Belief in God as Unity
Meaning - Christians believe in the Unity of God and also that God is a Trinity. God's Unity helps them understand the power and importance of God because there is only one God and Christians should worship him. God's Trinity helps them to understand God's activity in the world as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Importance of Christians' belief in God's unity
- The belief that God is one is the first of the Ten Commandments.
- Jesus said that worshipping one God is the greatest commandment.
- Belief in one God is the teaching of the Catholic Church(magisterium) in creeds and catechism
- Christians believe that God is omnipotent and only if God is a Unity can God be all-powerful.
Belief in God as Trinity
Importance of Christians' belief in God's trinity
- Helps Christians understand the different ways that God has shown his presence in the world.
- Bible shows Trinity when at Jesus' baptism the Father speaks, Son is baptised, Spirit is a dove
- Belief in Trinity-part of Apostolic Tradition, Christians must believe apostles' teachings.
- Belief in God as Trinity is the teaching of the Church through the Creeds and the Catechism.
Reasons against belief in God's trinity
- If you believe in God's Unity that's enough, as even the Catechism says the Trinity is a mystery.
- If you love God and love your neighbour, you are a Christian whatever you think about the Trinity.
- If people follow the teachings of Jesus and go to Mass, it does not matter whether they believe in the Trinity or not.
Belief in God as Father
- Meaning - Christians should have a father-child relationship with God.
- God has a relationship of love and care with his creation.
- In the 'Our Father', Christians learn that God provides daily bread and protection from evil simply because he is 'Our Father'.
- Because God is Father, Christians can turn to him when they're in need.
- Importance - Jesus called God his Father and told his disciples to call him that and his teachings are the basis of the Christian faith.
- Creeds and Catechism teach Catholics to call God their Father.
- If God isn't father, he wouldn't have sent Jesus to explain Christian living and save us from sins
- Belief in God as Father allows Christians to have a personal relationship with God.
- Reasons against - No good father would allow his children to experience evil and suffering.
- No good father would not answer his children when they talk to him.
- No good father would allow there to be different religions, so that his children do not know the right way to please him.
Belief in God as Creator
- God created the universe and all the things in it so life has a meaning and purpose from God.
- God created the universe out of nothing so he is all-powerful and is the cause of all life.
- As God has created the universe, the universe must be good.
- God created human beings in his image, so humans are special.
- It shows God's omnipotence - only an all-powerful God could create the universe.
- It shows that the universe is not an accident. It was created by God, who is good, for a good purpose.
- It shows that life is sacred as God created it and what God creates must be holy, so we need to treat creation carefully and with respect.
- Shows God's love for humans. God created the world for humans and gave them their purpose in living.
Belief that Jesus is Son of God
- Jesus is God incarnated which means Jesus is God on Earth living as a human so in Jesus humans can see the nature of God.
- As Son of God, Christians believe Jesus is fully human and fully divine.
- As God's son, Jesus had God's powers on Earth which explains how he performed miracles.
- As God's son, Jesus' death was a sacrafice for sins of the world, bringing God's salvation and by rising from the dead, God's son also brought eternal life.
- Only the Son of God could bring salvation from sin and give people the chance to enter heaven.
- It gives Christians the chance to see the love shown by God's Son, leading them to share God's love with their neighbours.
- It is a teaching of the Creeds and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Only God's Son could institute the Mass which brings Christ into lives today.
Jesus is Son of God-d question
- Only the Son of God could rise from the dead.
- Only the Son of God could perform the miracles Jesus did.
- It is the teaching of the Bible and the Church.
- The miracles of Jesus could have natural explanations such as them being coincidental.
- It is more reasonable to believe that Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph rather than Mary and God.
- The resurrection can be explained and if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then he was just a prophet.
Belief in the Holy Spirit
- Meaning - Holy Spirit is the means by which God communicates with humans, bringing God's presence into the world.
- HS inspired Bible so that its writings reveal the nature and will of God.
- HS how God helps the Church to keep Apostolic Tradition + give true teaching in magisterium.
- HS brings God's love and strength to Christians today.
- Importance - It is third person of the Trinity and is God's presence in the world.
- Through baptism and reconciliation, it removes sin allowing people to have eternal life.
- It inspires teachings of Church so teachings should be obeyed as if they're God's teachings.
- Its gifts enable Christians to live lives full of love, joy and peace, helping Christians live the lives Jesus wants them to live.
- Reasons against - If the Holy Spirit were active, all Christians would believe the same thing.
- If the Holy Spirit were active, Christians would be full of peace and joy and they are not.
- If HS were active, Christians would be living as Jesus wants them to live and many do not.
Beliefs about salvation from sin
- Meaning - Sin is an action that breaks God's law and makes it difficult to be in contact with God because sin separates a person from God.
- Salvation means being saved from sin.
- Death of Jesus was sacrafice needed to bring salvation from sin. So Jesus is saviour of the world because he brought forgiveness and eternal life.
- Catholics believe that today, salvation comes through the Church and is brought about by receiving the sacraments and leading a Christian life.
- Importance - Without salvation, sins will send a person to hell or purgatory after death.
- It is the only way that Christians can have eternal life with God.
- Salvation from sin was the purpose of life, death and resurrection of Jesus - reason God=man
- It is the reason why sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, confirmation, healing and the Mass are so important.
- Reasons against - A loving God would not send his children to purgatory or hell.
- A loving, omnipotent God would not set a price for sin which involved making his Son die for the sins of the world and if there is no price for sin, there is no need for salvation.
- Most people today do not think of themselves as sinful and can't see why they need salvation.
Love of God
- Meaning - going to weekly mass and praying every day.
- taking the other sacraments of the Church.
- following the Christian life as shown in the teachings of the Church.
- using their talents and abilities in the service of God.
- Importance - Jesus said that loving God is the greatest commandment. Christians believe Jesus is God's Son therefore following his teachings helps them to gain eternal life.
- By loving God, Christians are living the life God wants.
- Loving God is a way for Christians to thank God for his love which was shown through the sacrafice of his son to bring humans eternal life.
- The Catechism teaches that all believers should love God, as this is the basis of Christian life.
- Effect on Christians' lives - Using abilities and talents as God intends so that others can benefit from them will affect a Christian's choice of career, marriage partner, etc.
- Showing respect for God's creations affects lives as they make sure all creatures are cared for.
- Following the Ten Commandments and Sermon on the Mount has an affect.
- Following vocation will have a huge effect on a Christian's life if they are called to the priesthood, the religious life or service to the poor.
Love of Others
Jesus says that the second commandment is to love your neighbour as you love yourself. This means that a Christian's love for their neighbours;
- needs to be as strong as it is for themselves
- is second only to love of God himself
- is what God wants from Christians.
This Christian teaching is important because:
- It is a commandment from Jesus.
- By loving their neighbour Christians are doing God's will.
- It is not easy to do, but can lead to eternal life.
Love of Others.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:25-37
When asked who is your neighbour, Jesus told this parable: 'A Jew was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. Two important Jewish people ignored him, but a Samaritan (a race and religion who hated Jews) stopped and helped the injured man.' This means:
- Christians need to show love to everyone
- loving your neighbours can make the difference beween life and death
- loving your neighbour is what God wants.
This parable is important because:
- It is the teaching of Jesus.
- It shows Christians that loving your neighbour is not easy (the good people had good reasons for not helping), but it is what Christians have to do.
- It explains that your neighbour is anyone needing help, whatever their race or religion.
Love of Others..
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus told a story about the final judgement when, like a shepherd, he will separate people into sheep and goats. The sheep will be those who fed Jesus when he was hungry, gave him drink when he was thirsty, took him in when he was a stranger, clothed him when he needed clothes, looked after him when he was sick, visited him when he was in prison and so they will go to heaven. The goats will be those who did none of these things for other people so they will go to hell. This parable means that:
- Christians need to show love to everyone in need, because anyone in need could be Jesus
- by showing love for others Christians are showing love for God
- God will judge people on their actions, how they treat others.
This is important because it explains that:
- by showing love for others, Christians are showing love for God
- loving others means caring for those people who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, etc.
- showing love to those who are suffering is rewarded by eternal life with God in heaven.
Love of God in a Religious Community
Carmelite nuns are a mainly contemplative community who spend their lives in prayer and study. They show their love for God in the following ways:
- The nuns take the evangelical counsels to show their complete love of God,
- The nuns follow the Carmelite Rule meaning that they meditate day and night on the Word of the Lord, celebrate the Eucharist every day and do manual work.
- The nuns separate themselves from the world to come closer to God
- The nuns spend almost twelve hours a day in prayer, worship and contemplation of God
- It cannot be what God wants because if everyone took the evangelical counsels, the human race would die out.
- It is easy to pray at home each day and go to Mass once a week to show your love for God.
- It is easier to love your neighbour outside a religious community because you come in contact with more people and this is one way of loving God.
Love of Others in a Religious Community
The Missionaries of Charity were founded by Mother Teresa in 1950 and show love for others:
- As well as taking the evangelical counsels, they also vow to serve the poorest of the poor.
- For about twelve hours a day, the nuns and monks love others by working in the centres run by the order.
- Some centres are for the abandoned and dying of all castes and religions, to help them die with dignity, surrounded by God's love.
- The Missionaries also run orphanages, AIDS hospices, and care for lepers, refugees and victims of floods, epidemics and famine in order to share God's love with others.
- In ordinary life you have opportunities to love your neighbour all the time not just when the religious community gives you time for it.
- Lovingg your neighbour means helping anyone who needs your help which you can do whether in a religious community or not.
- In a religious community, you have to follow the rules which could make you pray and meditate rather than love your neighbour.
Love in Local Area (parish)
- Love of God - providing worship so that people can show their love of God in Mass.
- Keeping the blessed sacrament in the tabernacle so people can show their love of God by adoring the Body of Christ.
- Offering the sacramens so that people can show their love of God through baptism, First Confession and Communion, confessions, confirmation and marriage.
- Giving regular Bible readings and homilies explaining those readings to the people so they can learn more about God and how to show their love for him.
- Love of others - making sure that a Catholic grows up surrounded by people that share their beliefs and love them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Supporting the local Catholic schools, providing children liturgies and classes in First Eucharist.
- Providing social facilities such as youth clubs and mother and toddler groups.
- Providing help for the needy through charities such as the SVP, CAFOD, etc.
- Reasons against - there are always some people in need who are not helped.
- Some age groups may feel their needs are not catered for.
- Most church activities are aimed at Catholics who are active in the parish.