GCSE Edecxel Religious Studies - Believing In God

Topic 1 of the GCSE Religious Sudies for Edexcel.

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  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 02-05-11 09:16

Religious Upbringing

The features of a religious ubringing are:

  • The teaching and saying of bedtime prayers.
  • The participation in Church - especially in Family services and Special Occasions.
  • Sunday School
  • Church School
  • Confirmation.
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Religious Upbringing

The reasons this leads to, or supports, a belief in god is:

  • It will appear natural to you.
  • People you respect believe. (Think believing in Santa Claus, you never questioned that)
  • See the church praying together - may make you feel as if there must be a god, if all those people feel as if he is listening.
  • It's a normal feature of everyday life.
  • The Confirmation - you learn about god and there may be a religious experience.
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Design Theory

  • Paley's watch theory says that if you came across a watch in a forest, you would not say that it got there by chance.
  • You would say that the watch had a designer, was made, and then dropped in the forest.
  • Life and the universe is far more complex then the watch, and so that must have had a designer.
  • And the only designer capable of creating the universe is god.
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Causation Theory

  • This is the process where one thing cause another. An example of this is that brakes won't work unless you press the brake pedal.
  • Anything caused to exist can not be caused by itself, otherwise, the thing would have had to existed before it existed, which is impossible.
  • There needs to be a first cause.
  • The only thing that is possible to be the first cause for the universe is god.
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Meaning and Purpose

  • People are searching for the meaning of life.
  • This search tends to lead people to the belief that this isn't all there is, that there must be something more. An afterlife.
  • One reason for this is the idea for justice. Good people suffer, and bad people get rewarded in this life, so there must be another life where this is righted. 
  • Only God could provide an afterlife, and only he has the right to judge whether people are good or bad.
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Religion and Belief in God

  • In the search for meaning and purpose, people may turn to religion. Some religions teach that this life is a preperation for the after life, and this may make people feel as if relgion is true, because they feel as because there must be a purpose, then there must be an afterlife.
  • The sheer amount of people that believe religion may also make people believe that it is true, because you can't believe that all of the 2 billion christians, for example, are all wrong. There has to be some truth in what religion is teaching.
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Non Religious Explanations of the World

  • Sciecntists believe in the law of conservation of mass (matter can not be created or destroyed), the big band and evolution.
  • Because of this, agnostics may begin to question whether god actually exists, because there are other explanations for the world, which have nothing to do with god.
  • Atheist will use this as arguements against God, because this seems more believable then there being a higher power, this is natural as has evidence for it, such as the red shift effect.
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Non Religious Explanations of Miracles

  • The "miracle" depends on being seen by an eyewitness, which may not be reliable. They may be making it up.
  • These eyewitnesses tend to be believers. There is no Roman report that Jesus rose from the dead, only christian ones.
  • Miracle seem to be selective, why do miracles happen to wealthy people in the west, and not god's poorer sufferers elsewhere?
  • It is more easily believable that they aren't true. Jesus may not have been dead, and so didn't rise from the dead. People may be mistaken. Also, natural explanations for miracle: this is seen when staues of Ganesh appear to be drinking milk, the rock of the staue may be porous.
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Unanswered Prayer

  • Some people don't feel the presence of God as they pray. Which may lead them to become fustrated and question the belief in God. If he's not there, then he doesn't exist.
  • Sometimes, if the prayer that goes on answered is selfish or personal, people justify unanswered prayer by saying that it's part of God's plan.
  • However, if this carries on and the prays are neither selfish  nor personal, then people may start to question why God doesn't care, of is he is even there at all.
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Evil and Suffering

There is two types of evil:

  • Moral Evil - This evil is caused by humans. Examples include murder, **** and kidnapping.
  • Natural Evil - Evil that humans have no part in. Examples include earthquakes and volcanoes.
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The Problem of Evil and Suffering

This causes a problem for religions, and may make them question whether or not what the bible says about God is true, and in that case, is anything the bible says is true? This leads to them questioning the existence of God.

God is described in the bible as bebevolent, omnipotent and omniscient. This means:

  • He should want to stop evil and suffering.
  • He is able to stop evil and suffering, but he doesn't.
  • He knew that the world would have both in when he created the world. Why did he bother? Or why didn't he make a world without evil in?
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How Christians Respond to Evil and Suffering

All christians believe that there is a reason why there is evil and suffering, here are three possible ones:

  • God has a reason, but as humans, we are uncapable of understanding the divine mind.
  • God gave us free will, and can not be blamed for our use of it.
  • That God caused evil and suffering as a test of their faith.
  • That without evil and suffring, people can not be truly kind, good people.

The main christian response to evil and suffering is to do what Jesus did, help those less fortunate.

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