Religious Studies B: Religious Philosophy and Ultimate Questions Notes

Comprehensive notes for 4 of the 6 topics:

- The Existence of God

- Immortality

- The problem of Evil and Suffering

- Science and Religion

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  • Created on: 01-05-11 16:41
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RS Notes
Topic 1 ­ The existence of God
How do we prove things exist?
Personal experience
Relievable evidence
Why might a theist believe in God?
believe they have had contact with him
accept account of others as evidence for his existence
believe God is the only logical explanation for the origin of the universe and the order
Atheists reject these reasons and do not accept them as proof
Agnostics believe this evidence cannot prove the existence as God one way or the other ­ we can never
Arguments for God's Existence
The First Cause argument (Cosmological)
The argument
o Everything that exists was caused to exist
o The universe exists so must have a cause
o Had to be something eternal that was not caused
o Eternal first cause = God
This is a logical argument that is still in keeping with modern science
Criticisms or questions
o What caused god? He is eternal
o The universe in infinite Infinity is only a concept and doesn't work
o The Big Bang Theory cause the world to come into existence
Atheists use this to reject the existence of God
Challenge as it is thought of as a spontaneous event
The Design Argument
States that the universe is too ordered and complicated to have anything by random chance,
therefore it must have been designed. As a design needs a designer ­ the designer is God.
Christian's support this as it shows God planned the world and there is a purpose for
Natural designs are so far superior to man made
o William Paley
Used design argument to prove God exists
Watch Example ­ if you look at is, without knowing its function, you could see
that is has been designed for a purpose due to its intricacy. This same
principal can be applied to the natural world ­ for example the eye, human
body, bird wings, and fish gills.
o Isaac Newton
Used the fact that we have opposable thumbs as evidence for design.

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Fingerprints prove that God planned each human separately.
o The Anthropic Principle
Modern version of the design argument
God designed the world so that everything was just right for human life to
For example ­ gravitational force just right for the universe to come into
being. Fine tuning must be a deliberate action of God.
This doesn't contradict science and can link to evolution.…read more

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o Communicating with God through prayer
o Feeling God's presence
o Experiencing a conversation
o Involvement in a miracle
Famous Religious experiences:
o The Buddha
o Guru Nanak
o Mahatma Ghandi
o Muhammad
Problems with religious experience
o Difficult to prove as genuine
o Atheists and agnostics do not accept them as proof ­ they believe people are
mistaken or misled, or have hallucinations
Morality is a sense of right and wrong that helps guide peoples behavior
Theists argue that the fact that…read more

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Topic 3 ­ The Problem of Evil and Suffering
It is a fact that there is suffering and injustice in the world. Natural and man made disasters
cause innocent people to die. This is a problem for theists as it contradicts the qualities of
God.…read more

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Suffering can often seem unjust, such as the suffering of innocent children. Sometimes people
may deserve to suffer due to their actions. However some people who have lived good lives
still suffer.
Some argue that suffering can have positive benefits:
o It is necessary to keep us alive and well. Pain tells us something is wrong and therefore
we can do something about it. Pain prevents us from being in danger or doing things
that harm us.…read more

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First we must assess if there is such a thing as evil. Some people believe people can be evil,
others think there are only evil actions. Most of us are a mixture of good and bad.
An evil act is done in deliberate cruelty in the full knowledge that it is wrong.
The nature of evil
Impersonal Force
o Evil is a power that draws people in, like a magnet. This force stops us from being able
to prevent evil or predict it.…read more

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Religious explanations and responses to evil:
Christians, Jews and Muslims share the general view that God gave people free will to choose
between evil and good. Evil is humans fault not God's.
Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus believe that the source of evil is ignorance. The law of Karma
requires people to think about their responsibility for evil.
o God made everything perfect, evil came into the world through Adam and Eve (original
sin). They realized humans were responsible for their own actions.…read more

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Legacy You live on through what Anyone. Examples of Once the works/buildings etc are
you leave behind that `immortal' people: destroyed the person is no longer
people can remember Shakespeare, Darwin, remembered
you by. Can include art, Henry VII
music etc.
Memory of others You live on in the Anyone. Once those who remember you
memories of those who have died, the memory dies with
knew you. them.…read more

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For the Day of Judgment About which there is no
o Problems:
If people do not believe a religion they will not accept the scriptures as true.
Scriptural accounts do not agree with each other. They cannot all be right so
do not provide accurate guidance about what happens
Sometimes the accounts lack detail about what to believe, so interpretations
could be wrong.
Many teachings conflict with science and medicine.…read more

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Therefore, there is a possibility than humans can be resurrected by humans and there is no
need for a God.
6. If there is an afterlife, where is it? Through the exploration of space no evidence has been seen
for a heaven or afterlife.…read more



This is amazing, thank you so much!!!

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