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A2 OCR RS -
Transcript of A2 OCR RS -
Nature of God
Life After Death
A2 OCR RS -
Philosophy of Religion
Uses and Purpose
Is RL meaningful?
Arguments from William James
James' Aims and Conclusions
Types of Experience
Problem of Evil
Problem of Evil
Performative: "I know pronounce you..."
Prescriptive: "Honour your father and your mother"
Cognitive: Truth claims are subject to being true/false.
Non-cognitive: Aren't subject to truth. Expressions of emotion.
Specialist vocabulary to explain feelings or emotions. "Truth claims"
If RL is nonsense, then so is God/faith.
Maybe look at pragmatics rather than language?
Difficult to express in human language as God is transcendent.
Uses negation - "God is not..."
Helps us come closer to an understanding of God. Our language is useless - belittles God.
3 states of knowledge. 1) Via Neg. 2) State of Affirmation 3) God is "beyond"
Popper's philosophy of science - statements are scientific if we could potentially falsify them.
If it's impossible to disprove, it's an invalid theory. Nothing can count against religious beliefs.
Wisdom's parable of the gardener: a partisan tries to defend a gardener he has never seen and will not accept any challenges due to strong belief.
RL "dies a death of a thousand qualifications" - becomes watered down because claims are unfalsifiable so illogical
Our 'bliks' (frame of understanding) aren't falsifiable nor verifiable but still have meaning.
If believers accept their claims aren't literal, they have some grounds to stand on. (e.g. symbolic)
Logical Positivists (Vienna Circle) promoted empirical science (synthetic)
God, art, ethics and metaphysics are meaningless.
Religious language may be used as a tool to consider things beyond our experience.
Kuhn - 'true' science is eventually proven wrong (dogma)
Hick - eschatological verification (after death)
Plato - attack on idealism due to reliance
RL is closer to poetry than prose.
Opens up "new levels of reality". Symbols go beyond external world which is their "internal reality"
For example, in the Bible it refers to "the Kingdom of God". This has connotations of God's rule and power.
Symbols "unlock dimensions and elements of our soul"
Symbols don't convey facts, they're meaningless. Can't be verified/falsified. Can't represent something beyond our experience. May be misunderstood.
RL is a human activity which contributes to culture.
Has function to bind communities/evoke emotion.
The cross shows development of Christianity - used to remove man from Earth, it now points to heaven on churches.
Use of imagery to express the other worldly in terms of our world. Myth effectively draws readers in and requires some kind of response.
Genesis 1-3 = an aetiological (causation) myth
Themes in creation myths:
chaotic formless state (ex nihilo)
a God that brings things into being
usually at the end, humans come into being
+ communicates ideas
+ may find some truth
- can't be proven to bring about any truth
- Could be interpreted wrongly
Human lang limits God, we can't speak of God univocally
We can make pos. assertions about God but not literally.
Analogy of Attribution:
The world reflects God so we can infer characteristics about him. World is point of reference. E.g. good medicine --> good health
Analogy of Proportion:
Words relate to diff. proportions. Clever dog / Clever scientist.
God's "love" or "goodness" is of a different proportion.
"imago dei" - image of God, a lesser proportion. We'll never reach understanding but there is a "dim and imperfect likeness".
Analogy unnecessary - good is essentially same
We must translate analogy into universal language
God has mysterious "otherness" we can't describe
RL is a model to represent something. Ref. point for humans
Literalist - verbal inerrancy (directly inspired by God)
Conservative - directly inspired by may be errors. Look for meaning (non-propositional)
Liberal - record people's experiences trying to find God. Can be interpreted.
Catholics - Word of God. Pope interprets Bible into modern day.
Non-propositional - can take meaning but not facts from God.
Schleiermacher - believers must interpret the Bible
Criticised liberalism, said it's just using your own meaning.
Rule of Faith - teachings of leaders
Apostolic authority - Jesus gace authority to apostles who witnessed him. Bishops are successors to apostles.
Should the Bible be obeyed?
Aims: to be objective and take personal accounts of religious experience seriously. To make observations and draw scientific, empirical conclusions.
4 qualities of religious experience:
Passivity - an outside controller, "something else"
Ineffability - cannot describe in human terms
Noetic - deep & direct knowledge of God
Transience - lasts for a short while
Experience leads to a probability of God
James was a pluralist, pragmatist and empiricist
The phenomena of religious experiences points to a higher order of reality.
1. Value is never undone (rejects Freudian explanations)
2. No singular feature but a feeling of "something there"
3. Saintly religious figures set patterns/examples and experiences allow people to draw closer to them.
4. Experience is more important that study of (i.e.) church, these are secondary.
Religious experience doesn't prove God but gives indication that there is a caring, personal God. Just if people are skeptical, it doesn't mean they should reject the rel. exp. (pragmatics)
Rel. exp. should have a sense of personal encounter with natural forces
3 qualities - mysterium, tremendum et fascinas
Rel. exp. is inexpressible
"the awareness of holiness leads to fear and terror, however, it also fascinates, attracts, and has one longing for salvation"
C.S. Lewis' Illustration
Fear of a tiger
Dread of a ghost
Spirit is disturbing but provokes wonder and fascination because it is unknown
Developed Schleiermacher -
Rel. people are aware of and try develop sense of the divine
They are "self-authenticating"
Private - experience on your own
Public - in a group setting
Conversion - look for meaning and wait for change
Visions/Voices - someone is there with a message
Numinous - wholly other, euphoric out of body
Corporate - experience in a group (e.g. Toronto blessing)
Saintliness - following good example in religious
Non-propositional Revelation (inferred)
Propositional Revelation (God speaks directly)
Only way we can gain true knowledge is revelation.
Shouldn't combine faith and reason - illogical
Ordinary lang is inadequate in conveying revelation
It's a personal disclosure of God's being
Revealed Theology - explained through scripture/religious experience
Is it the word of God? Verbal/Divine inspiration?
Is a liberal/fundamental approach more successful?
Link to probs with RL - analogy, myth etc or not??
"a transgression of the law of nature by a particular volition of the deity"
An event not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
Miracles have a function and purpose and usually that function is a revelatory one.
Don't have to break the laws of nature - could be interpreted miraculously e.g. train/child
Attributed to God and are wonderful: "excites wonder". Breaking laws of nature is not the only crucial aspect.
What is a miracle?
Why is Mother Theresa only "blessed" not "saint"?
Can they be falsified?
Three types of miracle in the Bible:
Teras (a wonder)
e.g. John 4:48 unless you see
signs and wonders you will not believe
e.g. God's power parting red sea
"Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazereth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know"
Moses and the 10 plagues against Egypt because the Pharaoh doesn't free the slaves
God parts the Red sea for the Israelites and closes it back on Egyptians
Feeding the five thousand from five loaves of bread and two fish
Literalist would apply these to God's power and his creation (our world)
Attacked being able to prove miracles
1. The Sensible Person
A sensible person wouldn't believe - illogical
2. Favouring The Odds
More likely to not be a miracle - law favour odds
The person is lying/mistaken
4. Normal World Problem
Miracles are outside our normal world
5. Ignorant and Barbarous
People are gullible, less rational and less scientific - more emotional
6. Looking for the Marvelous
People look for the marvelous
Miracles contradict those from other religions - can't all be true
The is one single act of God - creation
"Miracles" should be taken symbolically.
They are damaging to faith as God only performs miracles in some situations.
Miracle definitions are subjective.
Direct divine intervention cannot be dismissed as illogical, BUT:
Biblical stories like the virgin birth are legendary without historical accuracy, so rather than definite "miracles" we can see examples of intervention as symbols about God and how to live.
Agrees that the Bible should by demythologized to get pure, important messages for Christians.
Miracles lead to an unfair and arbitrary God who only saves certain people. Therefore, God does not intervene but rather the world as a whole is a miracle.
If He performs certain miracles and not others, He is not worthy of worship.
Theodicy - The Fall making up for our sins
"Soul making" theodicy, suffering is necessary to grow
God has supreme power
Miracles, Story of Abraham and wife Sarah
God has all perfections and can do the logically impossible
God rules, created and sustains the world - God is necessary + not capable of sin
God's power is analogical - diff to humans. God's limitations are self-imposed
The doctrine of kenosis = God emptied himself of omnipotence
God cannot move things and history "like pieces on a chess board"
Paradox of the Stone/Free Will Creature
If He's all powerful why doesn't He stop evil?
Luis De Molina
God knows the choices we will make (middle knowledge)
Descartes and Aquinas - omnipotence
We have free will because God is like a good friend. It is a reliable guess.
Sempiternal God gives free choice, He only knows as it happens.
God sees differently because God is above time
What about moral value?
What's the point in reward/punishment? (Dan Barker)
Surely evil wouldn't exist
Takes away free will
Kant robot programmer yet robot is punished
OT- Hessed NT- agape
God's love is infinitely greater than ours, we should try understand through analogy.
God is "the supreme standard of goodness"
The Crucified God (Jesus)- he's involved and shares human pains
The God Delusion - OT God has 'favourites' and His rules are 'obnoxious'
"Nearly all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one another, are nature's everyday performances" If there is a God, He is cruel
If God commands what is good, then the standard isn't very well drawn. (evil)
Evil is present so we can grow, learn and develop
Evil is necessary to highlight the good
We have to grow to His likeness - made in His image, not as Him
Outside time and can see PP+F.
Created time and controls it.
Not bound by space/time
Example of man on a hill. Immutable and loving
Outside of our knowledge (transcendent)
God continually interacts (OT)
Timeless God limits free will because he knows
In line with Bible
Why did Earth start "then" and where was He before?
Fixed and unchanging
If God changes through prayer is He TTWNGCBC?
God sees in a diff way, doesn't have same
"His knowledge transcends all temporal change and abides in the immediacy of his presence."
He sees what we have decided. Is still above us but experiences with us
Timeless eternity is absurd. Fall/creation of Rome
God only knows the logically possible
If God is timeless/immutable then we have no free will
If God knows should we be rewarded and punished?
Should a good God reward and punish?
Boethius would say that reward and punishment is just because although God has "Divine Foreknowledge", He lives in an eternal present. Therefore, we choose which actions to take with our free will, but God knows what we will choose. He does not decide what we do, only oversees it.
God isn't subjected to time and is outside our past, present and future.
uses the analogy of playing chess with a grand master. Although you are free to make a move where ever you like, the grandmaster will ultimately win the game!
Body is matter, soul is form. Human soul is
top of hierarchy as it has reason. B&S work
together. Wax stamp example (B&S are inseparable).
The soul is the formal cause
Used analogies - axe's soul is to chop, eye's soul is sight, person's soul is to reason.
Humans have both an irrational (nutritive) and rational (reason) soul
Soul doesn't survive death as it dies with the body.
Tripartite Theory of the Soul - Reason, emotion and desire. Reason = chariot
Soul = our form, heaven = world of forms
The body and mind are in opposition - mind wants to learn, body seeks sensory pleasures. "I have a body" not "I am a body".
clear vision (real understanding) is gained with the object and eye (soul) but also with light (F.O.G., knowledge).
Practicing philosophy is rehearsal for death. Socrates dying was his soul being released for re-entry into the form of the Good to renew knowledge.
Argument from cycle of opposites - everything exists from it's opposite. Death must come from life and life must come from death. Thus there is an endless chain of death and rebirth.
Argument from knowledge - absolute logic isn't experienced - square root of 81 = 9. Evidence for prior soul from body.
Descartes Cartesian Dualism
"I think, therefore I am" Can doubt body, can't doubt mind.
Interactionism - body spatial no conscious, mind conscious but not spatial. Body affects mind and vice versa (e.g. put hand up in class)
Parallelism - like two clocks, work harmoniously but are completely separate.
Epiphenomenalism - Body causes mind. Penfield "If we liken a brain to computer, man has one, not is one"
Challenges Dualism (and Monism to some extent). There is no soul. Thinking = brain. (epiphenomenalism)
"The Ghost in the Machine" Ghost is mind, machine is body. To believe in a "mind" is a mistake. It is simply the brain.
Searching for the university example
Consciousness cannot be separated from the brain.
In "The Selfish Gene":
Humans are 'survival machines'. We are the vehicles of genes looking to replicate and survive.
In "The River Out of Eden":
Life is just "bytes and bytes of digital information". Self awareness is an evolutionary advance. Immortal soul arguments are based on wish fulfillment or a fear of death.
Consciousness isn't some "magic ingredient" that makes us above other animals or in the image of God - it's an aspect of evolution
The mind is electrochemical events in the brain.
Behaviourism - mentality = patterns of behaviours
Identity Theory - mind/brain are same but with diff. meanings
pain = neural process
Replica Theory - Christian beliefs of resurrection (life after death) fit in with materialism.
Replica Theory can support resurrection as the body lives on in a separate world.
The soul also comes back to life.
Matthew 25:46 - "the righteous to eternal life"
Jesus was resurrected, and Lazarus came back to life
Book of Daniel - the dead resurrect to everlasting life
Maimonides 13th principle of Judaism - the belief in the resurrection of the dead
LAD is essential, life is testing ground. Comes from Allah - on judgement day Earth is destroyed and people are resurrected
LAD needs space if people are resurrected, must be material
Places importance on body, but not soul
Soul (atman) seeks unity with God (Brahman)
In Upanishads (Hindu sacred text), wisdom comes with
recognition of Atman identity being with the divine
When realised that God manifests in atman, you escape rebirth (moksha). Body is a vehicle for atman. Rebirth is controlled by karma.
Karmic fruit attach to atman and keep in the cycle of rebirth (samsara)
No belief in soul/God. Anatta = sense of self is illusion
A person is made up of 5 skandhas (matter, sensation, perception, volition (acts of will) and consciousness). These attract karma.
Analogy of lighted candle - not the same person, but not different. Same energy burns.
Had memories of past lives. Gain virtue and wisdom through lives.
No compassion for poor/disabled
A beggar could be a former relation
Cultural differences (Hick)
Living without a physical form
If we can imagine it, it's a coherent concept
We have bodies, not we "are" bodies
Plato, Descartes, Swinburne Evolution of Soul, Keither Ward, Kant, H.H. Price
Said that after death, we live in a dream world where our soul roams
Without soul, morality i choice. God gives us soul and morality. Without a soul there is no final purpose. Genesis was made with matter but filled with spirit and purpose.