Philosophy of Religion (Fall 2016)


INSTRUCTOR: Dr Bradley Rettler


OFFICE HOURS: Wednesday 1-2:30, and by appointment

OFFICE: Morrison Hall 220

MAILBOX: Morrison Hall 212


Course Website:




Schedule and Readings (readings are to be done by the day they are listed)



Aug 22: Introduction, Logic and Arguments I,  Logic and Arguments II

Aug 24: Collins - 'The Fine-Tuning Design Argument'


The Fine-Tuning Argument


Aug 29: Sober - 'The Design Argument', especially 133-140. Sample Reaction Paper.

Aug 31: 


Sep 7: Weisberg - 'Firing Squads and Fine-Tuning

Sep 12: Fine-Tuning, Concluded

The Argument from Evil

Sep 14: Dostoevsky - 'The Rebellion', from The Brothers Karamazov

Sep 19: Rowe - 'The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism'

Sep 21:

Sep 26:  Bergmann - 'Skeptical Theism and Rowe's New Evidential Argument from Evil"

Sep 28:


The Moral Argument

Oct 3: Adams - 'Moral Arguments for Theistic Belief'

Oct 5: Antony - 'Good without God'

Oct 10: Zagzebski - 'Does Ethics Need God?'

Oct 12: 


The Argument from Hiddenness

Oct 17: Chiang - 'Hell is the Absence of God

Oct 19: van Inwagen - 'What is the Problem of the Hiddenness of God?'


Oct 24: 

Oct 26: Prof Charity Anderson visits -- "Divine Hiddenness: Defeated Evidence"

Oct 31: Rea - 'Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence'

Nov 2: Crisp - On Believing the Scriptures are Divinely Inspired

Poll-Winning Papers*

Nov 7: Buckareff  & Plug - Escaping Hell: Divine Motivation and the Problem of Hell

Nov 9: Kleinschmidt - Atheistic Prayer

Nov 14: L Rettler -- Control Over Faith

Nov 16: Track 1 Paper Presentations



Nov 28: Howard-Snyders - Petitionary Prayer

Nov 30: Parker and B Rettler - Petitionary Prayer Reply

Dec 5: Final Exam and Final Papers Due

*Papers for the Poll

M Adams - The Problem of Hell: A Problem of Evil for Christians

T Bogardus - The Problem of Contingency for Religious Beliefs

A. Buckareff & A Plug - Escaping Hell: Divine Motivation and the Problem of Hell

T Crisp – On Believing the Bible is Divinely Inspired

T Crisp - Jesus and Affluence

L Ekstrom - Suffering as Religious Experience

R Feldman – Reasonable Religious Disagreements

F and D Howard-Snyder – The Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer (and Parker and Rettler "A Possible Worlds Solution to the Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer")

D Howard-Snyder -- Propositional Faith: What it is, and What it is not

S Kleinschmidt -- Atheistic Prayer

S Lebens - God and His Imaginary Friends

D Lewis - Divine Evil

T Mawson - Praying to Stop Being an Atheist

T Merricks - How to Live Forever without Saving your Soul

G Pettigrove - The Dilemna of Divine Forgiveness

A Plantinga – Is Christian Belief Irrational?

M Rea - Does God have a Gender?

L Rettler - Control over Faith

T Sider – Hell and Vagueness (and Dougherty & Poston "Hell, Vagueness, and Justice: A Reply to Sider" )

E Stump - Dante’s Hell, Aquinas’s Moral Theory, and the Love of God

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

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

P van Inwagen - I look for the Resurrection

D Whitcomb - Grounding and Omniscience (and Howard-Snyder, Rasmussen & Cullison "On Whitcomb's Grounding Argument for Atheism")

L Zagzebski - Omnisubjectivity  (and Davison "Privacy and Control")