Unit 1 - Believing in God Includes: • Belief and non-belief • Religious upbringing • Religious Experience • The design argument • The causation argument • Science vs. Christian ideas of the beginning • Unanswered prayers • The problem of evil and suffering • Belief in the media
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 Belief and non-belief in God Aims: Understand and explain what it means to be a theist, atheist or agnostic Describe what a theist believes Explain reasons why an atheist rejects belief in God Give your own opinions and the reasons for them
People have always tried to understand ultimate questions inlife, such as ‘why are we here?’, ‘What happens when we die?’ and ‘Is there a God?’. Here are some responses to these questions.Look at the world around us – it can’t have happened by Lots of people accident. It must have been designed by a greater intelligence – God, perhaps. claim to have experienced We can’t possibly know God in their If God exists, lives. They whether there is a God or then why does can’t all be not – there are some he allow so wrong. questions we just can’t many terrible answer. things to happen? When you die, you’re There is no evidence that God exists. just dead – Science will soon be able to answer all the there is no ultimate questions. afterlife.
• Someone who believes in God is called a ‘theist’• Someone who does not is called an ‘atheist’• A person who is not sure and thinks it is impossible to know for certain if God exists or not is called an ‘agnostic’.
Activities:1. Look at the speech bubbles carefully.a) Decide for each one whether it is from a theist, an atheist, or an agnostic; or whether you cannot tell.b) Which of the speech bubbles do you agree with? Give your reasons.2. This is a famous pictureby Michelangelo, showingGod creating man. Do youthink it is realistic or not?Say why.3. God is all-powerful, is there anything he cannot do? Can youlist three possible things that he could not do? To help, onemight be that he cannot create a God greater than himself.
Christian beliefs about GodA Christian believes that:• God created the world• People can have a relationship with God• He answers prayers and can perform miracles• God is omnipotent, omniscient and omni- benevolent.• Belief in God gives meaning to life and helps people to answer difficult questions about death and suffering.
Atheists have different reasons for not believing in God.• Some atheists suggest that there is evidence that God does not exist.• Others do not believe because, in their opinion, there is no evidence that he does exist.• Richard Dawkins is a famous atheistwho wrote ‘The God Delusion’ and haspresented many TV programmes onthis topic. More ideas here
Science explains how the world came into The existence existence of evil and There is suffering in no Arguments the worldevidence an atheist counts for the might use againstexistence belief in a of God loving and Events and experiences powerful that believers say are God. evidence for the existence of God are coincidences or natural events
Other viewsAgnostics will argue that, since there is noreliable evidence either in support of God’sexistence or against it, the only reasonableposition to hold is literally ‘not knowing’. Anagnostic may argue that both the atheist andthe theist have made a decision withoutsufficient evidence, and that agnosticism is theonly approach we can take until there is moreevidence for, or against, God’s existence.
Summary:• Theists believe in God and claim that everything is dependent on him for existence and meaning.• Christians believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent• Atheists reject belief in God and claim that there is no evidence to support the claims theists make about God• Agnostics claim that there is not enough evidence to say whether God exists or not.
Tuesday, 06 December2011 Does our upbringing affect our beliefs? Aims: • Describe ways in which Christian families encourage children to believe in God • Describe how religious communities contribute to a religious upbringing • Evaluate the importance of a religious upbringing on coming to believe in God • Give your own opinion on religious upbringing
What is Humanism?• What did you find out for homework?• How would you summarise their views?• Humanists don’t rely on a god for answers – does this mean that they don’t have a moral code?• What would you like to ask about Humanism?• What do you like about Humanism?
• Many people come to believe in God through the way they are brought up. For Christians, one of the purposes of marriage is to have children and to bring them up in a secure Christian home. Christian parents introduce their children to belief in God and encourage their children to develop a relationship with God because they believe that this is the way God intended us to live and that it gives meaning and purpose to life.
• Sometimes, as they grow up, it is difficult for children to continue to accept their family’s religious beliefs. The children will learn about other beliefs and ways of life and, at some point, will need to work out for themselves if what they have learned while growing up will be right for them in the future. This can be difficult for parents to understand. For other children, the comfort of growing up in a religious home can help them through difficulties and give them a secure basis for adulthood.
Discussion:• ‘Parents should not force their religion onto their children.’ Do you agree?• How might Christian parents who attend church and believe in God avoid bringing up their children to believe in the same things as themselves? Is this possible?• What other things might influence a person as they get older? Would these things affect their belief in God?
Summary:• Parents help children to believe in God by bringing them up in a religious family.• Parents and their children may share beliefs, practices and activities together with their religious community.• Children will need to make their own choices about what they believe when they are older.
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