Philosophy of religion is also known as philosophical theology or philosophy of God. Other names include natural theology and theodicy.
The validation of the course is done at the end of the second part
ECTS Credits: 3
Professor: Fr Isaac Mutelo, OP
Philosophy of Religion is a branch of philosophy that concerns itself with the study of religion, including arguments regarding nature, the existence of God, religious languages, the problem of evil and the interrelationship between religion and other value systems such as inter alia science and ethics. It logically follows on, and is continuous with, metaphysics, of which it is best understood as the second part. Metaphysics deals with the finite, contingent beings within our experience. Philosophy of religion seeks the definitive reason – the ultimate cause of those beings – and that which will render them intelligible or meaningful. It argues that as the beings of our experience are not self-explanatory, there must be a Supreme Being to explain why they exist at all. However, the existence of such a Supreme Being also brings about the problem of evil.
The course aims to show that it is entirely reasonable for rational beings to seek an ultimate explanation of the universe that they inhabit. As reality is intelligible, it is natural for human beings to look for its ultimate intelligibility, to seek an answer to the supreme or ultimate question: why does anything exist? As the definitive reason for the existence of the things of experience cannot be found within the universe of experience, it has to be sought outside that universe of experience in a transcendent being. Thus, arguments for as well as some of the attributes of the Supreme Being will be explored.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
1. understand what is meant with "God" and "religion";
2. understand the main questions in respect of philosophy of religion;
3. have a better sense of the differences between philosophical questions and other kinds of questions or arguments;
4. consider objectively the relation between belief and evidence, faith, and proof;
5. understand and be able to express several philosophical theories taking a position in the debates over the issues mentioned in this course; and
6. identify and use relevant evidence to offer reasons for and against the various theories about religious belief.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. SECTION I. WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
1.1 Nature of the subject and essential concepts
1.2 Introducing religion
1.3 Introducing philosophy of religion
1.4 Faith and reason
2. SECTION II. PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND SCIENCES
2.1 Science and religion: The case of creationism
2.2 Darwin's scientific Theory of Evolution
2.3 Origin of creationism
2.4 Definition and forms of creationism
2.5 Can creationism be reconciled with evolutionism?
3. SECTION III. DOES A SUPREME BEING EXIST?
3.1 Arguments for the existence of a Supreme Being
3.2 The nature and classes of arguments
3.3 The five ways of Aquinas
3.4 Arguments from participation metaphysics
3.5 Arguments from the Dynamism (Intellect and Will)
3.6 Intelligent designer and the God-of-the-Gaps argument
3.7 Argument from a fine-tuned universe (The Anthropic Principle)
4. SECTION IV. WHAT CAN BE A SUPREME BEING?
4.1 The essence and attributes of the Supreme Being
4.2 The difficulties of predication
4.3 The Via Negativa approach
4.4 The analogical aspect of predication
4.4 The analogy of intrinsic attribution
5. SECTION V. PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND EVIL
5.1 The problem of evil
5.2 The nature of evil
5.3 The cause of evil
5.4 Reasoned vindication