Believing in God

GCSE Short Course Religious studies:

  • Key terms 
  • Definitions
  • Islamic and Christian views 
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  • Created by: moll
  • Created on: 22-11-11 20:49

Basic Vocabulary for Believing in God

  • monotheism - think 'monobrow'
    Belief in one God
  • polytheism - think 'polygon' - many sides
    Belief in more than one God
  • omnipotent - 'p' = power
    God is all powerful and able to do anything to his power 
  • omnibenevolent - 'l' = love
    God is all loving and he loves and cares for everyone no matter who they are or what they do
  • omniscience - think 'science' and knowledge of knowing things
    God is all knowing and he knows everything in the past, the presence and the future
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Relationships with God

  • personal 
    a person can have a relationship with God and is able to communicate with him via methods such as prayer
  • impersonal
    a person cannot have a relationship with God and he does not answer and/or listen to prayers directly
  • transcendent
    When God is described as this, it is meant that he is not part of this world. God exists outside of the universe
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  • immanent
    When God is described as this, it is meant that he is close. He is present with us everyday
  • creator 
    God created the world and everything in it out of nothing
  • sustainer
    keeping everything going
  • infinite
    God is not limited in space, he is in all places at all times 
  • eternal
    God is not limited in time, he always has and always  will exist
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Believing in God


  • doesn't believe in God at all 
  • doesn't think he or his spirit ever existed


  • believe in God
  • on the basis of faith alone


  • aren't fully sure what you believe in
  • nobody can prove there is a God
  • nobody can prove that there is not a God
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Christian and Islamic views in Believing in God


  • He is always there (infinite) and listens and cares for us
  • There are stories and people have been aware of his presence for years
  • Religion has been around and so there is something
  • He explains and answers questions I have by methods of prayer
  • Miracles do happen 
  • God intervenes in the life of people


  • The holy Quran tells us how he created the world and what is in it
  • It is a part of the Shahadah (declaration of faith made by Muslims)
  • Design of the universe suggests that Allah created 
  • The universe had to have a cause even the big bang must have been cause by something
  • Allah provides a moral code
  • He gives structure and meaning to life
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The Problem of Evil

Examples of evil

  • War
  • Terrorism
  • Death
  • Rape

If God was omnipotent and omnibenevolent: surely he would be able to remove suffering because it causes so much unhappiness?

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Problems of Evil (Continued)

Natural Evil

  • Non intentional evil that is caused naturally, not by us as a global community
  • Examples include volcanoes erupting, earthquakes and destruction and flooding.

Moral/man made Evil

  • Evil that is caused intentionally by humans
  • Examples include murder and violent attacks
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The Design Argument: William Paley's Analogy to th

William Paley thinks the world is like a watch because:

  • similarly the world has cogs and gears that seem to work with regular motions
  • these regular motions allow us to achieve the purpose of telling the time 
  • the time is told to the world in regular cycles
  • for example: the oxygen cycle
  • the oxygen cycle works to the purpose of maintaining man kind
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The First Cause

Chain Causation

  • A list of explanations that tell us how one thing lead to another

St Thomas Quinas

  • He suggested that if there was motion in the universe the cause of this motion can be traced back to the first mover

  • This prime mover is what we call God

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Religious Experience

Religious Experience

  • An experience that leaves the person feeling they have been contacted

Numinous Experience

  • One which leaves the person with a sense of awe and they wonder at Gods presence

Conversion Experience

  • One which makes a person change their religious belief

Pilgrimage Experience

  • Travelling to a place of value to your religion

Charismatic Experience

  • One which is led by a powerful and believable leader 
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How Might Meditation and Prayer Count as a Religio

  • Meditation and prayer involve communication with God
  • It allows people to gain new knowledge of God
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Religious Upbringing in Christianity


  • Parents swear to bring them up as Christians
  • Feel welcomed into the church
  • Raised into the community


  • People may feel connected to God
  • Feel that he is listening to them and guiding them


  • Christmas, Easter and Lent
  • Major festivals that support belief in God 

 Sunday School

  • Learn more about religion and beliefs (Increased Bible knowledge) 
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Religious Upbringing in Christianity (Continued)


  • Children are baptised usually when babies
  • When they are older they are 'confirmed'
  • They have a 'confirmation' to remind them of their promises

Schools in Britain

  • Education in Britain will be along the lines of Christianity
  • It will contain Bible Teachings
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Religious Upbringing in Islam

Declaration of Faith

  • The Shahadah or 'declaration of faith' are the first words a baby will hear
  • His/her parents will guide them


  • Muslim children will probably pray five times a day
  • Usually with their parents
  • This will be compulsory and more so asserted at the age of roughly 13 onwards


  • Special schools attached to the mosques
  • Here children can learn more about Islam
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Religious Upbringing in Islam (Continued)


  • Festivals like Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-adha 
  • Teach about Muslim values 


  • Every Ramadan Muslims fast
  • They do not eat in the daylight hours for a month 
  • It is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God

Religious Scripture

  • Reading the Quran is part of worship for families
  • Quotes from the Quran are frequently used as artwork decorating Muslim houses
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'Teach Yourself' Questions

  • What is prayer? (2)
  • Do you think that learning about religion in schools is a waste of time? Give two reasons for your point of view (4)
  • Explain why the idea of causation may lead to, or support, belief in God. (8)
  • "God answers everyone's prayers"
    a) Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion (3)
    b) Give reasons why some people may disagree with you (3)
  • What are miracles?
  • Do you think that evil and suffering mean that God cannot exist? Give two reasons for your point of view (4)
  • Explain why design in the universe might lead some people to believe in God (8)
  • "God gives meaning and purpose in life."
    a) Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer (3)
    b) Give reasons why some people may disagree with you (3) 
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