Main Features of a Christian Upbringing
-Baptism as a baby/young child. This means the parents are likely to tell their children about God and children believe what their parents tell them.
-teach children to pray, which makes prayer a natural and important part of their life.
-take children to church, which may involve Sunday school. This would support belief in God as they would see many people believing in God and therefore not doubt their faith.
-send their children to a Church school, which would enforce their belief as it would be taught alongside the Curriculum.
Religious Experiences and Belief in God
-Numinous: feeling the prescence of God. This may lead people to believe in God as they are lead to believe God is real by the way they are feeling about God's existence.
-Conversion: an experience of God that is so great that the person who experiences it wants to commit to God. It may lead people to think that God is calling them to do something for him, for example St Paul was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), Jesus spoke to him calling him to become a Christian and he did.
-Miracles: An event that seems to break the laws of Science and leads you to believe only God could explain it. These are recorded in most religions.
-Prayer: All Christians believe they can communicate with God using prayer. When someone feels their prayer has been directly answered by God, they may be led to becoming a Christian as this may prove to them that God exists.
Design Argument: For & Against
Everything that has been designed needs a designer. There is evidence that this world has not come around by chance (Laws Of Science, Beauty Of Nature). The only being that could design sm/th like the world is God, therefore the appearance of God in the world proves God exists. (Paley's Watch argument)
FOR- Conforms to logic and human experience follows this pattern
It seems highly unlikely everything in the world happened by chance
AGAINST- It doesn't prove God exists, it proves everything needs a maker; by this logic, does God therefore need a maker?
If God made everything, why doesn't he reveal himself to us to gain credit?
Doesn't fit with evolution, because humans are 'perfectly designed' because we have adapted.
Causation Argument: For & Against
Everything has to come from something. You cannot make something out of nothing. Therefore there must have been a ‘First Cause’ that created the ‘something’ (the universe). That First Cause is God.- St. Thomas Aquinas
FOR- The world and it's inhabitants must have come from somewhere, and therefore must have had a cause. God is therefore the only cause for life
AGAINST- God needs a cause.
The universe it eternal, so the process of causes goes on forever.
Even if there is a first cause, it wouldn't have to be God; it could be any kind of creator
Christian Responses to Science
1. Many Christians believe that scientific explanations are accurate, and that they prove that God created the universe. EG The Big Bang had to be at the exact right time, and God made sure that it was.
2. Some Christians believe that both science and the Bible are right, as according to them the main points of the Bible creation story fit with science. EG the order God created life in was the same as the order of evolution.
3. Some Christians belief that science is entirely wrong and the Bible is right. They claim Big Bang Theory can be explained as the affects of Noah's Flood. They also believe in Apparent Age Theory; that although the world was 6 days old when Adam went on it, it must have appeared a lot older as there were trees with rings in them for hundreds of years worth. This is creationism.
Unanswered Prayers may lead to atheism bc
-if they feel no one is listening, that may be a sign to them that there is no God.
-if God doesn't help them like he does to those in the Bible, they may feel like he isn't the loving God he is supposed to be.
Christain response to unanswered prayers
-Christians should trust God to do what is best for them as he loves them, so although it might not seem like God is helping you He will do in the long term.
-Jesus told his followers to have faith and their prayers would be answered, so God may have longer-term plans to answer your prayers.
-If you prayer for the well-being of a relative, God may have different plans for them that mean your prayers cannot be answered.
Evil and Suffering
Evil and Suffering cause people to question belief in God bc
If God is all-powerful He would be able to stop suffering, if He was all-good he would want to stop suffering, if He was all-knowing He would know that suffering was taking place in the world. Therefore if God exists there should be no suffering. This means that when many people come into contact with evil & suffering it makes them doubt their faith, for example when soldiers liberated concentration camps the suffering there made them doubt their faith.
Christian response to Evil and Suffering
-God wants to help us and we should follow Jesus's example and help those suffering
-Evil and Suffering are not God's fault- they are a result of human's misusing free will.
-Life is preparation for eternal paradise; people need to face evil to become good and loving.
-Human cannot understand God's reasons for doing things, as He must have his reasons, but humans cannot understand beacause they aren't in His position.