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Religious Studies GCSE
The Existence of God…read more

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The Cosmological (First Cause)
Argument by Thomas Aquinas
· We know everything exists.
· Therefore, everything must have been created or caused, including the
· The cause of the universe must be outside the universe, and it must be
· Therefore it is God.
· The universe is a contingent being (caused), God is a necessary being
· This is supported by the Genesis creation story.
· Contradicts itself by saying everything has a cause but God doesn't.
· Why does the first cause have to be God?
· Contradicted by science/Big Bang theory, which says the universe began
with nothing.
· Could be infinite regression ­ so there is no first cause.…read more

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The Teleological (Design) Argument by
William Paley
· The universe is complex, ordered and purposeful, so it must have been designed.
· The designer is God.
· St. Thomas Aquinas said that the rotation of the planets is an example of order and purpose.
· William Paley's watch analogy: if a watch is found, you know it must have been designed, as it is complex, each piece has a
purpose, and the parts work together to fulfil this purpose. The natural world has these features, so it has a "watchmaker" ir
designer, and this is God.
· The Anthropic Principle: God designed the conditions for the Big Bang to happen and create life.
· Isaac Newton said that as every thumbprint is different, there must be an intelligent being designing them to make them
· David Hume's criticism:
i. Some things are ordered, unique and a natural occurrence e.g. snowflakes.
ii. Why should the designer be God? It could be an unintelligent being or an evil force.
iii. If it was designed by God, he had an ordered brain, so who designed him?
iv. If God designed the universe there is an inconsistent triad between omnipotence, benevolence and the existence of evil
and suffering.
v. We can only observe our universe, but to fully understand the creation of it we need to compare it to others.
vi. Comparing the universe to a stopwatch is not ideal, as we know of a stopwatch's origin. Comparing it to a living animal
would be more appropriate, as its origin is unknown.
· Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and survival of the fittest contradicts the design argument.
· Richard Dawkins' `The Blind Watchmaker' and `The Weasel Program' contradict this too. He says that the difference
between random selection and cumulative selection allows design without an intelligent being to be possible.…read more

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Arguments from Religious Experience
· Some people claim to experience God, and therefore God exists.
· There are two types of religious experience: General and Special.
· General: God can reveal himself through nature ­ a general feeling of his presence.
· Special: God reveals himself in specific moments ­ miracles, conversions, visions,
prayer, worship, voices, near death experiences.
· Christian examples of God's existence from religious experience:
i. Moses and the Burning Bush ­ Moses saw an angel of God appear and speak to
him from a burning bush.
ii. Paul on the Road to Damascus ­ Paul was travelling and he saw a light flashing and
he heard Jesus call him. He converted to Christianity as a result.
iii. Jesus ­ God shows his existence through Jesus, his son.
· If it is a personal experience, where is the proof it is real?
· It could be paranormal or supernatural activity, or a hoax, or made up.
· There are scientific explanations: physical ­ influence of drugs etc. and psychological:
- depression etc..
· It could be a happy coincidence.…read more

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Arguments from Morality
· Some people argue that morality comes from your
conscience, a thing outside of yourself, which comes from
· The existence of moral law must mean there is a moral law
giver, and this is God.
· Morality is not shared ­ different cultures, places and times
accept different things e.g. cannibalism and homosexuality.
· Morality could come from upbringing and society rather
than God.
· Morality could have evolved to increase the chance of
survival, so humans are interdependent and have a level of
trust and co-operation that allows them to work together.…read more

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Arguments from Miracles
· God performs miracles that defy nature.
· No other being could defy nature, so God exists.
· Miracles show God's immanence, omnipotence and
· Miracles might be coincidences.
· Miracles can have natural or scientific explanations.
· It could be another being that causes miracles.
· Miracles make God appear unfair, therefore it is not God
who performs miracles.…read more

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