A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies, Athiesm and Critiques of Religious Belief

Initial condensed revision notes. Included the essential knowledge needed for the exam. For the information, I used the Tyler and Reid "A2 Religious Studies" book, a 'Wellington College' powerpoint (http://intranet.wellingtoncollege.org.uk/philosophy-and-religion/a2-religious-studies/a2-philosophy-of-religion) and a website that I can't figure out how to link. But, if you type the module name into google, I think it's about the fifth one down.

Notes are a bit simplistic in places, that is purely because my Philosophy teacher thinks it is highly unlikely an exam question on this will come up...hope they help someone!

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  • Created on: 27-05-12 20:37
Preview of A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies, Athiesm and Critiques of Religious Belief

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
Atheism & Critiques of Religious Belief
Key Terms;
Atheism; literally, without/no God.
o Weak Atheism; Simply do not believe in God themselves
o Strong Atheism (Antitheism); Offers stong arguments against
God's existence a religious belief- considering it dangerous.
Agnosticism; it is not possible to know whether God exists or not
Materialism; considering physical values to be more valuable than
spiritual values.
Naturalism; law of nature operate in the universe, (not supernatural)
and nothing exists between the natural universe.
Athiesm
Basis for Atheism;
1. Religious Language. Nothing exists that can be called `God'. It is a
metaphysical (abstract, theoretical) term. Logical Positivists; it is illogical
to talk of God, let alone believe in him.
2. Religious Experiences can be viewed merely a
hallucinations
3. Evil and suffering contradicts the supposed
existence of God
4. God believes are deluded, or have deluded by someone
else for ulterior purposes.
5. Disliking of distrusting organised religion- leading a
rejection of God.
6. The hatred of religious believers and belief
7. Belief in God only exists to support those who are emotionally,
intellectually or psychologically weak
8. Loss of faith, unanswered prayers or bad experiences
of religion.
9. Contradictory teachings in scripture

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is a 19th century term first
coined by Thomas Huxley. It means literally
`without hidden knowledge'. So agnostics
are completely open about the fact they
do not have enough knowledge to say
whether God exists or not! To some, it is a
branch of atheism. But; what would it take
for an atheist to believe? And, there is an
element of not knowing in theism and
atheism.…read more

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
Criticisms of Durkheim:
Religious people's loyalty tends to be foremost to God, then society-
not the other way around.
Does not explain why some religious people (MLK and CRM) are
prepared to go against the norms of society.
Durkheim's studies were of a primitive aboriginal tribe. Modern religion
is far more complex and thus his conclusions may not be valid.
Society changes far more than God, or concepts of God do.…read more

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
Psychological Critiques
Freud
Religion is a projective system or an illusion of which man should
`disregard in its relation to reality'. God has no reality, it is an
illusion. It is a universal obsession neurosis based on unconscious
human need for a father figure, which links to the Oedipus
complex and `Totem and Taboo' (primal horde). He thought it
was `invented' by the human mind to deal with sexual desire,
guilt and inappropriate desires.…read more

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
Jung
Influenced by Freud but more positive towards the role of religion and saw
that religion is a projection of the collective unconscious based on shared
images ­ `Archetypes' e.g. the mythic hero. These are interpreted slightly
differently in different cultures.…read more

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A2 EDEXCEL Religious Studies
There has been a great deal of opposition to Dawkins' claims, not only
by people of faith but also by academics, such as Ward and McGrath
(both colleagues of Dawkins in Oxford)
Some general criticisms include:
· Dawkins only approaches extremists (Root of All Evil Documentary)
· Dawkins is nigh on atheistic-fundamentalist himself
· Reliance on Science (changeable)
(A.N Wilson ­ `Why in God's name, do we take this silly shallow scientist
seriously?...…read more

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