PHIL/RELI 134H/126H.001 – Honors Philosophy of Western Religion

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Instructor: Douglas MacLean. This course meets MW 3:35 – 4:50 p.m. in CW 105.

This course has two goals: The first is to sharpen your ability to analyze, evaluate, and produce philosophical arguments; the second is to introduce you to some of the main topics in the philosophy of religion.  We will draw primarily on works in philosophy but will also examine these issues and in literature and film.

The first half of this course will focus on attempts to prove that God exists or to prove that God does not exist.  What are these arguments aiming to show?  Who is the intended audience?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments?  The second half of the course will cover other topics.  What is faith, and is it reasonable to believe in God even if one cannot prove God’s existence?  Is there necessarily a conflict between reason or science and religious faith?  Why do some philosophers believe that God’s existence is necessary for morality?  Can religion help us respond to the problem of the existence of evil?  Do we survive our bodily death, and if not, should we fear death?