R.E GCSE - Paper 1 - Unit 3 - Believing in God - Edexcel

These flash cards should hopefully contain everything for this unit (providing your with the Edexcel board). Hope it helps you. Really good for last minute revision, as well as advance revision.


-Key words and definitions

-Reasons for believing and not believing

-Catholic Upbringings 

-Religious Experiences

-First Cause theory (Thomas Aquinas)

-Argument from Design Theory (Pocket Watch Theory)

-Responses to Scientific Theory's of Universe.

-Evil and Suffering


Key Words- Part 1

Agnosticism: Not being sure whether God exists.

Atheism: Believing that God does not exist.

Conversion: When your life is changed by giving yourself to God.

Free will: The idea that human beings are free to make their own choices.

Miracle: Something which seems to break a law of science and makes you think only God could have done it.

Moral evil: Actions done by humans which cause suffering.

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Key Words- Part 2

Natural evil: Things which cause suffering but have nothing to do with humans, e.g earthquakes.

Numinous: The feeling of the presence of something greater than you.

Omni-benevolent: The belief that God is all-good.

Omnipotent: The belief that God is all powerful.

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

Prayer: An attempt to contact God, usually through words.

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Why People Believe in God

  • Education and upbringing
  • Comfort
  • Experiences
  • Other believers
  • Numinous
  • Life's given purpose
  • Best explanation
  • Universe is too complex 
  • Reading the bible, teachings or talks
  • Afraid of life after death
  • Community
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Why People Don't Believe in God

  • Lack of evidence
  • Religions failure to improve or clarify over time
  • Diminishment of God
  • Weaknesses in arguments and explanations
  • Other theory's/ Contradicting beliefs
  • Scared of judgement
  • Upbringing or education
  • Inconsistency of religion
  • Belief could ruin family (inter-faith marriage, etc.)
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Features Of Catholic Upbringing

Baptism: Introduces them to God and church.

School: Church school is often chosen. Strong sense of community and belonging. No doubt in religion. Talk and taught about their faith. Encouraged to keep the commitment.

Worship: Taken to church regularly. Encourages faith. Most memories of special events will link to god.

Social events: Binds themselves and god closer through memories. Belief strengthens in prayer meetings, bible study groups,etc. Expresses faith and sense of belonging.

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Religious Experiences- Brian Russ & Martin L King


  • Both threatened.
  • Both "felt a presence".
  • Helped them both to "find the light" in a dark time.

Are they both numinous experiences? 

A numinous experience is " the feeling of the presense of something greater than you". This is what both men described. They claimed it was "A presense that couldn't be described."

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The First Cause Theory

Main points:

- Cause and effect is a basic feature of the world. If you revise hard (cause), you will do well in the exam (effect).
-Science has developed through looking at cause and effects, and scientific investigations seem to show that any effects and a cause and vice versa.
- This means everything must have a cause. Therefore something must have cause the universe.
- God is the cause of the universe.
- God must exist.
-Some argue that God must have therefore have been created if fllowing the rule everything must have a designer. 

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Thomas Aquinas

- He wanted people to ask " What caused the universe?"

- Aquinas wouldn't have believed the big bang theory. he would question what caused that and what caused the cause before that, etc.

- It must have reached a first cause which was uncaused

- He believed this to be God.

- He believed this was the ONLY sensible answer.

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Arguement From Design Theory

Main points:

- Everything has been designed and anything that has been designed needs a designer.

- There is plenty of evidence that the world was designed; law of science, DNA, age of universe, etc.

- The only possible designer could be someone superior, like God.

- Therefore the appearance of design in the world proves God exists.

This argument supports belief in God and may lead those who

are not sure to believe in God.

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The Pocket Watch Theory- William Paley

William Paley's watch theory:

If you found a watch in a field, and looked at how it fitted together, with every part working with every other part for a purpose, you would assume it had a creator. you wouldn't assume it had just come by chance.
This, according to William Paley, applies to the universe. All the animals are perfectly adapted to their habitat, and the conditions to harbour life on the planet we are on are so specific, its like the universe has been designed. This designer according to Paley was god. 
However, evolution explains why there is no need for a god, and there is life on the planet because the conditions are right, as opposed to the planet being created to have the right conditions for us.

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Christian Responses To Scientific Theory's


  • Scientific theorys are true, however this shouldn't mean everyone's agnostic or athiest. 
  • Science explains God.
  • This can be prooved by Arguement from Design and First Cause theory's.
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Christian Responses To Scientific Theory's


  • Both science and Bible are correct.
  • Claims scences fits in with bible storys (e.g. Genesis 1:3 "Let there be light" is a direct reference to the big bang).
  • The order god created animals is the same as is in evolution.
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Christian Responses To Scientific Theory's


  • Science is all wrong.
  • The say the big bang can be explained by the story of Noah and the Arc. (e.g. fossils and sedimentary rock).
  • Believe God created the world as written in the bible.
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Evil and Suffering

How Could It Lead To Agnosticism Or Atheism?

  • Christians believe God is omni-belovent. Some might think that if this was true it would mean God would stop all pain and suffering. This could lead a doubt in faith.
  • Christians believe God is omnipotent. Some might think that if this was true it would mean God would stop all evil, wether it is natrual evil or moral evil. As there is still these thing though, this could lead to doubt in Gods existance.
  • Christians believe God is omniscient. Some might think that if this was true it would be able to warn people about the pain to come, so the may prepare or try and prevent it. This could lead a doubt in faith. If God knew about all the suffering that would be in the world when he created it, then why did he create it.
  • Another reason could be that people have gone through pain and suffering and feel like God wasn't there to help. They might feel like he didn't answer his prayers when they needed him.
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Catholic Responses To Evil and Suffering

Main points:

  • If you pray for selfish things, God will not answer them.
  • Your prayer may be answered differently then to what you wanted, God may have a plan for you.
  • God is our father, he gives us what we need, not what we want.
  • God loves people and so they believe God's love will answer their prays.
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