Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction
Can we prove the existence of God via intellectual means?
Do phenomena we ‘experience as God’ count as evidence for belief in a Higher Being? As well as exploring questions like these, this course also examines how philosophers have responded to the claim that ‘God is good’ and the challenge to that claim posed by the existence of suffering.
Thinkers and arguments discussed will be predominantly from the Western philosophical tradition, however views from non-Western traditions, such as Buddhism, will be referenced throughout the course. No previous experience of philosophy or religious studies is required.
Learning and teaching
The module will be delivered through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.
Topics are likely to include:
- Introduction to the philosophy of religion
- The cosmological argument
- The design argument
- Argument from religious experience
- The problem of evil
- Buddhism, Islam and Christianity
Coursework and assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
Students will complete a writing portfolio which may take the form of short critiques of the texts, reviews, short analyses of philosophical theories, an essay and/or any other appropriate elements. The portfolio will be around 1,500 words in length.
Students may find the following texts useful background reading, but a full reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.
- Clack, Beverley, and Brian Clack, The Philosophy of Religion: A Critical Introduction, 2nd edn (Polity, 2008)
- Hick, John, Philosophy of Religion, 4th edn (Prentice Hall, 1990)
- Nagel, Thomas, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1987)
Library and computing facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.