Religion and Science

my own notes when I did the GCSE last year... hope you find it useful

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  • Created on: 04-06-11 13:27
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Christine Hui
Unit 3: Religion and Science
Why do Christians believe in God?
Revelation: God revealing his existence to humanity
1. Special revelation: When God reveals himself to directly to an individual or group
Exclusive ­ only experienced by some people
E.g. Worship, personal experience, lives of great Christians, conscience, the Bible
2. General revelation: When God reveals himself directly to humanity
Inclusive (universal) ­ experienced by and available to everyone
E.g. Natural world, church teachings, prayer, the Bible
Classical Arguments for the Existence of God
1. Teleological/Design Argument
Sir Isaac Newton: 1642-1727
"The thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."
It is intricately detailed, unique and has clear purpose and importance
To Newton, these factors suggest that there is a designer behind this creation: God.
William Paley: 1743-1805
Suggests that if you are walking though a field and came across a watch, you would not
think it is an accidental creation.
A watch must have a watch maker; it is complex and has a purpose.
The world is much more complex and its parts all appear to have a purpose. If a watch
needs a watchmaker, the world must have a designer: the only possible designer would
be God. The designs of the world prove that God exists.
2. Cosmological [Cosmos: universe] argument
St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle
Cause and effect (E.g. Dominoes), - an effect must have a cause; chain reaction
Main argument: As there is a universe, there must be a First Cause. God is the first
uncaused cause/unmoved mover, who set the chain in motion.
Something has to exist to cause Big Bang and that first uncaused cause must be God.
Modern Arguments
People say that God must exist because of their Religious Experience:
1. Visions
2. Miracles have happened therefore there must be a God
3. Feeling/sense of presence of God
4. Prayer/answered prayer
The Story of Creation (Cosmology ­ the study/theory of the nature and origin of universe)
1. Genesis describes how God made the world according to plan. Nothing happened by chance.
2. God made man as a special creation (made in the `image of God') and gave them pride of place.
3. The story in Genesis contradicts scientific ideas about evolution, says that all the different species
were there from the start rather than evolving gradually
4. Also contradicts scientific theories about how universe began, does not mention any explosion/
expanding universe, gives the impression that the Earth existed the way we know it today.
5. Some Christians believe the stories in the Bible are a poetic way of describing important truths, and
are not meant to be taken literally.
Genesis 1:1-2:4

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Christine Hui
Da Creation
1 Light and dark
2 Sky (Heaven)
3 Seas and dry land
4 Sun, moon, stars
5 The fish (sea creatures) and the birds (air-born creatures)
6 Land creatures and humans
7 God rested
The story suggests that God created the world ex nihilo (from nothing).
`God commanded...and it was done.'
Everything God commanded happened .This text is repeated to emphasise the creative force of
God and his omnipotence.
`God was pleased with what he saw.…read more

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Christine Hui
4. Genesis 2
Everything starts again, humans made first
5. God panned it and made exactly according to plan was PERFECT
`God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.'
`In praise of the creator.'
6. Everything happened by chance, exists for a reason
Humans stewards of the Earth
Animals man's companions
7. All species were there at the beginning
God made all the creatures `according to their kinds'
8.…read more

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4. Humanity is seen as a special creation
God gave us pride
"image of God"
"breath of life"
Stewardship and responsibility
"Let them have dominion", "Be fruitful and multiply"
"Be fruitful and multiply"
5. Everything's perfect ("And God saw that it was good") until Adam and Eve disobeyed God
6. Modern Christians and Creationists reject evolution
Charles Darwin
1. Naturalist (Christian who turned agnostic).…read more

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Suggested by Charles Darwin
1) Naturalist (Christian who turned agnostic)
2) Sailed in "Beagle" around the world
3) Studies how species differ in different places
4) Published ideas ­ `On the Origin of Species)
Natural Selection
5) Life began with a simple single cell
6) Evolved, survival of the fittest mutation
7) Mutation passed on Fossil records
8) Species are fixed extinction
9) Process of natural selection
Today's humans are descended from a common ancestor with apes
Big Bang Theory
1) Nothing…read more

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Religion and science conflict
1. Religious believers often believe that there is a purpose for the existence of the universe. Each of
us is here in the world for a reason and the world itself was also made as part of a big plan.
2. Scientific theories often seem to suggest the opposite. They seem to say that we are here just by
chance. There is no reason for it and no plan.
3.…read more

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"We see ourselves as the most important species."
What the Bible says about animals
1. "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea
and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."' Genesis
1:28: Animals are God's creation and man's companions. Humans are stewards. Christians should
be against cruelty and insist on humane treatment but may not oppose experiment for human
2.…read more

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The impact of humankind on Earth:
1. Air pollution from factories, burning fossil fuels, toxic waste in sea/rivers, litter, car fumes
Greenhouse gases (CO, methane) greenhouse effect global warming polar ice caps
melt sea levels rise flooding
SO2, nitrogen oxide acid rain excess weathering destruction of buildings
trees and fish die
2. Deforestation (Re-development/farming/raw materials/fossil fuels) leads to
Desertification Loss of habitat/animals/plants food chains disrupted Ecosystem
becomes unbalanced opportunities for discovering new medicines are lost
Less oxygen because trees produce it
3.…read more

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Reduce pollution caused by cars, by cycling or by using public transport
Join `GREEN' groups, organisations (E.g. Target Earth: A worldwide organisation which
encourages Christians to be better stewards of creation, Worldwide Fund for Nature,
4. Vote for candidates who support care for the environment.
Man has power over animals but not to kill. "I have provided all kinds of grain and fruit for you
to eat..." Grass and leafy plants for the animals.…read more

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3. Albert Schweitzer wrote Civilisation and Ethics, and taught that all life was sacred. To injure/kill any
life-form on purpose is to act against God's creation. ( )
4. Karl Barth: Since God became man in the human form of Jesus, humans are more important than
other life-forms, animals cannot be equal to humans. (Answer to Schweitzer's argument) ( )
Churches' views about treatment of animals
"...the air, sea, earth, forests, animals, and ourselves are all intimately connected.…read more


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