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Explain a PM view of religion Modernism
· Only way to true knowledge = reason and science
· Reject rel claims of true reality + God
· Adopt Atheist meta-narrative
1) JEAN FRANCOIS LYOTARD 1970s: reaction to Modernist era
PM rejects trust in reason and the concept that there's one true reality + meta-narrative,
and that we're able to discover absolute truths
2) Because ALL knowledge = human construct, devised by opinion and popular consent
Evidence = changing morality (homo), different moral standards in different cultures
3) EMILE DURKHEIM: religion is a cultural construct, a product of the society where it develops, to provide
moral rules to unite society
4) Religion = constructed with THEOLOGICAL LANGUAGE No OBJ meaning beyond itself
JOHN CAPUTO = Agnostics should admit we don't know what God is Religious statements are
DON CUPITT = Anti-Realist God isn't obj. Real, but can exist as an idea in our mind RELATIVE + SUBJECTIVE
5) So should be TOLERANT of different world views, as equally valid viewpoints
6) Atheism ­ arrogant as cannot be verified
7) JACQUES DERRIDA: PM frees people from conforming to either Atheism. Religious stance
Therefore up to individual to choose the beliefs/practises from different rel
that suit them personally
Traditional Liberal e.g. New Age Movement
8) PERSONAL SPIRITUAL SEARCH = encourages people to LIVE their faith, put beliefs into practise instead of
intellectualising, and feel more connected…read more

Slide 2

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5.2 Is PM an affirmation of religion? ·Sees religion as H.
Construct, that can be
deconstructed and
HOTLY DEBATED reformulated
·As it rejects truth claims,
meta-narratives +
theological language ­ all
·Promotes traditional religious 4. From an PM can support is
ma values e.g. Tolerance "love thy Atheistic spec = AGNOSTICISM =
1. Fro l spec = neighbour" no, view it as insufficient basis for rb
Rel/L YES ·Asserts rel pract/beliefs should be HOSTILE
practised as an essential part of
daily life
3. "pick n mix" as
consumerist, though
2. Defends against Atheism crits beneficial for morals
that rel is psych unhealthy, and (contenting fx),
that Atheism is a true reality over trivialises and
religion belittles rel practises
3. By broadening definition "personal
spiritual search" = makes religion more 4. Religious practises
accessible to those disillusioned or have no meaning if
disenfranchised by traditional/conservative you do not believe it
views represents a true
5. Overtolerance to all
religions = dangerous
· Whilst PM means to be sympathetic to rel ­ it's disbelief in obj.reality + authority, places an agnosticism at its core
which means it can be used neither as confirmation or denial of God
· It does positively encourage people to put morals + sp. Beliefs into practise ­ however, this can be encouraged by
secular institutions…read more

Slide 3

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5.4 Is religion in retreat?
Highly controversial issue
1. Nietzsche "God is dead" ­ irrelevant in modern society, it's outgrown dependency on religion replacing it's
function with secular understanding
· Science replaces R as a source of knowledge and explanation as to how
universe works = discoveries e.g. Heliocentrism, newton's laws
· changing moral values e.g. Divorce + homosexuality proves morality is
relatives, not divinely authority, and can be determined by humans
2. FX certainly evident in some countries
e.g. FRANCE = church + state are separate
2004 survey = 44% British people don't believe
1999 Sweden = 85% church attendance low
3. Whilst Atheism is growing, has is undermined growth or belief in religion?
4. In many large countries ­ not the case
USA ­ church attendance, high emphasis in society and in
government on promoting traditional Christian values
5. Some philosophers argue Atheism shouldn't be confused with secularisation. Many turning away from
conservative religion, but adapting trad rel beliefs to more accessible/personal to individual
EVIDENCE = New Age Mvm
Conclusion: Atheism is growing, not undermining religion, rather religion is evolving…read more

Slide 4

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5.3 Explain how Atheism has become prominent
"Without Gods" ­ refers to disbelief in God and the view that rel = incorrect worldview
POSITIVE = active disbelief, arguments
NEGATIVE = lack belief, unconsidered
1. Scientific Discoveries ­ provide natural explanations for processes/phenomena previously attributed to God
e.g. Newton's Law, Heliocentrism, eclipses one day science will explain all
2. Belief in scientific evidence spawned the view that the only way to TRUE knowledge = Empirical Evidence
Since we cannot perceive/test God's existence empirically, the grounds for belief in him are IRRATIONAL
AJ AYER's "Verification Principle" : only statements supported with empirical
evidence are MEANINGFUL , therefore belief in God is MEANINGLESS
3. Problem of Evil = reject God argue that if an OMNIP, OMNIB God who would want to and can prevent evil
existed, evil and suffering would not occur. Therefore God must not exist.
4. Relative Morality people
· Moral found more
absolutes attractive
e.g. 10 than high
coms = essential tostandards
rel faith ­ set byagainst
to go religious moral
these absolute
is to sin
· In today's society ­ many moral absolutes in the Bible are seen as wrong and
intolerant e.g. Homo, abortion, divorce
· The fact society rejects some "absolutes" undermines the moral authority =
suggests organic, changing, not revealed
5. Contradictions between religions ­ Christianity = Jesus = son of God, Islam = prophet
Hume = since all religions claim exclusive truth, none must be
6. Neitzsche ­ No need for God in today's society, science provides us with explanations of how world works,
philosophy generates morality based on reason
Secular society doesn't need God…read more

Slide 5

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5.5 Is Atheism a religion?
Controversial ­ ultimately depends on how "religion" is defined
· YES:
1. Beliefs ­ disbelieve in God ­ believe in science and empiricism = true knowledge
2. Leaders ­ pioneers= richard - texts which they base their beliefs
3. Relative Morality ­ reason determined by secular institutions eg law courts
4. society's eg stalin/mao based on atheism
· NO:
1. Religion cannot be separated from belief in God/spiritual, whilst Atheism
fundamentally rejects this
2. In this way = incorrect use of language = Atheism is rather a popular opinion, or a
system of belief
3. Atheism is not revealed ­ has no moral absolutes = crucial to rel belief
by adopting relative morality, Atheism can accept great moral wrongs e.g.
Holocaust or paedophilia and can be harnessed as a bad force ­ stalin
killed 20 m
Atheism can be seen as having many traits similar to religion, However not in essence an actual rel
= no belief in God, revelation, or absolute morality ­ calling it a religion = incorrect use of
language…read more


j williams


too many images text tto small to read but informative

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