Philosophy of Religion (Spring 2019)


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Bradley Rettler


OFFICE: Ross Hall 128

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 1-3, Thursday 11-12, and by appointment


Course Website:




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


Jan 9: Introduction, Logic and Arguments I,  Logic and Arguments II

Jan 11: Collins - 'The Fine-Tuning Design Argument'


The Fine-Tuning Argument


Jan 16: NO CLASS (MLK Jr Day)

Jan 18: Sober - 'The Design Argument', especially 133-140. Sample Reaction Paper.

Jan 23:Weisberg - 'Firing Squads and Fine-Tuning

Jan 25: NO CLASS (Dr Rettler at conference)

Jan 30: Fine-Tuning, Concluded

The Argument from Evil

Feb 1: Dostoevsky - 'The Rebellion', from The Brothers Karamazov

Feb 6: Rowe - 'The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism'

Feb 8:

Feb 13:  Bergmann - 'Skeptical Theism and Rowe's New Evidential Argument from Evil"

Feb 15:


The Moral Argument

Feb 20: Adams - 'Moral Arguments for Theistic Belief'

Feb 22: Antony - 'Good without God'

Feb 27: CLASS IN BAYLOR SCIENCE BUILDING Room D110, from 12:20-1:10 -- Luke Barnes Talk on Fine-Tuning

March 1: Zagzebski - 'Does Ethics Need God?'

March 6: NO CLASS (Spring Break)

March 8: NO CLASS (Spring Break)


The Argument from Hiddenness

March 13: Chiang - 'Hell is the Absence of God

March 15: van Inwagen - 'What is the Problem of the Hiddenness of God?'


March 20: Rea - 'Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence'


March 22: Philip Swenson visits -- 'Ability, Foreknowledge, and Explanatory Dependence'

Poll-Winning Papers*

March 27: van Inwagen - The Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy

March 29: van Inwagen continued

                     ****FINAL PAPER OUTLINE DUE****

Apri l 3: Plantinga - Is Christian Belief Irrational?

April 5: Feldman - Reasonable Religious Disagreements

April 10: Howard-Snyders - The Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer

April 12: Parker and Rettler - A Possible Worlds Solution to the Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer


April 17: NO CLASS (Easter)

April 19:


April 24: Lindsay Rettler visits -- The Control over Faith

April 26: Buckareff and Plug - Escaping Hell

May 1: Lewis - Divine Evil

             ****All final papers due. All late reaction papers due*****

May 8, 2-4pm: FINAL EXAM

*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 - The Free Will Defense

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")