Unit 3.1 Believing in God- Revision Cards GCSE RE

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1.1-Catholic Upbringing and Catholic Belief

  • Baptismal promises-parents promise to bring up their child in the faith.
  • Sacraments of Initiation-First Holy Communion, First Confession, Confirmation (which makes them a full member of the church)-children go on preparation courses and these sacraments help them understand their religion more.
  • School-The school ethos, prayer, mass, RE lesson, assemblies and school liturgies help children understand their faith more.
  • Parents-a child's first teacher is their parents, and they could believe that their parents can't be prarying to nothing, and therefore it would encourage them to believe in God.

Against Catholic Upbringing

  • Children have no choice other than to listen and believe.
  • It takes away they're right to religious freedom-to be able to choose their own religion.
  • This could work against community cohesion and children could think that other religions are wrong.
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1.2-Religious Experience and Belief in God

  • Numinous-this is the feeling of something greater than you, and a person could think that when they are looking at something beautiful, such as stars in a clear night, that the feeling of something greater than them is God.
  • Conversion-St. Paul (Saul), went through a conversion experience on his way to Damascus in Acts and Jesus appeared. People with a conversion experience could feel like God is calling them to do something for him.
  • Miracles-these are things that happen which seem to break laws of science and makes people think that only God could have done it. The healing of lepers in the Bible, a man cured of multiple sclerosis in Lourdes are examples of this-only God could have done this.
  • Prayer-if the person feels as if God is listening or if their prayer is answered, it leads to belief in God.
  • Mysticism-this is when someone has experienced God so intensely that they literally have been in the presence of God. Examples-dreams and visions.

Against religious experiences proving existence of God

  • Numinous-the feeling is from surroundings, not necessarily from God
  • There are more unanswered prayers than answered prayers.
  • Miracles can be explained; Jesus might not have fully died at the cross, was just recovered rather than resurrected.
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1.3-The Design Argument

  • Payley's Watch, by William Payley-if a watch is taken apart, it can be seen that it is made up of many components that work together for a purpose-there are exactly the right amount of components which fit together exactly, which means that it must have been designed, which s shows that it must have a designer. Applied in context of the world; the world is very complex and each part fits together, such as in DNA. This means that the world must have been designed, and that it must have a designer, which must be God.
  • Beauty-the world can't be so beautiful just by chance; it must have been designed by a loving designer, which must be God.
  • Newton's Thumb-every thumb is unique, which means that it must have been designed with love and individual care by a designer, which must be God.

Against the argument from design

  • The argument only proves that the universe has a designer, it doesn't prove that it is God.
  • The evidence for design can be explained by science, without God.
  • The argument ignores the lack of design in the world, such as volcanoes and earthquakes.
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  • Domino rally-in a domino rally, each domino piece is caused to fall by the one behind it. The domino rally must have been started off by an uncaused first cause, such as a person's hand. If each domino piece is an event in the world, the uncaused first cause must be God.
  • Cosmological argument by Thomas Aquinas-Everything is caused by something else, and the first cause must be God.
  • Goods train-each wagon is caused to move by another wagon. But if the wagon at the front of the train must be caused by an engine not moved by something in front, and therefore it must by an Unmoved Mover. If we keep going back in the world to find the cause of each cause, there will be an Unmoved Mover, which must be God.

Against the argument from causation

  • If everything has a cause, so must God-there's no reason why it should stop at God.
  • Matter could be eternal-neither created nor destroyed, and so the process of causes goes back forever; there is no first cause.
  • The first cause might not be God; it could be an evil god or any type of creator.
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1.5-Science and Non-Belief in God

  • Matter is eternal, can't be created nor destroyed, so God couldn't have created it. This leads to atheism or agnosticism.
  • The Big Bang occured 15 billion years ago and red shift proves that the universe is still expanding.
  • It was a combination of gases that formed life.
  • There is evidence of evolution, proven by fossil records and by Darwin's theory of natural selection. 50% of human DNA is the same as that of a cabbage.

Non-belief in God.

  • An omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient God wouldn't be wasteful and kill species such as the dinosaurs before humans came to be in the world.
  • The world, universe and orgins of humans can be explained by science without reference to God. The Big Bang could have been an accident; there is no empirical evidence of it being caused by God.
  • If God had created the world, he would made it so that he was the only explanation for it, but there are many explanations without him in.
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1.6-Christian Responses to scientific explanations

Catholics and Liberals

  • They believe that God created the laws of science; the Big Bang had to be at the right second.
  • Science follows the main points of the Bible; evolution and the creation story. A day for God could have been thousands, millions or billions of years for us.
  • Science and God are right.


  • The Bible doesn't mention the Big Bang, and therefore scientists must be wrong.
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1.7- Unanswered prayers and Christian Response

Unanswered prayers and non-belief
If a person can't feel God's presence while praying it could lead them to believe that he isn't listening and that he isn't there, and therefore that he does not exist.
If he is omnibenevolent, he should answer prayers to show he cares, and there is evidence of him answering others' prayers. If he doesn't answer the person's prayers then this could lead them to believe that he is not omnibenevolent and that therefore there is not omnibenevolent God listening.
If the person is praying for bad things not to happen, such as a child dying from cancer, and the child dies, then it can lead them to believe that God doesn't care.
If a person is praying for honourable, good things, such as the end of human suffering, it could lead to non-belief if the prayer is unanswered, as they could believe that God is not omnipotent and not powerful enough to answer their prayer.

Christian Response
If the person is praying for selfish things, such as passing exams without having revised, God could let the person fail in order so that the person works harder next time.
2. If an ill person dies even when others have prayed against it, it could be that God wants the person to go to heaven, as he looks at the greater good, the ultimate plan.
God is like a parent; he gives us what we need rather than what we want.

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1.8-Evil & Suffering, Non-Belief and Responses

  • Moral evil-war, burglary and child abuse.
  • Natural evil-earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, cancer.
  • If God was omnibenevolent, he would want to end all types of evil, and yet it still exists, which leads people to believe that there is no omnibenevolent God.
  • If God was omniscient, he would know how to end it, and yet it hasn't ended.
  • If God was omnipotent, he would be powerful enough to end evil and he should have known that it would emerge from creation.

Christian Responses

  • Free will-evil and suffering was caused by human choices, not God.
  • Life is a test, in order for God to see whether people are worthy of going to heaven.
  • Service-it is an opportunity for people to show love of others; to donate, be doctors, nurses etc.
  • This isn't heaven, and so none can expect this world to be perfect.
  • It helps us grow-it makes us better people as we are better at forgiveness and less judgemental.
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1.9-Media and Believing in God

Scientific explanations

  • Doctor Who-in an episode of Doctor Who, the Big Bang is shown to have been caused by the main character, the Doctor exploding a time machine. There is never any suggestion in Doctor  Who that the universe has any God behind it-encourages children to believe that the origin of the universe is just scientific.
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