Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 454: Philosophy of Religion

Catalog Description

This course investigates issues encountered in our attempt to understand God and the phenomenon of religion. Topics may include proofs of God's existence, God's attributes, our knowledge of and language about God, and the problem of reconciling evil with belief in God.

PHIL 454: Philosophy of Religion - Christian Thinkers

Dr. Harry Gensler

This course is built around the Anthology of Catholic Philosophy, edited by James C. Swindal and Harry J. Gensler (Sheed & Ward 2005). This book gives the first ever comprehensive collection of readings from Catholic philosophers, from Biblical times to the present. Our authors and readings will be arranged historically, from five main groups: (1) Preliminaries: readings from the Bible, Plato, and Aristotle. (2) The Patristic Era: readings from Aristides, Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Felix, Origin, Augustine (emphasized), and Boethius. (3) The Middle Ages: readings from Anselm, Aquinas (emphasized), and Ockham. (4) The Renaissance through the Nineteenth Century: readings from Loyola, Galileo, Descartes, and Pope Leo XIII. (5) The Twentieth Century and Beyond: readings from Stein, Callahan, Copleston, Teilhard, Gensler, Plantinga, Rescher, and Pope John Paul II.

The authors and readings give a sample of the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition. They emphasize central themes, such as the harmony of faith and reason, the existence and nature of God, the nature of the human person, and the objectivity of the moral law. We will cover a good part of the book, from the beginning to the end. Gensler's site has further information.

PHIL 454/380 - Philosophy of Religion

Dr. Paul Moser

This course will examine whether, and if so how, human knowledge of God's reality is available. The topics of religious skepticism and religious authority will take center stage, and we will relate these topics to human suffering. We will use the term “God” as a preeminent title connoting a being worthy of worship, and we will focus on some writings of Kierkegaard and others as a source of discussion. In particular, we'll examine a distinction between spectator evidence and authoritative evidence regarding God's reality. This will lead us to examine the roles of reason, the human will, and love in available knowledge of God's reality. We'll consider whether our moral attitudes and our likes and dislikes are centrally important in our receiving available evidence of God's reality. The course will consider three main approaches to knowledge of divine reality: fideism (inspired by Kierkegaard and others), naturalism (represented by Dennett), and evidentialism (represented by Moser). The course will not presuppose any significant familiarity with the central problems of the theory of knowledge or the philosophy of religion.