Miracles from Heaven

One of our wonderful Year 11 students who has almost finished her time at Thomas Knyvett College has emailed to let us know there’s a great film to revise Religious Studies Unit 1 Section 1 ‘Believing in God’ called Miracles from Heaven.  Apparently it shows evil and suffering, miracles as well as unanswered prayers. Could this be a good revision film to watch for Year 10 students before Thursday?

On IMDb it says: MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

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Timely article for Year 8 about Evil

We used to learn about Evil and Suffering in Year 9 as a preparation for the GCSE Religious Studies course but this year we’ve moved it down to Year 8 and made it tougher too!? We have to thank all this on the new GCSE syllabus which starts being studied this summer as it’s been made a whole lot more difficult. With my yellow De Bono thinking hat on this will be great as students will have better RS knowledge when they move onto their A’ Levels and been challenged to think more during our two year course of study.

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But back to evil! BBC Earth investigates how evil has evolved and why it has managed to persist. It studies evil in different animals and questions whether being evil can be an advantage in certain situations.  As we’ll study in class ‘evil’ does have religious connotations as it relates to ideas of morality and actions against the will of a divine being (God). But in its original form it just means anything that is simply bad, vicious or cruel.

There are plenty of useful YouTube clips which explain the problem of evil and suffering:

  • A GCSE clip lasting 3 minutes with written facts, thought provoking images and music you can’t beat this updated video
  • This American clip is generally easy to understand with its cartoons.
  • For an A Level introduction lasting 5 minutes there’s MrMcMillanREvise

Scientific paper controversially refers to ‘a Creator’

A Scientific paper written by four researchers titled: ‘Biomechanical characteristics of hand coordination in grasping activities of daily living’ has drawn huge controversy in the medical world for its reference to ‘a creator’ in its investigations of the workings of our hands. Scientists are furious of its reference to ‘intelligent design’ which they say is make believe.

In GCSE RS we learn about William Paley (1734-1805)  who said if you were walking on a heath and saw a watch on the ground you would assume that its parts had not come together by chance because it is too ordered and complicated. Therefore someone must have designed it or it would not work. Because the universe is also ordered and complicated, someone must have designed that too. That ‘someone’ is God.

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Back to our scientists, The Independent reports how several members of the science community say the paper should be withdrawn because it in the opening sentences of the study, it claims the link between muscles and hand movements is the product of “proper design by the Creator.”

Later, it says human hand coordination “should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention,” and concludes by again claiming the mechanical architecture of the hand is the result of “proper design by the Creator.”

After such  massive backlash the journal PLOS ONE which published the scientific paper has withdrawn it.

God in the News

A dramatic story made the headlines on this evening’s Daily Mail website: Currys refuse to repair customer’s giant 65in TV which was broken by a fly because they say it was an ‘act of God’.

It’s a good job our titles in class aren’t as long as that headline or we’d take forever to write it down!

A summary of the story is that a man’s large TV broke within the one year guarantee. So he contacted the shop where he bought it, Curry’s, who after the TV had been checked by an engineer said the man needed to pay £95 to repair the damage caused by a fly which had got into the electronics of the TV which was ‘an act of God’ – thereby making his one year guarantee invalid. The man was livid (very very angry) that he both needed to pay the £95 and that Curry’s has used ‘an act of God’ as their reason.

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All ends well when Curry’s apologies to the man and LG (the TV manufacturer) offer to repair the TV. Curry’s probably felt the pressure due to the bad media this story has created. Read the Daily Mail article to see whether the paper portrays the possibility of it being ‘an act of God’ as being likely. If they scoff at the possibility of it being an ‘act of God’ are they saying that God doesn’t exist to do these omnipotent actions?