Believing in God

Includes notes on:

  • Keywords
  • Religious upbringing
  • Religious experience
  • The argument from design and belief in God
  • The argument from causation and belief in God
  • Scientific explanations of the world and agnosticism and atheism
  • How one religion responds to scientific explanations of the world
  • How unanswered prayers amy lead to agnosticism or atheism
  • How one religion responds to unanswered prayers
  • Evil and Suffering
  • How one religion responds to the problem of evil and suffering
  • How two programmes about religion could affect a person's attitude to belief in God.
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key Words

1. Agnosticism: not being sure whether God exists.

2. Atheism: believing that God does not exist.

3. Free Will: the idea that human beings are free to make their own decisions.

4. Conversion: when your life is changed by giving yourself to God.

5. Miracle: something which seems to break the law of science and makes you think only God could have done it.

6. Moral evil: actions done by humans which cause suffering.

7. Natural evil: things which cause suffering but have nothing to do with humans.

8. Numinous: the feeling of presence of something greater than you.

9. Omni- benevolent: the belief that God is all good.

10. Omnipotent: the belief that God is all powerful.

11. Onmiscient: the belief that God knows everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen.

12. Prayer: an attempt to contact God, usually through words.

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Religious Upbringing

If I want my children to be Christians I would...

  • Go to Church with my children every sunday, during weddings and funerals.
  • Read the Bible to my children.
  • Teach the 10 Commandments to my children.
  • Teach all the Christian rules to my children.
  • Send my children to Christian schools.
  • Teach my children how to pray.
  • Baptise my children when they are borned.
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Religious Experience

Some people claim that they have had a religious experience eg: a miracle, a vision, or a particular prayer to God answered.

Therefore, God exists!

( A religious experience is when you come into direct contact with God)

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The Design argument by William Paley


If you were walking on a heath and saw a watch on the ground you would assume that its parts had not come together by chance because it is too ordered and complicated. Therefore someone must have designed it or it would not work.

Because the Universe is too ordered and complicated, someone must have designed that too. That "someone" must be God.

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Arguments against the Design argument

Why may the design argument not lead to belief in god?

  • According to the design argument everything which is complex and ordered has a creator. If God creates complex and ordered things like the Universe then God himself must be complex and ordered. Since  every complex and ordered thing has a creator, who created God?
  • People might agree with the argument that every complex and ordered thing has a designer, but might not agree with the argument that the designer has to be God.
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The Cosmological (causation) argument by St. Thoma

The argument states:

  • Everything has to come from something. You cannot make something out of nothing.
  • Therefore there must have been a first cause that created something. The first cause is God.
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Arguments against the Cosmological argument

  • If the presence of everything must have a cause then what or who caused God to exist?
  • Maybe the first cause is not God. The Earth is billions of years old. If we compare our age to the Earth's then we would realise that our age is minute in comparison to the Earth's. Them how can we possibly know everything about it?
  • Just because everything in the Universe has a cause to exist doesn't mean the Universe itself has a cause to exist.
  • We can never be sure that the Universe exists. We might just be dreaming. (then we are all having the same dream).
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Scientific arguments about how the Universe came i

  • The Big Bang theory explains the origin of the Universe. However God does not fit in anywhere. 
  • The theory of Evolution explains how the organisms evolved from simple life forms.

(These arguments may lead some people to become Agnostics or even Atheists!)

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Arguments against the Scientific arguments.

  • In the Bible there is a quote:

"Let there be light"

This is perhaps a reference to the Big Bang.

  • According to the Bible, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. But how can we be sure that God's one day is not equivalent to a million and billion of years?
  • Science states that God does not fit in the Big Bang theory but actually God fits in like a jigsaw puzzle as how could the Big Bang have happened at the right time unless a spiritual being (God) made it happen.
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Unanswered Prayers

  • Someone might lose faith in God if someone prays; prays consistently; prays in the right way but the wish is not fulfilled.
  • It is just like knocking on some-one's door and if no one responds and you look through the mail slot but you see no one moving, you would simply assume that nobody is home.

(this may lead to Agnosticism or Atheism)

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Christian responses to unanswered prayers

  • God has an indirect way of answering prayers.
  • Some prayers are selfish.
  • Sometimes God has different plans.
  • Needs and not wants is what God focuses on. Like a father.
  • Have faith before expectations.
  • Two prayers are sometimes mutually exclusive (cannot occur at the same time). e.g. someone wants it to rain however someone else living in the same area does not want it to rain. 
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Suffering and Evil

  • The book called 'THE BROHERS KARAMAZOV' by FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY argues that if God is kind then why does he not listen to the innocent children (in the book a child is a victim of child abuse by her own mother) ? He argues that what is the point of "Eternal Harmony"for which you have to suffer such tortures? He argues why children specifically have to suffer when they have not even done any sins?
  • Trilemma argument:

    • If God is Omnipotent then why does he not eliminate Evil?
    • Evil exists. Is God really Omnipotent?
    • If God is Omnipotent then why does he not eliminate Evil? Is he really Omnibenevolent?
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Christian responses to Evil and suffering

  • Life is a test.
  • God has given us free will.
  • Bible states:

"God never gives you a burden that you cannot handle"

  • The story of Job - he was a firm believer of Christianity. The devil tested his faith. Everything around him got torn apart. He lost his family but did not lose his faith in God.
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How TV programmes encourages belief in God

  • God is presented in a positive way - this may increase some-one's faith in God.
  • Someone might want to get closer to God and the film/TV programme provides evidence to support the existence of God.
  • A film/TV programme may support and present some teachings of God.
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How TV programmes discourage belief in God

  • The film/ programme presents God in a negative way - may make some people question the nature of God.
  • Someone might decide not to worship God due to how God is represented.
  • The film/ programme may support views that God does not exist. This may decrease some-one's faith in God.
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Homer the Heretic encourages belief in God

  • Towards the end, Homer nearly dies of a fire whereas Ned Flandes' house is saved from the fire as Ned Flandes' is a theist showing that Theists are saved from the fire.
  • Homer has a religious experience; a vision of God.
  • R. Love-joy points out that those who have helped has God in their hearts.
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Homer the Heretic discourages belief in God

  • It is a comedy and so people might not take it seriously. People might take it as a way of entertainment.
  • Homer has the best day of his life when he doesn't go to the Church.
  • Makes you think why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.
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How Bruce Almighty encourages belief in God

  • When Bruce has God's powers he cannot make Grace love him. It shows that God cannot interfere with free will.
  • The film makes many references to things that happen in the Bible, for example, the parting of the Red Sea, the Golden Calf, and turning water into wine. It shows that these were possible.
  • When Bruce answers yes to all prayers there is a chaos. It shows why God will not say yes to all prayers.
  • When Bruce walks on water. It shows God can work miracles.
  • At the end Bruce realises that using God power will not give him what he wants. He has to help others at the end. He gives blood and says "be the miracle". It shows that God wants humans to help one another.
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If answering a question... "Does media affect a person's belief in God?" Include...

  • Bruce Almighty
  • Wonder of the world
  • Grilled Cheesus - Glee
  • Homer the Heretic
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  • Science makes God Redundant(unnecessary).
  • Miracles in TV programmes are fake.
  • Programmes do not answer all the questions that arise.
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