Religious Education UNIT 1

A revision card set for UNIT 1  for the EDEXCEL course. (year 11)

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Belief and non-belief in God


-There is no afterlife

-There is too much suffering for God to exist

-Science answers all of our questions, there is no evidence for God existing


-The world is too complicated for it to be a coincidence, God made it

-Lots of people claim they have experienced God, they can't all be lying


-We cannot answer whether God exists or not, there is not enough evidence

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Religious experience


-Seeing a religious vision

-Witnessing a miracle

-Having prayers answered

-Feeling the presence of God (Numinous)

-Having a life-changing experience which leads to conversion

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The design argument and the causation argument

People believe that the world was designed because:

The world is well ordered, beatiful, things appear to have a purpose, everything is in the right order for things to work.

Isaac Newton was convinced he was designed because everybody had a unique thumb print. The beauty of the world does not serve a purpose, supporting evidence that it was designed by a god. 

People belive in the causation argument because:

Nothing happens by chance, everything has a reason or cause. The univer cannot have happened by itself, a very powerful cause was necessary, which some people belive God is the powerful cause, therefore God exists. 

Some people argue with these two arguments, because there is no evidence that God caused/designed the universe. Also critics argue that the cause may not be God, and may be something else, and if it was God, who caused God?

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Scientific explanations to the origin of the world

The big bang is the idea that a huge explosion of matter 15 billion years ago caused the unvierse to come into being, and continues to expand and evolve with no outside power

Evolution is Charles Darwin's argument that all living things had evolved to suit their environment in which they lived. Each generation of animals improved and survived. This theory suggests that all life evolved from one life form, disproving the theory that God created all life on earth. These theories cause religious people to doubt God because they are supported by evidence (e.g. fossils found in the Earth). 

Christians responses:

-These theories are compatible with belief of God, "the big bang and evolution are all a part of God's plan" They believe the bible's description in Genesis is not strictly true. "science tells us how everything came to be, and the Bible tells us why everything came to be"

-Rejecting the idea completely as false. "genesis' account is the truth, God is omnipotent and created the world in six days"

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Unanswered prayers

Sometimes people's prayers go uanswered. For example there are many people who have experienced pain and suffering and their prayers have gone unanswered, leading them to question their belief in God or to convert to Athiesm

Athiests may feel that, if a loving God did exist, then he would answer people's prayers. 

Christians argue that their prayers may not have been answered in the way they expected. For example he may have simply said 'no', or he has answered them in a different way to fit to God's plan. They believe that God is no there to grant what people want,  but grants prayers to help fulfil his divine plan for the world. People cannot understand the mind of God. 

God  will not grant prayers that are selfish or do harm to other people.

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Evil and suffering

Types of evil:

Moral evil are actions caused beliberately to brin suffering to others e.g. murder, ****, war and theft.

Natural evil is suffering beyond people's control, caused by natural disaster e.g. earthquakes, famine, disease. 

These types of evil can overlap (cancer, a natural disease, may be caused by smoking, a deliberate action).

What an athiest would say "God is omni-benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient, so he would want to remove suffering, would be able to remove suffering, and would know how to remove suffering. So why doesn't he? Because he isn't real!''

This shows how evil and suffering contradicts the thought that god is all knowing, all loving, and all powerful, because if he is then he wouldn't let evil and suffering take place on the people who cares about. 

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Christian response to evil and suffering

Christians believe that evil and suffering are present because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and were punished because of this. the consequences of Adam and Eve's actions are:

-People now face physical death

-Men would have superiority over women

-People would struggle to cultivate land

-Woman would have pain during childbirth

People believe evil and suffering are a test from God, allowing believers to go to heaven after passing through difficult times. God gave people free will meaning that they have the freedom to act in a good or evil way, causing evil and suffering. Because god is omniscient he knows why suffering happens and we do not, meaning that it may be  a part of God's divine plan. People believe suffering allows people to be good (e.g. helping out for a charity after an earthquake), they say that " suffering brings out the best in people". 

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