Existence of God

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Thiests, Agnostics and Atheists

Thiest - a person who believes in God.

Agnostic - a person who believes we cannot be sure whether God exists or not.

Athiest - a person who believes that there is no God.

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The Cosmological (First Cause) Argument

The first cause argument maintains that God is the first cause of the universe and everything in it which links to Genesis 1, 'in the beginning God created'. Think of dominoes; God pushed the first domino.

St. Thomas Aquinas aruged:

1. Everything that exists was caused to exist.

2. The universe exists, so it too must have a cause.

3. There had to be something eternal (without beginning or end) that was not caused by anything.

4. The eternal first cause is God.

5. Therefore, God exists.

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the First Cause Argume

Strengths:

It makes logical sense, everything we know is caused by something.

Most people believe that the universe was started by something. Why can this not be God?

Weaknesses:

It proves that the universe resulted from a spontaneous event (The Big Bang), not an action by God.

The argument contradicts itself. If the arguement is that things exist as they are caused to exist, what caused God?

If God is eternal, then why can the universe not be eternal also?

Counter Argument:

The Big Bang was God's way of creating the universe.

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The Teleological (Design) Argument

The world is designed so intricately that it could not be down to chance. For it to be designed so specifically, it needs a designer. That designer is God.

Evidence to support this:

Willam Paley's watch analogy - compared the eye to a watch.

Sir Isaac Newton - unique thumb prints and the opposable thumb.

F. R. Tennant - the positioning of the sun, moon and stars.

Weaknesses:

David Hume - cannot compare things so different/ the Earth isn't perfect (natural disasters etc.)

Richard Dawkins/Charles Darwin - theory of evolution.

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The Argument from Miracles

Miracle type 1 - events that break the laws of nature and cannot be explained by the sciences.

Miracle type 2 - events in which no laws of nature are broken but a coincidence occurs at just the right time to cause a good outcome.

1. Thiests use the argument from miracles to prove the existence of God by arguing that, as there is no natural explanation for what happened.

2. Then it must be a supernatural event.

3. The miracle must be caused by something outside of nature, and as God is outside of nature it must be him who caused the miracle.

4. Therefore God exists.

Religious Examples:

Jesus turning water into wine, Jesus healing a blind man, Loudres in France - 5mil healed.

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Argument from Mira

Strengths:

Miracles should prove God's existence as nothing else can do such a thing.

Many people have been recorded to have miracles happened to them (miraculous cures recorded by doctors).

Many people become thiests when experiencing miracles.

Weaknesses:

Could be a mistake - doctor diagnosed illness wrong.

Does God prefer some to others?

David Hume - laws of nature are fixed, it is unlikely to be anything else.

Maybe humans just have no explanation for it yet.

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The Argument from Religious Experience

Some thiests are certain that God exists because they claim to have experienced God.

Religious experiences that believers may claim to have are:

Communicating with God through prayer or meditation.

Feeling God's presence in worship - Charismatic/Pentecostal worship.

Experiencing a Conversion - e.g. St. Paul was originally a Jew who wanted to kill Christians. On his way to Damascus, he had a religious experience that converted him to Christianity.

Involvement in a miraculous event e.g. Lourdes for Catholics.

Numinous - a feeling of awe and wonder, indicating the presence of God.

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Argument from Reli

Strengths:

If someone converts, it may be genuine (Atheist to Thiest).

If it matches an experience had before, it may be real.

Seeing is believing.

Weaknesses:

It could be the person's subconcious (physchological).

They may be hallucinating.

The believer is so desperate for one - it is wishful thinking.

Social, religious conditioning.

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The Argument from Morality

Morality is a sense of right and wrong that helps guide people's behaviour - conscience.

Thiests argue that the powerful sense of how we behave is evidence for the existence of God. Some thiests would argue that our sense of right and wrong is 'built in' by God. They would argue that:

1. People have an inbuilt sense of morality.

2. This sense comes from a source outside of them.

3. This source is God.

4. Therefore, God exists.

Morality takes priority - morality is a command that must be obeyed; it comes from an ultimate authority (God).

Moral behaviour does not always get fair treatment - therefore will be rewarded in the afterlife.

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Argument from Mora

Strengths:

Most people have feelings of guilt when they do something wrong.

Most society have the same laws e.g. do not murder, steal, commit adultery.

Weaknesses:

Does everyone have exactly the same sense of right and wrong?

Is our sense of right and wrong fixed or changing?

Are there any alternative sources for our morality?

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