PHIL2321: Philosophy of Religion

Matthew Daude Laurents, Ph.D.

Synonym: 18873
MW 12:00-1:15 PM
RGC 334

Fall, 2004

Contact Information

Office Rio Grande Campus
Peach Street Office Building, Room 2-I
ACC email
Instructional email
Instructional Web

Instructional Office Hours

Monday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I
Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00 AM online (Windows Messenger or Blackboard)
Wednesday 9:00 to 10:30 AM RGC, Peach Street, 2-I

Other times by appointment

Course Description

Students will be introduced to the philosophical analysis of the nature of religion and religious experience with an emphasis on such themes as rationality and religious belief, the existence and attributes of God, and the problem of evil.

There are no course prerequisites for Philosophy of Religion, but Introduction to Philosophy or World Religions is highly recommended. A passing score or the equivalent on the reading and writing portions of the TASP is required.

Required Texts/Materials

Hick, John. Philosophy of Religion. 4th edition (ISBN 0136626289)

The text is available in the ACC bookstore. Handouts and additional readings will be posted to my instructional web.

Instructional Methodology

The class will consist predominantly of discussion of the assigned texts, led both by me and by class members,  but it will also include a significant online component using my instructional web. I may use a variety of media in my presentations, including web material, etc. There may also be group work and group presentations to the class.

The major form of individual assessment will be online quizzes and take-home writing assignments. I may also use online forms to gather information about your progress in the coursework. The writing assignments must be submitted by email. Internet access and an email address is required. I will post a number of supplementary materials and other items of interest on the main page for this course.

Course Rationale

Religion has been and continues to be one of the principal forces that have shaped human societies and history. For this reason, exploration of the central concepts of religion sheds light on the dynamics of religious tradition and faith. This exploration affords a deeper understanding of culture and history.

PHIL2321 Objectives

Departmental Course Objectives

  1. Students will become acquainted with basic concepts and central problems of the philosophy of religion.
  2. Students will become acquainted with the views of various philosophers with respect to these problems.
  3. Students will (further) develop the fundamental philosophical skills of critical reading, thinking, and writing, and to learn how to apply these skills within the field of Philosophy of Religion

Coursework and Grading Policy

Your grade for this course will be based on quizzes, exams, collaborative work, and written work demonstrating the pursuit of the objectives of the course. (See the Coursework Guide for a more detailed explanation of the written work.)  The online quizzes, presentation, and analytical essay form the basic component and are required for a B or a C in the course. You may complete one additional component, the Research Essay, for an A, as indicated in the following table:

To earn a C or B
  1. Complete the online quizzes
  2. Complete the in-class presentation
  3. Complete the Analytical Essay
  4. For a C or B in the course, the average of your grades must be at least a C or B, respectively
To earn an A
  1. Complete the online quizzes
  2. Complete the in-class presentation
  3. Complete the Analytical Essay
  4. Complete a Research Essay
  5. The average of your grades must be an A.

In any case, the average of your grades will determine the course grade. (For example, if you completed the quizzes, the Analytical Essay, and the Research Essay, but your average is a B, your course grade will still be a B. Quality should be of greater concern than quantity!)

The calculation of your grade depends on whether you pursue a C, B, or A. Each course component weighs the same. Here is the relative weight of each assignment for each plan: 

  C/B plan A plan
Quizzes 50 40
In-Class Presentation 25 20
Analytical Essay 25 20
Research Essay   20

Please review the Grading and Evaluation System for a detailed exposition of my approach to evaluation.

Due dates for written work and exam dates will be arranged in class and posted on the main page for your course. Please note that I will not accept work after the stated due date, except by prior agreement. All written work done outside of class must be typed (using a standard font—no italics!) and double-spaced. All written work done outside of class must be submitted by email. Please see my Course Policies for further information.

I expect everyone to participate in class discussion. Class participation should be informed. By this I mean that everyone should come to class having read and thought about the assignment. Religion is often a difficult subject to discuss openly, so the conventions of respect and responsibility I discuss in my Course Policies are of particular importance in this course.


Review the Course Policies online. There are links to the Course Policies on the main page of my instructional web and on the main page for this course. The Course Policies page is part of this syllabus.

Course Outline

This is a very brief overview of the course content:

  1. Introduction to the philosophy of religion
  2. Concepts of God
  3. Arguments for and against the Existence of God
  4. The Problem of Evil
  5. Revelation and Faith, Knowledge and Reason
  6. Evidentialism
  7. The Nature of Religious Language
  8. Religious Experience and Verification
  9. Religious Pluralism
  10. Death and Immortality
  11. Conclusions

You will find a complete course calendar in the online classroom.

First Assignment

Your first assignment is to complete a web-based form called the "First Assignment." Please note that I will not accept coursework from you until you complete the First Assignment, and I will withdraw you from the course if you have not submitted your first assignment by Friday of the first week of class.

Have the following information information ready:

  • your full name as reflected in ACC records
  • the five-digit synonym number of your course
  • the email address that you want to use for this course (Don't forget to update your email address in Blackboard as well!)
  • a telephone number at which you can be reached

This information is required, but there is also a voluntary (fairly brief) survey in the First Assignment form. I encourage you to complete the survey, as it provides information that may help me support your work in this course.

I will begin processing First Assignments when the semester begins. When I receive your First Assignment, I will attempt to verify your enrollment. If you are officially enrolled in the course, I will send you a confirmation. If there is a problem with your enrollment, I will notify you. If you do not hear from me within 48 hours (not including Saturdays!) of submitting your First Assignment, ">contact me.

Please note:

Submitting a First Assignment is your certification that

(1) you accept the policies, procedures, and course design set forth in the Syllabus and this Orientation, and
(2) you agree to communicate by email with me regarding all matters related to this course. This means that some confidential information, including but not limited to your grades, will be transmitted by email.

Read the information in the Orientation and Syllabus and related links carefully, and if you have questions or concerns about the policies and procedures for this class, please let me know before you complete this First Assignment.

Now you are ready to complete and submit your First Assignment.


Return to top or return to the PHIL2321 information page

This page was last updated 12/28/2009 10:16:24 PM by mdaude.