Philosophy of Religion: A Free Online Course

This is the full set of lec­tures from Matt McCormick­’s Phi­los­o­phy of Reli­gion course (Phil 131) at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, Sacra­men­to, the syl­labus for which you can find here. Here’s the ground it cov­ers:

Reli­gion is per­haps one of the most wide­spread and famil­iar of human behav­iors. For as long as humans have been rec­og­niz­ably human, they have been reli­gious. Reli­gious claims are of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to philoso­phers because they raise so many impor­tant meta­phys­i­cal issues. That is, reli­gious claims often make asser­tions about the ulti­mate nature of real­i­ty, the exis­tence of souls, an after­life, and most impor­tant­ly, the exis­tence of a God or gods. Part of the rea­son peo­ple have such a strong inter­est in reli­gion is because of the impli­ca­tions reli­gious claims would have on our lives if they are true.

We will dis­cuss the philo­soph­i­cal, meta­phys­i­cal, and epis­te­mo­log­i­cal foun­da­tions of Chris­tian­i­ty, Islam, and Judaism. There will be some dis­cus­sion of Bud­dhism and Hin­duism, as well. At the out­set we will con­cern sev­er­al issues sur­round­ing the rela­tion­ship of reli­gion, sci­ence, and moral­i­ty. Then we will con­sid­er some of the most influ­en­tial and recent argu­ments that have been giv­en for the exis­tence of an all pow­er­ful, all know­ing, all good, per­son­al, and sin­gu­lar God. This notion is cen­tral to the pre­dom­i­nant west­ern and non-west­ern monothe­is­tic tra­di­tions. We will con­sid­er dif­fer­ent epis­te­mo­log­i­cal approach­es to reli­gious belief, argu­ments for and against the exis­tence of God, the prob­lem of evil, faith, rev­e­la­tion, mys­ti­cism, the cre­ation-evo­lu­tion debate, the attrib­ut­es of God, mir­a­cles, reli­gion and ratio­nal­i­ty, and so on. We will oper­ate with some assump­tions: 1) seri­ous ratio­nal inquiry and respect­ful dia­logue on reli­gious issues can help us learn about God, reli­gion, and our­selves, and 2) we can obtain bet­ter, more rea­son­able posi­tions regard­ing these top­ics. The per­spec­tives and con­tri­bu­tions of var­i­ous eth­nic, socio-eco­nom­ic, and reli­gious groups will be con­sid­ered in the dis­cus­sions and read­ings.

You can stream the 31 lec­tures above, or find them on YouTube here. The course has been added to our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

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