Believing in God

  • Keywords
  • Catholic upbringing
  • Religious experiences
  • Design argument
  • causation argument
  • Scientific explanations
  • The catholic response to sceintific explanations
  • Unanaswered prayers
  • How do catholics respond to unanswered prayers
  • Evil and suffering in the world
  • how Catholics may respond to evil and suffering
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KEYWORDS

  • AGNOSTICISM -  the belief that you are unsure whether God exists
  • ATHEISM -  the belief that god does not exist
  •  CONVERSION - when your life is changed for the better by giving yourself to God
  • FREE WILL -  that human being are free to maske their own choices.
  • MIRACLE-  something which seems to break the law of science and therefore makes us only think that it is God
  •  MORAL EVIL -  actions caused by humans that inflict pain on others
  • NATURAL EVIL -  things which cause suffering but are not caused by humans
  • NUMINOUS-  a feeling of a greater presence than yourself.
  • OMNIBENEVOLENT -  God is all good
  •  OMNIPOTENT - god is all powerful
  • OMNISCIENT-  God is all knowing and therfore will know what will happen in the future and what has happened
  • PRAYER-  an attempt to contact God which is usually through words
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RELIGOUS EXPERIENCES

  • A religous experince is when someone beleives that they have communicated God through some way, this could be presented in many ways:
  • 1. NUMINOUS -  (meaning) it can lead to the sense of awe and wonder of the appreciation of something and makes them feel that god is real. e.g.  Father Yves Dubois whilst praying in front of Our Lady.
  • 2. CONVERSION - the feeling that there is something within you wanting to become more commited to God. it can make you change the way view that you see God. e.g. Raymond nader whi was in a Christian army fighting in the middle east. He went to pray at the St Charbel shrine and he touched the feet of the statue, he felt a great pain in his arm and saw a great light. He took this sign and converted his life so that he would begin working on a Christain TV studio which was trying to reduce the amount of wars goingon and protect human rights and dignity.
  • 3. MIRACLE -  ( definition) . may lead to beleif in god becuase shows that god has really acted on Earth and there has been a direct contact with him. e.g. the story of Lourdes
  • 4. PRAYER -  ( definition) if an answered prayer is given, then this is the biggest religous experience because there is a sense of closeness during the prayer and plus any prayer that comes for a the heart of the believer will come true.
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WHY DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

  •  They belive god is omnipotent and therefore is capable of perfroming miracles
  • The bible gives references ( develop it!!)
  • jesus' resurrection is considered to the greatest miracle
  • YES THEY EXIST BECUASE...
  •  Will always convince those who see them.
  • Could be signs from God
  • help people get through diffucult times

 

  • NO THEY DO NOT EXIST BECUASE .....
  •  Need eyewitnesses to verfiy
  • subjective experiences and open tointerpretation
  • explained by science
  • could be tricks
  • God wouldn't want to help some but all
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THE DESIGN ARGUMENT

  • WHAT IS IT?
  • Say if you were in the middle of nowhere and you found a watch, it i a very complex mechanism and must have been desgined by someone, with the purpose of telling the time
  • The world is far more intricate, ecosystems and Dna must have been designed.
  • Only a supernatural, powerful source could have done this therefore it must have been God and he must exist.
  • HOW IT COULD LEAD TO THEISM 
  •   Things that are designed need to have a designer. The world contains evidence of design - DNA, ecosystems, the law of science. The designer has to be greater than its deign and therfore it must be God as he is omniscient and omnipotent. Beauty in the world must exist becuase the seigner wanted us to enjoy this world and therfore it must be God becuase he is benelevolent.
  • MAY LEAD TO ATHEISM OR AGNOTICISM
  • Things that human makes will have a designer but that does not necessarily mean that the natural things have a designer.
  • All the evidence in the world is through science and therfore we do not need to refer to God.
  • the whole world is not beautiful nor designed e.g. natural disasters.
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THE CAUSATION ARGUMENT

  • THE ARGUMENT ITSELF
  • 1. Everything has a cause
  • 2. Nothing can cause itself
  • 3. Therefore, eveything is caused by something
  • 4. An infinite regress of cause is impossible, therefore something must have started everything.
  • 5. Therefore there must be a first cause which is eterneal and has no cause.
  • 6. This first cause then must be God.
  • LEAD TO BELEIF IN GOD BECAUSE
  •  Cause and effect is abasic feature of the world, therfore the world must have a cause.
  • It is impossible for things to cause their own existence as they would have to exist before themselves.An infinite chains is not possible since all casual chains have a beginning.If the universe has a cause the cuase must be greater than the univers, God is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal and transcendant therfore he must be the first cause.
  • NOT LEAD BECUASE.....
  • logical to believe but doesnt acutally prove god's existence
  • why cant there be an infinte chain of numbers
  • if god is uncaused, then why cant the universe
  • only proves the cause of the universe.
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THE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS

  • AGNOSTICISM
  • The theory of the big bang and evolution is suffient on its own to explain the origins of the universe.
  • Someone may become unsure whether God exists
  • Evolution takes place through random mutations
  • This process does not require a designer God.
  • ATHEISM
  • The theory of the big bang and evolution has empircal evidence.
  • Someone may reject the existence of god.
  • Evolution seems cruel where the weakest die out.
  • Since then a benevolent God does not exist then there is no God.
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HOW CATHOLICS REPSOND TO SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS

  • It can prove that God exists
  • Everything in the scientific expanation had to happen in the exact way to produce the world as we see it, this means that there must be a God behind it
  • The universe is so complex, things that are vital for our existence had to exist for the unvierse to be formed, therefore a God who is omnipotent and omniscient had to be needed
  • Others catholics argue that the main aspects of the biblical sotry of creation fit with the scientific theories
  • We have to interpret the stories
  • "Let there be light"- refers to the big bang
  • the order in which God creates fits in with the development of species in the evolution theorem.
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UNANSWERED PRAYERS

  • An unanswered prayer contradicts the diea of there being a personal god
  • If someone prays to God for someone else and they continue to suffer or die, people will come unsure whether God exists or is benevolent.But this may leading to reject God's existence becuase it seems rather cruel.
  • There is no proof of God's existence, a person might conclude that God does not exist if he does no communicate with him .
  • HOW DO CAHTOLICS RESPOND
  • Your prayer may be selfish and it would be wrong if god answered it.
  • It may be personal and god has other plans
  • May have been answered in a way you do not recignise at the moment- knows us better than we know ourselves
  • May be something you want than somethng you need
  • Answered if you have faith and then God will answer all your prayers.
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EVIL AND SUFFERING

  • EXAMPLES OF MORAL EVIL
  • Humans missuse their free will
  • All wars are caused by the actions of humans that could have chosen different pathways
  • desribed as a sun by Christians, they are against how humans wants to act
  • PROBLEM
  • If god is omnipotent, then he has the power to remove all evil and suffering
  • If God is omnisicnt, then he would know how the world is going to turn out when he created it
  • If god is benevolent, then his kindness and love would make him want to  stop evil and suffering.
  • Therefore god is neither omnipotent, omnisicnet nor benevolent or he does not exist.

 

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EVIL AND SUFFERING

  • MAY CAUSE TO REJECT GOD BECUASE ....
  • God is benevolent and want humanity to flourish - if he is omniscient then he would not have designed a world with natural evil in and therfire it is easier to accpet that the wold has evolved this way.
  • Omnipotent and therfore would remove all of it - since he does not stop it he must not exist
  • Omniscient - - he should have created the world differently if he knew that he was going to evolve in this way
  • Scripture teaches us that it has these characteristics - they show that the scripture is wrng and if it is, then the whole of religon may be wrong.
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CAHTOLIC RESPONSES

  •  HELP -  christians respond through prayer and service. see evil as a challenge to ask God to act and do something about it themselves
  • PAIN CAN BE PAINFUL -  it can have good consequences and help people learn about themselves.
  • ORIGINAL SIN -  God made the world good, but evil and suffering enetered it.
  • FREE WILL -  wanted humans to be free people. Evil and suffering are a missuse of this free will and are not caused by God.
  • PREPARATION BY GOD -  the world is preparation for paradise, a chance to improve our soouls and become good enough to enter heaven
  • GOD HAS A REASON - Some christians understand, God's reasons but he must have one, He allowed his own son to suffer therefore we should respond suffering in th same way.
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