10 revision-unit 1 - Believing in God
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10 revision-unit 1 - Believing in God

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  • 1. Believing in God Edexcel Unit 2.1 Revision
  • 2. Christian Upbringing
    • “ Show me the boy until the age of seven, and I will show you the man... ” - Jesuit Priest
    • Basically:
    • Whatever we experience as a child, will form our adult self
  • 3. The Main Features of a Christian Upbringing:
    • Baptism – when a child is welcomed into the community of Christians
    • Worship – with other Christians and in festivals
    • School – attending a church school or Sunday school helps children learn stories about God and Jesus
    • Community – being around believers, taking part in activities, being supported by others in times of trouble
    • Adulthood – marrying someone of the same faith, bringing your children up in the same faith
  • 4. How could a religious upbringing affect your belief in God?
    • From a young age, belief in God is presented as being normal
    • You spend time with people who believe in God
    • In going to Church, you see that other people have faith
    • These things would make you believe in God...
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Potential Exam Questions:
    • A) What is a religious upbringing?
    • B) Do you think people should follow the same religion as their parents? Give 2 reasons for your point of view
    • C) Explain how a Christian upbringing can lead to, or support, belief in God
    • D) ‘A Christian upbringing leads children to believe in God’
    • Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion
    • Give reasons why some people may disagree with you
  • 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
    • Modern day: Stephen Lungu
    • 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
    • Father Yves Dubois
    • 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. Potential Exam Questions:
    • A) What is a religious experience?
    • B) Do you think miracles prove that God exists? Give two reasons for your point of view
    • C) Explain how religious experience can lead to, or support, belief in God
    • D) ‘Religious experiences prove that God exists’
    • Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion
    • Give reasons why some people may disagree with you
  • 15. The argument from Design:
    • “ The idea that everything is linked, and has a purpose – for example, the eye is designed for seeing.”
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. 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...
  • 19. Overall.. Is it valid?
    • 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 exist – these things need a creator
    • No:
    • The argument ignores the evidence of lack of design in the universe, eg volcanoes, earthquakes etc
    • 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
  • 20. Causation...
    • “ 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.”
  • 21. What is causation?
    • The idea that everything links back to one, originating cause...
    Unmoved Mover Big bang Evolution Humanity
  • 22. Is Causation Valid?
    • Yes:
    • 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. 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, things produced
  • 25. Mr Cunnane’s cup analogy...
    • Although leaving a cup of coffee in R4 is deemed dangerous by many – it is a good analogy. When you leave a cup – on the surface, grows mould.
    • 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. Unanswered Prayers;
    • If God does not answer prayers, how do you know he exists?
  • 29. 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?
  • 30. Unanswered Prayers:
    • “ 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”
    • Why didn’t God listen to these prayers?
    • Doesn’t God care?
  • 31. Why some prayers and not others?
    • God answers prayers in the forms of ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘wait’ – so in this sense, all prayers are answered
    • God answers in your best interests...
  • 32. Yes, no and wait...
    • You enter a competition, to win a top of the range sports car – and you pray to God that you will win... You don’t win the car, and you feel that God has ignored your prayer – or doesn’t exist at all.
    • However – a week after this contest, you find out the person who actually won, died in a car accident – involving this vehicle. Could it be that God was looking in your best interests by saying ‘no’ to this particular prayer?
    • What obligation does God have to answer your prayer for wanting a sports car, when people live in Poverty?
  • 33. Potential Exam Questions:
    • A) What is an unanswered prayer?
    • B) Do you think unanswered prayers prove that God does not exist? Give 2 reasons for your point of view
    • C) Explain why unanswered prayers may lead some people to become atheists
    • D) ‘God always answers prayers’ i) Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion ii) Give reasons why some people may disagree with you
  • 34. The Problem of Evil
    • Why do we suffer?
  • 35. Keywords:
    • Omnipotent – all powerful
    • Omniscient – all knowing
    • Benevolent – all good
    • Moral Evil – evils done by humans that cause suffering
    • Natural Evil – evils that aren’t anyones fault, that cause suffering
    • Freewill – the idea that humans are free to make their own decisions
  • 36. The problem outlined
    • If God was omniscient, he must be able to know that suffering exists
    • If God was omnipotent, he must be able to stop our suffering
    • If God was benevolent – surely he cannot want us to suffer
  • 37. Moral Evils
    • Murder
    • Theft
    • Hate
    • Rape
    • War
  • 38. Natural Evils
    • Earthquakes
    • Tsunamis
    • Floods
    • Drought
    • Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • Cancer
  • 39. 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
  • 40. 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
  • 41. The 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
  • 42. Good use of freewill (Prayer and Service)
    • You could sit at home, watching day time TV – or you could be out helping people, and doing good works
    • If suffering didn’t exist – would people still pray?
    • We need to be reminded that we’re not omniscient
    • We should also help those who suffer by praying for them
  • 43. 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
  • 44. Media, and believing in God
  • 45. What’s new?
    • There is no longer an ‘extended writing question’ – which was the end of the exam with a requirement of 30 mins
    • Instead – the media is brought into each of the four units 1) Believing in God 2) Matters of Life and Death 3) Marriage and the Family 4) Religion and Social Cohesion
  • 46. Media and Believing in God
    • We looked at...
    • The Da Vinci Code
    • Angels and Demons
    • Emily Bishop having trouble with faith (Coronation Street)
    • Songs of Praise
    • The Big questions
  • 47. You need to Know...
    • Study two programmes or films about religion. For each of these, you will need to know
    • An outline of its contents
    • How it might have encouraged some people to believe in God
    • How it might have encouraged some people not to believe in God
    • Whether it affected your belief in God