What is a God, The Trinity.
- A divine figure
- Appears in most regligions in different ways
- Belived to have created the Earth
In the trinity, God is in 3 parts:
- The Father
- The Son
- The Holy Spirit/Ghost
- Omnipotent - all powerful, almighty
- Omnipresent - present everywhere at the same time
- Omniscient - all knowing
- Omni-benevolent - good will, kind
The Body and Soul
Christians believe we are made up of 2 things:
- The Body
- The Soul
The body is a physical state that hosts/houses the soul.
The soul is a spiritual state which characteristics. It lives on and is released when the body dies.
The Body and Soul (Continued)
- Seeks physical pleasures
- Wants to please God
- Sets humans apart from animals
- Lives on after death
Christians believe we are made in God's image.
This means we have a part of God in us. That part is our Soul.
Heaven, Hell and Purgatory
- Experience great happiness
- Surrounded by God's love
- You must lead a good life and have believed in Jesus and his teachings
- Roman Catholic belief
- Hell-like place, but not as bad
- Prayers from family and friends can help a soul through purgatory
- Souls go to purgatory to be cleansed of their sins before they can ascend to Heaven - a degree of punishment is needed and it is a chance to right wrongs
Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (Continued)
- Unimaginable pain, suffering and sadness
- "Bonfire, the devil..."
- Completely parted from God's love
Judgement and Salvation
Christians believe that:
- God judges each of us on how we live our live on Earth - how we treat others, especially those less fortunate.
- If we choose to reject him, we are separated from him forever.
- If we repent and are truly sorry, we are accepted and forgiven.
- We may pray for forgiveness.
Salvation is God's action to for a bond between himself and us, his creations.
Judgement and Salvation (Continued)
- The sins of humanity were erased when Jesus died on the cross.
- God gave his only son to die for us, which shows his love.
- Ressurection shows not even death can keep you from God.
- Salvation is offered to everyone - though you must choose to accept it.
- God wants to be loved by his creations. We are created to be involved in a relationship with God.
- Jesus was resurrected. He overcame death, allowing souls to reach heaven and freeing souls from the old testament to heaven.
- Some people believe the afterlife is physical, others spiritual.
- Some people believe cremation is wrong as the body cannot be resurrected.
In the exam you must:
- Agree/Disagree and explain fully the reasons why
- Give another point of view - "On the other hand some people might think..." or "Other opinions are..."
- Refer to what Christians or different groups of Christians think, or different Christian beliefs, depending on the question
- Immanent - God is present in the world and the universe and can act directly in the world
- Transcendent - God is outside, beyond the universe and space and time
- Omnipresent - Everywhere at once
- Omnipotent - All powerful
- Omniscient - All knowing, all seeing
- Monotheism - Belief in only one God
- Atheism - Belief in no God
- Ineffable - Something too great to be expressed in speech
- Trinity - Three in one - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- Soul - The part of a human being that makes us different to animals
- Immortal - Living forever
- Eternity - Forever, or "without time"
- Funeral - Ceremony after death, including the body's disposal
- Cremation - Disposal of a dead body by burning
- Burial - Disposal of a dead body by burying it in the ground
- Afterlife - Continued existance of some kind after death
- Prejudice - Judging them before you know them for a certain factor
- Discrimination - Acting on your prejudiced views
- Racism - Prejudice baised on race
- Sexism - Prejudice baised on gender
- Ageism - Prejudice baised on age
- Equal Opportunities - Ensuring everyone has equal chances and that there are no limiting factors because of gender, race, age, etc.
- Evangeism - Believing it is OK to seek people to convert to your faith
- Evangeist - A person who believes in/practices evangeism
- Ecumenism - Encouraging other religions to work together
- Emumenist - A person who believes in/practices ecumenism
- Apartheid - A legal system separating races - most recently in Africa
- Sacrament - A ceremony in which God is believed to be present
- Confession - Catholic sacrament - forgiveness of sins
- Forgiveness - Accept wrong actions of others, not hold it against them
- Reconcilliation - Bringing people back together after a disagreement
- Redemption - Being brought back to God by repenting your sins
- Repentance - Being genuinely sorry for your sins
What is God like for Christians?
What is God like for Christians?
- There is only one God - this is one of the Ten Commandments
- God is unlike anything else that exists
- God is eternal and outside both time and space
- God is good and acts in the best interests of his creations
- God has no physical body and is omnipresent
- God is the creator of the world and everything in it
- God has a purpose for the world although we can't know what it is
- God is interested in people and how they behave
- God will judge people individually
- God is omniscient and omnipotent
The Doctrine of the Trinity
Christins are monotheists; the existance of only one God is specified in the Ten Commandments.
God the Father
- "Father" is often used to refer to God as the creator of everything
- It reflects the love of God for humankind
- Modern Christians may also choose to use the word "Mother" to reflect these beliefs since God is not limited by Gender
- Christians also believe that Gos is the Father of Jesus who was sent to earth to save humanity
The Doctrine of the Trinity (Continued)
God the Son
- Christians believe Jesus is the son of God
- Jesus is also God himself - he is fully human and fully divine
- God chose to come to earth as a man to show people the right way to live
- The Son was sacrificed to atone for the sins of humanity
- Jesus then resurrected - shows that God as power even over death
God the Holy Spirit
- After Jesus was resurrected he was taken to heaven, however, this doesn't mean that God no longer had a presence on earth
- Christians believe that he sent the Holy Spirit to the world to live in the lives of Christians
- The Holy Spirit is present for all believers - guiding them
- The Holy Spirit is often shown as a dove - symbol of peace and hope
Christians believe in God because...
- They have had a near death experience
- They feel he is the cause of miracles
- It is they way they were brought up
- Believe the word of the bible
- Telelogical argument - the world is so complex it needed a creator - God
- Cosmological argument - word needed a starting point - God
- Fear of Hell
Arguments Against the Points
People with no religion would argue that:
- None of these reasons are proof
- The creation could be an accident as could evolution
- Conscience is a product of the way we are brought up and the society we live in
- Personal experience may convince the believer but there is no proof for anyone else. There is no proof God exists but equally there is no proof that he doesn't. It is personal decision and is down to the beliefs of the individual - it is a matter of faith
Miracles are believed by Christians to be...
- Caused by God
- Do not follow the natural order of the universe
- Goes against the laws of nature
- Supernatural occurance
Types of miracles include:
- Bein saved from danger
- Miraculous healing (Lourdes, France)
- Seeing visions of Jesus or the Virgin Mary
- Stigmata (the wounds of Jesus appearing in the flesh of believers)
- God also showed his involvement with the world when he came to earth himself in human form as Jesus
The majority of funerals in England follow a Christian pattern although each denomination has its own customs.
Most Christian funerals include:
- A church service with appropriate Bible passages and prayers
- Talking about the dead person and thier life - called the "Eulogy"
- Singing hymns
- All of this is to remind the congregation of the closeness of God and the promise of eternal life for his followers
Burials often include a second service at the graveside (commital service), where the words "ashes to ashes, and dust to dust" will be said:
- The body was made by God out of earth and goes back there
- Reference is made to eternal spiritual life with God
Christian Funerals (Continued)
The vicar/priest/minister will give a "commital" at the burial or cremation. This:
- Gives the person back to God
- Asks for God's mercy on their sins
- Reminds the congregation of the promise of eternal life
The Bible does not specify a form of funerals so individual wishes can be added.
English funerals do not usually include a viewing of the body, but in America and Canada it is an important part of the service. They believe that viewing the person can be a comfort to the relatives as they can face the reality of death.
Christian Attitudes to War
Central to Christ's teaching is the idea that people should love one another and try to live in peace.
However, the Old Testament and most Christian thinkers suggest that sometimes a war is necessary to overcome evil.
Such a war can still be wrong in itself but it is not as bad as what could happen if the enemy were not fought.
It may be seen as necessary to fight in defence of the weak.
As with many things in the Bible give differing viewpoints and Christians have to decide which teaching is most relevant to their current situation.
As a missionary religion Christianity has always been actively sought converts.
From time to time it has been involved in so-called "Holy Wars".
The best example of this was the Crusades where Christian Europe fought to keep Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Christian hands; crusaders were told it was not a sin to kill non-Christians.
Major Christian denominations today would not support the idea of Holy War.
Just War Theory
To help with the confused teachings in the Bible, St Thomas Aquinas developed the "Just War Theory". According to the Just War theory a war is justified if:
- It is started by the proper authority (government or ruler)
- The country being attacked are deserving of war (Just Cause)
- The war is being founght to promote good and avoid evil
- War is the last resort, as all other solutions to the problem have been tried and failed
However, two more points were added later:
- Innocent people should not be killed and appropriate weapons should be used
- Peace must be restored at the end of conflict
It is only possible to see if a war was worthwhile after the war is over.
There are people who are opposed to any participation in wars: in the past they have been called "conscientious objectors". Such people are not always Christians although some of the Christian groups do adopt this view, for example the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) hold the view that war is never right under any circumstances.
Pacifists can be divided into:
- Absolute Pacifists who believe violence is always wrong, even if it is self defence or has a just cause
- Conditional Pacifists who believe that while violence is wrong it is sometimes needed
Many people argue that since Christ allowed himself to be killed, and told his followers not to defend him, even self-defence is not an acceptable excuse for violence.
Christianity and the Treatment of Criminals
At the centre of Christian teachings is the message of love and forgiveness.
Christianity teaches that God loves everyone and forgives people if they are truly sorry.
Christianity is unique in having a founder who was executed as a criminal.
Christians are often shown for being mercifull on criminals because they believe in forgiveness.
They believe punishment is needed for crimes, but the punishment must be just.
Justice is about treating people as they deserve - no better and no worse.
Social injustice is where some members of society are allowed fewer rights and privileges than others.
Christians believe that all people all made in the image of God and are equally valuable.
This means that Christians should try to make the world a fairer place.
The Bible says we should look after the weak and poor, not have favourites or discriminate, and treat others as you treat your friends.
Christian Beliefs about Equality
Christians believe that God loves all humans unconditionally. They believe that people should try to show the same love to each other and be concerned for the welfare of others, no matter who they are.
Other reasons people are equal:
- All humans are made in the image of God
- All humans have a soul, given to them by God
- Jesus welcomed all people from any background or group; he healed social outcasts, and worked with tax collectors and the Romans who were hated
Christianity teaches that racism is never justified. "Love thy neighbour as thyself" means to treat the whole human race equally.
The Role of Women
Most Christians believe that men and women were created to be partners for one another, with different but complementary skills and abilities. In general terms:
- Men are physically stronger than women
- Women can become pregnant and breastfeed
- Men have better hand/eye coordination
- Women are better at multi-tasking
- Men have a better sense of direction
- Women have a better endurance of pain
The Role of Women (Continued)
Some Christians believe that men and women were made different because they were meant play different roles:
- Men should work and provide for their families
- Women should stay at home to look after their children and husbands
- Women have a duty to have children
- Both are responsible for bringing up good children as Christians
- Both are responsible for their own spiritual welfare
- Neither is better than the other: both have equal responsibilities in different areas
Other Christians believe that this isn't true in the modern world and responsibilities should be shared equally.
Christians believe they should use the talents and abilities God gave them to the best of their abilities.
Forgiveness and Reconcilliation
Forgiveness is important in Christianity. Jesus mentions it at several points in the New Testament.
Forgiving means not holding grudges or bringing up old differences or arguments.
Christians believe that any sinner who truly repents of their sins can be forgiven by God.
Because Christ asked him from the Cross for God to forgive those who were crucifying him Christians believe that sets an example of forgiveness that they should try to follow.
The death and resurrection of Christ are also believed to redeem all of our sins, and as long as we accept the sacrifice of Jesus we can be forgiven.