A Christian Upbringing
- Parents can pray and read the Bible with their children and teach them about their faith.
- The Church (the community of Christians) is an essential part to help lead children to believe in God.
- There is Sunday School as well, which teaches children about God, how to pray and read the Bible.
- At Church schools you would pray and learn about God in assemblies and RE lessons.
This would lead a child to believe in God because:
- A young child accepts parents' beliefs.
- They have answers to prayer.
- They feel close to God in worship.
- They are taught about the existence of God at school and Sunday School.
The Numinous Experience: The feeling of something greater than yourself. It is as feeling you can get if you are in a holy building, when you pray or even when you look up at the stars. It can lead to belief in God as you feel something watching over you, i.e. God.
The Conversion Experience: Changing your life around after a definite experience with God. It can lead to belief in God as you believe you have actually encountered Him and so He must exist.
Miracles: Miracles are things that cannot be explained, for example if someone is cured from an incurable disease after being prayed for. Miracles seem to break a law of science so they lead people to believe in God as they believe that only He is powerful enough to perform them.
Prayer: Prayer is an attempt to contact God, usually through words. For example, someone who has a problem may ask God to help them. If the problem goes away, they believe that God has answered their prayer. This can lead to belief in God.
The Design Argument
The Design Argument:
- There is evidence of design in the world, e.g. the laws of gravity, DNA etc.
- If there is evidence of design then something must have designed it (e.g. Paley's watch).
- Because the world is so great and complex, it couldn't have happened by accident.
- The only thing great enough to design it is God.
- Therefore God must exist.
The Causation Argument
The Causation Argument:
- Nothing can happen by itself.
- Everything that happens has to be caused by something else.
- Therefore the world cannot have just happened by itself - it must have had something cause it to happen.
- Because it is so large, it must have been caused by a very powerful force.
- God is the only being powerful enough to cause the world to come into existence.
- Therefore God must exist.
Some people believe that science offers a better explanation for things such as miracles or even the Universe, rather than religion.
The Universe and everything in it has a scientific explanation and therefore makes it unlikely that God exists. Science leads people to become Agnostic or even Atheist by using theories such as the Big Bang or evolution.
Therefore if scientists can prove to people where the world came from and how people came into existence people will begin to think that God does not exist.
Christian responses to Scientific Explanations
Christian responses to scientific explanations:
Response One - God caused the Big Bang. Some people believe that the Big Bang is evidence for God's existence. The Big Bang had to happen at exactly the right microsecond or life would never have been formed. The only being to have this kind of control is God, so they think that God is the reason behind the Big Bang.
Response Two - Science is wrong and the Bible is right. Scientists claim that the Universe began 15 billion years ago. Some Christians propose 'Apparent Age Theory'. This is the idea that God created the world to look billions of years old.
Response Three - Both science and the Bible are correct. Some people claim that the main points of the Bible fit with science. One of God's days could be billions of years. They claim that Genesis 1:3 'Let there be light' is a direct reference to the Big Bang.
- If God was omnipotent (all-powerful), He would have the power to answer prayers.
- If God was omnibenevolent (all-loving), He would want to answer prayers.
- If God was omniscient (all-knowing), He would know that you were praying.
- Therefore, when God doesn't answer your prayers you think that He doesn't exist.
Christian responses to Unanswered Prayers
- Your prayer might be selfish - God can't let others suffer just to benefit you (omnibenevolence).
- Human parents do not always give their children what they want because it might not be the best thing - God is like a father as He knows what is best (omniscience).
- God may answer prayers indirectly - you may not be aware that God has answered your prayers.
- God cannot answer conflicting prayers.
Evil and Suffering
- Christians believe that God is omnibenevolent, but if God is all-good, He ought to not want evil and suffering in his world.
- They believe God is omnipotent, but if He is all-powerful, he must be able to rid the world of evil and suffering.
- They believe that God is omniscient, but if God is all-knowing and powerful He must not be loving enough to make it stop.
- However, there is evil and suffering in the world so either God is not good, or God is not all-powerful, or God does not exist.
Christian responses to Evil and Suffering
- Many Christians respond to the problem by believing that God knows the answer, but people cannot understand.
- Some Christians think that God could not give humans free will unless they had the chance to do evil things, and seeing as how being free is part of being made in God's image, this is necessary.
- Other Christians believe that this life is a sort of test in which people prepare their souls for heaven.
- If there wasn't any evil, we wouldn't appreciate good things.
How the media can affect belief in God
Bruce Almighty (film) - Supporting God's existence:
- Even with God's powers Bruce messes up e.g. the town riots as everyone wins $17 on the lottery. As such it shows how hard God's 'job' is and says that we can't all get what we want.
- God's existence is never questioned - it acknowledges from the start that God is real.
- Shows the problems with free will. God exists and bad things happen because humans make bad decisions and choose to do evil things.
- Shows that God hears all prayers and responds to some. Shows why God does not answer all prayers, which is a major reason for doubting His existence.
How the media can affect belief in God
Bruce Almighty (film) - Against God's existence:
- Ultimately He answers Bruce's prayer but throughout the film Bruce is rude to God. If he is helped despite this then why aren't others who are more respectful to God helped too?
- The film mocks a lot of the miracles in the Bible, e.g. turning water into wine, walking on water.
- The film shows God in human form, however Christians believe that God is everywhere - this is not possible if God is human.
- Christians believe God is all-powerful, but Bruce is given his powers. According to Christianity this is not possible as God can have no equal.