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Religous Education: AS level

Basic Notes

Annie Davey

on 11 February 2015

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Transcript of Religous Education: AS level

2.Religious experience
1.Cosmological Argument
Religious Education
Ethics and Philosophy
Psychology and Religion

Situation Ethics

Classical Cosmological Argument
Aristotle and the Prime mover
Aquinas' Cosmological Argument
Also known as the first cause argument it derives the conclusion that God exists from an
This is an argument based on the idea that things can be proved from experience.
Things exist.
It's possible for these things not to exist.
So they must have been caused to exist.
Rejection of
infinite regress.
There must be an uncaused cause of all things.
The uncaused cause must be
Things can be traced back to infinity.
God has no cause as he is outside of space and time.
All movement depends on there being a mover.
movement also includes change.
Behind every movement there must be a chain of events, that brought about that movement.
Something/someone must be responsible for the beginning of everything.
This source is an external substance which exists
There must of been an unmoved mover who is the ultimate cause of the universe.
This is also known as the
Prime mover.
Is immune to decay and death.
Causes the movement of other things.
not an efficient but a final cause.
Doesn't start of the movement but is the
of the movement.
Causes things to move by attraction, e.g. the same way milk attracts a cat but doesn't change in the process.
The purpose/end outcome.
The prime mover is perfect and all in the universe desire to be such and are attracted to it.
For Aristotle the prime mover is God.
For an object to move an external force has to be applied to it, e.g. A toy car only moves if you push it.
The chain of movements can't go back to infinity (rejects infinite regress)
So there must be a first mover, who itself has not been moved. The unmoved mover.
The unmoved mover is God.
Therefore God exists.
Nothing can cause itself to exist, because to do so it would have to exist in the first place, e.g. The chicken and the egg, the chicken came from the egg, but the egg had to come from the chicken.
rejection of infinite regress
There must have been a first cause. The uncaused cause, which started the chain of causes.
The uncaused cause is God.
Therefore God exists.
The universe is contingent, so it depends on a external force that has always existed.
There must have been a necessary being to bring the universe into existence.
The necessary being is God, because God is outside of space and time so therefor isn't limited by it. He is eternal.
David Hume
Immanuel Kant
Russel Bertrand
You can't make a connection between cause and effect they are seperate events, and not proof of God causing the universe to exist.
Why must we conclude the universe had a beginning?
Just because the universe exists doesn't mean anything caused it to.
We haven't experienced the beginning of the universe, so we can't explain it.
There is not sufficient evidence.
We can't apply the existence of a supreme being as a first cause to the universe as we haven't seen the beginning of a universe.
Knowledge that we have cannot be used to explain something outside of our knowledge.
A religious experience of the divine or supernatural.
The main classifications are...

Mystical experiences
This occurs when an individual believes that they have seen or heard something supernatural.

There are three different types of visions these are...
Intellectual vision
Imaginary vision
Corporal vision
Brings knowledge and understanding such as a revelation from God.
For example...
Julian of Norwich-
nut = Gods awesome love
Something seen within the minds eye like a dream.
For example...
Jacob's vision of a ladder to heaven
Where the image is external instead of in the minds eye.
For example...
St Bernadette's vision of the virgin Mary.
Converting to a faith or converting to a different faith.
On purpose
Actions are taken to achieve this.
It lasts longer as it is well thought out.
By chance
No actions are taken to achieve this.
Short lived as there is no real understanding.
This is a change in behavior, to do what is thought to be morally right.
For example...
Swearing Tom to Praying Tom
Persuaded by someone else, or to fit in.
For example...
St Paul - Saul to Paul
Informed decision.
For example...
John Henry Newman converts from Anglican to Catholic after deciding that Catholicism relates more to how he lives his life.
Experiencing a union with God.
William James
Can't be described
Limited time.
No action taken to cause it.
Noetic Quality
Gain knowledge.
Love and Union
Union with God.
Losing oneself.
Desire to be a part of something bigger.
Knowledge and Understanding
Finding the...
secret of the universe.
meaning of life.
Finding soul.
Complete self fulfillment.
Observing nature which then triggers an experience of awe.
Experience triggered by desire to be one with God.
Gain knowledge.
Closeness to God.
Can't all be right.
Meaning for individual.
Principle of testimony
No reason to doubt = TRUE
Stigmata - is seen by all
Toronto blessings
Affected a large group of people.
Counter argument: Mass hysteria.
Different religions.
Can't all be right.
One persons word.
People lie.
Drugs and alcohol.
Illusion, created from desires.
Temporal lobe epilepsy makes people susceptible to religious experience.
Persingers Helmet
stimulation of temporal lobe triggered experience.
Counter argument: God put it there for that reason.
Can't verify Religious experience.
Finite can not experience infinite.
Hedonic Calculus
How close is the pleasure?
How far is the pain?
How free from pain is it?
How much pleasure does it bring?
How intense is the pleasure?
How certain is it to bring pleasure?
How certain is it to not bring pain?
How many will it effect?
How long will it last?
Takes a long time to work out.
Pain and pleasure is different for everyone.
You can never be certain.
Act utilitarianism
Looks at the consequences of each individual act and calculates utility each time the act is performed.
Principle of Utility
Greatest happiness for the greatest number.
No strict moral rules
Depends on the situation
The morally right thing to do
The problem with this is that people can have different opinions on what the morally right thing to do would be.
For example you couldn't lie to save someones life.
Following moral rules exactly the same in every situation.
A theory were you look at the consequences of an action to decide whether it is right or wrong.
It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.
Higher and Lower pleasures
Pleasures of the mind
Intellectual pleasures
For example choosing to read and learn.
Pleasures of the body
Basic pleasures
For example choosing not to read or learn.
A problem with this is that higher and lower pleasures can be different for everyone.
Rule utilitarianism
Weak rule
rules used as a guide but can be broken in some circumstances.
not following the rules all the time.
Strong rule
rules must be followed at all times.
rules can not be broken even if it means that you can't do the morally right thing.
Looks at the consequences of having everyone follow a particular rule and calculates the overall utility of accepting or rejecting the rule.
Peter Singer:
Preference Utilitarianism.
An individuals interest cannot be sacrificed for the interests of another. People should be treated equally.
Seeks happiness.
Seeks to avoid pain.
Considers consequences.
Is aimed at majority.
Is common sense.
Pleasure can't be calculated.
People have different ideas of pleasure.
Are all pleasures equal?
Bentham = YES
Mill = NO
Relies on knowledge of consequences
Some pain is good.
Some pleasure is bad.
Can't be certain.
Doesn't look after minority.
We don't know what will make us happy.
Difficult to resolve clashes.
Justifies some awful crimes.
Christian Ethics
Catholic - absolutist therefore will reject utilitarianism.
Protestant - more relativist therefore more likely to get along with utilitarianism.
Christian ethics disagrees with selfishness - act and preference are selfish.
Ten commandments links with rule utilitarianism.
Golden rule = Love they neighbor which links with rule of utility
Scenario for application: You have a terminally ill child, to save the child you would have to have another which would be able to donate bone marrow to save the other.
The parents would be affected as well as the ill child and the one born to save them.
So the consequences of this action would affect them very closely whether they bring pleasure or pain.
The pain of the labour which would be followed by the pleasure of bringing new life.
The pain of the operation which would be followed by pleasure of saving the ill child.
The pleasure of bringing new life.
The pleasure of saving the child.
Consider intensity of...
pleasure from saving your child.
pain of child birth.
pain of operation.
pleasure from bringing another child into the world.
How certain is...
the possibility of saving the child
it that there wouldn't be repercussions for the second child (could feel unloved and used)
Who will it effect...
the parents
extended family
the ill child
the second child
later generations
it would benefit the parents and ill child for the rest of the lives
could benefit the second child for the rest of his/her life depending on how they respond to it.
Preference or best consequences means what furthers the best interests of those affected. Criticism: we don't always know what is in our best interest.
What matters are the interests of those affected.
People should deliberate on the general principles of how they live rather than consider each situation separately.
Maximization of the satisfaction of peoples preferences.
Criticism: people have different interests.
2.Abortion and Euthanasia
Inducing a painless death, by agreement and with compassion, to ease suffering.
The person asks for their life to be ended.
The person is too ill to ask but it is believed to be in their best interests.
Not persons choice or best interest. Such as what happened in Nazi Germany, disabled and sick people were killed without consultation.
Withholding treating with the deliberate intention of ending life or giving a drug that will end life.
Increasing a pain killing drug in the belief that it will not only control pain but shorten life.
Where treatment is withheld or withdrawn because all it is doing is delaying the natural process of dying.
Argues that killing humans who don't want to live is not wrong. It isn't wrong to help the dying to die, because they are dying.
Gregory E Pence
Thomas Moore
When a person suffers 'a torturing and lingering pain, so that there is no hope, either of recovery or ease, they may choose rather to die, since they cannot live but in much misery'
People who may feel a burden on their families may commit suicide. Or do they feel pressure from their families.
Harold Shipman
Killed many people as a GP as he believed it was the right thing to do.
Case study
Through medical care more babies with severe disabilities are able to stay alive, whereas many years ago these babies would not have survived much after birth.
Tony Bland:
Victim of the hills borough disaster. He survived but was left in a persistent vegetative state. He was fed and watered through a tube. He could open his eyes but could not register anything around him. No cure but he wasn't dying.
Christian View
What should we do for the dying? - How do we care for them?
Exodus 20:13 - Do not killer
Jesus taught about healing - care for the sick
Very wrong, life is a gift from God, he made us for a purpose, we cannot interfere with that. Suffering like Jesus on the cross can bring you closer to God.
Joseph Fletcher
Liberal protestant
Show love for one's fellow human beings.
Quality of life
Death may be a friend with illness
All medical interventions place us against nature
Equipment and surgery not morally required for terminally ill.
Arthur Dyek
Conservative protestant
Withdrawal of treatment is acceptable but not actively bringing about their dying.
Ethical Debates
What is the worst that can happen?
Why should it be done?
Who has the most to lose?
Why is it seen as a crime?
What is loving about it?
What is it for?
What are the limits?
What dignity do these people have?
Definition: termination of the life of a foetus.
When does life begin?
According to who?
Who has the rights and whose life is worth more?
What's the religious perspective?
What would happen if it was no longer legal?
When does life begin?
The primitive streak?
14 days
The spine developing.
Viability ?
when the baby is able to survive without medical intervention.
when the baby is born
When the heart starts beating?
8 weeks
Jeremiah 1:5
"Before i shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you."
"A human embryo is not a potential human being, it is a human being with potential"
Sexual Trauma/Repression
Sexual trauma is "locked away" in our unconscious and reemerges as religion.
The unconscious mind contains long forgotten memories. Unpleasant memories resurface as neurotic and hysterical behavior.
Freud believed all trauma was caused by something sexual.
Wish fulfillment/Collective neurosis
Religion is created to overcome inner psychological conflict; overcome conflict between nature and society, helplessness and fear of natural forces.
Freud believed religion was an illusion and that it was based on wish fulfillment; The mind creates beliefs to satisfy their longings and desires.
Religion afflicts all people and becomes a collective neurosis.
Oedipus complex
This is the desire for the mother whilst competing with the father.
The Totem/Primal horde
Primal hordes were a group of people arranged around the dominant male.
The totem eventually became unsatisfactory, so became divine and transformed into God.
Feelings of guilt were redirected onto the totem.
The strength of these feelings became so great that he became idolized and transformed into the totem of the group.
This then resulted in
feelings towards him.
Over time the younger males grouped together to kill the dominant male.
These are conflicting feelings.
Evidence of the primal horde:
based on Darwin's speculation not evidence.
It is accepted that there was much variety in society groups.
No evidence of ambivalent feelings towards the totem.
Guilt being based down from generation to generation has to be discredited.
Branislaw Malinowski:
The Oedipus complex is not universal.
Freud didn't study the societies where women were dominant, therefore religion must have come from somewhere else.
Frued's negative view towards religion:
Donald Winnicott: argued that religion os an essential buffer between the mind and external reality.
Rizzuto: religion is no more of an illusion than science. Both require us to interpret and place order in the world. Science is not the soul truth.
Represents the masculine part of the female.
Represents the feminine part of the male.
Images of a God or an all-powerful or a perfect being .
Helps integration to help images of wholeness.
The process by which individuals integrate the conscious and unconscious parts of their personality. It results in a psychologically balanced personality, through the acceptance of the various archetypes into the conscious mind. The process may also be called integration.
Jung's Methodology
Criticized that the experience of God was in the mind so there was no evidence for it, therefore it can't be proved.
Joseph Fletcher
- Unconditional love
- Fletcher - Law of agapeic love - the most loving thing to do.
Judging every situation in itself (not every situation is the same).
The consequences.
Six Fundamental Principles
1. Love is the only thing that is intrinsically good.
Actions aren't intrinsically good or evil.
They are evil and good depending on how much love they produce.
2. Love is the moral truth for Christianity.
The ruling norm: Love - nothing else
Jesus worked on the sabbath as it was the most loving thing to do.
3. Love and Justice are the same.
love and justice cannot be separate
4. Agape is selfless love.
5. Only the consequences matter in an action.
The consequences should be the most loving.
6. You should act as if all moral situations are unique.
Four Presumptions
1. Pragmatism.
Logical - has to work in each situation
Love is the overriding principle
2. Relativism
Has to relate to situation
Every situation is different and has to be treated so
3. Positivism
Depends on people freely choosing to be christian
Has to be followed positively
4. Personalism
Concerned with the individual person
Situation puts people
Definitions of love differ depending on the person.
Can't reach definitive answer.
Time consuming.
Predict future.
You can't know the consequences.
Difficult to follow if you're not a christian.
Success of argument...
Posteriori argument
Satisfies the need to find cause of universe.
Simplest explanation of why there is something rather than nothing.
People can see that the universe exists.
Cannot explain the cause of the big bang.
But it is just a theory.
Scientific support that the universe had a beginning.
Big bang theory
Everyone has seen so therefore has an understanding of cause and effect.
Fallacy of composition - cannot attribute properties of the parts to the whole.

E.g. Just because everyone has a mother doesn't mean that there should be a mother of all things.
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