The existence of God


The First Cause Argument

1.Everything that exists was caused to exist
2.The universe exists, so the universe was caused to exist by something else.
3.The chain of cause and effect cannot go on and on forever, there must be a starting point or 'first cause'
4.The only thing that this could be is God.
5.So, God exists.

-states that the universe does exist
-it uses scientific principles (the law of cause and effect) to work on God.
-it is supported by major christian thinkers- Thomas Aquinas.

-claims that everything miust have a cause and then says that God doesn't.
-even if we prove the universe does have a (first) cause  it doesnt prove that the first cause is God.
-Scientists believe the Big Bang doesnt need a cause.
-it is based on a primitive understanding of science in which time existed before the big bang. Scientists think that it did not.

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The Design Argument

The universe is so complicated that we need a God to explain how this complexity came about.

  • complex items dont usually come about by chance, eg, a watch does not grow out of the ground, it needs a watch maker in order to exist.
  • so complex items require an intelligent creator in order to make them.
  • the universe is far more complicated than anything a human can design. Eg, the human eye cannot be created by humans.
  • so the universe must have a superhuman creator
  • this designer is God
  • so, god exists.

Problems of the design argument

there is no real evidence the world IS designer. Maybe we have adapted to suit how the world is. its not the way the world was created around us, but the other way round.

there is too much evil and suffering in the world for it to be called a 'good' design. if it is a bad design then it probably had a bad designer, or no designer at all.

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Miracles are usually seen as an act of God, Going against the laws of nature and are seen as being good and helpful for people.
Many religious people believe that God is immanent-interferring in our world through miracles. Miracles are often very personal. People think God is showing himself to them by accting in their life for their good.

Events that break the laws of nature. If there is no scientific evidence for how something occured then we might call it a miracle. Many people argue that it must also bring out some good. the sun not rising in the morning might break the laws of nature but it would be hard to call it a miracle as it would probably be bad for us.

Events that do not break the laws of nature but seem like very lucky coincidences. A famous example of this uses the idea of a toddler falling onto some railway tracks and the train screeching to a half inches from the child just because the driver happened to pass out several miles back up the line. Again, it is the idea of their bringing about some good that might not have been that makes them miracles.

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Religious Experiences.

Sometimes religious experiences can convince people that God exists without a religous upbringing.

  • for some this is the 'wow' factor and they see something that takes their breath away and gives feelings of awe and wonder. This is called numinous and could be felt by looking up at a starry sky or a wonderful sunset and convinced that God is behind it all.
  • Prayer is an important and personal way for people to communicate with God. If a prayer is answered then it can stregnthen a persons faith in God.
  • Miracles can also convince people that God exists .eg surviving a plane crash, Jairus' daughter
  • conversion happens after an event where people believe they have experienced God and want to commit their life to God. Eg St Paul on the road to Damascus.

if you meet God, you know he exixts. If you go and worship, you might get a sense of presence. 

we trust ourselves and our insticts. God forms the other half of the two-sided equation in each case. None of these makes sense without having God as part of them.

People make things up for money, fame and fortune. Different people intepret different things. Just because someone else has had a religious experience it doesnt mean you should believe in God.

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The Moral Argument

  • people have a sense of right and wrong
  • an inbuilt sense of morality. this sense comes from a source outside themselves.
  • higher authority -i.e God therefore God exists
  • moral behaviour takes priority even when people would prefer to do something else
  • it is not created by society, like the law, because laws are sometimes immoral

Morality is hard to prove, may just be rules made up to control people, derived from evolution not God. people who cooperate survive better than groups who do not. guilt feelings not from God. guilt arises from breaking society's rules. goes against upbringing. Not everyone feels guilt. no afterlife so no reward. punishment of moral/immoral behaviour. morals are culturally determined.


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