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Flashcards in The Existence of God Deck (23):

What is a theist?

Someone who believes there is a God/ Gods


What is an atheist?

Someone who believes there is no God.


What is a monotheist?

Someone who believes in just one God.


What is a polytheist?

Someone who believes in more than one God.


What does agnostic mean?

A person who believes we cannot know whether God exists, is unsure, or simply open-minded.


What is the cosmological argument for the existence of God?

Also known as the first cause argument. The argument states that everything in the universe that happens or exists is caused by something else happening before it. If you trace the line of cause and effect back to the start of the universe, something must have started the chain- there must be a first cause. It is suggested that that first cause is God as by definition he needs no cause, and therefore God must exist.


Suggest some counter arguments to the cosmological argument.

Some people argue that if everything is caused by something, God too must have a cause. Others suggest that there is nothing in the argument that proves the first cause is God.


What is the teleological argument for the existence of God?

Also known as the design argument. The argument states that the universe is too cleverly designed to have happened by chance- it must have been created by some kind of intelligent life. The beauty and symmetry of nature is unparalleled by any human design (no camera can ever match the human eye), so it must have been created by a divine being- God.


Suggest some counterarguments for the teleological argument

Some say that scientists can explain the perfection of nature- the universe has had millions of years to evolve and adapt through natural selection, only the very best features surviving. Others argue that the world is actually not very perfectly designed at all- if it was things like natural disasters and extinction wouldn't happen.


What is the argument from religious experience?

This argument simply states that as millions of people claim to have seen, felt or heard God, their experiences must be based on truth- they can't all be lying. It suggest that if people have seen experienced God, he must be real.


Suggest some counterarguments for the argument from religious experience.

Some people believe that those who have religious experiences are lying to try and seek attention or convince others of their religion. Others believe that those who have religious experiences are just misinterpreting perfectly mundane things or even hallucinating. Some people believe that religious people are so desperate for a religious experience that they experience a sort of placebo effect- they are looking for God and so they are convinced they see him in perfectly ordinary places.


What is the Moral argument for the existence of God?

This argument suggests that because humans are possibly unique in having moral values and a sense of right and wrong, our morality must have come from somewhere other than just the process of evolution. It suggests that as God is also a moral being, he must have given us our sense of morality.


Suggest some counter arguments for the moral argument.

The main issue with the argument is that everybody has a different set of morals and some have none at all. If all our morals came from the same person, they would all be the same but this is not the case. Also, it is possible that our sense of morality is just evolved for our own survival- we learn what is socially acceptable from our society and we take this on as our Morals in order to fit in or appease our guilty conscience.


Who was Thomas Aquinas?

The man who popularized the cosmological argument.


Define conscience.

A person's sense of moral obligation and what is right and wrong.


What is conversion?

The process of bringing someone round to a belief and converting them to a new faith.


What did Isaac Newton say in support of the design argument? What did he mean?

'The only evidence I need for the existence of God is my own thumb.'
The idea that his thumb is so intricate and amazing that it proves the existence of God just by being their, because some thing so clever must have been deliberately, intelligently designed.


What is the watch maker's analogy?

An explanation of the design argument:
If you found yourself stranded on a primitive dessert island with no other intelligent life and you found a carefully designed watch, you would immediately conclude that their had been intelligent life on the island before you- specifically a watch maker- otherwise the watch couldn't possibly be there.
In the same way, the fact that we are so cleverly designed, suggests that there must have been intelligent life before humans, eg. God.


Who is William Paley?

The man who used the watch maker's analogy to first publicize the design argument.


What is the miracle argument for the existence of God?

This argument is simply that if miracles can happen, someone must cause the miracles, and that person must be God, therefore he exists.


Define cosmological.

Referring to the origin and structure of the universe


Summarise the beliefs of Freud.

Philosopher who founded the discipline of psycho-analysis and developed a series of theories on the unconscious mind. He believed morals came from social conventions that we register at an early age and become ingrained into our sense of right and wrong.


Who was David Hume?

Philosopher and historian who believed observation and experience should be the foundation of all human knowledge (empiricism).