3. 1 Believing in God 2 Matters of life and death 3 Marriage and the family



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Unit 3


  • 3.1 Believing in God

  • 3.2 Matters of life and death

  • 3.3 Marriage and the family

  • 3.4 Community cohesion

Unit 3.1

Believing in God
1.

a) What is ‘agnosticism’? (2 marks)

Agnosticism means not being sure if God exists.


b) Do you think evil and suffering show that God does not exist?

Give two reasons for your point of view. (4 marks)

I think God can still exist even though there is evil and suffering because of various reasons. Perhaps God is simply not omnibenevolent (all loving). Perhaps God wants us to suffer and therefore causes war, disease, destruction and death. Or maybe God is not omnipotent (all powerful). Perhaps God wants to stop the evil and suffering in the world but is powerless to do so. If either is correct then it is fair to say that evil and suffering do not prove that God does not exist. Also God gave us free will and therefore in most cases it is people that choose to cause evil and suffering not God and God may allow this for reasons we don’t understand.
c) Explain how two programmes/films about religion could affect a person’s beliefs about God. (8 marks)

The media affects different people in different ways. Take for example the TV programme Songs of Praise. A person might watch this and it might strengthen their faith because it might encourage a person to think more about God. The hymns that are being sung might bring comfort, hope or inspiration. The programme might also encourage a person to become more actively involved in prayer and other forms of worship. However a comedy like the film Bruce Almighty might have a different affect. A person might watch this and think religion is just something to laugh at. Furthermore instead of taking things like God, miracles, prayer, faith etc. seriously this film might encourage the opposite response. When Bruce uses his power to part his soup, or to let people win the lottery or even make his girlfriend’s breasts bigger then the idea of miracles become ridiculous, something to entertain and amuse. Finally this may encourage someone to come to the conclusion that believing in God is not something they ought to take seriously.


d) ‘Religious experiences prove that God exists’

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity.

I disagree because when a person says their prayers were answered this is simply a coincidence. If I pray for my football team to win the cup and they do this does not prove God exists it simply shows that my team are either very good or just lucky. Also, the so called miracle of a person that recovers from a terminal illness is due to doctors misdiagnosing (getting it wrong) or again good fortune. Finally, as for the person who says they felt the presence of God they are probably a bit unstable and just imagined it.
Some people, such as Catholics will disagree with me because they have strong faith. They will follow the teachings of the Church (catechism) and the bible and both of these use religious experience as proof of God existence. Also the bible says that Jesus healed people or that he helped to convert people. Finally, today the Church teaches that God listens and responds to prayer and that sometimes healing miracles happen like those at Lourdes.

2.

a) What is ‘prayer’? (2 marks)

Prayer is an attempt to contact (talk to, communicate with) God, usually through words.


b) Do you think science proves that God did not create the world? (2 marks)

I think science proves that God did not create the world because science is based on proof and evidence and belief in God is not. Science is able to prove that the world was created by the big Bang and Evolution and there is reliable evidence to back this up, there is no need for God in the creation of the world. I also think the story of creation in the Bible is just a story that people made up and believed hundreds of years ago because they didn’t understand science like we do today.
c) Explain why scientific explanations of the world may lead some people to become atheists or agnostics. (8 marks)

If science can explain the universe and humans without God, it could lead some people to be agnostic because they no longer need God to explain why we are here. Other people may also become atheists because they believe that if God existed, he must have made the world and be the only explanation for it. So the way that science can explain the world without God is proof to such people that God does not exist. Furthermore science says that matter is eternal and that the universe began when this matter exploded. The solar system came out of the explosion, and the nature of the earth allowed life to develop through evolution. This for many people is more believable than religious explanations such as those given in the story of creation in the book of Genesis. This is because it is based on scientific fact which relies upon evidence that can be proved rather than a belief which requires faith. Finally this is why some people regard the Bible as a work of fiction and religious teachings to be no more than superstitions.


d) ‘If God existed, there would be no evil or suffering in the world’

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity.

I disagree because most of the evil and suffering in the world is a result of human actions. God also gives people freewill; this allows people to choose how they are going to behave. Some people choose to be nasty and aggressive towards others committing crimes such as rape, assault and even murder. Such evil and suffering is a consequence of human action and has nothing to do with God. Finally, this view is supported by the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Some people disagree with me because God is supposed to be omnipotent (all powerful) and omnibenevolent (all loving). Also, if such a God existed then surely their couldn’t and wouldn’t be evil and suffering in the world. Finally, no loving God with absolute power would sit back and allow people to suffer which must mean that such a God does not exist.

3.

a) What is moral evil (2 marks)

Moral evil is actions done by people that cause human suffering.


b) Do you think miracles prove that God exists? (4 marks)

I think miracles do prove that God exists because miracles are events that cannot be explained by science for example when Jesus walked on water or fed 5000 people with just two loaves and five fish. I also believe in miracles because this is what the Church and the bible teach. Even today there are examples of miracles. These include some people who have visited places such as Lourdes with terminal diseases but went on to make full recoveries. I also think you need faith to believe in miracles and the existence of God and I have this.
c) Explain why unanswered prayers may cause problems for religious believers.

(8 marks)

Unanswered prayer can cause problems because if a person was to pray at home, in church and at school but never feel the presence of God they might think God was not listening to them. Also some people might also take this a step further and begin to believe that God does not like/love them, perhaps God is punishing them for some reason. This may lead them to doubt that God is omnibenevolent (all loving). This might be especially true if a person was praying for a loved one who was sick to get better and they didn’t or if they were praying for peace in a particular part of the world but the war continued. Furthermore some people might come to the conclusion that perhaps God does not exist and that praying is a waste of time. Such people would become atheists. Finally, unanswered prayers can and will cause problems for certain people and this will seriously test their faith.


d)‘The argument from causation proves that God exists’

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity

I disagree because if every effect must have a cause then what caused God? If the answer is nothing then it proves that not everything must have a cause. If this is true then perhaps also the universe and all that exists within it somehow caused itself. I think this is a rational/logical argument. Finally, it is much easier to believe this than to say there must be some divine creator who caused everything.
People of faith will disagree with me because Catholics, Protestants. Muslims and Jews all believe that God is the first cause (sometimes referred to as the uncaused cause) and that he created everything else. They also say that every effect must have a cause and that this process of cause and effect cannot go on forever because reason tells them there must have been a starting point or a first cause and this they believe is God. Finally, they say God that God is a logical necessity because of causation.

4.

a) What does numinous mean? (2 marks)

Numinous involves the feeling of the presence of something greater than you i.e. God or the Holy Spirit.


b) Do you think television programmes really convert people to religion? (4 marks)

I think TV programmes do not convert people to religion because TV programmes provide information or entertainment. A religious programme may be of interest to some people especially those with faith but I don’t think it would be powerful enough to convert a non-believer. I also think that it is religious experiences are what convert people. If a person witnessed a miracle or tried praying and had their prayers answered this might convert them. I do not think watching Songs of Praise, Father Ted or the Vicar of Dibley could ever do that.
c) Explain how two programmes or films about religion may affect a person’s attitude towards God. (8 marks)

How programmes or films affect a person’s attitude towards God largely depends on the type of programme or film a person watches. For example a film like Bruce Almighty might encourage a person to think religion is nothing more than a work of fiction. Religion is seen as something that provides entertainment; it is not something that we ought to take too seriously. Themes such as miracles and prayer are not taken seriously at all, Bruce for example allows everyone to win the lottery, parts his soup like the Red Sea and he even uses his divine power to enlarge his girlfriend’s breasts.



Whereas films such as Mel Gibson’s the Passion of Christ might have a completely different impact upon people’s attitude towards God and religion. This is a very serious and powerful film which almost forces the viewer to think about questions such as ‘Is there really a God?’, ‘Did the Son of God die so that our sins would be forgiven?’ and ‘Is there life after death?’ Watching a powerful film such as this might encourage a person to explore religion a bit more. They might try praying, going to church or reading the bible. They might speak with people who have a strong sense of faith or even those who don’t believe in God at all in order to try and learn more.

d) ‘The media should not criticise what people believe about God.’

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity

I disagree because we live in a society that allows freedom of speech. This is very important because it allows people to express what they think about different issues including religious matters. Also, sometimes, what religions believe about God, is wrong or it goes against the beliefs of others. Finally, in these cases a responsible media should and must be free to criticise.
Some people will disagree with me because they feel the media ought to respect peoples’ beliefs about God. For example the Catholic Church gets annoyed when their views and teaching about God get criticised such as their belief that God became incarnate from the Virgin Mary. Also religious people feel their views should be treated with respect by others. Finally, people are entitled to worship free from the criticism of others including the media.

5.

  1. What does omniscience mean? (2 marks)

The belief that God knows everything that has happened and is going to happen.

  1. Do you think a religious upbringing makes children believe in God? Give two reasons for your point of view (4 marks)

I do think a religious upbringing makes children believe in God because if a child has been brought up within a family where they all hold the same beliefs, then they are more than likely going to believe the same things. I also think that if a child prays with their family and goes to church every week then the child will grow up to believe that religion and belief in God is the norm. Children usually believe what parents tell them to be true so they wouldn’t question belief in God.

  1. Explain why evil and suffering may lead some people not to believe in God. (8 marks)

Some people do not believe in God because God is supposed to be all powerful, if God was all powerful then he would be able to stop suffering and evil for example 9/11. However evil and suffering still happen so they think God can’t exist. Also God is supposed to be all loving; an all loving God would look after his believers and not let them suffer but they do. Furthermore God is supposed to be all knowing, an all knowing God would know when evil and suffering is going to happen and would be able to stop it, but evil still happens. Finally people who lead good lives and pray for evil to stop still suffer so some people stop believing in God because he doesn’t seem to be listening.

  1. The world is so beautiful it must have been designed by God.”

Do you agree? Give reasons for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you (3 marks)

In your answer you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity.

I agree because the Catholic Church teaches that the beauty in the world is part of God’s creation and the world is full of beautiful things, such as rainbows, sunsets and animals. Also, the world is so beautiful it must have been designed, therefore it must need a designer and the only designer could be God. Finally, the beautiful things in the world are also intricately designed such as snowflakes and finger-prints; there is no way that they could have just appeared by chance, they had to be designed by God.

Some people would disagree because they might say that the world was not designed by God, that instead it was created by the Big Bang and has evolved over millions of years. They might also say that beautiful things in nature such as glaciers and rainfall have nothing to do with God but are instead designed by nature. Finally they might actually say that the world is not beautiful and that actually the world is full of ugly things like volcanoes and earthquakes which God would not have designed.

Unit 3.2

Matters of life and death
1.

a) What does ‘paranormal’ mean? (2 mark)

Paranormal refers to unexplained things that are thought to have spiritual causes i.e. ghosts.


b) Do you think it is right to believe in purgatory?

Give two reasons for your point of view. (4 marks)

I think Catholic/Christian teachings about purgatory make sense (rational/logical) because if God is ‘all loving’ (omnibenevolent) and truly merciful it stands to reason then that he would want the souls of his children to enter heaven (receive salvation) eventually rather than hell (damnation). However given that humans are imperfect creatures and therefore sinful it also stands to reason that they will need to undergo some process of purification before being united (reconciled) with God. Purgatory allows for this to happen – firstly purification and secondly salvation.

c) Explain how life after death might affect the life of a Roman Catholic? (8 marks)

Roman Catholics believe in life after death because they believe in the immortality of the soul. The aim of life is therefore to be ‘saved’, to enter heaven and be united (reconciled) with God the Father. In order to do this Catholics believe that a person must live a moral life. Catholics also believe a person has a moral obligation/responsibility/duty to follow the teachings of the bible and the Church. In doing this a person will become more Christ like and this will be reflected in how they behave. A Catholic ought to love God. They demonstrate this by praying, attending church and refusing to worship false idols (i.e. money, celebrities, material possessions etc). Furthermore Catholics show love for others by demonstrating key Christian values such as compassion, empathy and mercy. When treating others with dignity and respect we help create the kingdom of God here on earth and our efforts will be rewarded. Catholics believe in ‘Judgement Day’, they believe that God will hold us accountable for our actions here on earth. Finally this message is clearly illustrated in the parable of the sheep and the goats – the loving are saved and the selfish damned, thus Catholics try to live good lives.


d) ‘Assisted suicide is always wrong’.

Do you agree? Give reason for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity.

I agree. The reason I believe this is because I am a Catholic and the Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred/precious and it out to be preserved and protected. Also if people help others to die they violate that person’s right to life. People wanting to kill themselves need support, comfort and reassurance that life is valuable. Finally these people are vulnerable and in the bible we are told to ‘protect the weak and the vulnerable’.
Some people might disagree with me because they believe a person ought to have the right to decide what they do with their own life. In the case of a person who is terminally ill or someone suffering from an extremely debilitating condition (i.e. MS) that person may wish to die with dignity. Also, some people might even argue that it is unchristian to allow a person to cling to life when there is no hope of their situation improving. Finally, we wouldn’t allow a much loved family pet to suffer unnecessarily so why allow our loved ones to experience this.
2.

  1. What is voluntary euthanasia? (2 marks)

Voluntary euthanasia involves ending a person’s life when they ask to die.
b) Do you think ghosts prove there is life after death? (4 marks)

Give two reasons for your point of view.

I think ghosts do not prove there is life after death because I do not believe in ghosts. I have never seen, heard of experienced anything to do with ghosts other than in a fictional book or on TV. I also think people who have claimed to have seen ghosts are either mistaken due to an over active mind or lying in order to seek attention.
c) Explain how CAFOD is working to end world poverty. (8marks)

CAFOD works with partner groups in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC) to promote development in such ways as opening clinics and training health workers so that those in need of medical treatment can be cared for. CAFOD also helps to give street children an education so that they can earn a living when they are older. Furthermore CAFOD supports projects which provide technology and basic skills to people living in poor communities. This enables these communities to develop and become self sufficient. Finally CAFOD helps to set up saving schemes and farming projects so that farmers are not wiped out by natural disasters such as extreme floods. By doing these things CAFOD hopes to make poverty history.


d) ‘Abortion is every woman’s right’.

Do you agree? Give reason for your opinion. (3 marks)

Give reasons why some people may disagree with you. (3 marks)

In your answer, you should refer to Roman Catholic Christianity.

I disagree. I agree with the Catholic view that abortion is wrong because all human life is sacred including that of the unborn. Also, in the bible it says that we must ‘protect the weak and the vulnerable’ and this must mean we ought to protect the life of the foetus. Finally, one of the Ten Commandments says ‘thou shall not kill’ this is why no woman has the right to have an abortion.
Some people will disagree with me because they might argue that in the case where a girl is raped, or she is too young, too poor or the baby she is carrying is severely disabled then it is her right to have an abortion if she wants to. Some people might also say that a woman has the right to decide what happens to her own body. Finally, if she wants to have an abortion then that is her right.
3.

a) What is meant by reincarnation? (2 marks)

Reincarnation is the belief that, after death, souls are reborn in a new body.


b) Do you think the media should be free to criticise what religion says about matters of life and death? (4 marks)

I think the media should be free to criticise what religion says about matters of life and death because we live in a society that allows freedom of speech. This is very important because it allows people to express what they think about different issues including religious matters. Also, sometimes what religions say about life after death is wrong or it goes against the beliefs of others. In these cases a responsible media should and must be free to criticise.
c) Explain how an issue from matters of life and death has been presented in one form of the media. (8 marks)

A short stay in Switzerland was a one-off drama by the BBC that looked at the issue of assisted suicide. Dr Anne Turner (played by Julie Walters) was diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disease similar to the condition that had eventually killed her husband. Knowing all too well what lay ahead for her Dr Turner decided to take her own life in a Zurich clinic. The programme also highlighted the difficult decision that Dr Turner was faced with. If she wanted to die with dignity then she had to take her own life. Coming to terms with this decision for Dr Turner and her family was extremely difficult. Not all family members to start with thought that DR Turner’s idea was a good one. Preserving life seems more natural than taking life away. Furthermore the programme gave the viewer an insight into how the patient and their family were suffering. No answer seemed like a ‘good’ answer. The programme also forced the viewer to ask themselves ‘if that was me, or someone close to me, what would I do?’ Finally the programme also got people to look at and discuss the current legal position in relation to assisted suicide in the UK as well as the views taken by various faiths. This I believe help to create an interesting debate among people whether it was on TV in the newspapers or in the home and for this reason alone I think the programme was a success.

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