Believing in God


Features of a Catholic Upbringing

Tech children prayers

  • Take to church-Childrens liturgy,help understand about God.
  • Send to a Catholic school-taught Re in catholic christian enviroment
  • Encourage First confesion and Communion-Lessons from priest

If you have a catholic upbringing, it will be natural to you.

  • Always been told god exists
  • Peopl you respect will also belive in God
  • Going to church, see people pray and worship make you feel God must exist.
  • God and christainty part of shcool
  • Have a religous experince when bsihop lays hands on you.

Good thing:  Helps keep family togther, teaches right from wrong, good morals, belonging and sense of community    

Bad thing: relgion not chosen, childs human right to freedom of religion taken away, may work against community.

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How religious experinces may lead to belief in God

Numinous: Feeling a presence greater than yourself

Conversion: Feeling God's presence makes you more religious, chnages life e.g. St Paul on the road to Damascus.

Miracle: Events which seem to break the laws of science and can only be explained by the existence of God e.g. People cured at Lourdes

Prayer:Somone prays to God for help with a problem and problem dissappers.

Relious experince does not prove God's existence:

  • Numinous experience caused by surroundings
  • All miracles can be explained
  • More unanwered than answed
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The arguement from design and belief in God

  • The unniverse works acording to science laws such as gravity
  • Way in which humans grew from tiny blueprint of DNA
  • Way in which complex mechinisms work such as eye allow to see
  • Way in which big bang worked with the laws of science to produce unniverse.

Leads to belief in God:

  • Somehting desined must have a designer
  • Unniverse is designed
  • only possible designer is God
  • Therfore God must exist

Does not prove God exists:

  • No desinger would createthings like volcanoes, earthquakes etc.
  • Science can explain
  • Does not explain dinosaurs as a part of the plan
  • Does the designer have to be God
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The arguement from causation and belief in God

Causation the beleif that if somthing happens somthing must of caused it.

Leads people to believe:

  • Things in the world have a cause
  • Anything caused to exist must be cuased by somthing else
  • So... unniverse must have a cause
  • Only God could cause the unniverse 

Leads to believe:

  • Makes sense explains how and why we are here.
  • Fits with our common sense. somting cannot come from nothing
  • Fits with sciecne, every effect has a cause.
  • Believe things started off, must have a begining or first cause.

Does not prove God exists:

  • God must need a cause, does the first cause have to be God?
  • Matter is eternal, unniverse been there for ever.
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Scientific explanations for origins of the world a

Agnostic: Not being sure whaether or not God exists.

Atheism: Believeing that God does not exist.

Scienific explanations of the world can lead people to become agnostic or atheists.

  • Matter is eternal
  • About 15 billion years ago, matter exploded (Big Bang theory)
  • As the matter flew away fronm the explosion, it formed stars and then out solar system.
  • Gases on earth produced primitive life.
  • Science now explains how humans came into being through evolution

If science can explain it may doubt the arguements for Gods existence and so thinks God does not exist.

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How Catholics respond to scienctific explanations

There are two catholic responses:

1) Many catholics accept that the scientific explanations are true but believe they prove God created the unniverse because..

  • Only God could of made the Big Bang exactly the right the time to form the unniverse.
  • Only God could of made laws such as gravity needed to form solar systems
  • Only God could of made gases on earth react in such a way to form life.

2) Some believe both are correct as the main points of the bible's creation story fit with science but one of Gods days could be millions or billions of years.

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Why unasnwered prayers lead to Agnosticism or Athe

  • God is supposed to care for those who worship him, but if people pray and pray but God never answers their prayers then person may become agnostic or atheist.

An example:  A good catholic goes to mass on Sunday and follows teachings they pray to God to cure their sick child but the child dies, may loose faith in God

  • Someone prays for end of human suffering, but it continues, doubt God
  • How could he exist and let such things happen?
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How Catholics respond to unanswered prayers

Most catholics believe God answeres all prayers, what seems to be unanswered can be explained.

  • If you pray for selfish things like passing an exam without revision, will let you fail so you work harder next time.
  • Might not be answered in way you expect, God has different plans
  • God may answer our prayers by giving us the things wre need rather than what we want.
  • He will try to answer our prayers in the best possible way

Arguements for unanswered prayers:

  • God is so loving so if he dosent answer all prayers it proves he dosen't exist.
  • A good God would not answer a few prayers and ingnore the rest
  • If there was a God he would answer the religous people so would be no wars and no starvation.
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Why evil and suffering may lead to agnostic or ath

Evil and sufferin takes two forms:

  • Moral evil- caused by humans using free will, wars and crimes e.g. rapes, murder etc
  • Natural evil- suffering not caused by humans e.g. earthquakes, floods, cancers etc are examples of this.
  • God is omnipotent (all-powerful) he must be able to remove all evil and suffering in the world.
  • God is omni-benevolent (all good) he must want to remove evil and suffering from the world.
  • As there is evil and suffering in the world either God does not exist or is not all good and powerful.
  • Also- if God is omniscient (all knowing) he must have known evil and suffering would happen so why create a world knowing it would?

For many religious believers, evil and suffering becomes a problem and if they experience it, may change them into atheist or agnostic.  

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How catholics respond to the problem of evil and s

Four responses that Catholics may take with the problem of evil and suffering:

1) God must have a reason for allowing evil and suffering, follow Jesus and and fight against evil and sufferin. Many Catholics become doctor, nurses, social workers to reduce the amount of suffering in the world.

2) God gave humans free will and so came through humans misusing their free will.

3) Catholics believe life is a preparation for paradise, if they face evil and suffering they will be rewarded in heaven.

4) God has a reason for not using his power but humans cannot understand the reason. God is divine and we canot understand his thoughts.

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How two programmes about religion,affect atitudes

The Simpons- Homer the Heretic

Summary: He rejects his religion, he has a good time at home while the family are stuck in a freezing cold church. He sets up his own religion. One sunday the house catches on fire and all the neighbours come to help. Relises the error of his ways and promises God he will return to church.

How it might encourage some people to believe in God?

  • Different people praying
  • Shows religous people helping people in need.
  • Volunteers from fire brigade from different religions
  • God is forgiving-forgives homer

How might it encourage some people not to believe in God?

  • Suggests God is only pleased if people dress up smartly for church
  • Religous people shown as nerdy characters
  • Boring sermons in church by Rev Lovejoy
  • God seen as punishing people. Says he will punish Rev Lovejoy, give him a "canker sore"
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How two programes about religion affect attitiudes

Songs of praise

Summary: Weekly visit to a church with interviews and well known hymes. They are sung by the congregation with the words on the screeso people at home can join in.

How might it encourage some people to believe in God?

  • People can join in
  • People give whitnesses on how God has helped/ affected them
  • People talk about how God gives their life meaning
  • Those unabe to go to church can join in from home.

How might it encourage some people not to believe in God?

  • Old fashioned hymns
  • Very few young people involved in the show
  • Nothing in common with people that are interviewed
  • May respent being forced listen to hymns about a God they dont believe in.
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