Our S2 class have been learning about Suffering and why it happens and recently after watching Bruce Almighty have been challenged with the task of writing an Imaginative Piece on “If I Were A God”. I have put up some of my favourite pieces so far!
Callum Williamson, 2.2
I have been thinking about what is going on in the World and decided I would give you my thoughts on what I would do if I was you.
Firstly I really think you should start with America. The situation with guns in that country is ruining so many lives. If I were you I would start by making sure those in power made guns illegal for the general public.
Your next problem is hunger. There are far too many people who do not have enough food and water. You could start by making it rain in places that have no water. This would allow them to drink and grow crops.
Now the last problem I want to bring out is Global Warming. I was hoping for you to help out everywhere that suffers from Global Warming by; helping the human race reduce carbon emissions, by stopping people cutting down trees and by encouraging people to end the extinction of animals.
I was thinking, since I have helped you with these ideas of how we can end some suffering and make the world better, maybe I could ask for something that could help me too. If you could see that when my mum buys her lottery ticket next week it’s got the winning numbers on it that would be amazing. There are so many people in my family I would like to help.
Callum T. Williamson
Ben Morris, 2.2
If I was God I would ban guns in all countires except from military and police. The crisis in America with guns is getting ridiculous, many deaths are gun and gang related.
If I was God I would help and give money to the poor and starving – I would take a percentage of all the rich and donate to the poor and hungry. Surely all the rich don’t need all the money they have?
Pollution is getting bad as well but with more electric cars getting built that should cut it down. With massive factories getting built more often, pollution will get worse.
But will this ever happen? Probably not.
Abbie McIntosh 2.2
I’m God! I can’t believe it! I really want to use this power to help people less fortunate than myself. I think I will surprise all the children living in poverty in Scotland by making their Christmas special! I am going to look into their minds and see what they each want the most! Then, I am going to wrap the presents up (with my mind) and teleport them to each of the kids houses. Helping people makes me happy and a happy God means a Happy World….
Jackson Adie, 2.8
If I was God I’d make a list
and stopping wars wouldn’t be missed.
Poverty would be beyond existence,
Once I’d gave my assistance.
For those who were seriously ill,
I would invent a magic pill.
Challenges in life will still remain,
However they won’t be quite as insane.
Of all civilians that are found in danger,
I will help despite being a stranger.
To those who are starving I would donate as much food as I could
as long as the shared it evenly among each other.
And once I had completed all these tasks,
I would have a break unless that was too much to ask.
Tommy Black, 2.8
If I had God’s powers for day I would wake up, make my teeth straighter and take off my braces then I would cure my diabetes and Asthma. I would then have my breakfast and I wouldn’t need to brush my teeth because I can just use my powers. I would go outside and clear all the clouds. I would give all the starving people in the world grown crops. Then I would get all the prayers and I would hire someone to read them and answer them. I would make it rain in the dry countries but not too much. I would have my lunch and dinner then give money to the homeless so they could buy a house.
This is just a few of the response we have had. An excellent response S2! Well Done!
Is it possible that God could have created the Universe?
Higher Origins Essay Help
The VIEWS Structure
This guide will follow the VIEWS format; which is a good example of how to structure essay paragraphs.
Some may find it easier or more logical to switch the weaknesses and strengths around, finishing on the weakness. Or as I have done below started with a strength, given a weakness then given a rebuttal. This will help you consider evaluation, analysis and knowledge points. Make sure you always answer the question and link back to the question.
Is it possible that God could have created the Universe? Discuss
There are many different approaches to this question and it is not as straightforward as it seems. This guide aims to look at four different responses to this argument.
Yes, because the Bible says he did. (Creationists Christians)
Yes, because the Bible says he did and this can be backed up with science. (Creation Scientists)
Yes, because there are many scientific theories that are explained by God. (Liberal Christians)
No, because there is scientific evidence to say God was not required to create the Universe. (Scientific Materialists)
Christians would look to the Bible for guidance and help in their life.However, it is up to personal faith and belief as to how you interpret the Bible.Many take a literal approach and believe every word of the Bible to be the truth. These people are called Creationists.They believe the bible is a Special Revelation from God and is his exact words and therefore the ultimate truth.This means that when they are looking at the Book of Genesis which details the creation stories they believe this to be a complete truth.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”
Creationists would take the seven-day creation story literally and so believe that because the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it, this is the only evidence that they need.Some may say that the Bible is not enough evidence to prove God created the Universe, especially because it was written thousands of years ago and there has been scientific research that claims otherwise.However, by only looking at the Bible and discrediting any other theories or evidence requires a lot of faith and belief and so this could be seen as a strength.Therefore Creationists Christians believe that God is the only answer for the creator of the Universe.
Creation Scientists hold a similar belief in that they believe the Bible to be a literal account of the creation of the Universe, but they would also back this up with scientific evidence. This means that they believe the Universe is only a few thousand years old and it was created in 6 days.The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is a research group set up by Dr. Henry Morris, sets out to find Scientific Evidence to back up the Creation story as found in the Bible. For Example, the ICR claims that Fossils cannot date back millions of years old as there is still soft tissue present in it. They also have used Science to back up their theory that the Universe is only several thousands of years old because of the lack of sodium in the world’s oceans.By taking the story from the Bible and backing it up with scientific findings that follow the scientific method, Creation Scientists are able to prove the possibility of God creating the Universe. Their hypothesis has been taken from the Bible and they have used testing and verification to conclude that their theory was correct.Many would argue a weakness of this viewpoint is that Creation Scientists are only taking into account the parts of science that fit their theory and discrediting other scientific ideas.Creation Scientists would rebut this saying that Atheists who discredit the idea of God are ignoring evidence such as the Bible and other ways in which God has revealed himself.Therefore Creationists Scientists would believe that it is fully possible to believe that God created the Universe.
There are many that believe that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory can work with the Biblical Account of Creation.Christians who interpret the Bible in a metaphorical way, believing the Bible to be a story to help explain God’s power, would believe that the creation story of Genesis and the Big Bang Theory could work together.For example, in Genesis 1 it says that there was immense darkness before God said: “Let there be Light”. This can be compared to the Light that was emitted when the Big Bang started and so it could be argued that God was the cause of the Big Bang. The process of the Big Bang could fit in with the process of the Big Bang and the 6-day creation story could instead be interpreted as 6 stages or time periods.A strength of this argument is that allows Christians or theists to believe in God and have their faith backed up with scientific theories. Scientists do not know for example what started the Big Bang and so for many Christians, this something is God. Scientist E. O Wilson who is an atheist agrees that it is possible that religion and science can work together.A weakness of this approach, however, is it is not clear as to how much of the Bible should be taken metaphorically. This could cause people to pick and choose parts of their own religions.However, Liberal Christians would argue this is all part of the free will that God has given them, the ability to make reasoned judgments based on his guidance. Overall Liberal Christians believe that it is entirely possible that God created the Universe.
There are many who do not believe it is possible for a God to have created the Universe, these people are referred to as Scientific Materialists.They look to scientific theories to explain the origins of the universe. Scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins would argue that there is no need for a God.They would look at the Big Bang Theory and summarise that it does not require a God. There are many instances of spontaneous, unexplained actions that can happen in the Universe that can cause a chain of events. It is argued that one of these unexplained combustions could have caused the Big Bang and therefore requires no God.A strength of this is that it is using the evidence available to come to a conclusion and is not relying on faith or religious revelation, which cannot be verified.However, it could be argued that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory are only ever theories, based on the evidence available at that time. Science is continually changing and developing and so theories can change. However, for many atheists who do not believe in God, science seems to be the only logical approach to questions about the Origin of the Universe. For Scientific Materialists, it is impossible for a God to have created the Universe.
In your Higher exam – it is recommended you bring together all of your ideas and summarise your arguments and answer the question. You can answer the question and add your personal opinion using phrases such as “in my opinion”, “as an overall conclusion I would say that” or “I agree to a certain extent…”
Creation Scientists take a literal approach to Genesis 1, believing it to be an actual account of the creation of the universe. They use science to back up this view. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) was created to complete research into backing up this theory.
Founded by Dr. Henry Morris in 1970, ICR exists to conduct scientific research within the realms of origins and Earth history, and then to educate the public both formally and informally through graduate and professional training programs, through conferences and seminars around the country, and through books, magazines, and media presentations.
We will look at some of the main beliefs held by the ICR in upcoming posts but just now we will look at the idea that the universe is just a few thousand years old.
There are many different pieces of evidence for this theory put forward including the dating of comets, the lack of salt in the sea floor and the soft tissue in fossils. See the below image. A lot of the explanations are quite complex and so providing you are able to summarise the young earth theory and perhaps remember a few of the supporting evidence.
For Scientific Materialists, it is unreasonable to believe that a God or Supernatural being created the Universe. Instead, they deduce through scientific reasoning and the scientific method that the origin of the Universe can be explained solely through science with no religious input.
One believer of this approach is Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist who is firmly against the idea of God and has published several pieces discrediting religious responses to the origin of the universe. In contrary to this is Edward Osbourne (E. O.) Wilson, a scientist who was brought up as a Christian but became an atheist. He does, however, believe science and religion can work together to provide a better understanding of how the world works.
Stephen Hawking has dedicated his life’s work to the exploration of Black Holes and in turn the Big Bang Theory. He believes that all the evidence that is currently available points to the Big Bang is the beginning of the universe. Until other evidence disproves this theory he believes that this is the only plausible explanation for the origin of the universe. When looking at what is a reasonable
When looking at what is a reasonable explanation, scientists look to theories that can be proven or disproven with the Scientific method. This is why revelation is unacceptable to many as it cannot be tested, verified or falsified.
Scientific theories, regardless of what they are about, are theoretical. This means they are theoretically right until a new piece of evidence can prove or disprove the hypothesis. You can read more about the scientific reasoning behind the Big Bang Theory in a previous post The Big Bang Theory Explained
When discrediting religion, many would use the argument that a book written thousands of years ago cannot have all the answers. If God did create the universe and the Bible is God’s word, why does it not explain more about the origins of the universe? However, the counter-argument of this is that the Bible should not be taken literally.
When you are asked about whether it is reasonable to believe a God created the universe you have to always remember what is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another. It is all down to personal interpretation.
The Big Bang Theory is a term for a theory that is centuries old although is on record as being term the ‘Big Bang Theory’ by Fred Hoyle in the 1920s. There are many different parts to the Big Bang Theories and some disagreements within the scientific community as to the cause and effect of the Big Bang but it is widely agreed that:
The Universe had a definite beginning.
The Universe continues to expand and cool down.
The Universe isn’t reliant on something or some being for it’s existence.
There is no universal agreement on what caused the Big Bang to begin or what will happen to the universe eventually.
Below is a quick guide to the Big Bang (Excuse me if anything is inaccurate, feel free to send any corrections to me!)
The Big Bang started at a single point when the universe burst into existence. Before this it was complete darkness as light did not exist neither did space. When the universe began there was an ultra hot fog of energy.
Within a trillionth of a second the universe stretched from the size of an atom to and orange and began cooling down. Within 100 seconds the universe was the size of our solar system. As the universe was cooling down, matter and anti matter were created. When matter and anti matter collide they destroy each other. This was happening constantly and only 1 in 1 billion matter particles survived. It is from these particles that everything was formed.
“We are made of the smoke of the Big Bang”
The radiation from the Big Bang can still be seen and heard on earth. For example in television and radio waves.
Gravity is the cause of everything. The discovery of gravity is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity is the pulling of everything together. Because some matter was denser and less effective when pulled by gravity it meant that there were imperfections in the universe. These imperfections were what created the universe.
Hydrogen gas was the first element created. It is extremely powerful and it is what gives stars their power and energy. If hydrogen is compacted down it will heat up and cause nuclear fusion. This process is what caused helium to be created. This process is what took place in order to create more elements. This is a long process.
Gravity can also be dangerous and cause black holes. A black hole is created when a massive star begins to dies and becomes unstable. It shrinks and gets denser and denser until the core starts collapsing in on itself. Black Holes give off radiation and this is what galaxies rotate around.
How were planets formed?
Our solar system is about 6 billion years old. A Star exploded and we can see evidence of this in the nebula in the solar system. Nebula is a thick fog full of different elements. Gravity pulls these elements together. The pressure of the hydrogen gas led to an explosion and a formation of a new star (our sun). This blast gave off a radioactive dust that pushed any excess dust. From these elements and dust planets began to form.
Did this all happen by accident?
All questions about the Big Bang ultimately lead to questions on whether this was a ‘perfect accident’. Christian Scientists who believe that the Universe was created by God. They use the examples of
The earth being the exact positions away from the Sun that it is not too hot or too cold.
All the elements required for life are present on the earth.
The imbalance or imperfection that was required for life to begin was a 1 in a billion chance.
Stephen Hawking refuted this explaining that for the size of the universe and the 1 in a billion chance it is inevitable that at least of the billions of planets would have life on them.
The Four Sights are the 4 things that Siddhartha Gautama saw for the first time when he left the palace after living a sheltered life. When thinking about the four sights you need to try to think of it from the perspective of never seeing these things before and how your eyes would be opened to the truth.
My S3’s recently completed a task where they created eye’s that explained the sight and the significance of it inside. The Eye being opened symbolised the Truth being revealed. Here are some of their ideas.
First Sight – An Old Man
The first thing that Siddhartha saw was an Old Man – weak and frail. This is a major revelation as Siddartha would have come to the realisation that you are not young, fit and healthy forever. It is something that no one can escape.
Suffering is caused by old age because your body becomes weaker and sore and daily tasks may become hard due to this.
It is significant because it told Siddhartha that one day he too will become old and not live forever and be able to do everything he wants to do.
Second Sight – A Sick Man
The second sight was a sick man. After seeing the old man this would also be a shock as Siddhārtha had been sheltered from this and had never come across the concept of people getting sick, ill, helpless and even so ill they die.
Suffering is caused by the person being sick and not able to function. Suffering is also caused but the family worrying about this person.
This is significant because it shows that illness can affect everyone no matter what your circumstances are.
Another pupil put it:
sickness is inevitable and abnormal for someone who had never seen it. To see someone sick would be extremely alarming and confusing as they were unaware the body could do this.
Sickness is still a huge problem in society whether it is something as unforgiving as cancer or something as small as a cold it still affects us. It can happen to anyone, of any age, including Siddhārtha.
Third Sight – A Corpse
The third thing that Siddhartha saw was a corpse on a funeral pyre. This would have been a shock as this would be an awakening that life is not a continuous event. Think about it when people get a diagnosis of only a few months to live they change the way they live their lives some may write a Bucket List of things that they want to achieve before death. It changes their perspective.
“Death also affects the family of the loved one. If Siddhārtha never knew his family were going to die he may take them for granted. Whereas if he knew his family would die he would protect them and cherish the time he had with them.”
Fourth Sight – A Holy Man
After the first three Sights, Prince Siddhartha realises he has been duped throughout his life. He has been surrounded by luxury, shielded from suffering and true reality by his father. It is the fourth Sight which first awakens him to other possibilities and an escape from suffering. He sees a wandering holy man, a Sadhu, who appears happy in the midst of the suffering.
“The wise man is at peace with the world even though he has no possessions. This shows Siddhartha that he does not need material things to be happy. Siddhārtha feels betrayed by his family and so feels he must go find the truth.”
Did Siddhārtha really never experience these things?
It is highly unlikely that Siddhartha went through his whole life not experiencing any of these four sights. His teachings often take the form of stories with deeper meanings behind them and it is thought that this is such a story. Siddhartha is getting the point across as if you had never witnessed these four sights before in order to show the impact they have had on his life. He is emphasising the sheltered life he has lived.
Siddhartha returned to the palace. He went to see his father and asked, “Why have you lied about the existence of suffering, sickness, poverty, old age and death. Suddhodana said that if he had lied it was because he loved his son. But Siddhartha said that his father’s love “had become a prison, how can I stay here when there is so much suffering in the world, I have to do something about it”.
Siddhartha visited his wife and son as they slept to say good-bye. He could not wake them, for if he did, his love would not allow him to go. His heart was aching but he realised he had to leave them. The whole palace had fallen into a deep sleep, and a mysterious mist had descended. Only the great elephants were awake, and Siddhartha and Channa.
What does it mean by Going Forth?
He had reached the point where the conventions, the pattern of life that had been laid out for him was stifling. So he had to get out. In the story, Siddhartha resolved to take the example of the Sadhu to heart, and leave the palace and seek answers to his questions of why there is poverty, old age, disease and death. He had to Go Forth – to find the Truth.
Siddhartha realised that he had to separate himself from the demands of the group of which he was a part – he had to go his own, individual way. He needed to get away from the roles he was expected to play and that he did not choose. He felt that he had caught a glimpse of something richer, of new possibilities and that his old life was holding him back.
Siddhartha realised that he literally had to leave home. He therefore leaves parents, wife, child, tribe – and he goes at night. Siddhartha steals away from the group, he just slips out, otherwise they won’t let him go.
Going Forth is about is starting to control and determine your own identity yourself, and not letting others do it for you. This is what “leaving the group means”.
What Does Going Forth Mean?
Everyone has set roles that they fit into. We have to act a certain way in the different groups we are in.
In the family you function in a role, as son, daughter, mother, etc. The danger is that we over identify with a familial role as if this is just ALL you are, which is how families can become stifling. Often only when you have left home do you really relate to your parents as people, see them perhaps as fallible or funny, and have a much richer and perhaps more loving relationship with them.
Other groups that one may Go Forth from are your social scene, its fashions, its jargon, and its chitchat. Then you may go forth from an obsessive, unhealthy sexual or emotional relationship – one that is based on mutual emotional dependence and exploitation.
Then there is the Going Forth from the economic group and perhaps your job. There is the danger of over identifying with what you do. People ask, “What are you”…and you give them a job title, a role. You play or live a role.
Prince Siddhartha was raised a Hindu and had readily accepted the caste system. The caste system was a structure in society which was heavily related to the religious beliefs of reincarnation. It was strongly felt that actions in this life determined the life you would lead in the future – if you were evil and nasty you would be reincarnated into someone who suffered, if you were kind and good you were reincarnated into someone rich. This strong belief meant that many people felt you ‘deserved’ the life you had and that whilst you could still be kind to others there was no obligation to support the most vulnerable in society.
The Caste System
People were born into the caste system and then had to choose professions accepted within the caste system, which usually meant following your family’s jobs. You could not work your way through the castes, or marry someone from a different caste. If you broke the caste system you were rejected from society – you became an ‘out-caste’. This system had been heavily reinforced for thousands of years. (If you think about the different factions in Divergent with the factionless being like the Out-Caste)
The very bottom of the caste system was the ‘Untouchables’ to have any contact with this group immediately made you impure. You can see the broad strata in the image on the right.
Buddha was opposed to this structuring and said it was wrong to assign someone to a caste for their whole life. He said people should be judged on ‘merit’ (what they could do) rather than what they were born into. He changed his beliefs from his previous Hindu upbringing to something which was seen as completely radical for his time.
Buddha also believed that everyone could be on a path to enlightenment and could do things to improve their chances of achieving enlightenment, whereas Hinduism mainly left the religious roles to the Brahman’s, Buddha said everyone could find a spiritual path to enlightenment.
The Buddha also departed from Hindu beliefs about God. For the Buddha the aim of existence was to cease existing, to end suffering you had to end your own rebirths because you could never escape suffering.
Buddha believed there was no God which radically departed from Hindu beliefs. In Hinduism there was one God reflected in many other gods e.g. god of fertility, god of life, god of harvests etc. For the average Hindu householder they picked a god who would best serve them and built shrines to worship them, e.g. a farmer would choose the gods of rain, sunshine and fertility and worship them.
Buddha changed his life dramatically – from a wealthy prince ready to rule over a large empire established by his father to a wandering ascetic looking for truth. His previous life was full of luxury and material goods but his new life was austere and spiritual. With this change in circumstances there was a change in attitude and beliefs.
The 3 Dimensions of Going Forth
Going Forth’ can be broken down into three parts:
The Physical Journey. Prince Siddhartha physically leaves the palace, his life of luxury, his family, friends and the life he knows in search of something unknown. He rides out on his horse beyond the palace walls in search of truth.
The Emotional Break. Prince Siddhartha has to break his emotional ties to his family, his culture and his own identity. He must go forward independently and open his mind to new ideas and experiences.
The Psychological Shift: Prince Siddhartha has been awakened to a different reality and this changes the way he thinks. He wants to end suffering for all, he wants to find peace for himself, he has been challenged to think differently. He has had a culture-shock and he starts to question cultural values. So he goes in search of truth and an end to suffering.
Karma and Path to Enlightenment
Buddha’s idea of karma was also different. In Hinduism there was a linear approach to karma – a person would do something and immediately there was a consequence or an identifiable trace between cause and effect. However, Buddha saw Karma as much more complex and working in more challenging ways.
Buddha also accepted many ideas prevalent in Hindu culture – encouragement to be vegetarian and not to harm other living beings, ideas about searching for truth by looking within, the practices of meditation and yoga and so on. So whilst he went forth and revolutionized some beliefs, he also stayed true to many cultural beliefs.
Buddha taught his followers in many different ways and encouraged them to find their own path to enlightenment. He used stories, teaching, meditation, self-denial and other methods to show that there were many paths towards enlightenment. This was different to the Hindu tradition which prescribed particular practices.
It’s great to see so many new readers and followers. In 2017 alone, we have had 10,000 views from nearly 60 countries! Pretty Impressive! But I need your help!
I set up this site as a place to share further ideas, information and easy to access to resources for all RMPS pupils. I am a fan of Google Classroom and Glow and all the other sites you can use to share resources with pupils. I did just feel that if they didn’t require to log in and could access the information straight away it was easier for them to revise! It also means that RMPS students across the country could also benefit, I’m a massive advocate of sharing is caring and there is no point in reinventing the wheel! Feel free to comment on pages you found useful and provide any further links to help with learning. Also if you have something you think would benefit the site, whether it be a summary of a topic, a great video linked to learning, a great revision aid or anything from your RME/RERC/RE/RMPS (delete as appropriate) classroom that you wouldn’t mind sharing to help the website grow please let me know! I don’t always get the chance to write up everything I wish I could!
What I am saying is feel free to comment on pages you found useful and provide any further links to help with learning. Also if you have something you think would benefit the site, whether it be a summary of a topic, a great video linked to learning, a great revision aid or anything from your RME/RERC/RE/RMPS (delete as appropriate) classroom that you wouldn’t mind sharing to help the website grow please let me know! I don’t always get the chance to write up everything I wish I could! I would love this website to be a community of RME teachers sharing their knowledge and helping others.
If you are interested in providing some content (it doesn’t have to be an immediate commitment or a commitment at all) I can be contacted on email@example.com
Professor Alan Lurie writes about his beliefs on What God is. He is from a Jewish faith and this could be useful when asked in an exam or assignment about beliefs about God.
As a rabbi, I am often asked to define the word “God.” And as a person whose life is centred on knowing God, I’ve attempted to give thoughtful responses. But I’ve discovered that my attempts, which are given with the intention of reducing misunderstandings, usually produce the opposite results, and create more misunderstandings. This is because whatever one’s position — from atheistic to fundamentalist and all points in between — we all, as products of a culture steeped in religion, necessarily carry ideas about God, and many of these ideas can be held so stubbornly that any meaningful conversation is immediately derailed.
For many people, the word “God” just seems to ring badly. It feels stuffy, old-fashioned and self-righteousness — a relic from a less enlightened age. For others, the answer has already been given by the doctrine of their religion, and so the issue is closed. For others, the very notion of God is absurd, and so the issue is also closed.