RE Unit 2 Believing in God

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Religious upbringing

Christian families raise their children to believe in God because they believe it is their duty to have a family and it will help their children through difficulties

Baptism - the child is welcomed into the Church who will support the child

School - the school will educate the child about Christian beliefs

Worship - Sunday School helps the child to learn about Jesus and God

Community - the child can meet people in Bible study groups and youth clubs so they will have a sense of belonging

Parents examples - children believe what their parents tell them and will want to copy them when they see their parents praying, reading the Bible and going to Church

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Religious experiences

Numinous experience - an experience where someone is amazed and feels the presence of something much greater than themselves eg when looking at a sunset or rainbow

Conversion - an experience where someone changes their beliefs. This could be an atheist believing in God or someone changing religion (eg Saul persecuted Christians then became a Christian himself)

Prayer - a method to communicate with God. It can be used to praise and thank God or to ask for forgiveness

Miracle - an act that seems impossible where the only explanation for it is God (eg calming storm, feeding 5000, healing crippled person) 

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The Design Argument

Design is the result of intelligent thought

The universe shows signs of being designed - gravity, ozone layer

This suggests that something with intelligence designed the universe

The universe us too complex to have happened by chance

Therefore God exists


If someone saw a watch for the first time they would know it had been designed because it is complex - it has many parts that work together in order to function properly so must be designed.

The universe is like the watch - it is complex so cannot happen by chance and must have a designer.

The only being capable of designing the universe is God - therefore God exists

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Arguments against the design argument

We cannot prove God's existence - the design argument only suggests that God designed the universe

The appearance of design could be due to evolution

Why would God create a world with natural disasters such as earthquakes - surely this is a flaw in his design?

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The Causation Argument

Nothing happens by itself

Everything is caused by something else

The universe cannot have happened by itself

A powerful cause was needed to cause the universe

This cause must be God

Therefore God exists

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Arguments against the causation argument

The causation argument cannot be proven

Even if everything in the world seems to have a cause, it does not mean that the universe had a cause

The argument only suggests that God caused the universe

There are other reasons for the cause of the universe (eg the Big Bang Theory)

If everything has a cause then what caused God?

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Scientific explanations of the origins of the worl

Big Bang Theory - an explosion created the universe

Natural Selection - species select characteristics for survival

Scientific explanations cause people to doubt God's existence because it offers an alternative view and there is proof 

Some Christians believe in scientific explanations and the Bible - 'let there be light' could be a reference to the Big Bang

Some Christians do not believe in scientific explanations because they conflict with the Bible

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Christian responses to unanswered prayers

They might think that they do not have enough faith

They might think that God does not answer prayers in the way we expect but they should trust God even if they don't understand his will

They might think that God is not listening to them

God does not answer selfish prayers

What they are praying for is not part of God's divine plan

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Evil and suffering

Moral evil - murder, war, theft

Natural evil - famine, disease, earthquake, tsunami

If God is omnibenevolent then he would want to remove suffering because he cares for us

If God is omnipotent then he would be able to stop suffering

If God is omniscient then he would know how to stop suffering

Some people believe that is there is suffering then either:

God is not omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient

or he does not exist

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Christian explanations and responses to evil and s


God gave us free will so any moral evil that causes suffering is due to humans

It could be a test from God to see how we react and to determine whether we go to heaven or hell

It could be part of God's plan so we should trust him

Evil and suffering help us to follow Jesus' example


We should pray for others who are in need of help

We should help others cope with suffering by becoming a doctor

We could volunteer for a charity to help people in need

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Some religious programmes show how religion can benefit lives

Some religious programmes joke about religion, question God's existence and suggest that religious people are crazy

A Short stay in Switzerland

deals with issues of assisted suicide and moral dilemma

not biased - treat religious views with respect

debate on legalising euthanasia in UK

friend prays for Anne. Anne is not religious so it will not have an effect on her, but it is important for Clare

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