How a Catholic upbringing may lead to, or support,
- Parents will have told them about God as part of their promises to bring them up as a Catholic and young children believe what parents tell them
- Going to church and seeing so many people praying to God and worshipping God has a big effect on children, this leads them to believe God exists.
- Going to Children's litergy would support belief in God because children would learn why catholics believe in God and what they believe about Him
- Going to a Catholic school would have a similar effect, as God and Christianity would be a normal feature of school life. The children have RE lessons which teach them that God exists and the children are likely to believe it because their teachers tell them its true.
The numinous and belief in God
- the feeling if the presence of something greater than you
- When people are in a religious building, in a beautiful place or looking up at the stars they may be filled with an awareness that there is something greater than them which they feel to be God
- This may lead to belief in God because the experience will make them feel that God is real.
- If you become aware of a presence greater than you, you are likely to believe that that presence is God and so you will believe in him
Conversion and belief in God.
- When your life is changed by giving yourself to God
- The experience makes them wants to change their life and commit themselves to God
- Also causes someone to change their religion or change from agnosticism or atheism to belief in God
- If someone has a conversion experience, that will lead them to believe in God because they will feel that God is calling them to do something for him
Miracles and belief in God
- something which breaks a law of science and makes you think only God could have done it
- Miracles are recorded in most religions and usually involve a religious experience
- If someone experiences a miracle this would lead to belief in God, as the only explanation for it would be God
Prayer and belief in God
- an attempt to contact God, usually through words
- if the person praying to God feels that God is listening to the prayer, then they have a religious experience through prayer and are sure that God exists.
- if i private prayer is answered, this is a huge religious experience, and will definitely lead to belief in God.
- during Prayer, a person may experience a sense of joy and peace, the closeness of God, or not feel anything in particular.
- the desire to pray is a religious experience in itself and christians believe no prayer is ever wasted, though prayer is answered in God's time and on God's terms.
How religious experiences may lead to belief in Go
- an event that people feel gives them direct contact with God
- any religious believer who has any form of religious experience will find that the experience supports their belief in God and makes it stronger because they now have more direct evidence for God's existence.
Evidence for design in the world - Laws of science
- Most people think the universe has been designed as it works according to laws such as gravity, motion, magnetism, boding etc. This involves complex things working together
Evidence for design in the world - DNA
- Made up of two strands that form a ladder like structure, which forms a double helix.
- Replicates by unzipping and using each strand as a template to form a new strand
- New strands are then passed on to daughter cells during cell division
- Structure of DNA indicates a design or blueprint for the structure of organisms.
Evidence for design in the world - Evolution
- Some scientists also see evidence of design in the process of evolution where complex life forms develop from simple ones
Evidence for design in the world - Beauty of Natur
- Artists see evidence of design in the beauties of nature where sunsets, mountains and oceans appear to have beauty which an artist would have to spend a long time designing
How the appearance of design may lead to, or suppo
Argument for design
- Anything that has been designed needs a designer
- There is plenty of evidence of design in the world
- If the world has been designed, it must have a designer
- The only possible designer of something as beautiful and complex as the world would be God
- Therefore the appearance of design in the world proves Gods existence
How the appearance of design may not lead to belie
- Argument for design ignores evidence of lack f design for things such as volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, diseases
- All the evidence for design can be explained by science without needing God
- The argument only proves that the universe has a designer, not God. The designer could have been many Gods or an evil creator.
Paley’s Watch argument for the existence of God
- if you came across a watch in an uninhabited palce, you could not say it had been put there by chance
- the complexity of its mechanism would make you say it had a designer
- the universe is a far more complex mechanism than a watch, and so, if a watch needs a watchmaker, the universe needs a universe maker
- as the only being that could design the universe is God, it would follow that God must exist
Evidence for causation in the world
- cause and effect seem to be the basic feature of the world
- whatever we do has an effect
- e.g. if i do my homework, i will please my parents/teacher. If i do not do my homework, i will annoy my parents/teacher
- science seems to show that, when investigated sufficiently, any effect has a cause and any cause has an effect
The argument for causation
- if we look at things in the world we see that they have a cause; ice forming
- anything cause to exist must be caused by something else because to cause your own existence you would have to exist before you exist, which is nonsense
- you cannot keep going back with causes because in any casual chain you have to have a beginning. So if the universe has no First Cause, then there would be no universe, but as there is a universe, there must be a First Cause
- The only possible First Cause of the universe is God, therefore God must exist
How the argument for causation may lead to belief
- Makes people think that the universe, the world and humans must have come from somewhere, they must have has a cause. As God is the only logical cause of the universe, it makes them think that God must exist.
- people who believe this use the example of trains:
- each wagon is caused to move by the wagon that is pulling it
- although each wagon is caused to move by another wagon, this whole process can be explained if there is an engine that is not moved by something in front but is an 'unmoved mover'
- in the same way, the process seen in the world can only be explained if there is an unmoved mover causing everything in the universe to happen and this could only be God
Why some people disagree with the argument
- why should the causes stop at God? If everything needs a cause then God must need a cause
- a better explanation is that the matter of the Universe itself is eternal and so the process of causes goes on forever
- even if the first cause were to exist it would not have to be God, it could be any sort of creator
Scientific explation of the world
Evidence for the Big Bang
- about 15 billion years ago the matter of the universe became so compressed that it produced a big bang
- Red Shift Effect is evidnence for the Big Band as this shows that the universe is expanding
Evidence for Evolution
- fossil records (life developing from simple to complex)
- similarites between life forms being descovered through genetic research
scientific explanation of the world may lead to ag
May lead people to become agnostic because:
- science can explain where the world came from and where humans came from without any reference to God. They are unsure whether there is a God or not. The argument that you need God to explain why we are here is no longer valid for them
May lead people to become atheist because:
They are sure there is no God because they believe that if God exists, he must have made the world and he must be the only explanation of the world. The scientific explanation of the world and humans without any reference to God is proof to such people that God does not exist.
How catholics respond to scientific explanations o
Repsonse one - they believe the scientific explanations are true, however they believe this does not mean people should be agnostic or atheist. They believe scientific explanations proves God created the world because:
- the big bang had to to at exactly the right second. if it had been too soon or too late, the stars would not have been able to form
- there had to be scientific laws such as gravity for the matter of the universe to form the solar systems, and only God could have made the laws on which the universe is based
- life on earth requires carbon to be able to bond without four other atoms and water molecules. This could not have happened by chance, so God must have ensured it happened.
How catholics respond to scientific explanations o
Response two - some catholics believe both scientific explanations and the Bible are correct and claim the main points of the Bible story fit with science. One of God's days could be billions of years. For example:
- Genesis 1:3 "God said, let there be light" - this is a direct reference to the Big bang
- The order in which God creates life as described in Genesis - plants, trees, fish, birds, animals, humans - is the same order as described in the theory of evolution for the development of species
unanswered prayers - not feeling God's presence wh
this may lead to agnosticism or atheism because:
- when people pray they are attempting to contact God and many people claim to feel that God is listening to their prayers
- however some people say their prayers at church or at home but never feel the presence of God
- this may lead them to feel that there is something wrong: either they are not praying correctly or God isnt listening
- they may seek adivce or try harder when praying but despite all efforts still cannot feel the presence of God
- this may cause them to question whether God exists
prayers not being answered
unanswered prayers may lead to agnosticism or atheism because:
- Christians belief God is their loveing heavenly father who will answer their prayers and in some churches they tell of people whose prayers have been answered
- however, if another person prays and their prayer is not answered they may begin to wonder about a God who answers select prayers
- if parents of a suffering child pray to God for help, but the child still dies, this may make them question or reject the existence of God. If there was a God he would be loving and would want to help heal people just as God helped Jairus' daughter recover from a life threatening disease.
- if prayers continue to be unanswered especially if the person is praying for unselfish, good thing e.g. the end of wars or aid of suffering people, then this may become evidence that God dos not exist.
Catholic response to unanswered prayers
- If you pray for selfish things. E.g. if you pray to God to help you pass a test you have not even revised for, it would be wrong for God to allow to pass the test. God has answered the prayer by making encouraging you to work hard to achieve things
- If you pray for personal things e.g. the recovery of a sick/dying relative, this prayer may not be answered in the way you expect of want as God has a different plan for everyone and he might intend for that person to enter heaven
- Human parents do not always give their children what they want but what they need. This is the same with God, as he will answer our prayers by giving us what we need, not what we want.
- Catholics believe that God loves people and they trust God to do what is best for them. Believe in God's omnipotence and omnibenevolence and believe that God answers all prayers in the best way possible, even if it does not seem like a direct answer
Evil and suffering
Moral evil - actions done by humans which cause suffering
Natural evil - things which cause suffering but have nothing to do with humans
Free will - the idea that human beings are free to make their own choices
omni-benevolent - the belief that God is all-good
omni-potent - the belief that God is all-powerful
omniscient - the belief that God knows everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen
Evil and suffering
- caused by humans misusing free will
- war is one example - causes huge amounts of human suffering
- ****, murder and buglary
- moral evil = sins as they are against what God wants humans to do
- earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and cancers
how evil and suffering cause people to question/re
- some people cannot believe a good God would have wanted to design a world which would cause his people so much suffering. This makes them question Gods existence
- if God was omni-potent he must be able to remove all evil and suffering from the world and if God was omni-benevolent he must want to remove evil and suffering from the world because they cause so much unhappiness. If God existed there should be no evil or suffering in the world but as there is this follows that God does not exist or his is not omni-benevolent/potent
- if God was omniscient, he must have known all the evil and suffering that would have been caused as a result of creating the universe the way he did. Therefore he should have created the world in a different way to avoid this or he doesnt exist. This belief also challenges the Holy Books and the whole of some religions
- people affected by evil and suffering such as an earthquake or cancer may lead to agnosticism or they may lose faith completely
How catholics respond to evil and suffering
- believe that God wants people to help those who suffer. Jesus regarded suffering as something to be fought against and catholics should help those as jesus did by: praying for those who suffer, and helping those who suffer through catholic charities
- evil and suffering are not God's fault. God created humans with free will and this means they can chose whether to do good or evil things. evil and suffering are problems created by those who missuse their free will
- evil and suffeing are not a problem in this life because those who suffer will be rewarded in paradise. this life is a preparation for paradise and people need to face evil in order to become kind, loving, good people.
- many believe that there is no point worrying about the problem because humans cannot understand God's reasons for doing things. God must have a reason for allowing us to suffer but we can never know what it is. They believe catholics should respond by following the example of jesus by helping those who suffer