Session 2: The Existence of God

Follow up resources for participants

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:

 

2A:

  • What were the religious beliefs and practices of your grandparents?
  • Did have any religious traditions growing up at home or school?
  • Are the people around you mainly religious or non-religious? What are the main religions in your area?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

2B:

  • Why do you think many people find it hard to believe in God?
  • Do you know anyone who has lost their religious faith and why?
  • Do you know anyone who has converted to a new religious faith and why?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

2C:

  • What are your own thoughts about the existence of God?
  • Do you think there are any good reasons to believe in God?
  • Who are the most impressive religious people you know (personally or from the news or from history)?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

 

OTHER READINGS TO REFLECT ON:

KEY PASSAGES FROM THE FILM

2A – “Why bother thinking about religion?”

All religions tell a story. All religions, in their different ways, are trying to answer these huge questions about God and creation and life and death. In most cultures, and throughout most of history, these have been urgent and important questions, and they have been at the very centre of people’s lives. In much of Western society today, it seems harder to ask them.

I think there is a religious hunger in many people, or a spiritual hunger that hasn’t found a language to express itself. But there is also a hesitation. These questions make us vulnerable, and we are not sure where they might take us. It would be strange to ignore them, but risky to get them wrong. The first question though, on which all the others depend, is much simpler and more personal, and it’s this: Is it worth exploring?

2B – “Five reasons not to believe in God”

There are so many good reasons to doubt the existence of God, and to resist the idea of religion. Genuine reasons. The trouble is, even when you acknowledge these reasons, the religious questions remain! “Where does everything come from? What is the meaning of human life? Why do we suffer? Is there life after death? Is there a God?”

2C – “Arguments for the existence of God?”

Without realising it, I was thinking through some of the classic arguments for the existence of God. People have been puzzling about these things since the dawn of time. The existence of the world; its beauty and order; our spiritual intuitions; our longing for eternal life.

And when you put them together, there is a coherence. They are all pointing to something. They are all asking the same question, but in different ways: Is there something more? Is there something beyond the horizon?

I think there are good reasons to believe in the existence of God. There are good reasons, at least, for an atheist to have doubt their atheism! If you don’t believe, the very fact of taking these questions seriously is an important step. You can believe there might be a deeper mystery behind the universe, even if you are not yet sure what it is or how to find it.