Philosophy Of Religion
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 42.0
Credit Value: 3.0
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2017
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): General Education
Program Coordinator(s): Sarah Sinclair
Course Leader or Contact: Mikal Austin Radford
Version: 20170109_00
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: N/A

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to examine themes central to the philosophy of religion. Using methodologies such as in-class group work, informal presentations, interactive lecture and discussion, and problem-based learning within a philosophical framework, students will examine the complex issues surrounding such religion-based themes as the nature and existence of God(s), the meaning of evil, the value of ethics and morality, the arguments of religion vs. science, the characteristics of miracles and life-after-death, the meaning of religious experience, and concepts of religious pluralism juxtaposed to secularism within contemporary society.

Program Context

General Education Program Coordinator(s): Sarah Sinclair
This course is part of the General Education curriculum which is designed to contribute to the development of the students' consciousness of the diversity, complexity, and richness of the human experience; their ability to establish meaning through this consciousness; and, as a result, their ability to contribute thoughtfully, creatively, and positively to the society in which they live and work. General Education courses strengthen students' generic skills, such as critical analysis, problem solving, and communication, in the context of an exploration of topics with broad-based personal and/or societal importance.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
Critical Performance: By the end of this course, students will have demonstrated the ability to engage in philosophical reflection on the nature and substance of religious belief on both a personal and universal level.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Integrate the use of terminology relevant to the study of the discipline.
  2. Distinguish various religious philosophical concepts as represented in religious icons.
  3. Explain the historical and cultural factors that produced the variety of religious philosophies of the world.
  4. Compare some of the theories that discuss the origin(s) of religion.
  5. Explain the nature of religious experience.
  6. Critique ritual text versus actual performance.
  7. Analyze societal issues (e.g., pluralism, evil, love, morality, death) within the context of religion.
  8. Assess the nature of alternative realities.
  9. Appraise the connection between course content and individual, personal experience.
  10. Relate knowledge of religious theories to contemporary moral issues.
  11. Generate oral and written work that reflects a tolerance of alternative viewpoints.

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Evaluation Plan: IN-CLASS
 The God Project15.0%
 Online or In-class Chat20.0%
 Essay Proposal and Annotated Bibliography15.0%
 Mid-Term Test15.0%
 Research Essay20.0%
 Final Test15.0%

Evaluation Notes and Academic Missed Work Procedure:
TEST AND ASSIGNMENT PROTOCOL To encourage behaviours that will help students to be successful in the workplace and to ensure that students receive credit for their individual work, the following rules apply to every course offered within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 1. Students are responsible for staying abreast of test dates and times, as well as due dates and any special instructions for submitting assignments and projects as supplied to the class by the professor. 2. Students must write all tests at the specified times. Missed tests, in-class activities, assignments and presentations are awarded a mark of zero. If an extension or make-up opportunity is approved by the professor as outlined below, the mark of zero may be revised by subsequent performance. The penalty for late submission of written assignments is a loss of 10% per day for up to five business days (excluding weekends and statutory holidays), after which, a grade of zero is assigned. Business days include any day that the college is open for business, whether the student has scheduled classes that day or not. 3. Students, who miss a test or in-class activity or assignment or fail to submit an assignment on time due to exceptional circumstances, are required to notify their professor in advance of the class whenever possible. A make-up test may be supplied for students who provide an acceptable explanation of their absence and/or acceptable documentation explaining their absence (e.g., a medical certificate). All make-up tests are to be written at a time and place specified by the professor upon the student's return. Alternately, students may be given an opportunity to earn the associated marks by having a subsequent test count for the additional marks. Exceptional circumstances may result in a modification of due dates for assignments. 4. Unless otherwise specified, assignments and projects must be submitted at the beginning of class. 5. Students must complete every assignment as an individual effort unless, the professor specifies otherwise. 6. Since there may be instances of grade appeal or questions regarding the timely completion of assignments and/or extent of individual effort, etc., students are strongly advised to keep, and make available to their professor, if requested, a copy of all assignments and working notes until the course grade has been finalized. 7. There will be no resubmission of work unless this has been previously agreed to or suggested by the professor. 8. Students must submit all assignments in courses with practical lab and field components in order to pass the course.

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Essential Employability Skills
Essential Employability Skills emphasized in the course:

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Personal

General Education
This General Education course relates to the following themes as specified by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

  • Social and Cultural Understanding

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar
Students may apply to receive credit by demonstrating achievement of the course learning outcomes through previous relevant work/life experience, service, self-study and training on the job. This course is eligible for challenge through the following method(s):

  • Challenge Exam
  • Portfolio
  • Interview

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: In-Class
Professor: Multiple Professors
RequiredOtherReading for this course will be made available on SLATE

Applicable student group(s): General Education
Course Details:

Module 1 (Weeks 1-3)



Unit 1  a) The basics of Philosophy and Religion, and navigating our readings (primary and secondary sources).

        b) The historical origins of God and Goddess.


Unit 2 a) Culture turning to monotheism? (Is it evolution?)

b) Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism as examples of non-God traditions. Is a creator God a necessary condition for a religion?

c) Morality and Ethics in non-Monotheistic religious traditions.


READINGS: Online Readings


Due:    The God project – Week 3 (15%)

        Online Chat or Journal (1) – Week 3 (5%)


Module 2 (Weeks 4-7)



Unit    3) Monotheism(s) - One God, One Culture, One Nation.


Unit    4) Can God's existence be proved?

        a) the ontological argument

        b) the cosmological argument

        c) the teleological argument


READINGS: Online Readings

Due:    Essay Proposal and Annotated Bibliography – Week 5 (15%)    

        Online Chat or Journal (2) – Week 6 (5%)

        Mid-term test – Week 7 (15%),



Module 3 (Weeks 8-9)



Unit    5) The Problems of Evil

          i. the logical problem

         ii. the evidential problem


READINGS: Online Readings

Due:    Online Chat or Journal (3) – Week 9 (5%)




Module 4 (Week 10-12)



Unit    6) Was that just a Miracle?


Unit    7) I See Dead People! Life-after-Death


READINGS: Readings Online

Due:    Online Chat or Journal (4) – Week 12(5%)

        Research Essay – (see Professor) (20%)



Module 5 (Week 13-14)



Unit    8) Are we Free? Morality and Metaphor


READINGS: Readings Online

Due:    Final Exam – Week 14 (15%)

Sheridan Policies

All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Academic Integrity: The principle of academic integrity requires that all work submitted for evaluation and course credit be the original, unassisted work of the student. Cheating or plagiarism including borrowing, copying, purchasing or collaborating on work, except for group projects arranged and approved by the professor, or otherwise submitting work that is not the student's own, violates this principle and will not be tolerated. Students who have any questions regarding whether or not specific circumstances involve a breach of academic integrity are advised to review the Academic Integrity Policy and procedure and/or discuss them with the professor.

Copyright: A majority of the course lectures and materials provided in class and posted in SLATE are protected by copyright. Use of these materials must comply with the Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Students may use, copy and share these materials for learning and/or research purposes provided that the use complies with fair dealing or an exception in the Copyright Act. Permission from the rights holder would be necessary otherwise. Please note that it is prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote. It is also prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own or your own work with the intent to assist others in cheating on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote.

Intellectual Property: Sheridan's Intellectual Property Policy generally applies such that students own their own work. Please be advised that students working with external research and/or industry collaborators may be asked to sign agreements that waive or modify their IP rights. Please refer to Sheridan's IP Policy and Procedure.

Respectful Behaviour: Sheridan is committed to provide a learning environment that supports academic achievement by respecting the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of every person engaged in the learning process. Behaviour which is inconsistent with this principle will not be tolerated. Details of Sheridan's policy on Harassment and Discrimination, Academic Integrity and other academic policies are available on the Sheridan policy website.

Accessible Learning: Accessible Learning coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. For more information or to register, please see the Accessible Learning website (Statement added September 2016)

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Any changes to course curriculum and/or assessment shall adhere to approved Sheridan protocol. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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