Chapter 4 Does God exist?

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1 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.1 Who is God? Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: have discussed and articulated their own understanding of who God is have evaluated the differing opinions that people have about the existence of God have knowledge and understanding of words used by Christians to describe God. Key elements Spiritual understanding Personal understanding Cross-curricular skills Communication Thinking skills and personal capabilities Use a range of methods for collating, recording and representing information. Justify methods, opinions and conclusions. Lesson plan Starter As an introduction to this topic pupils could look at the image on page 43 of the Pupil s Book and use the discussion questions below it to think about how we picture God. Pupils could look at other works of art and discuss the various artists impressions of God. Development Pupils could complete Get Active 1 in the Pupil s Book (page 44). They could use Worksheet 4.1 to help with this activity. They could discuss their answers with a partner and add to their own spider diagrams. They could then join another pair and add any further information that has been given. Following this, the whole class could discuss their views on the questions in the activity. 98

2 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Read the information in the Pupil s Book (pages 44 45). Pupils could use Worksheet 4.2 to make notes on the information given in the Pupil s Book and think of their own examples. Pupils could discuss the information with the rest of the class to ensure that their understanding of Christian views of God and the differing opinions that people have about God s existence is clear. They could then complete Get Active 2 in the Pupil s Book (page 44). Underneath their drawings, pupils could describe their images in twenty words or less. Plenary At the end of the lesson, pupils could display their drawings and explain what ideas about God they have wanted to communicate. Homework suggestion Pupils could use the questions from Get Active 1 in the Pupil s Book (page 44) to find out from three or four members of their family or friends what their views are about God. They could record their answers using Worksheet 4.3. Extension activity Following Get Active 2, pupils could look again at the images they were shown at the beginning of the lesson. They could choose one of the images and explain what they think the artist is trying to say about God. They could then display their words beside the image along with their own pictures. Learning outcomes Research and manage information effectively to investigate religious, moral and ethical issues, including using mathematics and ICT where appropriate. Show deeper understanding by thinking critically and flexibly, solving problems and making informed decisions, demonstrating using mathematics and using ICT where appropriate. 99

3 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Worksheet 4.1 Complete the spider diagram below. Try to think of at least three points for each question. What do you know about God? What do you believe about God? GOD? How would you describe God? What questions would you like to ask about God? 100

4 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Worksheet 4.2 About God Read pages of the Pupil s Book and complete the information below. 1 a Christians believe God is omnipotent. b This means c This tells us that God d An example of this might be 2 a Christians believe God is omnipresent. b This means c This tells us that God d An example of this might be 3 a Christians believe God is omniscient. b This means c This tells us that God d An example of this might be 4 Explain what the following words mean: a Theist: b Atheist: c Agnostic: 5 Now put each of the three words above into a sentence: 101

5 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Worksheet 4.3 Who is God? survey Ask three people the following questions to find out their views about God. Record your answers in the spaces provided. 1 What do you know about God? Person 1: Person 2: Person 3: 2 What do you believe about God? Person 1: Person 2: Person 3: 102

6 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.1 Who is God? Worksheet 4.3 (page 2 of 2) 3 How would you describe God? Person 1: Person 2: Person 3: 4 What questions would you like to ask about God? Person 1: Person 2: Person 3: 5 Give a short summary of what the people you have interviewed said about God. What surprised you? Person 1: Person 2: Person 3: 103

7 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.2 Proof of God Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.2 Proof of God Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: have knowledge and understanding of the main arguments for the existence of God have knowledge and understanding of the main arguments against the existence of God have debated the issues about the existence of God. Key elements Spiritual understanding Cross-curricular skills Communication Using ICT Thinking skills and personal capabilities Use a range of methods for collating, recording and representing information. Justify methods, opinions and conclusions. Examine options and weigh up pros and cons. Lesson plan Starter As pupils enter the room, a straw poll of the class could be taken as to whether or not they believe in God. Their answers YES/NO/UNSURE could be revisited at the end of the lesson. 104

8 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.2 Proof of God Development Pupils could read the information in the Pupil s Book (page 46) and complete Worksheet 4.4 before completing Get Active 1. Following this, pupils could find someone in the class who has answered the questions from a different perspective. They could discuss and justify their own answers and beliefs relating to the arguments. Pupils could then read the information in the Pupil s Book (page 47) and work in groups to complete Worksheet 4.5. They could complete the thinking tasks in the Pupil s Book (page 47) and, following this, pupils could work as a class to organise a debate on This house believes that God exists. Worksheet 4.6 could be used, giving each member of the class a different point of view to put forward during the debate. Plenary Pupils could go back to the straw poll taken at the start of the lesson. They could see if there are any changes to their answers now, following the work they have completed, and discuss as a class or in groups. Homework suggestion Pupils could work on a poster showing the different arguments that have been put forward for the existence of God. This could then be displayed in the classroom. Extension activity Pupils could write a letter to a local religious representative, asking for his/her views about the existence of God. Learning outcomes Research and manage information effectively to investigate religious, moral and ethical issues, including using mathematics and ICT where appropriate. Show deeper understanding by thinking critically and flexibly, solving problems and making informed decisions, demonstrating using mathematics and using ICT where appropriate. 105

9 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.2 Proof of God Worksheet 4.4 Arguments for the existence of God Read the information on page 46 of the Pupil s Book, looking at the arguments that have been put forward to make the case that God exists. Under each of the headings answer the following questions: 1 Who put forward this argument? 2 How does the argument confirm that God exists? 3 Do you think this is a good argument for the claim that God exists? The cosmological argument The design argument Religious experience

10 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.2 Proof of God Worksheet 4.5 Do these arguments prove the existence of God? Read the information on page 47 of the Pupil s Book. The arguments that people put forward to prove that God exists are often criticised and people have put forward other points of view. Work in groups of four and think about each of the arguments. Write down any ideas that you have, that puts forward another point of view. An example is given for each one. Against the cosmological argument If there has to be a first cause of everything, i.e. God, who made God? Against the design argument If God is perfect and designed the world, why is the design not perfect? Against the religious experience argument If I had a religious experience, why does God not give the same experience to everyone? 107

11 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.2 Proof of God Worksheet 4.6 Debate Each person in the class should be given one of the following points of view to put forward in the debate This house believes that God exists. They should have five minutes to prepare their point of view using the information they have learned from the lesson. You are a religious leader who believes that God exists and uses various arguments to back up your point of view. You are Thomas Aquinas. You believe that there must be a first cause a God that set everything in motion. You are a scientist who believes in the Big Bang theory about the creation of the world. You are an agnostic someone who does not know if God exists. You are not sure what to believe. You are an atheist. You do not believe that God exists and you think that people do not have religious experiences. You are William Paley. You think that the design of the world means there must be a God. You are a church-goer. You believe that you have had a religious experience that you want others to believe in. You are not sure that the world has been designed by God. However, you do see that the world is beautiful and you wonder if God exists. You are an atheist and you do not believe in God. You think that the human race has evolved and God does not exist. You are a religious leader who thinks that by looking at the beauty of the world you can see that God exists. 108

12 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.3 The problem of evil Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.3 The problem of evil Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: have knowledge and understanding of the differences between natural and moral evil have discussed how the existence of evil has an effect on people s view of God have evaluated the different arguments in relation to natural and moral evil. Key elements Spiritual awareness Education for sustainable development Cross-curricular skills Communication Thinking skills and personal capabilities Sequence, order, classify, and make comparisons. Make links between cause and effect. Listen actively and share opinions. Lesson plan Starter As an introduction to the lesson, use PowerPoint or the internet to show pupils a range of images of natural and moral evil. Pupils could discuss the images and answer the question Why do these things happen? 109

13 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.3 The problem of evil Development Pupils could read the introductory information on the problem of evil in the Pupil s Book (page 48). They could then complete Get Active 1. Pupils could read the information about moral evil in the Pupil s Book (page 48) and complete Worksheet 4.7. They could discuss the need for moral evil. For example, does the argument about free will justify people performing acts of moral evil? Pupils could read the information about natural evil in the Pupil s Book (page 49) and complete Worksheet 4.8. They could then complete Get Active 2 from the Pupil s Book (page 49). Plenary Pupils could discuss the question Does the existence of evil mean that God does not exist? Pupils could give their views on the question, backing them up with one reason. Homework suggestion Pupils could complete the compare and contrast template (Worksheet 4.9) for natural and moral evil. Extension activity Following the completion of Get Active 2, pupils could conduct some further research on natural and moral evil. Learning outcomes Show deeper understanding by thinking critically and flexibly, solving problems and making informed decisions, demonstrating using mathematics and using ICT where appropriate. Communicate effectively in oral, visual, written and ICT formats, showing clear awareness of audience and purpose. 110

14 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.3 The problem of evil Worksheet 4.7 Moral evil Read the information on page 48 of the Pupil s Book about moral evil. Discuss the information with your partner and then answer the questions below. 1 Explain what moral evil is. 2 Why do Christians believe that moral evil occurs in this world? 3 Do you agree with this argument? Give three reasons for your answer. 4 Give some examples of moral evil. 5 Why do people complete acts of moral evil? 111

15 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.3 The problem of evil Worksheet 4.8 Natural evil Read the information on Page 49 of the Pupil s Book about natural evil. Discuss the information with your partner and then answer the questions below. 1 Explain what natural evil is. Give examples. 2 How does natural evil affect people? 3 Why do people use the existence of natural evil to suggest that God does not exist? 4 What arguments do others give to argue that natural evil is necessary in the world? 5 Is natural evil avoidable? 112

16 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.3 The problem of evil Worksheet 4.9 Compare and contrast Compare and contrast natural and moral evil by filling in the boxes below. Natural evil Moral evil How alike How different Conclusions 113

17 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.4 Experiencing God Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.4 Experiencing God Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: understand the various ways in which people believe they experience God have assessed the significance of stories from the Bible where people experienced God have evaluated the relevance of these experiences for Christians today. Key elements Spiritual awareness Cross-curricular skills Communication Using ICT Thinking skills and personal capabilities Seek out questions to explore and problems to solve. Experiment with ideas and questions. Lesson plan Starter As an introduction to this lesson, pupils could discuss how we experience things in this world. They could be given one minute to write down the ways in which we experience things for example, listening to music. You could collate their answers on the board. 114

18 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.4 Experiencing God Development Pupils could complete Get Active 1 in the Pupil s Book (page 50). Following this, pupils could read the information in the Pupil s Book (page 50) about the prophet Elijah and his experience of God and complete Get Active 2 (page 51). They could then use Worksheet 4.10 to find out more about how Biblical characters experienced God. They could read the information about Saul from the Pupil s Book (page 51), and complete Get Active 3. Plenary Pupils could discuss what they ve learned in the lesson so far, asking whether these Biblical experiences are still valid. Do they mean that God exists? In preparation for the next lesson, pupils could discuss whether people experience God today. Homework suggestion Pupils could complete Worksheet Extension activity Following Get Active 1, pupils could work in groups to design and create a collage of images and words, using magazines and newspapers, relating to their spider diagram entitled Experiencing God. Learning outcomes Demonstrate creativity and initiative when developing ideas and following them through. 115

19 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.4 Experiencing God Worksheet 4.10 Biblical experiences of God Look up and read the following stories from the Bible. The passages show how people experienced God in different ways. Work in pairs or groups and choose one of the passages to act out as a hot-seat, with one person asking the main character questions about what happened. Moses and the Burning Bush Exodus 3: The Lord calls Samuel Samuel 3: Peter s Vision Acts 10: Use the space below to plan your role play. 2 Explain what the experiences meant to the people involved. How did these experiences change their lives? 116

20 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.4 Experiencing God Worksheet 4.11 What can Biblical experiences teach us today? 1 As a summary exercise, describe the experiences of Elijah and Saul in less than twenty words. Elijah: Saul: 2 Can these stories teach us anything about God s relationship with people today? Explain your answer, giving two reasons for your point of view. 3 Do you think that people experience God in the same way today as people did in Biblical times? Explain your answer. 117

21 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: have knowledge of some personal experiences of God and evaluate the significance of these experiences for the people involved have questioned whether religious experiences are illusions or reality have expressed their own opinions about religious experience. Key elements Spiritual awareness Mutual understanding Cross-curricular skills Communication Using ICT Thinking skills and personal capabilities Examine options and weigh up pros and cons. Use different types of questions. Make predictions, examine evidence, and distinguish fact from opinion. Lesson plan Starter As an introduction to the lesson pupils could look at the question Does God speak to people today? They could fill in Worksheet 4.12, deciding on their point of view, and then conduct a walking debate where they stand with their card in the appropriate part of the room ( Yes answers in one corner, No answers in another, etc.). They could discuss their reasons with others in their group. 118

22 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Explain that the purpose of the lesson is to look at religious experience from a personal point of view through the stories of people from Northern Ireland. Development Pupils could read the information in the Pupil s Book (page 52) and complete Get Active 1. They could discuss as a class the experiences of Mabel Colson-Brown and outline how her faith in God has shaped her life s decisions. They could then read the information about Father Declan O Loughlin in the Pupil s Book (page 53) and complete Get Active 2. Following this, pupils could complete Worksheet 4.13, looking at other points of view. They could discuss in groups or as a class which point of view they agree with the most and why. Plenary Pupils could return to their original walking debate. They could change positions in the debate if they wish, following the work they have completed. They could use the debate to question the different opinions that they have about religious experience today. Homework suggestion Pupils could complete Worksheet Extension activity Following Get Active 2, pupils could conduct further research into religious experience. They could look at religious experience from religions other than Christianity. What are the similarities and differences in the experiences? Learning outcomes Show deeper understanding by thinking critically and flexibly, solving problems and making informed decisions, demonstrating using mathematics and using ICT where appropriate. Communicate effectively in oral, visual, written and ICT formats, showing clear awareness of audience and purpose. 119

23 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Worksheet 4.12 Does God speak to people today? Choose one of the cards below as your answer to the question. On the card write down two reasons why you think this is the answer. Cut out the appropriate card and take it to the appropriate station in the room. Discuss your reasons with other members of the class. YES My reasons: NO My reasons: NOT SURE My reasons: 120

24 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Worksheet 4.13 Religious experience illusion or reality? Although many people believe that they experience God in their lives and that they are guided by God in what they do, other people think that these experiences are just an illusion. An illusion is something which is false a deception or an interpretation of what has happened. So do religious experiences actually happen or are they an illusion? Read the quotations below, which give different opinions about religious experiences. Choose one that you agree with the most and write it into your notebook. Underneath the quotation, explain why you picked it. I have been both a believer and non-believer in my time. Because of the terrible things I have seen as a reporter over the years wars, famines, disasters I suspect I have spent most of my spiritual journey looking for reasons to satisfy myself that God does not exist. John Humphrys Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. Richard Dawkins Every morning I spend fifteen minutes filling my mind full of God; and so there s no room left for worry thoughts. Howard Chandler Christy 121

25 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.5 Does God speak to people today? Worksheet 4.14 God speaks to people today Use the information from the lesson you have completed to write a paragraph explaining the different views that people have about whether or not God speaks to people today. Plan your paragraph by writing the arguments for and against in the boxes below. End the paragraph with your own point of view. Many people believe that God speaks to people today because: Many people believe that God does not speak to people today because: Write your paragraph here: 122

26 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Chapter 4 Does God exist? 4.6 Mystical experiences Learning intentions Learning intentions By the end of this lesson pupils will: be able to define mystical experiences have knowledge and understanding of mystical experiences within a number of religious traditions have evaluated the role of mysticism within a religious tradition. Key elements Spiritual awareness Mutual understanding Cross-curricular skills Communication Using ICT Thinking skills and personal capabilities Make new connections between ideas/information. Learn from and value other people s ideas. Value the unexpected and surprising. Lesson plan Starter As an introduction to this lesson, pupils could complete Worksheet They must look up the words in a dictionary, write out the definition and then explain the definition of mystical experience in their own words. 123

27 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Development Pupils could read the information about Sufism in the Pupil s Book (page 54). They could complete Get Active 1, using an internet search engine to find out more information about the whirling dervish and Sufi beliefs. They should write down any information that they have discovered to be used later in the lesson when completing Worksheet Following this, pupils could read the information on Kabbalah in the Pupil s Book (page 55) and complete Get Active 2. They could use Worksheet 4.17 to complete their research on Kabbalah. Pupils could plan their newspaper article in Get Active 2 using the information in the Pupil s Book (page 55). They could then use peer assessment reading their partner s articles and commenting on the content and style of writing. Plenary Pupils could work in groups to discuss their newspaper articles. They could discuss whether they think these mystical experiences bring people closer to God. Do they help people in their everyday lives? Homework suggestion In preparation for the big task in the Pupil s Book (page 56), pupils could use Worksheet 4.18 to plan their argumentative piece. This will help them to structure their thoughts using the various pieces of information they have researched throughout the chapter. Extension activity Pupils could look at mystical experiences within other religious traditions. The following topics could be studied: Christian mystics such as Julian of Norwich. Hindu mysticism role of yoga/meditation. Learning outcomes Demonstrate creativity and initiative when developing ideas and following them through. 124

28 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Worksheet 4.15 Defining mystical experiences 1 Use a dictionary to look up a definition of the following words. Write the definition in the space provided: Mystical: Experience: Mystic: 2 Highlight any of the words in the definition that you are unsure of and ask your teacher to explain these words to you. Work with a partner to come up with a definition of mystical experience and write the definition in the space below. 3 Discuss your definition with the rest of the class. 125

29 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Worksheet 4.16 Research on Sufism Conduct an internet search on Sufism and the whirling dervish. Find out the answers to the following questions. 1 Where in the world is Sufism a popular part of Islamic belief? 2 What is the role of the whirling dervish in Sufism? 3 What are the most important rules/actions that those following Sufi beliefs have to follow? 4 Write down any further information that you think will be important for your article about Sufism. 126

30 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Worksheet 4.17 Research on Kabbalah Conduct an internet search on Kabbalah. Find out the answers to the following questions. 1 Where in the world is Kabbalah a popular part of Jewish belief? 2 What is the role of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah? 3 What are the most important rules/actions that those following Kabbalah have to follow? 4 Write down any further information that you think will be important for your article about Kabbalah. 127

31 Chapter 4 Does God exist?: 4.6 Mystical experiences Worksheet 4.18 Does God exist? In this chapter we have looked at a number of different arguments for and against the existence of God. The big task at the end of this chapter is to write an argumentative piece under the heading Does God exist? Use the following headings to structure and plan your writing in your notebooks. Look back at the information you have discovered in this chapter. Introductory paragraph: what is the purpose of your piece? Why is this question important for people to consider? Arguments for the existence of God: include the design argument, the cosmological argument and the religious experience argument. Arguments against the existence of God: counteract the above paragraph with arguments that people give against the existence of God. The problem of evil. People s personal experiences of God: Give one Biblical example and one modern example of religious experience. Describe what other explanations people might have for these experiences. Concluding paragraph: give your own opinion about the question, backed up with reasons for it. 128

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