Tag: god

Is God A Man In the Sky? – Huffington Post Article

Is God A Man In the Sky? – Huffington Post Article

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The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo at the Sistine chapel, Vatican city, Rome, Italy

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.

Read the rest of the article here… 

Islam – Beliefs in God

Islam – Beliefs in God

This is a summary of what Muslims believe about God. The Arabic word for God is Allah, that is what many Muslims call him as most of islamic texts and words are written in Arabic.

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Tawhid

Muslims believe in Tawhid – this is the belief that there is one supreme god. Muslims are Monotheistic, this means they only have one god. They believe that God is eternal, he has always existed and always will. Allah has no gender, no partners and no equals. His nature is beyond our human understanding.

Importance of Tawhid

Tawhid is very important to Muslims. Allah should always be the forefront of Muslims minds. It is the first part of the Shahadah. This is the first thing whispered into a baby’s ear and should be the last thing a dying muslim says. It should also be the first and last thing  Muslim says each and everyday. This highlights that Allah is the only one god. He has complete creative power.

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Creator

Allah is the creator of the Universe and has the power to do anything and everything Muslims believe he is all loving and all knowing. Although Allah has created the whole world and is beyond the universe. he is close at hand. He is immanent. This is the belief that he is close at hand, he is here with us. He knows our unspoken thoughts, he is even closer to us than us than our own heartbeats.

Shirk

Shirk is seen as the one unforgivable sin in Islam. It means associating other beings with Allah. It is idolatry. If your try to compare Allah to anything in creation, or suggest they have the same abilities , this would be shirk.

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Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Created the Universe? Higher Model Answer

Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Created the Universe? Higher Model Answer

Is it reasonable to believe that God Created the Universe? (20 Marks)

Below is a model answer of the above question. I have added in some links to help with additional reading.

This is a question that has been widely debated for years and as scientific advances happen, fresh debates also happen. In order for something to be reasonable, it must have evidence to back up the claim. When looking at the Existence of God, many would look to evidence to support their argument. However Religious people, such as Christians would also say that belief in something also requires Faith. There are different types of truth, which depend on faith. (Read more about this here. )

Christians fundamental belief is that God must exist because the Universe exists and he is the Creator of everything. For them, God reveals himself in different ways. Sometimes this may be directly communicating with people – for example giving the Ten Commandments to Moses. Those who believe Jesus was an incarnation of God, also believe that this was God revealing himself to humanity. There are many different types of revalation that God has used to show himself  to humanity. Christians believe that this therefore is proof that God exists and created the Universe because there is evidence of him in the Bible, History and in the world around us.

Critics of this argument would say that because the word exists and there are instances of God revealing himself do not actually prove God exists or that he created the Universe. There are questions raised about the physical appearance of God so much in the times of the Old Testament but not anymore. Scientists would argue that the Bible cannot be used as a source of Scientific knowledge as it is full of inaccuracies and contradictions. It was written by humans about their understandings of God. Scientists would argue that therefore it is not a divine revelation, instead interpretations of a divine revelation. What one person experiences is not valid scientific evidence because it is a personal experience that cannot be verified. This is where the argument of the difference between faith and reason comes in. God is so powerful and mysterious that he is beyond human comprehension, therefore depending on your own faith and reason it could be reasonable to believe that God created the universe.

The Christian creation story of Genesis 1 can be used to support beliefs in God. This is the story that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. This can be interpreted in different ways. Creationist or Literal Christians believe that this is true in every way. They believe that the Bible is God’s word and so we must accept everything that is in it as the truth. Therefore for literal there is no debate when asked if God exists. God is Omnipotent and can do anything. Some Christians would say that this literal view is not compatible with some scientific evidence and therefore would see the creation story as being symbolic. They still believe that God created the world but not in the 7 24 hour time periods that are described in the Bible. By interpreting the source in this way Liberal Christians can look at scientific evidence and interpret the source with other developments that humans have found to be true. Therefore many would argue that the Genesis story can either prove or at least support the belief in a God as a creator.

The Cosmological Argument is an argument first put forward by Thomas Aquinas. The argument suggests that everything that exists must exist because it was caused by something else. Everything in the universe must have a cause. There must have been a first cause to cause everything. This cause must have been an uncaused cause to start everything off. The only thing that is eternal and powerful enough is God. Therefore God must be the first cause and God must exist. This gives a philosophical reason for the existence of God and gives reason to the argument that God exists. Christians use this argument to support their belief that God created the universe.

There are flaws with the Cosmological argument as an explanation for how the Universe began. For example, the premise of the argument that everything must have a cause does not include God. For many there is the argument that if God does not need a cause why does the universe? This argument also only links to the conclusion that there must be a uncaused cause, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is God. Scientists would use the Big Bang Theory to explain how the Universe began. The Big Bang was the start of the Universe: Matter, Space and Time. There was nothing before it. Quantum Physicists suggest that matter can appear and disappear spontaneously and does not require a cause. There are many different pieces of evidence that Scientists use to back up the theory of the Big Bang. For example theory proposed by Hubble and Einstein explain that there must be a limitation to the energy in the Universe this can be seen in the Red Shift, which shows the Universe is expanding. Although there is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the Big Bang there is no conclusive explanation for why it happened. For many Christians and other religious groups this cause has to be God, as to them it is the only logical explanation. Some Creationist Christians may argue against the Big Bang Theory and instead would only accept the word of the Bible, and the 7 day creation story.

The Teleological Argument is another argument used to support the argument about the existence of God. First proposed by William Paley, the argument suggests that the world is so perfect that it must have been designed. For example the Earth is the right distance away from the sun for life to survive. There are also examples within the complexities of nature, for many the only logical answer to how this could be would be the existence of a God. However there are critics of this argument such as Immanuel Kant, he argues that the structure and order on Earth is imagined. We want to see a perfect world so that is what we see. Hume also critiques this argument saying that the order of the world does not prove a god created it. It could be a group of gods or perhaps something other than God. An Argument is merely a theory and is not proof that something exists. This theory of a perfect world also does not fit in with the idea of evolution, which has been scientifically been proven by scientists such as Darwin. Many would however argue that Evolution was all part of God’s overall plan. As with most arguments about God, it is up to personal interpretation and faith. There is enough evidence to support either side of the argument and it could be proven either way. It is up to an individuals faith in God whether or not he exists and created the Universe.

To conclude, many would argue that it is indeed reasonable to believe that God created the Universe as belief in God requires an element of Faith along with reason. The idea of God can work with scientific theories such as that of The Big Bang Theory. For others the revelation of God through his creation and holy word is enough evidence. It does require an element of faith and that is down to personal interpretation.

 

Christianity – Nature of God

Christianity – Nature of God

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Christians would agree with the descriptions of God detailed above.

Christians are monotheists. This means that they believe there is only one God. It is very difficult to describe God, because everyday language is always about ordinary things but God is not ordinary.

God is ‘holy’, meaning special, separate and different.

It is important to remember that the God of the Jews found in the Jewish Scriptures (eg, the Torah) and the God of the Christian Old Testament is one God.

The Trinity

Many Christians believe in the Holy Trinity. This doctrine is unique to Christianity. They believe that God can take many forms.

The Trinity is a way of describing the three ways of being God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It describes the relationship between these three ‘persons’ which are all part of the one God.

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Statements about the Trinity are found in the Nicene Creed (the Christian statement of faith):

We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth…

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father…

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

Mary and Jesus

When God is described as ‘God the Son’, this refers to the Christian belief that God chose to come to earth as a human being.

He was born of Mary and was called Jesus. This belief is called the Incarnation.

Jesus

Jesus came to teach people God’s will for them, and to show them what life would be like in the Kingdom of God. For Christians, the Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel) is both an inner change of heart and a symbol of peace on earth.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah (Christ) for Christians, is important. He not only taught people about God, he showed them what God is like. Jesus was put to death on the cross. This was the crucifixion.

The cross is an important symbol for Christians. Christianity says that because Jesus (who was God) chose to die because he loved humanity and wanted to save them, all people were forgiven their sins and so had a chance to go to heaven.

Christianity teaches that death was not the end for Jesus. They believe that he rose from the dead on the third day, after being placed in the tomb. This is the resurrection. Christians believe that Jesus was not just a man in the past, but is a living saviour, relevant to their lives today.

How does this impact on Christians lives?

Christians feel that by believing in God they feel closer to him and he can provide a source of comfort in difficult times. Christians are united in their beliefs about God and the aim to create a “Kingdom of God” so Christians would be more loving towards each other. For example they may donate to charity, help those in need etc.

Christians know that God knows everything as he is Omniscient, this means they would try to please him by doing good actions. If they do sin they would need to ask God for forgiveness. By believing in God and an afterlife in heaven this will bring comfort to many.

 

 

What is God Like? Attributes of God

What is God Like? Attributes of God

What is God like?

Is he a old man with a white beard living on a cloud? Is god a woman? Does God have a physical form? There are many interpretations of what God is like.

Christians believe that God is every where, knows everything and you are able to have a personal relationship with him.Hindus believe that God takes many different forms, each of these forms represents a different attribute of God.

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Most religions have their own interpretations of what God is, but they do have some ideas in common. Here are some words that are used to describe God.

For your National 5 exam it would be good to know at least four of these definitions. 

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