Good and Evil - God and The Devil
Christianity teaches that God is more powerful that the Devil, and so good is stronger than evil.
For Christians, God is the beginning of everything good.
Some Christians believe that because God is the 'power of good', there must also be a 'power of evil', and this is thought to be the Devil.
However, other people believe there to be no God, but just people who choose to be evil. This idea can be linked back into God giving people free will so they can choose between good and bad.
Good and Evil - The Fall, orginal sin and redempti
In the story of Adam and Eve, Eve picked fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve then introduced 'Original Sin' into the world. This event is called the Fall.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that original sin is the way in which humans are born with a lack of holiness, and so it is different to other sins people commit.
Some Christians believe that humans would have been immortal as they were created in the image of God, but this immortality was lost when Eve took the fruit.
The First Letter to the Corinthians showed how Jesus saved humanity from the consequences of sin by allowing himself to be crucified. This is called Redemption.
Good and Evil - Problem of Evil
Christians say that there are two kinds of evil;
- Moral Evil - The behaviour of people which are seen to be cruel and uncaring. The holocaust is seen as moral evil
- Natural Evil - This covers natural events such as volcanoes, floods and hurricanes which may harm or kill people.
However, some people think Natural Evil can be caused indirectly by humans, due to Global Warming etc. Other people believe Natural Evil is caused by the Devil.
- Omnibenevolent - All good
- Omnipotent - All important
- Omniscient - All present
Good and Evil - Responses to Evil
People argue that if God was good there wouldn't be any suffering or evil and so;
- God doesn't exist
- God is not all powerful
- God is responsible for everything, including evil and suffering
- Irenaeus (130 -202) - "People need to suffer, and need to choose between good and evil, otherwise they'll be like robots, and God wants people to choose to worship him.
- St Augustine (354-430)- Believed that evil was a lack of good. Evil happens when people do not choose good and so this means that evil is not a thing itself, but simply what is left after there is no more good.
- Job (Old Testament)- Job was a man who worshipped God, but a man named 'Adversary' asked for God's permission to test Job's devotion and so Job lost his; wife, children, wealth and health but still worshipped God.
Good and Evil - Coping with suffering
In the New Testament, people believed that illness and suffering were punishments for sins that people had committed.
Christianity teaches that God took human form and came to earth as Jesus, to where he gave his life so that all sins of humans were forgiven.
When Christians are suffering, they pray to God alone or as a community, they accept that God doesn't always answer the prayers in the way they would like him to, but God chooses the best option for them. An example of this is when Jesus heals a paralytic and says; "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
- Paralytic - Someone suffering from Paralysis
- Sin - Behaviour which goes against religious teaching
- Suffering - Physical or mental pain or distress
Good and Evil - Reasons for Moral Behaviour
Christianity teaches that because Jesus gave up his life to have all sins forgiven, people accepted him as the 'Son of God' and that they now have the opportunity to reach heaven when they die.
There are a few ways in which Christians decide how God wants them to behave;
- Following the Ten Commandments
- Follow the example of Jesus' life and teachings
- Follow their conscience
- Commandments - Laws
- Conscience - A sense of right and wrong
- Faith - Belief or trust in something without proof
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Concept of Revel
Many Christians have a personal experience of God, when he speaks directly to them. This could be through; prayer, when on a pilgrimage, when mediating or when feeling loved by God.
There are two types of Revelation;
- General Revelation - This is made available to everyone, it is natural as it comes to us through nature. William Paley (1743 - 1805) saw the design of the natural world as evidence for existence of God as it's designer.
- Special Revelation - This means God has taken the initiative to give. In the Old Testament, there are accounts of God acting in special ways such as; Helping the Israelites through the desert, through people such as Prophets.
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Revelation throu
A form of revelation is conversion, and there are many examples of conversion in the Bible, the main one being St Paul who was converted after persecuting some of the first Christians.
Evangelical Christians see conversion as the beginning of faith, and so a person needs to ask for forgiveness and after this they are 'born again' or 'saved'.
Other Christians believe conversion is the most important experience in their lives. It changes them forever. They experience the conversion in a range of ways; some have a physical experience like St Paul, others have it through reading a bible or through prayer.
- Evangelical Christians - Protestant Christians who emphasise the authority of the Bible, and salvation through acceptance of Jesus.
- Conversion - A change in someone's religious beliefs.
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Revelation throu
Some Christians after their conversion have a later experience. They are given a spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophesying or having visions.
Other worshippers feel very close to God and worship in an uninhibited way; singing, dancing, clapping etc. Other people Pray and meditate, and believe God reveals himself to them.
Meditation for Christians is not just emptying their mind, but it also fills it with God's work. This may involve a single work or a prayer.
- Charismatic - Form of Christian worship, where people try to open themselves to the Holy Spirit and be inspired by it
- Pentecost -The day when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples
- Prophesying - Predicting future events
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Revelation of Go
God revealed himself through Jesus, so that people could see God through; Jesus' life, work and teachings.
Christians also believe Jesus reveals God's Nature through the Gospel stories of how he showed love and forgiveness, offering people a new start in life.
The Church and Bible teaches that was necessary for Jesus to be human so that on behalf of the human race could get God's forgiveness for every one's sins.
Incarnation - God taking human form as Jesus Christ
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Authority of the
One of the most important ideas in the Old Testament is the relationship between God and Humanity.
Some Christians believe that every word in the Bible is absolutely true, and there are no errors or mistakes in it. These Christians are often called Fundamentalists or Liberalists.
The Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians views are God's gift to the Church inspired people who wrote the books.
The Conservative approach to the biblical authority is that the authors of the Bible wrote under God's inspiration, this is viewed by Evangelical Christians.
The Liberal view of the Bible, is that it records the experiences of people seriously seeking after God in their own lives and cultures. So the Bible need not to be understood literally but can bet interpreted.
Religion, Reason and Revelation - Importance of th
Christians believe that the Bible contains the teachings they need to understand God and follow Jesus.
William Tyndale (1494 - 1536) was the first to translate the Bible into English, as before this it was written in mainly Hebrew.
Christians feel that everyone should be able to read the bible in their own language.
Every church service, takes readings from the Bible and explains the teachings, other Christians read the Bible at home every day, and use it to pray.
- Tradition - Teachings of the Church
- Authority - A source of reliable knowledge and teachings
- Sermon - A talk on a religious subject at a service
Religion and Science - Origins of the World and Hu
The Big Bang Theory suggests a explosion created the whole universe, of which forced gases and matter to form stars and the planets.
In 1704, Charles Bonnet gave some of the first ideas about evolution in a paper about Aphids. It was Charles Darwin who suggests the ideas about evolution, and living things were developed through Natural Selection.
But many people refused to believe that humans evolved from apes, and challenged the theory of evolution. In the 19th Century, Philip Gosse argued suggesting "God placed fossils in rocks in order to test the faith of Christians". People who view this idea are called Creationists.
Intelligent design is a new theory in which, it claims the universe and life forms are too complex to have to evolved without God.
Religion and Science - Origins of the world and hu
There are two accounts for the views of how the Earth and Universe were created;
First Account - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." The Roman Catholic Church teaches God made the world out of nothing, whilst other Christians believe God created the world out of the matter that was already there. But this raises the views that;
- God created everything, then why did he create Evil
- Others believe because God used matter, there may have already been evil there and so proving God wasn't responsible for Evil.
Second Account - God created the world in Six Days. It was the 6th day when he created animals and humans, and tells the humans "Be fruitful and increase in number..."
Religion and Science - Views for Origins of the wo
Christians who believe every word of the Bible find it difficult to reconcile the scientific discoveries about creation.
Creationists support their views with the work of James Usser, a English Bishop who calculated the actual time of creation by working through the dates given in th Bible, he worked out it took place on the 26th October 4004BCE, billions of years after the date given by science.
Other Christians have resolved the difficulty by considering the creation accounts to be myths. They say, "Science explains how, Religion explains why"
Darwin's theory caused a problem for many Christians, and wasn't accepted by the Roman Catholic Church until 1996.
Religion and Science - Place of humanity in relati
In the Bible, Humans are given power over creatures. God tells Adam to name the animals.
For many centuries, there have been discussions as to whether animals have souls. As it is clear, from Jesus' teachings, that God cares for animals.
St Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) - He didn't believe animals have soles and spoke about them at their treatment.
There is disagreement among Christians, about they attitude to animals and the relation to using animals in scientific research. Whilst others believe, humans were given power of animals and so this research is acceptable.
Many Christian churches have spoken out against the way in which animals are treated.
Religion and Science - Religious teachings to envi
Christians believe, that at the time of creation people were intended to act as Stewards.
God have humans dominion, but not domination.
The Story of 'Noah's Ark' in the Bible, shows what God requires of humans caring for the environment. Noah takes two of every kind of animal in the ark with him to save them from the flood.
In the Old Testament, there are teachings for humans to care for the land.
- Domination - Exercising power over a less-powerful being
- Dominion - To have the authority or control over something
- Steward - Someone who looks after something for someone else
Religion and Science - Responses to enviromental i
In 1988, A Encyclical stated that "The Earth and all life on it is a gift from God given us to share and develop, not to dominate and exploit." The Pope made if clear that the Earth and life is a gift and should be treated with respect.
One of the ways in which Christians show their thankfulness for the environment is in worship. The Harvest Thanksgiving is a modern Church Festival which began in 1843, it is used to thank God for the Harvest and the Earth.
CAFOD and Christian Aid are two Christian charities that undertake conservation work.
- Encyclical - A formal statement from the Pope
- Thanksgiving - A prayer or act of worship offering thanks to God.