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Christianity - belief in God

The Nature of God in Judaism

 

  • In Judaism, God is perceived to be immanent, transcendent, personal and impersonal.   
  • A personal God is one who is close to human beings, and is referred to as a human; i.e. in Psalm’s 139 v 13 we have an example of a personal God “…thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb”. A personal God can be achieved through prayers and supplication.
  • Impersonal refers to God as a concept, a force or an idea of goodness and light. Sometimes he is referred to as the ‘Prime Number’, something that cannot be divisible.   
  • An immanent God is a God who is in the world with us and takes an active role in human affairs, e.g. the ten plagues.
  • On the other hand, a transcendent God is outside the world and doesn’t directly deal with human affairs. This view of God makes him remote and separate
  • God is also seen as being Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, One, Holy, Creator      
  • Omnipotent – All powerful       
  • Omniscient – All knowing           these are all shown in the Ten Commandments
  • Omnipresent – Everywhere                               (see below)
  • One – Only One God; “The Lord your God, the Lord is One” (Shema – the most important prayer in Judaism)
  • Holy – this means separate or set apart; “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts”(Isaiah)    
  • Creator – He made the universe and everything in it; “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” (Genesis)

Ten Commandments

  • The first five commandments are very demanding and need a hundred percent worship. The following five set very high standards of behaviour from God, both in religious and social matters.
  • It was meant to set the Jews apart and keep them as an example.
  • The Ten C’s are the heart of the covenant between God and the Jews led by Moses.
  • Below are the ten commandment;

 

    1. You shall have no other god before me
    2. You shall not bow down before idols
    3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord
    4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy
    5. Honour your mother and father

 

    1. You shall not murder
    2. You shall not commit adultery
    3. You shall not steal
    4. You shall not give false testimony
    5. You shall not covet

Belief in God

Why do people believe in God?

  • If you were brought up by religious parents, your upbringing itself can influence what you believe in. Similarly if you were brought up in a religious community, you would feel like you belong,
  • You may have the desire to believe in something, a feeling that someone or something is out there watching over you.
  • The search/meaning/answer for life. Why is life like this?  
  • Some are convinced by the design argument. This is the idea that life or the Universe could not have come about by random chance. There must have been a designer. This designer must have been God
  • Isaac Newton’s thumb theory, which states that the thumb print alone is so  intricate and unique, it must have been created by God
  • William Paley’s watchmaker theory. He says that if you found a watch was washed up on the beach you wouldn’t think that it was by chance that the pieces of the watch came together, so why the believe that the world was?
  • Albert Einstein said “When I see all the glories of the cosmos, I can’t help but believe that there is a divine hand behind all of this.”
  • Many undergo a religious experience. Here, people claim to have met God or had an experience with him.
  • For example, the Numinous which is an experience that inspires awe and wonder, allowing one to feel Gods presence.
  • Some experience a miracle, an unexplainable event e.g. miracles of healing at Lourdes, which show the power and presence of God.
  • Answered prayers may believe people to be in a dialogue with God. Just the sense of inner peace can be enough to secure their belief.
  • Others are brought to believe through conversion.

Why don’t people believe in God?

  • These people fall into two categories; Atheist and agnostics
  • A very popular belief is all the natural evil in the world. In the world, there are many natural disasters e.g. earthquakes, volcanoes etc therefore how can God so perfect, create such an imperfect world? Nietzsche, a philosopher believed that there is no ultimate purpose in the world. This is known as ‘nihilism’

 

This table was thought up by Epicurus

If…

…then

God can’t stop evil

God isn’t all powerful (omnipotent)

God can stop evil but doesn’t

God isn’t good (benevolent)

God can and does stop evil

There would be no evil

 

  • Another reason why people don’t believe in God is the moral evil in the world. Humans do evil things and God allows suffering in the world. If God does exist, then he would stop it. Otherwise he is not benevolent (good) 
  • Miracles can be explained by science e.g. creation, those that can’t we simply don’t have the means to do so as yet
  • Unanswered prayers – those that pray from peace, good health etc, it proves God doesn’t exist.

 

Trinity

                                   

                                   Father

                                   (100%)

 

                                            Trinity
 


   

      Son of God                                 Holy Spirit

         (100%)                                       (100%)

 

In the Nicene Creed, it says,

“We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of the heaven and the Earth…We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God…of One being with the father…We believe in the Holy Spirit…The giver of life…Who precedes from the Father and the Son

 

The father can be described as the transcendent part (creator and judge), the Son as the immanent and personal part (human incarnation) and the Holy Spirit as the immanent yet impersonal part (force of God).  

 

Life and Death in Christianity and Islam

Belief in L after D

  • Purpose for life
  • Upbringing
  • All cultures have believed in another life – e.g. Egyptians
  • Religious Scriptures
  • A paranormal experience (NDE’s)

 

Disbelief in L after D

  • No proof
  • Upbringing
  • Why de if your are going to carry on living
  • Materialists – where will you live?

 

 

 

Christian’s belief

  • C’s belief that the dead will be brought back to life and be given an immortal body depending on how good or bad you’ve been you will either go to Heaven or Hell.  
  • When you die C’s believe you are judged. Those who have died in God’s grace but have sinned will go to purgatory. Those who refuse to believe will go to Hell  
  • Jesus will come back to Earth and the dead will reunite with their bodies and God will judge everyone

 

Quotes

“A soul cannot die unless Allah gives His permission. The term being fixed by writing” (3:145)

“Do not take life – which Allah ahs made sacred except for a just cause” (17:33)

“It is Allah who gives you life, then gives you death, then He will gather you together for the Day of Judgement” (45:26)

 

“God created Human Beings making them to be like himself he created them male female” (Genesis)

“Do not commit murder” (Exodus)

“Even the hairs on your head have been counted” (Luke)

“If anyone destroys Gods temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple his holy and you yourselves are his temple.” (Corinthians) 

Christian wedding ceremony

               Hymns                             - focus everyone’s mind on God

               Opening Statement           - Priest summarises reason for marriage

               Declaration                      - “any reason why these two people can’t get married…”

               Vows                               - Say the promise in front of God

               Rings                               - Everlasting love

               Proclamation                    - “I now declare you Husband and Wife”

               Prayers                            - for the couple are recited

               Register                           - legalise the wedding

               Closing worship                - Starting and ending with God

Prejudice and equality (Social Harmony)

        Generally Christians believe that God created everyone equal, avoiding discrimination and promoting equality. They look to examples of Jesus and the way he acted.

        For example in the New Testament you have the parable of the Good Samaritan.

        “There is no Greek or Jew…barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all”

        “My brothers…do not show favouritism”

 

        Judaism also teaches tolerance

        “Do not abhor an Edomite for he is your brother. Do not abhor an Egyptian because you lived as an alien in his country.”

        Story of Jonah – message = “If God can forgive, we should be able to live with others too”

        The story of Ruth – message = “Good things happen to those who are nice to people from other lands”

 

        Jesus treated women as his equals and had women disciples – Martha and her sister Mary. It was Mary Magdalene who stayed with Jesus during his crucifixion and was the first to see him when he rose from the dead.

        The Roman Catholic Church says only men can be priests because Jesus chose men to be his successors. However, many churches (Church of England, Methodists, URC) have women priests demonstrating equal roles for men and women.

        There were a few female followers with Jesus, whom he treated equally.

        However in 1 Timothy it says: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man: she must be silent…For Adam was formed first, then Eve…it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner…but women will be saved through child-bearing”

 

        Judaism sees women as equal but they have different responsibilities and roles

 

        Although the U.K. is a diverse multi-faith society, many Christians believe in Christianity is the only true faith.

        They generally believe that people have the right to practise any faith but must evangelise men and show people the true path

        Although all religions have some truth, Christianity has the whole truth.

        Jews also believes that Judaism is the only true faith however, it is only for Jews i.e. your parents have to be Jews too

        They do tolerate other faiths and therefore there is no real desire to convert people.

 

        Martin Luther King was a black American Christian who believed that God had created black and white people to be equal. He worked towards equality by organising non-violent protests. He campaigned against the segregation of black and white people and organised a bus boycott – where black people refused to use buses until they were desegregated. MLK organised freedom marches and gave speeches protesting against injustice. In April 1968 he was shot dead, but others carried on his work. MLK worked for black people because he believed that God created everyone to be equal and live together peacefully. Martin Luther King was a black American Christian who believed that God had created. 

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