How do we know what we know?

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How do we know what we know?. Write down three things you know because you have experienced them. Write down three things you know but have not experienced them. Tasks:. 3 . How do you know the three things on your second list? What makes the evidence satisfactory? Could you be wrong ? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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General and Special Revelation

How do we know what we know?

Write down three things you know because you have experienced themWrite down three things you know but have not experienced themChristian BeliefsThree different aspects of God, otherwise known as the Trinity.

The Father creator, eternal, almighty GodGod the son - came to earth in the form of JesusHoly Spirit- God as he works in the world 6REVELATION in the Christian TraditionCan revelation be a proof for Gods existence?

Is it a trustworthy basis for faith?Revelation of Gods NatureChristians believe that throughout history God has shown us who He is by what he does.E.g. in giving the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai God revealed to the Jews the kind of life He wanted them to live.Christians believe that throughout the Old Testament He continued to reveal himself through Kings, prophets and individuals in the way he wanted them to live.

Immanent/Transcendent

Immanent the idea that God is present and involved in life on earth

Transcendence beyond and outside life on earth and the universeMost theists believe that God is incomprehensible . God is therefore outside time and space as God is the creator of the universe. Therefore God is transcendent.

Yet at the same time people believe God is involved in history (sacred books) and that they have experienced God. So therefore God is immanent.7Personal/ImpersonalReligions believe that no other being has the force or power of God. To think of God as personal would mean to think of God as having human features. For many religions this is unacceptable and God is believed to be impersonal.

Most Christians believe that they have a personal relationship with God. Through prayer etc.Personal nature of God God as an individual or person with whom people can have a relationship.

Impersonal nature of God the idea that God has no human characteristics, unknowable and mysterious, more like a force.8The Bible is a source of authority for all Christians. They recognise that the revelation of God through the Bible offers them support and structure in their lives. All Christian church services use the Bible in their worship. A passage is read and the priest or minister will explain the passage in his/her sermon. The Bible might also be used by Christians in their daily lives for private or group study or to inspire prayer. They believe that God can communicate directly with them whilst reading the Bible.However, Christians do not always come to the same conclusions about what the Bible means in modern times. Different denominations interpret teachings in different ways and even within the same church congregation there will probably be a range of opinions about moral issues.

The BibleWhat does the Bible reveal?That God created the world ex-nihilo (from nothing), therefore is the CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF ALL.That he is OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT and BENEVOLENTThat God cares about his created world and the people in it. He makes COVENANTS with his people. Eg. through Abraham, Noah, Jesus.That he sent messages through PROPHETS to guide people.That he became INCARNATE in Jesus.

For many Christians the final and ultimate revelation of God was in the form of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus was the Incarnation of God quite literally God made flesh God in a human form come to Earth to experience life as one of His own creations and so show humans the way He wants them to live.

JesusJesus is also a form of revelation. As God INCARNATE he is believed to be fully human, fully divine.Through the life and teachings of Jesus, Christians believe God reveals understands the complexities and frailties of human existence. It is also seen as a revelation of Gods ultimate love: for God so loved the world that he gave his only sonJesus is seen as the fulfilment of the covenantRevelation of God through scripturedifferent Christians have different views about what the scripture can tell us about God and his plans for humanityThe Bible is Divinely inspired. This could mean the writers of the Bible were guided by God when they were writing the Bible downThe Bible is Divinely guided: this is the same as inspired but God speaks to the writers in some way or other it is still the direct word of God.

The Bible is the end result of a lot of Gods mysterious guidance throughout the ages. It is a library of stories and writings from different time periods, culture and geographical locations. Some of it is history, some poetry, letters and stories.The Bible is a human book, but based on the writings of people who have tried to work out what God would want throughout the ages.

What is in the Bible is a matter of human selection however it is still a useful book of guidance for someone trying to live a Christian life.

3 ways people treat the Bible writingsLiterally true What the Bible says is what happened, exactly word for word. No argument Christians who believe this are called Biblical Literalists

* Symbolically true; Biblical writings have to be understood as pointing to truths, metaphors and allegories but no to be taken literally true. People who believe this are sometimes called Biblical LiberalistsPart literal and part symbolic; Biblical writings are a mixture of things which are literally true and things that need to be interpretated. Which is which, is a matter of debate.QuestionDo you think that people read the Bible these days? 2 mins in groups, discuss.

Strengths and limitations of this kind of RevelationThe Bible is quite clear and can be read by anyone so its obvious what its messages areThis means that we have Gods direct word on what he is like and how we should live our lives.You dont have to guess about anything its a reliable way to find out about God and what he wants for humans.If you understand the Bible literally then it is simple to work out the truth of what God is and what he want.The Bible may appear clear but its a complicated text. It might not be a good guide for modern livingIt may be Gods word but it might also involve human hands which have written things or selected things to include which are there for human reasons rather than Gods.You may not need to guess but interpretating the Bible is a complex task and so it might not be a very reliable way to find out about God or about his wants and desires.If you dont understand the Bible literally then you need to work out what is truth and what is myth and so on.Is it true?People often say seeing is believing but religious people might reverse this and claim that only through first believing can you begin to see the truth.All people can experience a sense or wonder at the beauty of the natural world but religious people may claim to see even more in this than a non-believer; for them it is the work of God.

When I look at a beautiful sunset I am filled with love and peace. I truly feel as if I am in the presence of an Almighty Creator, an artist beyond compare. I feel a sense of being connected with God; He is all around us if we choose to recognise it.

Exam Question:Religious experiences are irrational. A strong faith should be based on logical reasoning.

Discuss this statement. You should include different, supported points of view and a personal viewpoint. You must refer to Christianity in your answer. (12)General and Special RevelationMany people say they will only believe in God when God reveals itself (himself/herself) to them. They say there is no evidence that God exists.

Although there are thousands of people who claim to have met God in some way they are not believed by non-believers who find many reasons to say that their account is untrue.

Think about this though if you met God, could you prove it?

Special RevelationSpecial revelation is when God reveals Himself directly to a person or group in a dream, vision or a miracle.

NB / God has chosen those people especially to communicate to them.

Examples of Special Revelation: St PaulSaul had a vision of a bright light on his way to Damascus. A voice asked why Saul why he was hunting down Christians. Saul was convinced that the light and voice were God. He changed his name to Paul and travelled the world telling people about Christianity. He wrote most of the books in the New Testament.

Example of Special Revelation: MosesMoses had a vision of a burning bush and a voice that told him to return to Egypt to free the Hebrew slaves.

Could also be:Specific miracles parting red sea, feeding of the 5 thousandDreams as in JosephAppearances burning bushSpeaking directly as when he spoke to Samuel

By becoming human in the form of Jesus. Jesus was an example both of how to live a human life but also a glimpse of the nature of God.

Winnie the Pooh relied on experience he was only satisfied that there was honey all the way to the bottom of the pot when he had tested this for himself by eating all the honey.

Sometimes experience can be mistaken as when Pooh and Piglet went round and round the tree in the snow following footprints and they were mistakenly convinced on this evidence that they were following a dangerous animal.

Similarly the religious experience arguments are based on claimed experiences of God but one problem is whether these experiences are good evidence for the existence of God.

Is it a Woozle?The argument

If someone experiences an entity, then the entity exists Some people have experienced God Therefore God existsBrief summary of thinkers cont William James (early 20th century) he categorised religious experience and noted that the experience draws on the common store of emotions but is directed at something divine.* the experience is short but intense* you have no control over it* it helps you see things in a different way* it is very difficult to describe James said the result would be reverence, a joyful desire to belong to God, a renewed approach to life. These fruits are the only reliable basis for judging whether it is a genuine experience of the divine.

Someone having a religious experience is more common than you probably think, and the experiences are similar enough to make us wonder if they are pointing to a God who chooses to reveal himself to us in this way.

The fact that such experiences almost always change peoples lives for the better and really quite drastically perhaps suggests that they could only come from God.Q. Why do some people seem to have religious experiences and others do not? 1 min discussTestimony isnt enough. We need to be convinced!RICHARD SWINBURNE (1996) argues for the case that An omnipotent and perfectly good creator will seek to interact with his creatures and, in particular, with human persons capable of knowing him.

How does Swinburne classify Religious Experiences?Swinburne classified five types of religious experience:PUBLIC An individual sees God or Gods action in a public object or scene e.g. seeing the face of the Virgin Mary on the moon Very unusual public event occur involving a breach of natural law e.g. the resurrection of Jesus

PRIVATE A private experience that an individual may describe using normal language e.g. the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary Experiences which cannot be described in normal language but which are nevertheless very real to those experiencing them e.g. mysticism An ongoing impression of a presence based upon no specific experience just a sense that God is guiding ones lifeThe Principle of Testimony Relies of the inherent trustworthiness of other people

Dodgy!Grounds for not believing: Unreliable On drugs Suffers from delusions Previous History

Grounds for believing: Sound Mind Reasonable Intelligence Generally ReliableTrustworthy!So who experiences the experiences?According to the Oxford Religious Experience research unit 25-45% of the population of Britain! This was even irrespective of age, location or belief.

What kind of experience?

An awareness of a presence or power beyond themselves.

QuestionWhat would you do if you thought that God had spoken to you in a dream?

2mins discuss

General RevelationGeneral revelation is how people generally come to know about God and believe in God.

They dont have any special experience, but they gradually come to faith through a variety of experiences.

Examples of General RevelationPeople learn about God through reading the Bible. It teaches them how God has acted in human history, the laws that God expects humans to follow and gives people comfort in times of trouble.

Knowing God through holy booksExamples of General RevelationPeople learn about God through their response and appreciation of the wonders and beauty of the world around them. Nature is beautiful, clever and complicated. They feel that it is so awesome and wonderful that God must have created it. Knowing God through nature

Strengths and limitationsNature points to GodA conscience might point to GodMiracles and supernatural happenings all point to GodHearing the voice of God can have no other explanation than the existence of God

Nature could just as well point to other processes (evolution)Conscience could just be your brainMiracles might be just exaggerated stories or Chinese whispersPeople hear voices in their head and do some very strange things.Examples of General RevelationPeople learn about God through the lives and example of religious people they admire. Knowing God through the lives of Inspirational people

Examples of General RevelationPeople learn about God through the lives and advice of religious leaders like the Pope who study the Bible and tell their followers how they feel God would want them to live today. Knowing God through religious leaders

QuestionSome people argue that God seemed a lot more present in the past than He is today because he revealed himself much more directly than now.

Others argue that God still reveals himself today we just dont listen so well nowadays What do you think? INDIVIDUAL ANSWERS

Revelation through the traditions of the ChurchChristians also believe that God has revealed himself throughout the ages through the traditions of the Church. For this we need a short history lesson, very simplified.

After Jesus died, the disciples hid away and then came out three days later to say that he had risen from the dead.

They formed a small Jewish sect in a Roman world and had a hard time of it through persecution. Each disciple, it is said, took the new faith to different lands.

42The apostle Paul (SAUL from earlier) finally spread it to the non-Jewish (Gentile) world, explaining very Jewish ideas in ways that non-Jews would understand

The persecutions continued until the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.

One Christian Church now existed, but the leaders of the C...