Religious Studies - Philosophy

To revise AQA Religious Studies GCSE (Philosophy modules)

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  • Created by: Gianamar
  • Created on: 10-07-12 15:57

For The Existence of God

The First Cause Argument (Cosmological Argument) - St Thomas Aquinas suggested that everything has a cause, and the first cause of the Universe is God. The Argument says, "It’s impossible to traverse an infinite series. The past therefore cannot be infinite. The first cause must be uncreated, eternal. The first cause must be God."

The Design Argument (Teleological Argument) - William Paley thought that the Universe was like a watch; with perfect cogs and screws functioning to their maximum. The Universe is too perfect for it to be in existence by chance. It must have been created by a God.

Argument from miracles - According to religious people, miracles DO occur, and only God is capable of breaking the laws of nature, as He is transcendent (not imminent) , He is outside of His creation.

Argument from Religious Experiences - Some people believe that they have had a religious experience, which only God could cause (such as answered prayers, miracle etc.), therefore God exists.

Argument from Morality - According to religious people, God is our source of morality; without Him, we would have no conscience. Therefore, since we have a sense of morality, God must exist.

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Against the Existence of God

Flaws in religious arguments for the existence of God:

Faith might just be wishful thinking. Belief in the afterworld is only a reassurance for those who fear death.

Many of the religious arguments for God are only relying on the fact that a miracle did occur, or that their prayers were answered, or that it is God who gives us morality. It doesn't consider the possibility of morality not being from God, or so-called "answered prayers" are just coincidences.

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General Revelations - A revelation available to all people, which affects many people indirectly. Examples include Martin Luther King Jr.'s general revelation to begin the civil rights movement and to protest for the rights of Black people.

Special Revelations - A revelation directly from God to a person, which directly affects the life of that person. One example is the Angel Gibril's transmission of Allah's words to Muhammed (pbuh).

Qualities of God - supremacy, immanence, transcendence, personal nature (special revelations), impersonal nature (general revelations), omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and benevolence.

Problems and alternative explanations to revelations

  • Could be illusions
  • Wishful thinking
  • Mental Illness
  • Con artists
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The Problems of Evil and Suffering

EvilProfound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. An act which leads to the suffering of others

Natural evil is suffering which is caused by events which ARE NOT linked to HUMANS. These are natural disasters which lead to the suffering of others.

Human (or Moral) Evil is the act which leads to the suffering of other humans beings which IS CAUSED BY HUMANS.

Evil has sometimes been considered as a PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENON, which means that a person simply has zero degrees of empathy, and they do not understand the suffering that they cause. They are defined as psychopaths.

Evil and suffering often contradict the God's omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and benevolence, as a God with all of the above qualities would be able to defeat the existence of evil and suffering. However, Christians argue that God gave us free will, and it is our choice to become evil. They also say that God is transcendent, so He cannot stop what occurs inside His creation. Furthermore, others have argued that God allows evil and suffering because it is all part of His plan.

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