Section 1: Believing in God
Agnosticism = not being sure whether God exists
Atheism = believing that God does not exist
Causation = the idea that everything has been caused or started off by something else Conversion = when your life is changed by giving yourself to God Design = when things are connected and seem to have a purpose e.g. the eye is designed for seeing Free will = the idea that human beings are free to make their own choices Miracle = something which seems to break a law of science and makes you think only God could have done it Moral evil = actions done by humans which cause suffering
Natural evil = things which cause suffering but have nothing to do with humans Numinous = the feeling of the presence of something greater than you Omni-benevolent = the belief that God is all-good
Omnipotent = the belief that God is all-powerful
Omniscient = the belief that God knows everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen Prayer = an attempt to contact God, usually through words
1. The main features of a religious upbringing in Christianity and how it may lead to belief in God.
The main features of a Christian upbringing are:
• being baptised (Christened)
• Parents taking their children to church, especially on Sundays, and festivals such as Christmas and Easter • Parents teaching their children bedtime prayers.
Most people find that their religious upbringing leads them to believe in God because 1. it appears natural to you
2. You will always have been told that God exists
3. People you respect will believe in God (parents, priests, vicars) 4. You will have been given no reason for not believing in God.
The main reasons from a Christian upbringing are:
• Christian parents teach their children to pray; praying to God will make children believe he exists • Christian parents take their children to church where they will hear all about God existing and so believe he does • Christian parents will send their children to Sunday school where they will hear all about God existing and so believe he does • many Christian parents send their children to a church school where they will hear all about God existing and so believe he does • Christian parents encourage their children to be confirmed where they may feel the presence of God in the prayers, vows and anointing
Key Point: Having a religious upbringing is likely to lead to belief in God because children are taught that God exists and they spend most of their time with people who believe that God exists.
2. How religious experiences, as seen in the numinous, conversion, Miracles and prayer may lead to belief in God.
When people are in a religious building, in a beautiful place or looking up at the stars on a clear night, they may be filled with the awareness that there is something greater than them, which they feel to be God. It might lead a person to believe in God because they believe that experience felt like God was real.
Conversions occur when a person has an experience of God that is so great that the person experiencing it wants to change their life and commit themselves to God in a special way. This may be a change in religion or from agnosticism or atheism to belief in God. For some people, it gives a feeling of being ‘born again’
An example is the conversion of Saul in the Bible:
• Saul hated the Christians
• Saul to Damascus to arrest the Christians
• While in the desert, a bright light shone around him
• Saul hears God say, ‘Why are you persecuting me?’
• Saul becomes blind.
• He becomes a Christian and his name changes to Paul.
Most religious people believe that a miracle is something which breaks the laws of nature and can only be explained by God. Miracles like this happened in the Bible when Jesus made blind people see, walked on water and raised the dead. Many religious believers think that miracles still...