The Existence of God: The Nature of Reality Flashcards Preview

RS OCR Full Course > The Existence of God: The Nature of Reality > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Existence of God: The Nature of Reality Deck (43)
Loading flashcards...
1
Q

What are four of the main arguments for the existence of God?

A

The design argument
The anthropic principle
The cosmological argument
The moral argument

2
Q

Why are arguments about the existence of God valuable?

A

They enable people to consider whether belief in God is reasonable. Christianity requires faith, but the arguments also demonstrate logical ways for God to exist. This allows for discussion about his existence.

3
Q

What is the teleological argument?

A

The natural world is so complex and intricate that it could only have been achieved through intelligent design. This means there must be an intelligent being who designed it: God. It is also known as the design argument, and is supported by other arguments like Paley’s watch.

4
Q

How can experiences of awe and wonder support the teleological argument?

A

The observation of the natural world can create fascination and awe, which can be a revelation. It is intricate and complicated, so it can move some to a belief in a designer God.

5
Q

What is Paley’s watch?

A

If you were walking and found a watch, you would see how intricate it is. All the parts work together to meet a purpose. This could not be the result of an accident, and the reasonable conclusion is that it is the work of a designer. The same is true of the world and nature, so the world must have a designer: God.

6
Q

How did Mill refute the teleological argument?

A

John Stuart Mill said that there is cruelty in nature, such as animals efficient at killing others. There are also natural disasters as a result of faults in the Earths structure. He said this was evidence of bad design, so if God existed, he would be cruel and deserves no worship.

7
Q

What is the anthropic principle?

A

The world is so perfectly structured to ensure that life would develop. Evolution is further evidence for a designer, producing increasingly complex life forms, eventually with a conscience. Evolution was guided by God. The chance of humans existing by chance is so low that there must have been a creator.

8
Q

What is the cosmological argument?

A

There is no event in the natural world without a cause; everything is created by something else, like an arrow shot from a bow. The universe must therefore also have a cause. There must be a ‘prime mover’ or first cause, who himself has no cause. We call this person God.

9
Q

What is the moral argument?

A

When we do something wrong, we have a sense of guilt. This is the voice of God speaking through our conscience, enabling people to know what is right and wrong. Because of free will people can ignore their conscience, but God’s voice reminds us we are responsible to him. Without God there would be no inner sense of right and wrong.

10
Q

What is the soul-making argument?

A

Humans make decisions about what is right, learning from suffering and evil to act in a way to please God. This process would continue after death. Through moral decisions a person’s soul can develop. Some Christians reject this as it does not fit with the belief that God judges people after death.

11
Q

Why do Christians choose to live an ethical life?

A

They want to show obedience to God and please him, in order to demonstrate the authority and worth they give to God. Jesus helped people on Earth so Christians follow him.

12
Q

How do some Christians choose to live ethically?

A
Buying products with recycled materials
Buying Fair Trade produces
Using renewable energy sources
Promoting reforestation
Giving to charity
13
Q

How is God revealed through scripture?

A

The Bible is written by many people, but to many Christians it is the Word of God. There are different interpretations on how much influence God had on the Bible.

14
Q

What is a literal interpretation of the Bible?

A

The Bible is literally God’s words recorded on the page. There are no mistakes and it is all true, as God is infallible. When it contradicts with science, the Bible takes authority. Christians like this are fundamentals or literals. Some Christians try to live strictly according to the Bible, such as the Amish community.

15
Q

What are conservative interpretations of the Bible?

A

The Bible writers were inspired by God but were only human, so there may be mistakes. They were writing from a point in history, so it needs to be interpreted to today. Some stories may be myths in order to teach a message. The authority of the scripture still comes from God, not through the Church. Decisions conflicting with biblical teachings should be rejected.

16
Q

What are liberal interpretations of the Bible?

A

Bible stories are mythical and symbolic. Scientists have a better understanding of the world than anything in the Bible. The Bible is an account of the writers’ lives and encounters with God to provide guidance and inspiration. There is no claim of it being without errors. Each person’s interpretation is important.

17
Q

How is God revealed through Jesus?

A

Jesus is God incarnate. He was on Earth and showed us what God is like. It showed his love for humanity, as he took on limitations to teach people, provide an example and show God’s love. He was perfect and fully God still. Humans could understand Jesus, so God has been literally seen and recorded in the New Testament.

18
Q

What is a miracle?

A

A supernatural act or event that brings about good.

19
Q

What are the four types of miracles?

A

Healing miracles - when an unwell person immediately returns to health, or recovers after being told by doctors that they are dying and incurable
Miracles over nature - when natural elements are controlled
Raising the dead - when someone declared dead returns to life
Exorcisms - when someone possessed by an evil spirit has it sent out of their body

20
Q

What are modern day miracles?

A

Miracles performed today by God, just like in Biblical accounts. Many Christians pray for interventions from God, reinforcing the personal relationship.

21
Q

What is Lourdes?

A

It is a site in the south of France important for Catholics. Bernadette Soubirous claimed to see the Virgin Mary there, and it became a site of pilgrimage. Over 6500 people claim to have been miraculously healed there, with over 60 confirmed by the Catholic Church.

22
Q

Why do some Christians not accept modern miracles?

A

God revealed himself through Jesus and the Bible, so further revelation is unnecessary. Miracles seem random and immoral, as God heals some but not others. God created the laws of nature so has no need to constantly intervene and break them.

23
Q

How can meeting inspirational people effect some people?

A

They hear the way that God has worked in the life of an inspirational person. They may sense God’s presence from them and be inspired and encouraged in their own faith.

24
Q

What are some examples of figures inspirational to Christians?

A

Mother Theresa - a nun who helped the poor in the slums of India
James Hudson Taylor - was aware of millions dying without knowing the gospel, so set sail to China with missionaries and his family to spread faith, despite persecution
Someone converted to Christianity from a life of drug or alcohol abuse

25
Q

What are religious experiences?

A

When people claim to have had some kind of direct encounter with God, such as visions, mystical experiences with awe and wonder, and religious experiences which cause a person to gain faith.

26
Q

What are conversions?

A

Experiences that cause a person to adopt a belief in God, with a new sense of direction in life with God at the centre. It may cause them to change their behaviour and choices.

27
Q

What was Paul’s conversion?

A

Saul was a man threatening the disciples. He saw light from heaven and God spoke to him, asking him why he persecuted Him. Saul was blinded and travelled to Damascus, where his sight was restored. He changed his name to Paul and spent his life spreading the Christian faith. The story is documented in Acts 9.

28
Q

What are mystical experiences?

A

An experience where a believer feels an overwhelming awareness of the presence of God, feeling awe and wonder. They are unique, sometimes causing a sense of peace and oneness with God. Experiencers are left in no doubt that God is real, strengthening faith for the person but nobody else. Some Christians downplay them as they imply that the Word of God and Jesus are not enough.

29
Q

What are visions?

A

A religious experience where someone claims they can see something supernatural. This is not visible to others, but some say they see their vision in the same way as they see other things in the natural world. Some hear voices as well. Some reject them as they are adding something new to what is revealed in the Bible, which is against its teachings.

30
Q

What are charismatic and ecstatic experiences?

A

They are a type of altered state of mind, as people become less aware of the world around them and experience intense emotional and spiritual feelings about God. Some see visions in their trance. Large groups of people may experience ecstasies, known as revival. Charismatic Churches use the term ‘slain in the Spirit’, where people fall backwards, overcome by the Holy Spirit.

31
Q

What is baptism in the Holy Spirit?

A

It is used by Pentecostal Churches. It is an experience where a believer gives control to the Holy Spirit after conversion. They come to know Christ in a more personal way, being filled with the Spirit’s power. It is an action of God’s grace.

32
Q

What is glossolalia?

A

Speaking in tongues. It stems from a Pentecostal belief that they are equipped with the gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues. It is miraculously speaking in an ecstatic (non human) language unknown to the speaker by the Spirit. It allows believers to worship God.

33
Q

What are different beliefs about being filled with the Holy Spirit?

A

Pentecostals believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit is part of regular worship with God.
Others say the Holy Spirit given at conversion by God and cannot be ‘topped up’, as it is always present.

34
Q

What are Pentecostals?

A

A movement within Christianity (not a denomination) that is based on the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. They seek to return to the original roots of Christianity and emphasise the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God. They say faith must be experienced.

35
Q

Why do some Christians reject ecstatic experiences coming from God?

A

Some Christians say that nowhere in the Bible do prophets, the apostles of Jesus lay their hands in someone, allowing the Holy Spirit to come over them. The only time people fell in the presence of God was when God was giving judgement, so not an ecstatic experience.

36
Q

What do Christians believe about worship?

A

They are giving praise to God and he is able to communicate with them in some way. Many believe God speaks to them in their minds as they focus on him. This may be in an inner understanding, peace or a fresh understanding.

37
Q

What do Christians believe about liturgical and charismatic worship?

A

Liturgical worship provides structure to help some Christians encounter God. It provides an increased sense of his presence or direction.
Christians involved in charismatic worship find that the freedom of these services allows for greater personal expression, which allows them to better connect with God.

38
Q

What do Christians believe about sacraments?

A

It is an outward act and sign of an inner and invisible grace. Through sacraments Christ acts in the believer and makes them holy. The Church teaches that sacraments help believers to worship God correctly.

39
Q

What do Catholics and Orthodox Churches believe about the Eucharist?

A

They believe in transubstantiation, where the bread and wine are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus. Taking the bread and wine provides believers with a way of receiving God’s grace, as they feel they become united with Christ. They are the representation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, allowing them to achieve eternal life with Christ.

40
Q

What does the Church of England believe about the Eucharist?

A

Consubstantiation, which accepts the real presence of Christ at Eucharist, but says that the substance of the bread and wine remains unchanged.

41
Q

What do non-conforming Protestant churches believe about the Eucharist?

A

They say the Eucharist is entirely symbolic, as an act of remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the Bible there is no suggestion that the apostles were aware in any change in substance of the bread and wine, and the first Eucharist (the Last Supper) was before Jesus died. It is a time to encounter God through prayer and reflection. Baptists believe this.

42
Q

What do Catholics believe about Penance (confession)?

A

It involves confessing sins to a priest. The priest provides absolution to the person, so their sins are forgiven. The person has to be remorseful and regret what they have done. It allows Catholics to draw close to God and relieves them of their guilt.

43
Q

What do non-conformist and Anglican churches believe about confession?

A

It is not a sacrament, as the Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers. This means every Christian can come before God in prayer and confess without a priest. God acts to remove their sins and forgive them.