newer and has been created under a pressured environment without much time to ensure that there are no extreme side effects. There have been many human testing’s which show that you may suffer a few side effects after taking the Covid vaccine. These symptoms include redness, swelling or pain in the area the vaccine is injected, mild fatigue, fever, chills or/and aches. After attaining the knowledge of these side effects, a few have decided that they do not want to possibly suffer for a number of days with these symptoms. This is understandable but irrational and not sensible. If one person decided that they didn’t want to take the vaccine, but everyone else on the planet did, it would be fine as the disease would die out. However, numerous people have refused the vaccine deeming it useless as it can still survive if there are enough people that can be infected. Yes, the vaccine has been created extremely quickly and under a pressured time limit, however, there have been so many testings and so many people have now taken the vaccine, that scientists are almost 100% positive that there are no extreme lifethreating side effects that could appear after a longer period of time. All humans are autonomous beings, meaning that we are granted the freedom to act independently and make our own decisions. We, therefore, have the right to choose what happens to our bodies – including what goes into them – this means that we are able to exercise our right to decide whether or not we want to take the vaccine. Many are sceptical of the vaccine and, even though it is in the best interest of the entire planet, still refuse to take the vaccine. The NHS has approached this problem by contacting those who have repeatedly refused the vaccine and holding one-to-one meetings as an attempt to tackle any hesitancy. Most of this nervousness has been aroused by rumours as many (for example) believed that the vaccine could affect the fertility in woman – there has not been any evidence for these claims. As not everyone has been offered the vaccine yet, the most the NHS and government have done to those refusing the vaccine is talking to them in an attempt to persuade them. However, when the vaccine has been offered to all in the UK it will be interesting to see how the government decides to ensure that everyone has taken the vaccine. Will they force it upon them? This leads me to make the conclusion that everyone should take the vaccine as any fear they are feeling is unreasonable and backed by no logic, and it would be inhumane to force a drug upon citizens (also putting the government in a poor light). Without the cooperation of everyone, there is no chance of fighting and exterminating COVID-19. By Alice K


See something you agree with (or disagree) send us an e-mail or drop a note to our Theo-agony aunt. Want to contribute to the next issue? - Message us with anything you find interesting or worth rethinking - Write an article - Interview someone about their faith - Come and join us at REthink Club Next issue is out at the end of the autumn term…


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