Scientific Explanations of the World?
Cosmological Theories - The Big Bang Theory
- How the Universe came into being.
The Universe came into being in an explosion of matter and energy. Matter from this explosion eventually formed stars, planets and everything else. The universe still seems to be expanding today, important evidence to support this theory.
Evolutionary Theories - Origin of the Species
- How living things came to be how they are today.
Charles Darwin published On the Origin of the Species in 1859. This book argued that all life on the planet originated from simple cells. Life evolved over millions of years into a huge variety of forms. According to this we evolved from apes, not Adam and Eve.
How do Christians respond to scientific explanations of the world?
Know the three responses.
- Christian thinking is based on the idea that God created everything. If the bible is taken literally the process took six days, and humankind didn't evolve from apes but is descended from Adam and Eve.
- However, it can also be viewed as a parable, or as a symbolic description of a more gradual evolution. This means it's possible to believe in the Bible and science.
- In 1996 the Roman Catholic Church accepted the Big Bang theory - definately a significant acceptance of science.
Religious Upbringing - What are the main features of a christian up bringing and how it leads to a belief in God.
- According to the New Testament, you cannot be 'born a Christian'.
- It's said that God has no grandchildren. In other words, you can't rely on your parents' faith - you have to find your own. And your parents can't force you to accept christianity - it's your own decision!
Most Christian parents will have their children baptised soon after they are born, take them to pray in church, send them to Sunday School to learn about the Christian faith and encourage them to be confirmed as Christianswhen they're old enough.
At home, church and Sunday School there are trusted adults who set an example of belief in god, and can help a child to develop their own faith.
Religious Experience - You need to be able to explain the 4 types.
Numinous - This describes an experience that inspires awe and wonder, where somone can feel God's presence. E.g. a beautiful view or a butterfly's wing might convince you that there is a creator.
Miracle - Is an amazing event that can't be explained by the laws of nature or science, and are said to show God's power and prescence. E.g. miracles of healing at Lourdes (Bible).
Prayer - Is an attempt to contact God directly. It usually involves words and can be thought of as a conversation with God. A person might feel the presence of God in an answered prayer - if an ill person they prayed for is cured.
Conversion - Refers to the first time a person becomes a follower of a God or when someone changes their faith. They might say that they've been saved or born again.
Prayer: How do unanswered prayers lead to atheism and agnosticism?
How do Christians respond?
Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians often pray for a saint to intercede with God on behalf of someone who's suffering.
In other Christian traditions, prayers of intercession are addressed directly to God.
Christianity, Judaism and Islam teach that no sincere prayer goes unheard or unanswered.
If a prayer seems to be unanswered, it's just that we can't understand God's reply. Since no human can ever understand God's Plan, it's impossible to say what's really best for us.
How does the media show what people believe about God?
Songs of Praise
Positvie Effects On Faith:
- Viewers share other people's experiences of God and faith. This can help show the relevance of Christianity to people's lives, and make them feel part of a larger community.
- The themes covered in the programme can lead to a deeper understanding of the Christrian religion.
- The programme is interactive - with hymn and prayer text on screen. This lets viewers take part in communal worship without having to go to church.
Negative effects on faith:
- It's hard to feel personally involved in a service when you're watching it on TV.
- The programme might be seen to trivialise the act of worship.
- Some people find the traditional hymns boring and uninspiring.
Argument from Causation - What is the evidence?
The universe as we know it works on the principle of cause and effect, everything that happens is caused by something else.
So an event happening now was caused by an earlier event, which in turn was caused by an even earlier event and so on back through time.
If you trace this chain back in time, you find two possibilities:
- The chain goes back forever - the universe has always existed, it's eternal.
- You eventually reach a starting point - an uncaused cause or first cause.
Some people argue that this first cause must have been God.
The Argument from Design - What evidence is there of design in the world?
How does it lead to belief in god?
The idea here is that the intricate workings of the Universe (or of life) can't have come about by random chance. There must have been some kind of designer - and this was God.
Two design arguments:
Isaac Newton's thumb theory - because every thumbprint is intricate and unique, there must be a god.
William Paley's watchmaker theory - you wouldn't think an intricate watch yoou found was made by chance, so why think the world was?
Even Albert Einstien, one of the most prominent scientists of the Twentieth century said: "When I see all the glories of the cosmos, I can't help but believe that there was a divine hand behind it all."
How do Christians respond to evil and suffering?
Christianity and Judaism teach that evil entered the world as a result of Adam and Eve giving into temptation in the Garden of Eden - this switch from a perfect world to one containing evil is known as The Fall.
After the Fall, every human being was born with aflawed nature, capable of causing suffering - this is the idea of original sin.
Christians believe God created human with free will - it's up to us to choose whether we perform evil deeds or not - just as it was upto Adam and Eve whether to give in to temptation or not.
Suffering is often seen as a test of faith - God has his reasons (even if we don't know what they are). Christians believe that they should try to help people who are suffering - both practically and by praying.
Evil and Suffering - Moral vs. Natural Evil what is it?
What is the problem of evil and suffering?
Moral (human Made) Evil
- This is when suffering is brought about by the cruel actions of people.
- This includes things like murder, war, **** and torture.
- The person causing the evil is able to make a choice about what is morally right or wrong.
- This kind of evil, and suffering that comes with it, is caused by the world in which we live, and is no-one's fault.
- This includes things like disease, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.
Evil and suffering may lead some people to question their belief in god - or even reject their faith.