Philosophy of Religion
I. Course Prefix/Number: PHL 240
Course Name: Philosophy of Religion
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Define the basic vocabulary needed to discuss the central themes and arguments of the philosophy of religion.
B. Evaluate religious (or irreligious) positions by critically analyzing the arguments that support them and by assessing their fundamental presuppositions.
C. Analyze both orally and through written work how specific approaches to the philosophy of religion have emerged in different historical and cultural contexts. (Students will study representative philosophers from at least four traditions, including non-Western philosophy.)
D. Recognize the ethical implications of different positions within the philosophy of religion by applying these positions to concrete ethical issues on both the personal and global levels.
E. Develop their critical thinking skills by identifying problems and comparing alternative solutions offered by different philosophies of religion.
F. Demonstrate respect for different philosophies and the cultures of which they are a part.
G. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.
V. Academic Integrity
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Details of the Code of Academic Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.
VI. Sequence of Topics
I. New Perspectives on the Philosophy of Religion
A. Does Religious Thinking have a Foundation? Smith and Nishitani
B. Philosophy of Religion and Pluralism: Bilamoria
II. Visions and Skepticism of Ultimate Reality
A. Non-Theistic-Monism: Lao Tzu and Shankara
B. Arguments for God’s Existence: Avicenna, Udayana and Aquinas
C. Religious and Anti-Religious Skepticism: Dharmasiri and Hume
III. The Problem of Evil in Focus
A. Western Approaches; Theological and Existential: Mackie and Wiesel
B. Confucian Debates on Human Nature: Mencius and Hsun Tzu
C. For and Against Religious Civilization: Confucius and Nietzsche
IV. Ponderings on the Afterlife
A. Jewish and Christian Studies in Contrast: Lamm and Maritan
B. The Theory of Rebirth: Aurobindo
C. Naturalism and the Denial of Immortality: Badham
V. The Conflicting Commitments of Faith, Reason, Science and Truth
A. Motivations for Faith: Averroes and Pascal
B. A Social Critique of Religious Belief: Marx
C. Cases for and Against Miracles: Swinburne and Hume
D. East Asian Perspectives on Science and Religion: Hu Shih and Abe
VII. Methods of Instruction
• Small group work
• Student presentations and debates
• Guest speakers
• Field trips may be required
Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
• Standards for written work
• Final Project
• Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern
IX. Instructional Materials
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
• Quizzes/Exams……40 points
• Journal/Essays……40 points
• Final Project with oral presentation……10 points
• Attendance and participation……10 points
• Grading scale: 90-100, A……80-89, B……70-79, C……60-69, D
XI. Other Course Information
• Office and office hours:
• Email and website:
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the ASSIST office in the Learning Center. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.