Believing in God

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  • Created by: mjvale
  • Created on: 04-05-16 19:19

The main features of a Catholic Upbringing

Catholic parents are likely to:

1. Have their babies baptised as baptism is the "basis of the whole Chrisitian life..." This sacrament is a promise to bring their children up as Catholics and to provide them with a Christian home of love and faithfulness

2. Teach their children to pray to God by teaching their children prayers and about the saints and church

3. Take their child to church - in many parishes children can go to children's liturgy during the Sunday Mass and on special days of worship there would be a child friendly mass that they can understand 

4. Send their child to a Catholic school where the National Curriculum plus RE are taught in a Christian environment

5. They would encourage their children to make their First Confession, Communion and Confirmation to fulfill their vows and to raise a good Catholic child

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How Catholic Upbringing leads to a belief in God

1. The child's parent would have told them about God due to their promises to bring up a Catholic child and young people usually believe their parents

2.The child would be taken to mass and would see many people praying to and worshipping God which would most likely influence them to believe in God

3. Going to a Catholic school contributes as God would be a normal part of their school life. In addition, they would have RE which would teach them about God and their faith which would strengthen their belief in God as their teachers tell them it is true

4. Children's Liturgy would support the belief in God as they would learn about why Catholics believe in God and what they believe about him. They would be able to understand and develop their faith

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Reasons For and Against a Catholic Upbringing


1. A Catholic upbringing would help keep a family together as both parents and children are able to join together for religious activities (e.g. Mass)

2. A Catholic upbringing gives children a good understanding on what is morally right and wrong, this gives the children good morals

3. It gives a child a sense of belonging and community, which helps give them stability


1. Children have their religion forced upon them, they are unable to choose what they believe

2. Some argue it takes away the child's human right to freedom of choice concerning religion

3. It could work against community cohesion, as children may think people from other religions are wrong

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How religious experience leads to a belief in God

1. Numinous - This is the feeling of a prescence of something great than you. People may experience this in a religious building or even looking at the stars. It is typically described as something beyond human experience. They may believe in God as they are aware of a prescence greater than them, possibly God, making them have faith in God.

2. Conversion - It is described as an experience of God. It has affect their life so much they want to change their life and commit it to God in a special way. It could change their religion and can give a feeling of being 'born again.' It can lead to a belief in God as they feel like God is calling them

3. Miracle - An event that appears to break the law of science, God is the only explanation. Miracles are not experienced by everyone but are recorded and include a religious experience

4. Prayer - Catholics believe they can communicate to God through Prayer. The Catechism teaches that that humans are born searching for God and that prayer is the best way to complete this search. It can lead to a belief in God as the person praying may have a religious experience when their prayer is answered, perhaps for a sick loved one to be healed. Jesus prayed 'thy will be done' which leads Christians to believe that no prayer is wasted

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The Design Argument

The Argument: (Paley's Watch)

There are many beauties in nature, which must have been designed by an artist. Evidence for this is seen in science such as the law of gravity, which must have been created. If the world has been designed, there has to be a designer. The only person able to do this is God, which therefore proves that God exists.It gives extra reasons for those that do believe to believe in God and confirmation for those who are not sure if God exists. 

Why it may not lead to belief in God

1. The evidence ignores the lack of design such as volcanoes, hurricanes and earthquakes that cause disasters.

2. The evidence of design argument can also be explained by science without needing God

3. It ignores the existence of dinosaurs, which could have been part of the design, people disagree they had been part of the design plan

4. It only proves the universe has a designer, not just one God. It could be may God's who created the universe, or a trial run to create a better one

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Causation Argument (Cause and Effect)

God = Cause                                                                            Effect = Universe being created

How it leads to a belief in God:

God is the only person powerful enough to create the universe and becomes the logical cause. People often use the example of a goods train it is caused to move by the wagon pulling it but these wagons can only move if there is an engine which is an unmoved mover. God must have been the unmoved mover to create the universe. 

Why some people disagree:

1. The causes may not stop at God, if everything has a cause, God has to have a cause

2. A better explanation would be the matter of the universe is eternal, so the process of cause goes on forever 

3. If the 'First Cause' did exist, it may not have been God. It could have been any kind of creator

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Scientific explanations

The Big Bang

Around 15 billion years ago, the universe exploded and the red shift in light is evidence for this, the matter of the universe flew away from the explosion, This formed stars and then the solar system. The gases on the Earth's surface produced life such as vegetation, vertebrates and finally, humans evolved. 


Evidence for this theory is the fossil records, the similarities of liefe forms show that around 50% of human DNA is the same as a cabbage.

How this may lead to agnosticism/atheism

Science can explain how the world was created without the use of God, this could lead people to become agnostic as this proves that God is not needed to explain the creation of the universe

People may become atheist as they believe that this is evidence enough to show that God does not exist because there is no reference to God in this

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Catholic response to scientific explanations

1. The Big Bang had to take place at the exact micro second, if it had been too early, it would have been too small to form a star and if it had been too late it would have been to fast for the star to form. 
The scientific laws had to be there for the solar systems to form and only God could have made the laws which the universe are based on
Life on Earth also requires carbon to bond with other atoms. It is impossible that this happened by chance, which means God must have ensured that it happened

2. Other Catholics believe that both the Bible and Scientific explanations are correct. They argue that one of God's days could be millions of years to humans. "Let there be light" is a reference to the Big Bang and references the order that God creates life (Plants, trees, fish, birds, animals, humans) which links to The Big Bang

Others believe that the explanations prove:
1. If God existed, he would be the only explanation of the world, therefore the world can be explained without God.
2. The Big Bang was an accudent, there is not evidence it was caused by God.

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Why Unanswered Prayers may lead to agnosticism

1. If the person is praying in church and at home but cannot feel the presence of God, they may feel that no-one is listening when they pray This can lead to the loss in faith and hope that there is a God, this leads to agnosticism/atheism

2. If prayers are not answered, they are more likely to believe that God does not exist as religious people believe that God will answer their prayers and hear about other people's prayers being answered but their own are not which can lead to losing a belief in God

3. A good Catholic (Who attends Mass every Sunday, follow all religious teaching through their life) may lose their faith in God if they pray and their prayers are not answered. They may pray for thier sick child to be healed but the child could die which can cause them to lose their faith

4. Somone could also lose thier faith if they pray for the end of things such as human suffering in war, but when a terrible event happens, they may lose their faith. They may think that God cannot exist as he would not let these terrible events take place

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How Catholics respond to unanswered prayers

1. If you pray for selfish things, such as passing an exam without revising, God will let you fail. He has answered your prayer by ensuring you revise next time and work harder,

2. Personal prayers may be not be answered in the way that you would like. For example: asking for a family member to be cured, they may not be cured as God's plan may be for them to enter Heaven.

3. God will only provide us with what we need rather than what we want, similar to human parents. If what we are asking for is necessary, he may not provide us with it.

4. Catholics believe that God loves people and trust that God will do what is best for them. His omnipotence and benevolence means that he knows them better than they know themselves. He will answer their prayers but not always in the way they expect.

5. Jesus also said that they must have faith in order for prayers to be answered. Modern Catholics believe that God answers all prayers in a way designed to benefit them in the long-term or the person being prayed for.

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Evil and Suffering

Moral Evil - This is caused by humans using free will. (Rape, Murder and Burglary)
Natural Evil - Something that isn't caused by humans (Earthquakes, Floods)

How evil and suffering cause people to question or reject belief in God:

- If God is omniptent (all powerful) he must be able to remove evil and suffering from the world
- If God is omni-benevolent (all-good)  he must want to remove evil and suffering from the world because it causes unhappiness
- If God exists, there should be no evil or suffering in the world
- If there is evil and suffering, either is not omnipotent or God is not omni-benevolent or does not exist
- If God is omniscient (knows everything) he would have known a way to avoid the evil and suffering that would come from the creation of the universe.
- Suffering a problem can lead to a loss of belief in God

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How Catholics respond to the problem of evil

1. Catholics believe that God wants to help those who suffer. The New Testament teaches that evil and suffering is to be fought. Catholics follow the example of Jesus and fight against it by: praying for those who suffer. They ask God to help those in poverty, sickness, famine, war, etc. They also help those who suffer by becoming doctors, social workers.

2. Others argue that evil and suffering is not God's fault. According to Gensis 1, God created humans in his image and created them with free will. They believe that God wanted people to be free to decide whether to believe in God or not. This means people have chose to do evil when given free will, which is not God's fault.

3. Some Catholics argue that this life is preparation for paradise. To improve their souls, they must face evil and suffering to become good, king and loving. They believe that evil and suffering in this life is something God cannot remove if he wants people to become good people.

4. Some catholics believe there is no reason to worry about something humans cannot understand. God must have a reason for allowing evil and suffering but cannot know as we are just humans. Even Jeusus had to suffer and have to trust God for the answer.

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