Reasons for belief in God: Religious Upbringing
Christianity: Christian families bring up their children as Christians by baptising them, praying with them, taking them to church and Sunday school.
Islam: When a child is born, the Father whispers a call to prayer in his baby’s ear so that the first word it hears is ‘Allah’. Children are circumcised before puberty. They are encouraged to pray 5 times a day. Children attend the mosque and the Madrasah, where they are taught Wudu (prayer rituals) and arabic.
Reasons for belief in God: Religious experience
Christians and Muslims believe that the religious experiences people have had are evidence of God’s existence. These may include
- The experience of worship
- The experience of solitude
- A conversion experience
- An experience of a miracle
Reasons for belief in God: Arguments from everyday
- The Design argument states that the world must have been designed by God as it is so complex.
- The cosmological argument states that as everything within our experience has a cause, the world itself must also have a cause; God.
- The moral argument states that our morality must derive from somewhere; God.
Reasons for atheism
There are many arguments used to suggest that God does not exist e.g.:
- The idea of God goes against scientific evidence
- Religion is a construct of society – people who have not been brought up in religious families are unlikely to believe in God
- The fact that there is evil and suffering in the world suggests that an all loving, all powerful God cannot exist
Religious Responses to Evil and Suffering
- Augustinian Theodicy: Humans fell from perfection when Eve ate the apple in the garden of Eden – due to human free will; sin is seminally present in mankind, and suffering happens as a result of this.
- Irenaeun theodicy: Humans were born imperfect for the purpose of growing to become perfect. Evil is the result of human free will.
Religious Responses to Evil and Suffering
- Evil is due to an opposing force to God (Satan).
- God alone knows the reasons for suffering, and we should not try to understand them.
- Muslims believe that life is a test and how you deal with suffering are part of this; good can come from suffering.
- God suffers with us.
- Suffering will pale into insignificance when we are faced with rewards in the afterlife.
- Scientific Cosmology is the big bang theory and the idea of evolution.
- Religious cosmology is the Genesis story of creation (supported by Christians and Muslims).
- Creationism is the view of religious people who believe that the Biblical view of creation should be interpreted literally, and Scientific theories are wrong. The evidence of the Big bang can be explained instead by Noah’s flood. The fact is the Earth was only 6 days old when humans were created, and only APPEARED to look older. (The apparent age theory).
- Conservatism is the biblical story of creation in Genesis contains some elements of truth, but is essentially a metaphor to represent the scientific creation theory.I E – one day in the Genesis story could represent 1 billion years in real terms
- Liberalism is the view that the Bible is not meant to be regarded as true. It is a story told to give the vital piece of truth that God created everything through the big bang. The Big bang and the world that resulted from it is too ‘well organised’ to have happened by chance.
- Science is based on everything having an explanation, and religion says God is the explanation for how it all started. God is the unseen force that acts in our lives, just as there are unseen scientific forces. Science and religion use some of the same methods to find out the truth about life.
Creation: Muslim views
Some believe that the Scientific Cosmology is referred to in the Qur’an, and God created the Big bang
Belief in God in the media
- Do films/tv/radio programmes affect your attitude to belief in God? Why?
- Were the films you watched positive or negative or both about belief in God? In what way?
- List some other tv and /or radio programmes that have religious content and may affect a person’s attitude to believing in God.
- Use Bruce Almighty as your film focus. Suitable TV programmes- The Big Questions, Songs of Praise, Documentaries about religion.
- TV dramas e.g. The Vicar of Dibley, Father Ted.