Philosophy of Religion

This course, Philosophy of Religion, is designed to help you to be able to develop critical and analytical skills useful in ministry to be able to frame a Christian response to philosophies in the culture in which the graduate must live and needs to minister in an effective manner. Your signature assignment for this course to assess this objective is a Critical Thinking Research Project. There is a lot of flexibility in how you can fulfill this project. It is a major project which needs to reflect a significant amount of research no matter how you fulfill this assignment. The assignment may be submitted in a variety of formats – term paper, proposal for some initiative by a church (congregation) or para-church organization, article to be submitted for publication, outline for a seminar, or some similar project. The project must be within the bounds of the course content, that is, philosophy of religion.

Research must include a minimum of fifteen peer-reviewed sources such as books like the textbooks, books similar to those in the brief bibliography in the syllabus, or peer-reviewed journal articles like those found in ATLA or Academic Search Premier. You may use either Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., or SBL Handbook, 2nd ed., or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. for your style and citations. It is essential that you not merely list the necessary fifteen sources, but that you do significant research in those sources and demonstrate that you have produced a project that has been thought through carefully on the basis of careful research and planning. As the objective above stresses, this research project should aim toward some aspect of culture where you, as a Christian, can frame a response. Your project should give evidence of critical and analytical skills that you possess that you are able to use in ministry. Here are a few ideas of the kinds of things you might do for this project:

1. Write an article on one aspect of the “New Atheism” which you want to send to a Christian journal to be published. [If you choose an option like this, write your project in the style and format of the journal in which you would hope to get your article published.] This is merely one idea of something you might want to publish. There are innumerable topics under the banner of philosophy of religion.

2. Plan a seminar for college students for Spring Break or some other holiday period on a topic within philosophy of religion (e.g., if God is good, why is there evil in the world and why is there so much pain and suffering?). What would be the main topics of the seminar and the various sessions? Write out at least one lecture for the seminar, the one that you would present.

3. Plan a whole three months of Bible classes for a church on some topic from philosophy of religion such as “Arguments for the Existence of God” or “How Can We Know God Exists?” List the thirteen lessons with a brief description of each one and write detailed notes on one or two of the lessons.

It is important that you tie your project to your ministry, to the culture in which you are working or plan to work, and that you demonstrate analytical and critical skills along with good research on your topic.