Philosophy of Religion (Fall 2015)


INSTRUCTOR: Dr Bradley Rettler


OFFICE HOURS: Wednesday 3:30-4:30, and by appointment

OFFICE: Morrison Hall 220

MAILBOX: Morrison Hall 212


Course Website:




Schedule and Readings



Aug 24: Introduction

Aug 26: Logic and Arguments

Aug 28: Logic and Arguments, continued



Aug 31: Collins - 'The Fine-Tuning Design Argument'

Sep 2:

Sep 4:


Sep 9: Sober - 'The Design Argument', especially 133-140. Sample Reaction Paper.

Sep 11:


Sep 14: Weisberg - 'Firing Squads and Fine-Tuning

Sep 16:

Sep 18:


Argument from Evil

Sep 21: Dostoevsky - 'The Rebellion', from The Brothers Karamazov

Sep 23: Rowe - 'The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism'

Sep 25:


Sep 28: Plantinga - 'The Free Will Defense', from The Nature of Necessity

Sep 30:

Oct 2: Dr. Trenton Merricks and Dr. Trent Dougherty visit - Materialism, Dualism, and Christianity -- read Merricks' "How to Live Forever without Saving Your Soul"


Oct 5: Bergmann - 'Skeptical Theism and Rowe's New Evidential Argument from Evil"

Oct 7:

Oct 9:


The Moral Argument

Oct 12: Adams - 'Moral Arguments for Theistic Belief'

Oct 14:

Oct 16: Antony - 'Good without God'



Oct 19: Zagzebski - 'Does Ethics Need God?'

Oct 21:

Oct 23:


Argument from Hiddenness

Oct 26: van Inwagen - 'What is the Problem of the Hiddenness of God?'

Oct 28: Chiang - 'Hell is the Absence of God'


Nov 2: Rea - 'Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence'

Nov 4:

Nov 6:


Poll-Winning Papers*

Nov 9: Plantinga - Is Christian Belief Irrational?

Nov 11: Thurow - Does Cognitive Science Show Belief in God to be Irrational?

Nov 13: The Rationality of Theistic Belief, Concluded


Visitor's Week

Nov 16: Dr. Andrew Bailey visits - The Problem of the Trinity

Nov 18: Dr. Charity Anderson visits - Miracles - read Hume's "Of Miracles"

Nov 20: Dr. Trent Dougherty visits - The Problem of Animal Pain


More Poll-Winning Papers

Nov 30: Howard-Snyders - The Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer

Dec 2: Crisp - Jesus and Affluence

Dec 4: Jesus and Affluence, continued


Dec 7: Track 1 Paper Presentations


Final Exam and Final Papers Due

Dec 10: 9-11 am


*Papers for the Poll

Bogardus - The Problem of Contingency for Religious Beliefs

Crisp – On Believing the Bible is Divinely Inspired

Feldman – Reasonable Religious Disagreements

Howard-Snyders – The Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer

Lebens - God and His Imaginary Friends

Lewis - Divine Evil

Mawson - Praying to Stop Being an Atheist

Merricks - How to Live Forever without Saving your Soul

Pettigrove - The Dilemna of Divine Forgiveness

Plantinga – Is Christian Belief Irrational?

Rea - Does God have a Gender?

Sider – Hell and Vagueness (and a reply)

Thurow - Does Cognitive Science show belief in God to be irrational?

Van Dyke - Eating as a Gendered Act: Christianity, Feminism, and Reclaiming the Body

van Inwagen - I look for the Resurrection

Whitcomb - Grounding and Omniscience (and a reply)

Zagzebski - Omnisubjectivity  (and a reply)