This course is an introduction to philosophy, by way of religion. We will take a critical (not scripture-based) look at the idea, common to the major Western monotheistic faiths, of a single, perfect God. Does the unlikely existence of life and the precise natural order of the world around us make more sense if we posit such a being? Or does all the evil in the world count as evidence against a perfect creator? We will examine these and other arguments for and against God's existence. We will also discuss whether modern science offers a picture of the world compatible with and complimentary to religion, or if it provides an alternative and better world view that leaves the religious picture outmoded.
Midterm exam, short response paper, two longer (5+ page) essays. Readings will include 1-2 articles for every lecture.
Appropriate for students of all backgrounds, including first-year undergraduates. No previous work in philosophy or religious studies will be assumed.
Two hour-long lectures and two hour-long discussion sections per week.