Philosophy of Religion: who needs it?

Philosophy of Religion: who needs it? August 29, 2014

Dan Fincke2

Last month, John Loftus called for an end to the Philoshopy of Religion as a discipline taught in secular universities. This led, in the comments section, to overwrought declarations that philosophy as a whole, is a waste of time. I was surprised to see someone like Loftus call for this moratorium because it was, in large part, philosophy of religion, that got me to where I am today, questioning the validity and utility of religion and a faith-based approach to life. In fact, I am made the exact opposite appeal. I think world religions should be taught in public high schools as a mandatory subject, perhaps as a part of history. Like it or not, religion is a huge influence in the world and the better equipped our young people will be to answer it’s claims with clear arguments. Matt DeStafano, at The Secular Outpost, offered a much more calmly reasoned approach to the topic, which you can read here.

Anyway, all that to say… I am inviting you to join me as I engage with Daniel Fincke, of Camels with Hammers, for an online class in Philosophy of Religion, taught by Dan. We will meet weekly on Saturdays from 11 am-1:30 pm Pacific Time (2 pm-4:30 pm Eastern Time) for 16 weeks.

Here’s a little bit of what we’ll be getting into, from the course description:

My Philosophy of Religion class addresses the philosophical issues that religions raise. This course is designed to give both believers and non-believers a detailed and nuanced understanding of the best and most current arguments for and against the existence of God. This involves exploring a range of traditional and cutting edge cosmological, teleological, ontological, epistemological, and moral arguments for and against the existence of God. We also explicate and assess a wide range of competing conceptualizations of what God is or would be. We examine the relationship between faith and reason and the relative epistemic warrant of believing things by faith. We analyze various strategies for reconciling faith and science, and for modernizing religions generally. We investigate the ideal relationship between church and state. We apply philosophical tools to religious claims to see how they might be most coherently and plausibly conceived, and how they might be judged to be true or false. We weigh skeptical arguments from the Problem of Evil, look into what alternative approaches to metaphysics and ethics that non-theists give, and consider whether it is possible to have non-theistic religions. And we delve into the nature of religion itself–what it is, what values it serves or might come to serve, how it relates to other spheres of human endeavor, and what religions might have to learn from philosophy. Along the way, we will discuss numerous historical philosophers’ arguments and their influences on the development of religious concepts as we know them. And at one point or another we will inevitably address intersecting topics in ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, biblical studies, psychology, history, anthropology, and political philosophy, all as they have bearing on specific issues in philosophy of religion.

To learn all about the class, click here, and select the Saturday class to join me.

To register, click here.

A complete FAQ about Dan’s classes can be found here.

I hope to see a few of you in class!

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