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Believing in God.

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Presentation on theme: "Believing in God."— Presentation transcript:

1 Believing in God

2 Keywords for (a) questions
Numinous = the feeling of the presence of something greater than you e.g. in a church or looking up at the stars Conversion = when your life is changed by giving yourself to God Miracle = something which seems to break a law of science and makes you think only God could have done it Prayer = an attempt to contact God, usually through words Agnosticism = not being sure whether God exists Atheism = believing that God does not exist Moral Evil = actions done by humans which cause suffering Natural Evil = things which cause suffering but have nothing to do with humans eg earthquakes Omnipotent = the belief that God is all-powerful Omni-Benevolent = the belief that God is good/kind Omniscient = the belief that God knows everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen Free Will = the idea that human beings are free to make their own choices.

3 Religious Upbringing “Show me the boy until the age of seven, and I will show you the man...” - Christian Priest Basically: Whatever we experience as a child, will form our adult self

4 Main Features of an Upbringing in a Christian Family
Family and friends around them may be Christians and will teach them about the Christian way of life. Godparents will guide child in life using Christian ideas. Worship in the home. The family who prays together, stays together! Celebrating Christian Festivals together e.g. Easter, Christmas. Read the Bible together. Why this supports belief in God: Being born into a Christian family is likely to support someone’s belief in God because they are surrounded by others who are convinced of the existence of God. It is natural to accept what surrounds you.

5 The Main Features of a Religious Upbringing in a Christian Community
Baptism is the service that welcomes the child into the Christian faith. Different Christian churches do this at different ages. Some as tiny babies others only when the child is old enough to understand what they are committing to. Confirmation this is where the vows made on behalf of the little baby are made again now the child has grown up. Worship at Church. Many churches hold special family services. Sunday School Going to a faith school (where you have RE lessons/ assemblies). Church community. The child can join activities organised by the church e.g. youth club, scouts, guides, going carol singing, collecting for the Harvest Festival. Why this supports belief in God: These make sure Christian ideas and practice surround the young person at all times, even at school.

6 Religious upbringing: good or bad?
The ways in which a religious upbringing is good: You can experience religion, and it can help you in life Surely it’s better to experience faith (even if you later disagree with it) than to not have experienced it at all Catholics are expected to bring their children up in the Catholic faith The ways in which a religious upbringing is bad: Children are innocent minds – why indoctrinate them? You’re teaching them something as fact, when it’s actually just faith They aren’t being allowed to make the choice for themselves

7 Religious Experience:
“An event which people feel gives them direct contact with God...” OR “An experience which draws you closer to God...”

8 Four Religious Experiences:
Conversion – when your life is changed by giving yourself to God Miracle – something which seems to break a law of science, to which the only answer is God Numinous – the feeling of the presence of something greater than you Prayer – an attempt to communicate with God, usually through words

9 Conversion: Example... Biblical: The conversion of Saul to Paul
(Scroll down to about half way down the page) Modern day: Stephen Lungu (scroll down and read the product description) Used to describe someone turning from atheism/ agnosticism to theism Theist: Someone who believes in God Atheist: Someone who does not believe in God Agnostic: Someone who believes it isn’t possible to know if there is or isn’t a God

10 Miracle: Examples: Mary appearing to Saint Bernadette (At Lourdes)
Healing of the sick (eg in Lourdes) Wedding at Cana (Jesus turning the water into wine) The resurrection of Jesus – when Jesus was dead, buried; but then rose on the third day... Miracles can cause belief in God because it makes you really believe that God is there – due to the fact a natural law has been broken. What could be the explanation other than God?

11 Numinous: Example: Debbe Santiago
The numinous would affect your belief in God, in that you experience God’s presence – after this happens to someone, would they ever deny God’s existence again...?

12 Prayer: Prayer could make you believe in God because:
You could pray for something (eg, an ill relative to get better) and it happens – so you believe God listened to your prayer, and answered it... In prayer, you could have a religious experience – and feel God’s presence – therefore, you believe that God exists

13 In Conclusion: Any religious believer (theist) who has any form of religious experience will find that the experience supports their belief in God and makes it stronger because they now have more direct evidence for God’s existence

14 The argument from Design: Supports belief in God
“The idea that everything is linked, and has a purpose – for example, the eye is designed for seeing.”

15 Evidence of Design in the world:
Laws of science: A main reason why some people think the universe has been created is because the universe works according to laws – eg gravity Beauty of nature: The world seems so intricate, beautiful and amazing – that it simply couldn’t happen by chance

16 Key Points: Anything that has been designed needs a designer
There is plenty of evidence that the world has been designed (laws of science, DNA etc) The only possible designer of something as beautiful and complex as the world would be God

17 Paley’s analogy: Paley made an analogy (comparison) of a watch to the Earth, the argument went like this... If you came across a watch in an uninhabited place, you could not say it had been put there by chance. The complexity of its mechanism would make you say it had a designer. The universe is a far more complex mechanism than a watch, and so, if watch needs a watchmaker, the universe needs a universe maker. As the only being that could design the universe would be God, it follows that God must exist...

18 Overall.. Is it valid? Yes:
No: If there was a designer why is the world badly designed? E.g. earthquakes All the evidence for design can be explained by science without needing even to think of God The argument only proves that the universe has a designer, not God. The designer could be many gods, an evil creator, a God who used this universe as a trial run – to then create a better one Weak analogy. How can you compare the unique living universe to a mass produced non-organic watch? If time and space are infinite (never ending) then anything can happen by chance if you wait long enough. Yes: The only possible creator of something as beautiful and complex as the world would be God Therefore the appearance of design in the world proves that God exists Without order, benefit, purpose and suitability... Something can’t just happen – these things need a creator

19 Argument from Causation Supports belief in God
“Everything happens, has a cause. If we follow everything back to the beginning, we come to a first cause, that started everything off. This cause was God.”

20 Thought up by St. Thomas Aquinas
Argument from Causation Thought up by St. Thomas Aquinas This is an argument supporting the existence of God. The causation argument says that the mere existence of the universe is proof of God’s existence. Everything must have a beginning, something (the universe) can’t just come from nothing. The universe had a beginning and therefore something must have caused it. The universe did not happen by accident and only something as powerful as God could have brought it into existence. That proves that God exists.

21 What is causation? The idea that everything links back to one, originating cause... Unmoved Mover / First Cause Evolution Big bang Humanity

22 Is Causation Valid? Yes: No:
Infinite regression is a void explanation for the existence of contingent, mutable beings You can’t just keep going back forever – there must be some form of ‘uncaused cause’ There has to be something rather than nothing No: If everything needs a creator – then who created God? Science shows everything without a need for God in the equation :

23 Non-religious explanations for the world’s existence: Scientific Explanations

24 The Big Bang theory: Energy is eternal – you cannot create or end it
Energy existed before the big bang – and the big bang was a collision of this energy form The big bang happened 15 billion years ago There was a Collision of Plasma – the laws of nature brought it together, to form the solar system 5 billion years ago As the world cooled down, life developed.

25 Cup analogy... When you leave a cup of coffee behind – on the surface mould grows if it’s left. When you think about it – this is like the starting point of the universe, because when the conditions changed they became more suitable for life to form, e.g. Plants, and primitive bacteria etcetera In the changing conditions, evolution began to take place...

26 Evolution... Humans didn’t come from monkeys, but humans and monkeys have a common ancestor There were gradual changes over millions of years, and human life eventually came into play – there is even evidence that human life is still evolving... Survival of the fittest is a common phrase – which basically means several life forms were competing to survive, and the human gene was the fittest/most able... Charles Darwin came up with the theory of Evolution

27 Christians and Science:
There are three different types: Literal – literal Christians (or in this case, Creationists) believe that science is wrong, and the creation story in Genesis is literally true Liberal – These Christians believe that Genesis is only a poem, or myth. It has no significant meaning – science is completely correct Conservative – this is the Catholic stance. It’s believing that science has it’s place – the big bang and evolution are fine explanations, however, God caused it. This is called ‘intelligent design’

28 Science and Religion Both the Big Bang theory and Evolution may encourage agnosticism and atheism. This is because science can explain why and how we are here. There is no longer a need for a God figure.

29 Unanswered Prayers and Miracles
If God does not answer prayers and miracles, how do you know he exists?

30 Why might this lead to agnosticism, or even atheism?
Prayer can be defined as ‘an attempt to contact God, usually through words’. So when people pray, they are attempting to contact God. Many religious people claim that they feel that God is listening to their prayers... However, some people say their prayers in Church and at home, but never feel God’s presence Why does God reveal himself to some and not others?

31 Unanswered Prayers and Miracles
“A young missionary couple asked the members of their church to pray that they would have a safe journey to their new posting in Nepal. However, the plane crashed killing them and their three young children” Unanswered prayers and miracles may lead to agnosticism or atheism because: if God were really there surely he would answer therefore he must not be real. even if God is there why would he answer some prayers and not others? If God is benevolent surely he should help everyone instead of having favourites.

32 Christian Responses to the problem of unanswered prayers
God does listen to prayers and does answer just not in the way people expect. God is omniscient so knows what is best for people so not answering the prayer is the right thing to do. God does not interfere with day to day life. It’s arrogant of humans to bother him with small things. Prayer itself is good as it helps Christians come to their own answers. It’s a test of faith if prayers are not answered. Jesus’ prayer was not answered just before he was arrested. He asked for God to spare him but this did not happen. Sources of Authority “If you believe, you will receive what you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 “Your Father already know what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8 “You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasure.” James 4:2-3

33 The Problem of Evil Why do we suffer?

34 Moral Evils Murder Theft Hate Rape War

35 Natural Evils Earthquakes Tsunamis Floods Drought Hurricanes Tornadoes

36 The Problem of Evil If God is OMNI-BENEVOLENT (loving) then why does he not love humans enough to stop evil happening? If God is OMNISCIENT (all knowing) then he must know when evil is going to happen. If he knows about it why does he not stop it? If God is OMNIPOTENT (all powerful) then he has the power to stop evil? Why does he not? If God does not prevent evil then either He doesn’t exist OR He is not as great as Christians think he is!

37 Theodicy The way in which Christians respond to the problem of evil and suffering – and why evil exists in a world created by an all good God

38 Christian Responses to the problem of evil: Heaven
Suffering is preparation for Heaven We need to suffer in order to ‘make our soul’ – this life is about soul making, and without doing so; you can’t go to Heaven

39 Christian Responses to the problem of evil: Freewill Defence
“God is not the parent of evils, evils exist by the wrongs that we do; and the sin that is caused by the soul to which God gave free choice” Saint Agustine Humans are free to do what they want – and it is the actions of humans that cause suffering

40 Christian Responses to the problem of evil: Suffering is a Mystery
As humans, we cannot comprehend (understand) God. Suffering is in God’s plan for us, and as God is benevolent – it must have good reason We must accept this, and do the best we can to help those who suffer

41 Christian Responses to the problem of evil: God created a perfect world
God created a perfect world for humans but Adam and Eve changed all that. Their actions led to suffering and evil.

42 How Christians can respond to the problem of suffering
Follow the teachings and actions of Jesus. Jesus experienced suffering and death but then rose from the dead to be with God. This will also happen to Christians and their reward will be eternal life in heaven. We can not understand what God has planned for us, we just need to accept it. Jesus taught Christians to help others (Sheep and the Goats). Christians can stop evil by helping others.

43 How 2 TV Programmes or films could affect a person’s attitude towards God
Choose 2 programmes to study in detail. To make it easy on yourself choose 2 strongly contrasting ones. E.g. Songs of Praise and The Genius of Darwin (a channel 4 programme about evolution) Watch the programmes and make notes on the view of God it is putting forward. Your notes only need to be on the content of the programme. How would a person react to this? Would it encourage belief in God? Would it discourage belief in God? Etc.

44 Further Revision Links
Design Argument Video Religious experience video General revision of this unit

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