Introduction To Philosophy - Philosophy of Religion

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Introduction To Philosophy 3

As fledgling Philosophers, you have learned that philosophy requires one to suspend judgment until all the obtainable facts are available. Sometimes, as we read in Metaphysics, all the facts may not be fully developed and thus conclusions can remain in development for centuries. Religion is also that way. There are simply things which people of all Faiths must take on faith rather than what a Scientist or Philosopher would deem to be a fact.

The Philosopher’s job is to critically evaluate the facts. For Philosophy of Religion, this means contemplating the facts having to do with experiences of religion: the God(s), the soul, good and evil, the afterlife, etc. Sahakian & Sahakian (2005) explain that although there are multiple disciplines about religion (sociology of, history of, psychology of…) they are not in place to actually evaluate the religion, but rather to merely report on it. Thinking about it that way, you would likely agree that these other disciplines will report the facts and historical context of a theology, but not delve into the notional facts, values, or validity espoused by them. That’s philosophy’s job.

Philosophy of Religion should not be confused with the religion itself though. Sahakian & Sahakian (2005) write, “[t]he philosopher’s quest is unrestricted by bias, authority, revelation, or faith, seizing upon all pertinent data as a means of attaining the most coherent evaluation” (pg. 85). This can be tricky. Many people of Faith will struggle with the concept of challenging their own belief system from a philosophical point of view. But how can we truly know what we believe if we disallow ourselves from answering questions about the validity of those beliefs? That is, it is only if your belief system can stand up to a conversation, question, comedy, and scrutiny, that can you claim that its truths are irrefutable.

This Unit will come to you in three parts: Research, reaction, and writing. First, you will be presented with ancient and modern thoughts about religion as a belief system. Second, we will have a robust discussion about what we have read about. Last, you will be given a writing assignment from the reading assignments.

Sahakian, W, & Sahakian, M. (2005) The Ideas of Great Philosophers. New York: Fall River Press.

Reading

Polytheism: Perhaps the oldest and most familiar form of religion. It is the belief system with multiple Gods with each God having a specific purpose or “job.” The ancient world was basically fully polytheistic from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and through the Axial Age. This lasted until the formation of the Abrahamic Religions – which are strictly monotheist.

  • Fairbanks, A. (1898). Literary Influence in the Development of Greek Religion. The Biblical World,11(5), 294-305. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3137300
    • In Fairbanks (1898) read pages 294 to the end of the first paragraph on page 297.
    • Note how for the Greeks, the Gods also had strong Human characteristics.

Humanism

  • Watch Professor of Sociology Frank Furedi’s 18-minute lecture on Humanism.:

Furedi, F. (2013). Alternative lectures: What is Humanism (Part 1). [Video File]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84POCehz3xk

    • Who does Dr. Furedi say is the author of our destiny?
  • Watch his 19-minute follow-up as well.

Furedi, F. (2013). What is humanism? Part 2. [Video File]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk7QN7I0HTE

The problem of Evil and Suffering to Religion: Read the entire entry (all 11 sub-sections) from the IEP entry for the “Logical Problem of Evil” available at http://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-log/

ASSIGNMENTS:

For this PART 1:

  • Your FIRST of TWO posts this week:
    • Please post your thoughts about who or whom you believe is the author of your destiny (Free Will or not). Use the terms from class to describe your belief system. You may introduce other terms if something more concise would work better.
  • Your SECOND topic posts in the Discussion Forum this week:
    • Why do you think evil exists? If you believe in a God or Gods, why does he/she/they allow evil in the world?

Guidelines

  • Do not write more than 1-2 paragraphs per topic (try to be succinct; it is the sign of a sharp mind to be able to collate and present an argument succinctly)

For this PART 2:

Pick one of the three following and present a 3-page Research Paper on them, their views, and their specific Philosophical underpinnings to religion using the rubric below.

Please look briefly at each and pick the one that will give you the most rewarding experience to learn more about.

Free Will vs. Omnipotence

  • How can we have Free Will if God knows everything that has or will happen, and therefore it has already happened or couldn’t be known?

Evil and Suffering

  • How does a purely good God allow evil to happen to good people?

Thomas Paine and God

  • Although a humanist, Paine believed in God and the afterlife. Explain his logic and offer your own.

In the paper, identify your topic of choice in the title and opening sentences.

From there:

  • Describe the challenge through the open-minded lens of philosophical inquiry
  • Give several examples of the arguments for and against the prevailing logic, for example:
    • For Free Will, for example, you may wish to discuss the ramifications of Free Will vs. a God who knows everything
    • For Evil and Suffering, you may want to explore why evil is necessary or could be argued to be so
    • For Thomas Paine, you may want to discuss how a humanist could also believe in a God and still be an actual humanist
  • Why is it still something modern students of philosophy are compelled to study? Why is this topic still important to the philosophy or religion?

Assignment Guidelines

Write a fully APA-compliant 3- page paper for this Unit

  • You should include a reference page, with APA citations, at the end of your paper. This page is not part of the 3-pages of written work
  • Standard margins, 12-point font, New Times Roman or similar
  • Do not write less, do not write more
  • Be sure to read the assessment criteria before you begin writing

For more information on APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Assessment Criteria

  • Does the paper clearly identify the chosen Philosopher and why he fits into the topic of Metaphysics?
  • Does the paper consider the historical, theological, and cultural context of the chosen Philosopher’s metaphysical arguments?
  • Does the writer give meaningful examples (plural) of the Philosopher’s view on metaphysics?
  • APA and overall look and feel of the paper is college-level work

For this PART 3:

Hopefully, you know now what men and women have been discussing for eons; we are all philosophers; we all have valid opinions and judgments about the world around us.

For this part, please share what the most interesting part (lesson/discussion) this week was to you. How did that experience change your worldview? Please explain how you thought before, and how the new viewpoint changed that old thinking into something new.

Introduction To Philosophy 3 As fledgling Philosophers, you have learned that philosophy requires one to suspend judgment until all the obtainable facts are available. Sometimes, as we read in Metaphysics, all the facts may not be fully developed and thus conclusions can remain in development for centuries. Religion is also that way. There are simply things which people of all Faiths must take on faith rather than what a Scientist or Philosopher would deem to be a fact. The Philosopher’s job is to critically evaluate the facts. For Philosophy of Religion, this means contemplating the facts having to do with experiences of religion: the God(s), the soul, good and evil, the afterlife, etc. Sahakian & Sahakian (2005) explain that although there are multiple disciplines about religion (sociology of, history of, psychology of…) they are not in place to actually evaluate the religion, but rather to merely report on it. Thinking about it that way, you would likely agree that these other disciplines will report the facts and historical context of a theology, but not delve into the notional facts, values, or validity espoused by them. That’s philosophy’s job. Philosophy of Religion should not be confused with the religion itself though. Sahakian & Sahakian (2005) write, “[t]he philosopher’s quest is unrestricted by bias, authority, revelation, or faith, seizing upon all pertinent data as a means of attaining the most coherent evaluation” (pg. 85). This can be tricky. Many people of Faith will struggle with the concept of challenging their own belief system from a philosophical point of view. But how can we truly know what we believe if we disallow ourselves from answering questions about the validity of those beliefs? That is, it is only if your belief system can stand up to a conversation, question, comedy, and scrutiny, that can you claim that its truths are irrefutable. This Unit will come to you in three parts: Research, reaction, and writing. First, you will be presented with ancient and modern thoughts about religion as a belief system. Second, we will have a robust discussion about what we have read about. Last, you will be given a writing assignment from the reading assignments. Sahakian, W, & Sahakian, M. (2005) The Ideas of Great Philosophers. New York: Fall River Press. Reading Polytheism: Perhaps the oldest and most familiar form of religion. It is the belief system with multiple Gods with each God having a specific purpose or “job.” The ancient world was basically fully polytheistic from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and through the Axial Age. This lasted until the formation of the Abrahamic Religions – which are strictly monotheist. • Fairbanks, A. (1898). Literary Influence in the Development of Greek Religion. The Biblical World,11(5), 294-305. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3137300 o In Fairbanks (1898) read pages 294 to the end of the first paragraph on page 297. o Note how for the Greeks, the Gods also had strong Human characteristics. • Read the entire Polytheism and Monotheism Lecture at Gifford Lectures: https://www.giffordlectures.org/books/attributes-god/iii-polytheism-and-monotheism Humanism • Watch Professor of Sociology Frank Furedi’s 18-minute lecture on Humanism.: Furedi, F. (2013). Alternative lectures: What is Humanism (Part 1). [Video File]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84POCehz3xk • o • Who does Dr. Furedi say is the author of our destiny? Watch his 19-minute follow-up as well. Furedi, F. (2013). What is humanism? Part 2. [Video File]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk7QN7I0HTE • A collection of short definitions of Humanism can be found at https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/ : read through these and prepare to share your thoughts. The problem of Evil and Suffering to Religion: Read the entire entry (all 11 sub-sections) from the IEP entry for the “Logical Problem of Evil” available at http://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-log/ ASSIGNMENTS: For this PART 1: • • Your FIRST of TWO posts this week: o Please post your thoughts about who or whom you believe is the author of your destiny (Free Will or not). Use the terms from class to describe your belief system. You may introduce other terms if something more concise would work better. Your SECOND topic posts in the Discussion Forum this week: o Why do you think evil exists? If you believe in a God or Gods, why does he/she/they allow evil in the world? Guidelines • Do not write more than 1-2 paragraphs per topic (try to be succinct; it is the sign of a sharp mind to be able to collate and present an argument succinctly) For this PART 2: Pick one of the three following and present a 3-page Research Paper on them, their views, and their specific Philosophical underpinnings to religion using the rubric below. Please look briefly at each and pick the one that will give you the most rewarding experience to learn more about. Free Will vs. Omnipotence • How can we have Free Will if God knows everything that has or will happen, and therefore it has already happened or couldn’t be known? Evil and Suffering • How does a purely good God allow evil to happen to good people? Thomas Paine and God • Although a humanist, Paine believed in God and the afterlife. Explain his logic and offer your own. In the paper, identify your topic of choice in the title and opening sentences. From there: • • • Describe the challenge through the open-minded lens of philosophical inquiry Give several examples of the arguments for and against the prevailing logic, for example: o For Free Will, for example, you may wish to discuss the ramifications of Free Will vs. a God who knows everything o For Evil and Suffering, you may want to explore why evil is necessary or could be argued to be so o For Thomas Paine, you may want to discuss how a humanist could also believe in a God and still be an actual humanist Why is it still something modern students of philosophy are compelled to study? Why is this topic still important to the philosophy or religion? Assignment Guidelines Write a fully APA-compliant 3- page paper for this Unit • • • • You should include a reference page, with APA citations, at the end of your paper. This page is not part of the 3-pages of written work Standard margins, 12-point font, New Times Roman or similar Do not write less, do not write more Be sure to read the assessment criteria before you begin writing For more information on APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ Assessment Criteria • • • • Does the paper clearly identify the chosen Philosopher and why he fits into the topic of Metaphysics? Does the paper consider the historical, theological, and cultural context of the chosen Philosopher’s metaphysical arguments? Does the writer give meaningful examples (plural) of the Philosopher’s view on metaphysics? APA and overall look and feel of the paper is college-level work For this PART 3: Hopefully, you know now what men and women have been discussing for eons; we are all philosophers; we all have valid opinions and judgments about the world around us. For this part, please share what the most interesting part (lesson/discussion) this week was to you. How did that experience change your worldview? Please explain how you thought before, and how the new viewpoint changed that old thinking into something new.

Tutor Answer

ProfessorEmily
School: Rice University

Attached.

Running head: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Philosophy of Religion
Name:
Institution:
Instructor:
Course:
Date:

1

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

2
Part 1

I’m the author of my destiny because its determined by the choices I make. As a humanist
who is impacted by the growing influence of science and secular thought, I have developed a
human conception of the world. We are not subjected to forces beyond our control, but we are the
authors of our destiny. We are the subjects of history and not the objects of history because the
ascendancy of science and enlightenment thought have enabled us to realize that the world we live
is made and influenced by ourselves (Worldwrite, 2013). Human beings need a new approach of
looking at free will and fate. Since these two elements are influential in our lives, with fate having
greater influence, one realizes that the more the balance keeps shifting the more we learn about it,
and therefore, we presume that our potential is greater than anyone can suppose. Fate only presents
us with the opportunity to create a destiny, what we have is to decide the destiny that we want. As
William Shakespeare once stated, the stars do not hold our destiny, but ourselves.
There are two kinds of evil, natural evil and physical evil. Natural evil is a result of natural
disasters such as earthquakes, illness, floods, other natural disasters while moral evil results when
human beings commit bad deeds towards each other. Examples of moral evil are violence, murder,
aggression, hatred, racism, deceit, sexual immorality and other immoral acts. According to my
Christian faith, Good is good and all loving, but many Christians and even great thinkers are
baffled by the contradiction between the existence of evil and a loving God. If God is almighty,
all-knowing, and flawlessly good, why does he permit evil to happen and bring suffering to
humanity? Theodicy tries to solve the paradox of what is known as the problem of evil. As a person
who believes in God, evil is present in the world because it is meant to bring a r...

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