RE - God, Life and Death

Looking for Meaning

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What is God Like?

  • Creator/ Judge/ Friend/ She/ He/ Without Gender
  • Omniscient (all knowing)
  • Omnibenevolent (all good)
  • Omnipotent (all powerful)
  • Immanent (within nature/the world)
  • Transcendaent (outside of the world, not involved)
  • Father - the on who acres for us (Malicious)
  • Without form/human form/ spirital
  • Eternal
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What influences our Thoughts about God?

  • Family Backgroud - taken to church, views discussed with you from a young age, learn to trust your parents views.
  • Personal Experience - answered prayers, miracles.
  • Views formed after reading sacred and other texts - some Christianssay that the Bible is the "living word" of God and reveals great things to them.
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Symbolism and Imagery

  • Within many religions believers will possess or wear certain objects that they consider to have deeper meaning or help them express their belief in God.
    Often these symbols are considered to be sacred by the believers anc can be used as an aid to worship. 
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How Might Faith Help us in Life?

  • All life belongs to God, who is in control. This comforts many.
  • Some may blame God for difficulties butmany believ that God gives people free will so suffering and unhappiness results from rejecting God's way.
  • Life is a trial but God will not push us more than we can hear. God gives strength to those who believe.
  • Many believe the sanctity of life that God creates: a person's life is holy and sacred whic gives people hope.
  • With every temptation or difficulty God gives a pathway of escape or success.
  • After death is judgement and those who do wrong will be punished. This idea of justice brings hope and comfort to people.
  • Prayer and worship often give inspiration and strength, a sense of awe.
  • God is loving and forgiving: and knows everything we have to go through. Jesus became human and therefore understands all that we suffer.
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Nature of God in Christianity

The one, all powerful, all knowing and all good. Creator of the world, creatures and humans. Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Best seen in Jesus. Wants a relationship with humans. Will judge the world.

Cross - Christians believe Jesus is the best way people know about God. Jesus is the incarnation of God in human form. Because he took human form and suffered, Christians can relate to Jesus. So the cross, which is a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus is a helpful reminder of beliefs in God and his character.

Trinity - Christians believe that God is one, but is know through three distinct forms: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the Trinity. However Christians say the most complete revelation of God is thorough and yet also a human being "God in Flesh". 

Christians believe that Jesus' death on the cross is the greatest act of love as he sacrificed himself to save the world from sin. "Greater love has no one than this, that he gave up his life for his friends"

Christians refer to Jesus as Lord and Redeemer.

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Nature of God in Judaism

A living creator who sustains the earth and all in it. He is one and is the only True God. He is eternal and Spirit - not being in any form. All knowing and all powerful. The lawgiver. Has chosen a covenant people (Jews) Will send a Messiah. Will judge the world and resurrect the dead.

Shema, Mezuzah and Teffillin -  The belief in the oneness of God in Judaism is found in the Shema which is recited by many Jews in the evening and morning services. The first paragraph comes from Deuteronomy 6 and states:

"Hear o Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might"

Many Jewish homes have a mezuzah case on their front door. In the case are the first two verses of the Shema. It is rolled into the tefillin boxes which are strapped onto the forehead and arms - to remind Jews to give God their full heart and mind.

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Covenant, Chosen People, Promised Land

Jews believe God has mad a special covenant (promise/agreement) with them through messages from special prophets: Abraham and Moses.

They believe they are God's chosen people or covenant people and they therefore have to set the example to the rest of the world by keeping God's Law. They believe that the Law is very important (613 Mitzvot in the Torah). They believe that if they keep God's law then God will protect and bless them forever/

As part of this covenant they believe that God promised them land - The Promised Land (Israel). As a sign of the covenant, Jewish boys are circumcised at 8 days old in the Brit Milah ceremony - an irreverisble and physical sign of their duties.

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How do people experience God?

  • Miracle - something that is a wonder, a supernatural happening, something that wouldn't happen in the normal ordinary course of events.
  • Act of Benevolence - sometimes a miracle is experienced almost as if it were an act of generosity by God.
  • Worship - they may feel to have a direct relationship and communication with God through worship.
  • Prayer - a way of thinking about God and feeling that life is different as a result of praying.
  • An inner feeling - some just feel that God is there, helping them, even when things are not appearing to be good.
  • Reading sacred texts - some find texts have a special meaning for them at a particular time in life. This is why Christians refer to the Bible as the "living word".
  • Natural Beauty and Wonder - beautiful things in the world of nature may fill some people with a sense of God. They believe God is involved with the world (immanent).
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How do people respond to God?

  • Prayer - sometimes together, sometimes alone. In many religions there are particular times or patterns for prayer.
  • Preaching and Teaching - sharing the faith with others and helping each other grow in faith.
  • Worship - daily or regular experience involving gathering with others to sing, read, pray, listen, dance and recite.
  • Vocation - responding to God is a matter of what they do in terms of a job or career. People fully dedicate themselves to god and are involved in a life of service and ministry.
  • Pilgrimage - places of special importance.
  • Changing Lifestyle - all religions have rules about the way to live life
  • Service and Commitment - Many religions encourage believers to view what they do as a service or a response to God and those he has placed in their care.
  • Retreat or Study - Some people feel the need to get away from the distraction of life as it has a negative impact of their faith.
  • Acts of Kidness - Kindness to others. To pay TITHE.
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Life After Death - Christianity

"Even if I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid because you are with me"

  • E - ternal Life is received through faith. Our bodies grow old but our souls go on.
  • T - iming of death is in Gods hands.
  • E- ntry to heaven is depend on two things. How a person responds to Jesus and his teachings and the way in which a person responds to those in need on earth.
  • R - esurrection is the main theme in Christian funeral services.
  • N - ew earth and heaven will be made after the judgement day.
  • A - fter-life is a spiritual existence. Those redeemed through Jesus will be resurrected to his new earth and heaven.
  • L - ife choices are therefore important. Christians see Hell as a state of being separated from God through one's own deliberated rejecting to God and his ways whilst on earth.
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Judaism - Life After Death

In Judaism it is important to focus on what is happening during life rather than being concerned about what may happen in the after-life.

"In his hand is life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10)

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What is the value of religion in secular society?

On One Hand...

  • Religious belief is timeless and will always be relevant to the believer.
  • Religion can bring people and communities together.
  • Religion has produced great works of art
  • Religion has often inspired courage and self - sacrifice.
  • Religion promotes good morals and is the result of hum amount of humanitarian and charity work.

On the Other Hand

  • Fewer people worship in Britain today.
  • Education and government are not let by religion today in the UK.
  • Society has changed drastically since holy books were written.
  • Many traditions have changed, e.g. Sunday trading, shops open on Christmas day. The value of religious ceremonies has been lost. Commercialism has taken over - people are more worried about what presents they get for Christmas than why we celebrate it.
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