RELIGION AND LIFE: BELIEVING IN GOD

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Religious Upbringing

MAIN FEATURES

- TEACHING CHILDREN BEDTIME PRAYERS

- TAKING CHILDREN TO CHURCH

- SEND CHILDREN TO SUNDAY SCHOOL OR A CHURCH SCHOOL

- BAPTISING CHILDREN

- SENDING CHILDREN TO YOUTH GROUPS

HOW IT CAN LEAD TO BELIEF IN GOD

PRAYING ALLOWS COMMUNICATION AND CONNECTION WITH GOD - MORE LIKELY TO BELIEVE IN HIM

- CHURCH ALLOWS CHILDREN TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR FAITH - BIG PART OF LIFE

- CHURCH SCHOOLS TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT GODS EXISTANCE FROM A YOUNG AGE

- YOUTH GROUPS ENABLE CHILDREN TO FEEL SENSE OF BELONGING AND SUPPORT - COMFORT IN FAITH

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Religious Experiences

TYPES OF EXPERIENCE

NUMINOUS - FEELING OF PRESENCE OF GOD - PERSON FILLED WITH AWARENESS OF SOMEONE GREATER THAN THEM - TRIGGERED BY BEAUTIFUL SCENERY OR WITNESSING SOMETHING AMAZING - OFTEN DESCRIBED AS TRANSCENDENT - GOING BEYOND NORMAL - OUTSIDE MATERIAL WORLD

CONVERSION - EXPERIENCE OF GOD, SO GREAT THAT PERSON WANTS TO CHANGE THEIR LIFE AND COMMIT THEMSELVES TO GOD OR CHANGE THEIR RELIGION - FEELING OF BEING 'BORN AGAIN'

MIRICLES - EXPERIENCING SOMETHING THAT BREAKS LAWS OF SCIENCE - WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT GREATER PRESENCE - RECORDED IN MOST RELIGIONS

PRAYER - WHEN PERSON PRAYING FEELS THAT THEY ARE BEING LISTENED TO OR THAT THEIR PRAYER HAS BEEN ANSWERED - PROVES COMMUNICATION WITH GOD

HOW IT CAN LEAD TO BELIEF IN GOD

MIRACLE - AGNOSTIC WITNESSES ONE - LOOKS FOR NATURAL EXPLAINATION - CAN'T FIND ONE - TURN TO BELIEF 

PRAYER - ATHEISTS MAY TURN TO PRAYER IN EXTREME CASES - PRAYER ANSWERED - INSTALL BELIEF

RELIGIOUS BELIEVER HAS EXPERIENCE - CONFIRMS BELIEFS AND STRENGTHENS THEM

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The Design Argument

OVERVIEW

  • ANYTHING THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNED NEEDS A DESIGNER
  • UNIVERSE SHOWS A LOT OF EVIDENCE OF DESIGN
  • ONLY POSSIBLE DESIGNER OF SOMETHING THAT BEAUTIFUL AND COMPLEX IS GOD

PALEY'S WATCH ANALOGY

  • COMPARED WORLD TO WATCH
  • IF SOMEONE SAW WATCH THEY WOULD THINK IT WAS DESIGNED BECAUSE IT IS COMPLEX
  • UNIVERSE IS A LOT MORE COMPLEX THAN A WATCH  ANYTHING DESIGNED ON EARTH
  • ONLY PERSON CAPABLE OF DESIGNING IT IS GOD - GOD MUST EXIST

EVIDENCE OF DESIGN IN WORLD

  • LAWS OF SCIENCE - UNIVERSE WORKS ACCORDING TO LAWS - LAWS OF GRAVITY, ELECTRICITY, BONDING ETC. ALL INVOLVE COMPLEX THINGS WORKING TOGETHER 
  • BEAUTIES OF NATURE - PEOPLE SEE SUNSETS ETC. AS SOMETHING THAT AN ARTIST WOULD HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME DESIGNING
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The Design Argument - Is it Valid?

HOW IT LEADS TO BELIEF IN GOD

  • ALL DESIGNS NEED A DESIGNER
  • EVIDENCE OF DESIGN ON EARTH - EARTH HAS DESIGNER
  • NO ONE EXCEPT GOD COULD HAVE DESGNED SOMETHING AS BEAUTIFUL AND COMPLEX --> PROVES THAT GOD EXISTS

ARGUMENTS AGAINST DESIGN

  • WE CANNOT POSSIBLY PROVE GOD'S EXISTANCE
  • DESIGN ARGUMENT ONLY SUGGESTS THAT HE IS THE DESIGNER, IT'S NOT A FACT
  • APPEARANCE OF DESIGN COULD BE DUE TO EVOLUTION - THE IDEA THAT SPECIES HAVE DEVELOPED OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS TO ADAPT TO THEIR SURROUNDINGS
  • ARGUMENT ONLY PROVES THAT UNIVERSE HAS A DESIGNER, NOT THAT GOD EXISTS
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The Causation Argument

OVERVIEW

  • ONE THING CAUSES ANOTHER - EVERYTHING HAS A CAUSE - NOTHING COMES ABOUT BY ITSELF
  • UNIVERSE MUST HAVE A CAUSE - THE CAUSE MUST BE GOD
  • GOD CAUSED THE BIG BANG WHICH CAUSED EVOLUTION WHICH CAUSED HUMANS

EVIDENCE OF CAUSATION IN THE WORLD

  • EVERYTHING WE DO IN THE WORLD HAS AN EFFECT - E.G. RAISED HEARTRATE CAUSED BY EXERCISE
  • SCIENCE PROVES THAT, WHEN INVESTIGATED SUFFCIENTLY, EVERY CAUSE HAS AN EFFECT AND EVERY EFFECT A CAUSE

THE UNMOVED MOVER

  • THOMAS AQUINAS SAID THAT GOD IS THE UNMOVED MOVER - HE HAS NO CAUSE
  • THE UNMOVED MOVER IS THE BEGINNING CAUSE TO EVERYTHING - HE CAUSED EVERYTHING WITHOUT NEEDING ANYTHING TO CAUSE HIM

 

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The Causation Argument - Is it Valid?

HOW IT LEADS TO BELIEF IN GOD

  • EVIDENCE FOR EVERYTHING HAVING A CAUSE IN THE WORLD - EVERYTHING MUST BE CAUSED TO EXIST BY SOMEONE ELSE - EVERY CAUSAL CHAIN MUST HAVE A BEGINNING
  • THERE MUST BE A BEGINNING - AN UNCAUSED CAUSE - RATHER THAN NOTHING
  • ONLY POSSIBLE FIRST CAUSE OF UNIVERSE IS GOD - THE UNMOVED MOVER - GOD EXISTS

ARGUMENTS AGAINST CAUSATION

  • EVERYTHING HAS A CAUSE BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN THE UNIVERSE HAS A CAUSE
  • ARGUMENT ONLY SUGGESTS THAT GOD IS CAUSE OF UNIVERSE, NOT PROVES IT
  • OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES SUCH AS BIG BANG THEORY
  • IF EVERYTHING HAS A CAUSE, WHAT CAUSED GOD?
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Scientific Explainations

SCIENTIFIC THEORIES

  • THERMO DYNAMICS - ENERGY IS EXTERNAL AND HAS NO BEGINNING OR END
  • ENERGY EXISTED BEFORE BIG BANG - COLLISION OF THIS ENERGY STARTED UNIVERSE
  • THE BIG BANG - AN ENOURMOUS EXPLOSION SHARTED THE UNIVERSE 15 BILLION YEARS AGO
  • EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION - SPECIES GRADUALLY DEVELOPED OVER BILLIONS OF YEARS - SPECIES NATURALLY SELECT THE BEST CHARACTERISTICS OFR SURVIVAL - ADAPT TO SURROUNDINGS OVER TIME

THE CUP ANALOGY

  • WHEN YOU LEAVE A CUP OF COFFEE FOR A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME, IT GROWS MOULD
  • THIS IS LIKE THE START OF THE UNIVERSE - AS CONDITIONS CHANGED, IT BECAME MORE SUITABLE FOR LIFE FORM
  • WITH CHANGING CONDITIONS, EVOLUTION BEGAN TO TAKE PLACE

 

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Scientific Explanations - Is it Valid?

HOW THIS LEADS TO ATHEISM

  • SCIENCE CAN EXPLAIN WHERE WORLD AND HUMANS CAME FROM WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GOD
  • ARGUMENT THAT ONE NEEDS GOD TO EXPLAIN WHY WE ARE HERE IS NO LONGER VALID
  • SCIENCE OFFERS PROOF AND RELIGION DOES NOT

CHRISTIAN ARGUMENTS

  • CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS - BELIEVE SCIENTIFIC THEORIES ARE COMPATIBLELITERAL CHRISTIANS = CREATIONISTS - BELIEVE SCIENTIFIC EXPLAINATIONS ARE WRONG - GO AGAINST BIBLE
    • SIX DAYS OF CREATION WERE STAGES NOT ACTUAL DAYS - SCIENCE DESCRIBES HOW THE WORLD EXISTS, BIBLE EXPLAINS WHY
  • LIBERAL CHRISTIANS - ACCEPT THAT SCIENCE IS COMPLETELY RIGHT AND GENESIS IS A MYTH
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Unanswered Prayers

OVERVIEW

IF SOMEONE DOES NOT FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD WHEN THEY PRAY OR IF THEY PRAY FOR SOMETHING AND THEIR PRAYER IS NOT ANSWERED, THEY MAY START TO QUESTION GOD'S EXISTANCE

CHRISTIAN RESPONSES

ACCEPT THAT THEY ARE NOT FAITHFUL ENOUGH TO GOD TO HAVE THEIR PRAYERS ANSWERED

ACCEPT THAT GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYERS BUT NOT IN THE WAY THEY EXPECT - THEY CANNOT POSSIBLE UNDERSTAND SUCH A COMPLEX BEING AS GOD BUT MUST TRUST HIM

ACCEPT THAT GOD DOESN'T ANSWER SELFISH PRAYERS BUT ONLY PRAYERS WITH A KIND NATURE BEHIND THEM

ACCEPT THAT WHAT THEY ARE PRAYING FOR IS NOT PART OF GODS WILL OR DIVINE PLAN

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Evil and Suffering - Atheists

OVERVIEW

WOULD BE NO EVIL AND SUFFERING CREATED IN A WORLD WITH A GOOD, POWERFUL AND KNOWING GOD

TYPES OF EVIL

  • MORAL EVIL - ACTIONS CARRIED OUT BY HUMANS E.G. RAPE, MURDER, WAR THEFT
  • NATURAL EVIL - THINGS THAT CAUSE SUFFERING BUT ARE NOT TO DO WITH HUMANS E.G. NATUAL DISASTERS, DISEASE AND FAMINE

HOW THIS LEADS TO ATHEISM

  • CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT GOD IS OMNIPOTENT (ALL POWERFUL), OMNI-BENEVOLENT (ALL GOOD) AND OMNISCIENT (ALL KNOWING) BUT IF HE WAS ALL THREE, THERE WOULD BE NO EVIL OR SUFFERING 
  • IF HE WAS ALL KNOWING, HE WOULD KNOW HOW TO REMOVE EVIL AND SUFFERING
  • IF HE WAS ALL GOOD, HE WOULD WANT TO REMOVE SUFFERING
  • IF HE WAS ALL POWERFUL, HE WOULD HAVE THE POWER TO DO SO
  • EITHER GOD IS NOT ALL THREE OF THESE THINGS, OR DOES NOT EXIST AT ALL
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Evil and Suffering - Christians

CHRISTIAN EXPLAINATIONS

  • FREE WILL - GOD GAVE PEOPLE OPPERTUNITY TO MAKE CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES - EVIL IS A RESULT OF THIS
  • BIBLE PROOF - ADAM AND EVE WERE GIVEN FREE WILL IN THE GARDEN OF EVIL AND CHOSE TO GO AGAINST GOD, THUS BRINGING EVIL AND SUFFERING TO THE WORLD
  • EXAMPLE OF JESUS - EVIL AND SUFFERING ALLOWS PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS - HELP PEOPLE
  • BIBLE PROOF - JAIRUS' DAUGHTER - SHE WAS SUFFERING WHICH ALLOWED JESUS TO PERFORM THE MIRICLE OF BRINGING HER BACK FROM THE DEAD
  • GODS PLAN - EVIL AND SUFFERING HAPPENS FOR A REASON AND IS PART OF GODS PLAN - IT GIVES HIM A REASON TO REWARD THOSE WHO HAVE DONE RIGHT WITH HEAVEN
  • BIBLE PROOF - THE PARABLE OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOAT - ON THE LAST DAY, JESUS WILL SEPARATE THOSE WHO HAVE HELPED OTHERS (THE SHEEPS) FROM THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SELFISH (THE GOATS)
  • GOD IS COMPLEX - GOD HAS A REASON FOR CAUSING EVIL AND SUFFERING THAT HUMANS ARE NOT COMPLEX ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND

 

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Religious Programmes

SONGS OF PRAISE - PRODUCERS VISIT PLACES AROUND THE COUNTRY EXPLORING RELIGIOUS HISTORY AND GIVING HUMAN INTEREST STORIES FROM ORDINARY PEOPLE ABOUT HOW FAITH HAS TOUCHED THEIR LIVES

THE HEAVEN AND EARTH SHOW - DISCUSSIONS OF TOPICAL ISSUES

HOW IT COULD LEAD TO BELIEF IN GOD

  • EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT RELIGION - GIVE PERSON INSIGHT INTO RELIGION
  • INSPIRE PEOPLE - SEE GOOD STORIES ABOUT RELIGION AND WANT IT TO EFFECT THEM IN THE SAME WAY
  • CREATES FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS RELIGION
  • BRINGS RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY TOGETHER
  • OFFERS RELIGIOUS ADVICE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH ISSUES - PEOPLE LIKELY TO FOLLOW AND SEE THAT RELIGION WORKS FOR THEM
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