Religious Studies Unit 1

A set of revision cards on unit 1 of religious studies.

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Unit One: Believing in God

This Unit has four reasons to be a Theist (believer in God) and four reasons to be an Atheist (Sure there is no God). Someone who isn't sure if there is a God is an Agnostic.

Reasons for Theism;

  • Causation Argument
  • Design Argument
  • Religious Experiences
  • Religious Upbringing

Reasons for Atheism;

  • Problem of Evil
  • Big Bang and Evolution
  • Unanswered prayer
  • The Media


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Causation Argument

What is the argument?

Everything in the universe needs a cause.

There must have been a first cause.

The first cause must be God.

Christians say;

  • The chain of cause and effect can't go back forever, there must be a 'first cause'.
  • God is the best explanation for the first cause.
  • God doesn't need a cause because he's eternal (timeless).

Atheists say;

  • Perhaps the Universe didn't have a beginning and is eternal.
  • Even if there is a first cause it doesn't mean it was God.
  • If God created the Universe, who/what created God?
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Design Argument

What is the Argument;

When we see a watch we know that it is designed my someone.

Natural things like eyes also look designed.

The designer of eyes must be God.

Christians say;

  • There are many things in nature that are so complicated that they must have been designed.
  • God is the best explanation for the designer of living things.
  • Darwin's theory of evolution is not proven, its still just a theory.

Atheists say;

  • There is no designer. The Universe was formed by chance.
  • Millions of years of mutations and natural selection gives the appearance of design.
  • Darwin's theory of evolution explains how complicated things arose by chance.
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Religious Experiences

A religious experience is when someone experiences God directly.

Christians say;

  • A near death experience proves we have a soul, light at the end of the tunnel sounds like a Christian idea of Heaven, meeting Jesus proves God exists.
  • Many people experience God and most people are not liars so we should believe them.

Atheists say;

  • There is no hard evdence that the experiences really happened, they could be caused by chemicals released in the brain.
  • People could be lying, hallucinating, or misinterpreting a natural event.
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Religious Upbringing

A religious upbringing is being 'brought up' in a religious family. This can lead to belief in God through imitation of parents, being surrounded by people who believe, and through ceremonies & learning the Bible.

Christians say;

  • Christian children are not brainwashed, they choose when they are old enough.
  • All children are influenced by their parents beliefs, Christian or Atheist.

Atheists say;

  • Christian children are brainwashed, they can't choose for themselves.
  • Children should be taught about all views and left to make their own choice.
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The Problem of Evil

What is the argument?

Christians say God is Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent & Omniscient.

If God is all of these there shouldn't be any evil/suffering.

There is evil/suffering in the world so God doesn't exist.

Christians say;

  • God gave Adam & Eve free will, they chose to disobey God and bring suffering into the world.
  • God allows evil and suffering to happen for reasons we don't understand.
  • Suffering is a test of our faith. Satan, not God, causes all the suffering.

Atheists say;

  • An omnipotent would have the power to stop evil and suffering.
  • An omniscient God would know how to stop evil and suffering.
  • An omnibenevolent God would want to stop evil and suffering.
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Big Bang and Evolution

The Big Bang explains the Universe without God.

Evolution explains the origin of life without God.

Therefore God does not exist.

Christians say;

  • Explosions are destructive not creative. God created the Universe in 6 days.
  • Something must have caused the Big Bang, only God is powerful enough to do this.
  • Evolution is unproven. All the fossil links between species are missing.
  • God could've created life using Evolution.

Atheist say;

  • The Universe is expanding, this is good evidence that there was a Big Bang.
  • The Big Bang is an alternative first cause that removes the need for God.
  • The fossil evidence proves that evolution is true.
  • Evolution removes the need for God.
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Unanswered Prayer

When prayers are not answered some people stop believing in God

Christians say;

  • Many people have had their prayers answered but if all were answered it would cause chaos.
  • Many sick people have been cured, some prayers are answered in ways we don't expect.
  • God only answers prayers that are unselfish and in line with his purposes.

Atheists say;

  • When prayers seem to be answered its just a coincidence.
  • If God was omnibenelovent he would answer all prayers for the sick to be made well.
  • Unanswered prayer prove that there is no God.
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God in the Media

Many people believe in God, or reject belief in God based on what they see in the media. Some TV/radio programmes show belief in God in a positive light, whilst others show religius believers as being boring, stupid or dangerous.

Positive Examples;

  • Music: Many popular musicians talk poitively about God in their songs.
  • Films about events from the Bible, such as The Passion of the Christ.

Negative Examples;

  • Characters believing in God, such as Ned Flanders and Dot Cotton are laughed at.
  • News reports about terroism can give the impression that religion is dangerous.
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Cause: What made something happen/exist.

First Cause: The cause that started the universe.

Uncaused Cause: A cause that is not also an effect.

Random Chance: Having no purpose or design.

Design:  Result of intelligent thought.

Miracles: Events that break the laws of nature.

Dreams and Visions: Seeing/hearing God or angels.

Near Death Experience: Briefly seeing life after death.

Numinous Experience: Being overwhelmed by nature.

Conversion: When your life is changed by giving yourself to God.

Baptism/Chritening: Christian ceremony using water.

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More Keywords

Confirmation: Ceremony of commitment to God.

Sunday School: Chursh for children.

Grace: Prayer said before meals.

Worship: Singing songs to God.

Omnipotent: All powerful.

Omnibenevolent: All loving.

Ominscient: All knowing.

Free will: Ablility to make your own choice.

Moral Evil: Suffering caused by Humans.

Natural Evil: Suffering not caused by Humans.

Big Bang: A huge explosion that created the Universe.

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One More Keyword

Evolution: Theory that one kind of creature can change into another.

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Practice Questions

a) what is omnipotence (2 marks)?

b) do you thing God designed the Universe (4 marks)?

c) choose one religious experience and explain how it might lead to belief in God (8 marks).

d) "The Universe had to be caused by God" agree or diagree (6 marks)?

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