Join highly respected and well-known Religious Studies authority Sheila Butler for this new webinar on one of the most challenging areas of A level Religious Studies.

The focus will be on the dialogue section of the Christianity paper. It will be aimed at enabling teachers to open up a range of possible links between the section on free will and Christian responsibility in the Christianity syllabus and the free will and determinism section in the ethics syllabus. A range of examples will be suggested for research.


  • Gain a clear understanding of the demands of the RS Christianity papers in the specifications.
  • Ensure that the study is approached as a worldwide ‘lived’ religion and not a purely Anglocentric one as is found in many textbooks.
  • Develop teacher understanding of the religion and avoiding misconceptions and inaccuracies
  • Aid in the development of new and stimulating approaches to this study.


Welcome and Preparation for Dialogues questions

Prerequisites for moral responsibility:

  • Freedom to choose
  • Capacity for choice

Christian determinism and doctrine of predestination

  • Basis in beliefs about omnipotence and omniscience of God
  • Augustine
  • Luther
  • Calvin

Christian challenges to Christian determinism

  • Pelagius
  • Boethius
  • Swinburne


  • Extent to which Christian determinism is compatible with moral responsibility

Challenges to Christian determinism from secular hard determinism

  • Theory of universal causation, e.g. Darrow, Honderich
  • Psychological behaviourism e.g. Pavlov, Watson and Skinner
  • Bio behaviourism, e.g. Brunner, Dunedin research, Hot Sauce experiment

Challenges to Christian and secular determinism

  • Compatibilism, e.g. Hume
  • Libertarianism, e.g. Kant


  • What do you think about the concept of moral responsibility?
  • Which of the views on free will and determinism best explains your view on moral responsibility?

Sheila Butler

Sheila is a noted authority on Religious Studies, having been a senior examiner for several exam boards and a well known speaker at national training events for many years. She has written revision guides for A level and AS level Religious Studies and has taught A level RS for many years, with considerable success.