PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Introduction, Problem of Evil & The Afterlife

Introduction, Problem of Evil & The Afterlife

This unit is about the philosophy of religious belief systems. It includes ideas about some of the most important human questions and students should think how different answers to fundamental questions can sometimes challenge religious beliefs. In answering questions, students can refer to one or more of the six major religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

Religious studies

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The Problem of Evil

Religious StudiesIf there is a loving God, why is there evil and suffering in the world? How does this make people question the existence of a loving God? What responses do believers have to evil?

Consider the alternative explanation that evil can be a power for good, both from the point of view of atheists and non-believers. What is the attitude of religious believers to human suffering? Explore the religious idea that suffering in this life can be a preparation for an eternal life of peace.

What different types of evil are there and what are their causes? Think about war, injustice, poverty and political oppression.

One explanation of worldly evil is the ‘Free will defence‘. This says that God must give people free will to choose good or evil. If people have no choice, there is no virtue in taking the path of goodness.

Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists believe in the concept of Karma. This is the idea that actions during life, good or bad, will have a related consequence later in life or after death in a reincarnated life.

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The Afterlife

Religious StudiesLearn about the different beliefs that the major religions have about life after death, about re-birth, and about reincarnation. What evidence is there to support or deny the existence of an afterlife? How does a belief in an afterlife effect the lives of believers? How does the belief that there is no afterlife effect the lives of non-believers?

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