Philosophy 201: Philosophy of Religion
Philosophers seek clarification of important ideas and concepts. They also seek justification for our beliefs. In this course, we will approach the large topic of religion from a philosophical perspective. So, we will be seeking clarification of important religious ideas and concepts. We will also be seeking justification for religious beliefs. The class will consider different and conflicting positions in three core areas of religion:
1. The nature of religion (What is it? Why do we have it? What is it to be religious?)
2. The role of reason in religious belief/practice (Do reason and faith conflict? Which one is more fundamental? Can we rationally justify our religious beliefs/practices?)
3. The status of religion in a diverse and complicated social world (Does the fact of great religious diversity have implications for an individual’s commitment to a particular religion? What is the relationship between religion and morality, or religion and science?)
Goals of the Course:
The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the central philosophical debates concerning religion. We will focus on the debates dominant in the Western tradition of religious and philosophical thought (e.g. the debates which arise from thinkers such as Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas). However, we will also spend a significant amount of time on the issue of religious diversity. This will provide the opportunity for us to explore ideas dominant in other traditions.