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Class Notes for 07-221
Justifying Religious Beliefs
University of Windsor, Fall Semester, 2006

Last Updated: December 15, 2006
Dr. B. L. Whitney, B.A., Ph.D.
Email: whitney@uwindsor.ca


OFFICIAL CLASS OUTLINE (click this link for the "Official Class Outine")

REQUIRED TEXTS
1. Kreeft, Handbook of Christian Apologetics
2. Sire, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?
3. Web documents (free)
Reference (optional): Yeager Hudson, The Philosophy of Religion
Reference (optional): D. Basinger, et al., Reason and Religious Belief
*The Hudson and Basinger texts, among other expensive texts were used in past versions of this course when the class was filled with Religious Studies, Asian Studies and and Philosophy majors. New books have been chosen these past 2 or 3 years to present the material in a more simplified manner and to reduce the cost to students, supplemented more and more by free web documents of high caliber scholarship..

WEEKLY OUTLINE of TOPICS and ASSIGNED READINGS
Specific readings will be listed here for each week's class; the schedule is flexible and tentative insofar as the selection and amount of material assigned and the speed at which the class proceeds will be determined by the flow of the class -- specifically, how well the material is being understood and appropriated. As such, only the readings entered in the box below are "assigned" as "required readings." The professor may decide to remove one or more of these assigned readings as a requirement for Tests if the item has not been discussed in class. The detailed lists of topics and readings below the box list potential and optional reference readings: not all of these will be officially assigned and further readings are continually being added to the detailed list as the professor finds new relevant web documents, some of which may then be officially assigned.

*Note: The schedule listed here will be revised each week to reflect what was actually covered in completed classes (so far, weeks 1-5) and what is assigned for upcoming classes (week 6 and following)
*Note also: Missed Tests: The Department of Languages, LIteratures, and Cultures has determined that students who miss Tests for legitimate reasons will be allowed to write makeup tests -- with the permission of the professor -- on the first Friday after the missed test. A room will be reserved with a proctor for the writing of these makeup Tests. The time is 1:00pm. The student must contact the professor at least 3 days before the makeup Test date to confirm his/her intention to be present. At that time, the professor will prepare the Test and confirm the building and room number: likely the room will be Lambton, 6103 or if there are too many students taking the tests, the room will be Lambton, 7118. There is no other option because of the alarming number of makeup tests that have to be arranged for student in all of the department's classes.
These cannot be done on an individual basis for dozens of students in separate rooms and times.
- - - - -

Week 1: Sept 07: JUSTIFYING RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: BASICS: *Overheads-1: 1-33
Week 2: Sept 14: "Study Skills" presentation; Sire text, chapters 1-6 *detailed study
Week 3: Sept 21: Continue the discussion of Sire, chapters 1-6 *detailed study
Week 4: Sept 28: Leffel, Testing Basic Beliefs; Overheads on Faithism, Critical Rationalism, Strong Rationalism
Week 5: Oct 05: TEST 1: 4:00-4:50, 1118 ER: students A-L; 5:00-5:50, students M-Z
; *Test One Information
Week 6: Oct 12: Worldview Tests; Logical Fallacies 1, 2; Justifying Beliefs: Overheads #17-19
Week 7: Oct 19: GOD'S EXISTENCE: Kreeft book, chapters 1 and 2; Kreeft, ch 3 (sections 1-3, 7); *Overheads-2: 1-5
Week 8: Oct 26: Kreeft text, ch 3 (section 5); Who Created God?; Sire, ch 6 (philosophical); Evidence for God?
Week 9: Nov 02: TEST 2: 4:00-5:00, Ambassador Auditorium, CAW Centre (all students): *Test Two Information
Week 10: Nov 09: --- MIRACLES: Kreeft, ch 5 (109-14); [Geisler: Refutation of Criticisms of Miracles: reference]
Week 11: Nov 16: Miracles; Testing Miracles; Fulfilled Prophesies #1, [#2: reference]; Kreeft, ch 8
Week 12: Nov 23: Evidence for Resurrection; [Keathley: reference: vs false theories re: Jesus' resurrection]
Week 13: Nov 30: ---
Week 14: Dec 07: --- U of W classes end December 6 ---
Week 15: Dec 14: FINAL EXAM: 3:30, 1101 Education Building
*Information about the Final Exam: The Exam will be multiple choice, and while it will test new information from the final 3 weeks, it is partly cumulative insofar as basic items from the material covered by tests 1 and 2 will be included-- these will be listed here soon. Regarding the readings for the final 3 weeks: rather than assigning complex scholarly articles (which are available in the lists below this box), shorter and far less complex articles have been assigned. This risks oversimplifying the material, but there is no time in this course for a more detailed study of this material: a new course being prepared will do this detailed study. The Kreeft book chapters assigned are fairly straightforward and can be summarized quite easily. Keep checking this section for updates about the Final Exam and for more specific information about the *FINAL EXAM PREP: LIST of ASSIGNED READINGS to be included on the Final Exam

 

DETAILED OUTLINE of TENTATIVE TOPICS and READINGS
Only the readings listed in the box above are "assigned"; the readings listed below are optional references only!

SECTION 1: An Introduction to Apologetics/Philosophy of Religion
SIRE TEXT: Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All? (chapters 1-6)
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapters 1 and 2

WADE, Web: Introduction to Apologetics
GROOTHIUS, Web: Enemies of Apologetics
GEISLER, Web: The Need for Apologetics
DULLE, Web: Why Theology is important
LEFFEL: Web: Testing Basic Beliefs
CARM. Web: Logical Fallacies 1
and Logical Fallacies 2

STATS: (from 07-100: "Religion and Culture" course)
Web: World Population
Web: World Religions (chart only): major religions: numbers, percentage of total populations
Web: Barna USA Religious Beliefs (charts): 5 segments: percentages, profiles, main beliefs
Web: Barna USA Growing Relativism: (charts): 5 age groups re: moral decision-making
Web: Religious Beliefs of Scientists
Web: Worldview of the Media (Probe)
Web: Beliefs of Ivy League Professors (FrontPage)
Web: Canada: Religious Beliefs, 2001 StatsCan 1 (tables: #1, #5, #6, #8
Web: Canadia: Religious Beliefs, 2001 StatsCan 2 (charts only): #1, #2, # 4, #5

SECTION 2: DEFENDING BELIEF in GOD'S EXISTENCE
[A] GOD'S EXISTENCE
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapter 3 (#s 1-3, 7, 5, 8, 14, 15), chapter 15
SIRE TEXT, Why Should Anyone Believe, ch 12
KREEFT, Web: Reasons to Believe (5 arguments for God's Existence)

SARFATI, Web: Who Created God?
WADE, Web: Pascal's Wager
BLOOM, Web: Why Isn't the Evidence Clearer?
CHRISTOPHER, Web: The Moral Argument
Alston, Web: The Experiential Basis of Belief in God
ROSS, Web: Anthropic Evidences
Reference: Web: Arguments against naturalistic evolution: See, for example, Bohlin's several articles
Note: 07-221 discusses this issue only in an introductory way: more detailed discussions of Religion and Science is found in 07-322 as well as more detailed discussions of the theistic arguments for God

[B] GOD'S NATURE/ATTRIBUTES
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapters 4 (Christian Theism)
LITKE, Web: The Attributes of God
CARM, Web: The Christian Doctrine of God; Trinity, etc.
Web: Christian Theism compared to Muslim Theism (several documents from differing perspectives)
Web: Christian Theism and Christian Deviations (counterfeit Christianity: several documents re: several groups)
Reference Text: Hudson Philosophy of Religion (ch 2)
Reference Text: Keathley, What God is Like
Note: 07-100 and 07-322 discuss this theme in more detail

SECTION 3: DEFENDING BELIEF in MIRACLES and the BIBLE
Biblical Trustworthiness and Jesus' Character, Claims, Actions: Miracles, Fulfilled Prophesy

[A] MIRACLES

KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapter 5 (pgs 109-114)
KREEFT, Web: Miracles
CRAIG, Web: Miracles

GEISLER, Web: Miracles
SWINBURNE: Web: Miracles
DOXA: Miracles and Tests
CARM, Web: Can Miracles Happen?
CARM, Web: Can Miracles be Explained Naturalistically?

[
B] BIBLICAL AUTHENTICITY
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapter 9
WADE, Web: Divine Revelation

MORELAND, Web: Biblical Historicity
BIBLICAL HISTORICITY: Web: Historicity of the Bible
BIBLICAL AUTHENTICITY: Web: Authenticity of the Bible
BIBLICAL AUTHENTICITY: Web: Authenticity of the Biblical Documents
CARM, Web: Authenticity of the Biblical Documents)
CARM, Evidence of non-biblical texts
CARM, When were the Gospels Written?
FERNANDES, New Testament Reliability
HAWKINS, Web: Archeaology and The Book of Acts
ZUKERMAN, Web: Archeaology and the New Testament
ZUKERMAN: Web: Archeaology and the Old Testament
NASH, Web: The Alleged Influence of Greek Mystery Cults Disputed
Web: Christianity and Liberal scholarship (Da VInci Code, etc)

[C] JESUS AS DIVINE
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapter 7
HOLDING, Divine Claims of Jesus
DAVIS, Why the Historical Jesus Matters
[
D] BIBLICAL PROPHESIES
CARM, Prophesy, the Bible and Jesus
KEATHLEY, Prophesies About Jesus Fulfilled
WRIGHT, Web: 371 prophesies
[E]
JESUS' RESURRECTION
KREEFT TEXT, Handbook, chapter 8
Web: The Resurrection of Jesus
KEATHLEY, Web: False Theories Against the Resurrection
KEATHLEY, Web: Evidence for the Resurrection


SECTION 3: DEFENDING BELIEF in Life After Death, Heaven, Hell

reeft TEXT, Handbook, chapters 10-12, etc.
Web: KREEFT, Life After Death 1
Kreeft, Life After Death 2
Web: Parapsychology and Life After Death
Web: Paranormal 2
Web: Stats (life after death)
Web: Is Life After Death Reasonable?
Web: Near Death Experiences
Web:
Salvation, Religious Pluralism Web: Religious Pluralism
Web: Salvation in World Religions ...
Web: . . .