Edexcel Religion and Life - Believing in God

Revision cards for the first topic in the Edexcel Religion and Life Course

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Religious Upbringing

Main features:
Christian parents:
- are likely to have their babies baptised
- will teach their children to believe in God
- will teach their children to pray to God
- will take their children to church
- may send their children to a Church school

May lead to or support a belief in God
Children may feel it is natural to, because:
- they believe what their parents tell them
- their parents wouldn't waste time praying if God wasn't real
- lots of people worship God
- they will be taught God exists at Sunday school or Church school and they will believe their teachers

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Religous Experience

Main points
Religious believers who have a religious experience may have a stronger belief because they feel they've had a direct contact with God.
Numinous - When people are in a religious building, a beautiful place or looking up at the stars they may feel there is something greater than them, which they believe is God. This may lead you to believe in God.
Conversion - A feeling of experience with God that is so great that people want to change their life or religion and commit themselves to God. They feel God is calling them.
Miracle - An event that breaks the laws of science and can only be explained by God. if you have a miracle you may believe in God because it can't have been science that did it.
Prayer - Religious believers think they can contact God through prayer. If they feel that God is listening then they are likely to believe God exists. Also an answered prayer may lead to a belief in God.

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Design Argument

Main points
When religous believers look at the world and think that it looks like it has been designed they find a designer; God.

- Anything that has been designed needs a designer
- There is plenty of evidence that the world has been designed (e.g. Gravity, DNA, etc.)
- If the world has been designed, the world must have a designer
- The only possible designer is God
- Therefore the appearance of design in the world proves God's existance.

This argument supports a belief in God and may lead to those who are unsure to believe that God does exist.

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Causation Argument

Main points
Causation is the process of one thing causing another.

- Cause and effect seem to be a basic feature of the world. Whatever happens has an effect.
- This means the universe, the world and humans must have a cause.
- God is the only logical cause.
- Therefore God must exist.

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Scientific Explanations --> Agnosticism or Atheism

Main points
Science explains how the world came in to being this way:
- Matter is eternal
- About 15 billion years ago, the matter of the Universe exploded (Big Bang theory)
- As the matter of the universe flew away from the explosion it formed stars then our solar system
- The gases on the Earth's surface produced primitive life
- The genetic structure of these primitive life-forms led to evolution, and about 2.5 million years ago, humans evolved

How the scientific explanation of the world may lead to agnosticism or atheism
If science can explain the universe and humans without God, it may lead some people to be agnostic, as they no longer need God to explain why we are here.
Other people may become athesists because they believe that if God existed, he must have made the world. If science can explain the world and humans without God, it is proof that God does not exist.

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Christian Repsonse to Scientific Explanations

Main points
There are three response to the scientific explanations of the world.
Response One
Scientific explanations are true:

- Only God could've made the Big Bang at exactly the right time
- Only God could've made the laws of science
- Only God could've made the gases on Earth react in such a way to form life
Response Two
Some believe that the evidence for the Big Bang and evolution can be explained in the Bible (account of creation, Noah's flood and the Apparent Age theory). The Apparent Age theory says that when Adam was made, the Earth was 6 days old but because the way the God created it, it looked like it was millions of years old. This is creationism.

Response Three
Scientific explanations and the Bible are correct. They fit together, but one of God's days could've been million or billions of years.

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Unanswered Prayers --> Agnosticism or Atheism

Main points
If people pray but never feel the presence of God, they may feel there is no God listening to them. This feeling may lead to agnosticism or even atheism.

Unanswered prayers are even more likely to lead people to believe God does not exist. If someone's prayers aren't answered (particularly if they are praying about something like a child to be cured of cancer etc.) they might stop believing in God. They may think God doesn't exist because he wouldn't let such things happen.

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Christian Response to Unanswered Prayers

Main points
Many Christians believe God answers all prayers and unswered prayers can be explained:
- Selfish prayers may be answered differently to how the person want
- God may have different plans so your prayers may be answered differently
- Christians believe that God loves people and will answer in the best possible way even if it doesn't seem a very direct way
- Christians have belief that God will answer all prayers in the best way for either the person praying or for the person being prayed for, even if it is different to what they expect.

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Evil and Suffering --> Agnosticism and Atheism

Main points
Evil and suffering takes two forms:
- Moral evil is caused by humans under their free will. E.g. war, **** murder, etc.
- Natural evil is suffering that has not been caused by humans. E.g. Earthquakes, floods, etc.
How evil and suufering may cause people to question or reject God
- If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), he must be able to remove evil and suffering
- If God is omni-benevolent (all-good), he must want to remove evil and suffering
- It follows that, if God exists, there would be no evil and suffering
- As there is evil and suffering, either God isn't all-good and powerful or he doesn't exist
Also if God knows everything (omniscient), he must've known that by creating the world, evil and suffering would come. So He should've created it in a way that avoided evil and suffering.
If a religious believer is at the hand off evi or suffering it could change them to an atheist or agnostic.

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Christian Response to Evil and Suffering

There are four responses to the problem of evil and suffering.
Response One
Many Christians believe from the Bible that God has a reason for allowing evil and suffering, but humans cannot understand it. Jesus fought evil and suffering by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, challenging those who were evil and even raising the dead. Christians follow his example by praying, becoming doctors, nurses or social workers.

Response Two
Many claim that, by giving humans free will, god created a world in which evil and suffering will come about. So evil and suffering is a problem caused by humans, not God.

Response Three
Many believe that the evil and suffering involved in this life aren't a problem, because it is only preparation for paradise. Evil and suffering improves your soul so they can become good, kind and loving. The good will be rewarded in heaven.

Response Four
God has a reason for not removing evil and suffering but He's so divine humans can't understand his thoughts.

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Comments

Alice

Great revision cards! They're really useful, got a unit test coming up and contain all the information necessary to do well in my GCSE exams :D Thank You!

ella

Thank you!! these helped a lot :)

Eve Rogers

So useful! Only one question, is this for the short edexcel course or the full Edexcel course?

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