Philosophy of Religion - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (40%) , Participation (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 798.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,048.00

Religion has been an important feature of human life throughout history and it continues to shape human affairs across the planet today. All religions posit the existence of some divine force, and the major monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - take this divinity to be a single all-powerful God. But what kind of justification can be given for belief in the existence of God, so conceived? Does science support or undermine belief in God? Or have science and religion got nothing to do with each other? Can religious belief be justified on practical grounds? Might religion provide a basis for morality and spiritual fulfilment that secular or non-religious people lack? Or are there secular sources of meaning available in the modern world that could make religion redundant? Is there a link between religion and violence? Should religion be viewed as an antidote to violent conflict or a cause of it? What place should there be for religion in the political sphere? The unit does not presuppose any religious commitment or particular religious perspective, just a willingness to explore these questions, and others like them, in an open-minded and rigorous way.

 At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. acquire an understanding of basic religious concepts at an intermediate level
  2. acquire knowledge of the history of the philosophy of religion at an intermediate level
  3. articulate clearly and coherently philosophical arguments about the meaning of religion and religious concepts in written form
  4. analyse and critically evaluate philosophical arguments
  5. manage study projects effectively.
  • Essay (40%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Project — Project Management (15%)
  • Quizzes (25%)

Some level 1 study must be completed before attempting this unit

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient

This unit addresses the following topics.

2Part 1: Classical problems in Philosophy of Religion
3Part 1: The Idea of the perfect being: Descartes
4Part 1: Providence and the problem of evil: Leibniz
5Part 1: Design and purpose in nature: Hume and Paley
6Part 1: Religion within the limits of reason: Kant
7Part 1: Faith and Subjectivity: Kierkegaard
8Part 2: Understanding and explaining a secular world
9Part 2: A secular age? Nietzsche and his heirs
10Part 2: Religion and morality: Rorty's pragmatism
11Part 2: The significance of religious pluralism: Charles Taylor
12Part 3: Contemporary social issues of religion
13Part 3: Religion and science
14Part 3: Religious toleration and its limits
15Part 3: Religion and violence

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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