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Online · School of Divinity · Theological Studies

Faith and Reason
APOL-550

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/31/2020

Course Description

An introduction to basic issues in the intersection between faith and reason. The course will provide an introduction to the use of logic in apologetics and will consider key issues such as the nature of God, the definition of faith, religious epistemology, the nature of man and the human mind, and divine providence.

Requisites

Prerequisite

APOL 500

Rationale

Religious belief, in general, and Christianity in particular, is often falsely accused of requiring a blind leap of faith, the abandonment of reason and intellectual inquiry, and belief without evidence. Genuine, biblical Christianity, however, acknowledges human nature as including a robust rational, intellectual component, created by God and equipped for rational inquiry. Christianity has been attacked as irrational and incoherent; therefore, Christian apologists must be equipped to respond to these challenges by developing both a proper understanding of the relationship between faith and reason, and a comprehensive defense against specific arguments about Christianity.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate a definition of faith that is consistent with biblical teaching.
  2. Identify the distinctions in the different models of the relationship between faith and reason.
  3. Apply the nature of intellectual inquiry to Christian theology and apologetics.
  4. Articulate the role of religious experience in acquiring knowledge about God and the world.
  5. Assess the role that reason, science, and evidence plays in epistemological justification and the acquisition of knowledge.
  6. Defend the coherence of the various elements of the Christian worldview.
  7. Apply the rational, intellectual life of the Christian to the spiritual life and worship of God.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Moreland, J. P. Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. 2nd rev. ed. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2012.

Moreland, J. P., and William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2003.

Wilkins, Steve, ed. Faith and Reason: Three Views. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Reason within the Bounds of Religion. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Wm B. Eerdmans, 1984.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Recommended Resources

DeWeese, Garrett J., and J. P. Moreland. Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2005. ISBN: 9780830827664.

Peterson, Michael, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger. Reason & Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780199946570.

Plantinga, Alvin. Knowledge and Christian Belief. Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2015. ISBN: 9780802872043.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide: https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/index.cfm?PID=28160

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (MLO: B, C, D, F)

Reason and Worship Paper

The student will write a 900–1,500-word essay reflecting on the exercise of reason as an act of worship. While limited use of outside sources is permitted, the student must focus on the assigned course readings from Modules/Weeks 1 and 2 as well as relevant Scripture passages of the student’s choosing. (MLO: A, C, G)

Defining the Christian Faith Paper

The student will write a 1,500–2,100-word paper utilizing the course texts, the Bible, and at least 6 academic sources, defining the meaning of faith. The definition must include an examination of the biblical data concerning the terminology of “faith,” the core beliefs which comprise the content of the faith distinguished from various secondary issues, and the way in which this definition connects to the Christian life. (MLO: A, C, G)

Faith and Reason Paper: Outline, Thesis, and Bibliography

The student will submit a preliminary outline, thesis, and bibliography of 8–12 sources in current Turabian format for the Faith and Reason Paper. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F)

Faith and Reason Paper

The student will write a paper that advances and defends a comprehensive description of the proper relationship between faith and reason. The completed paper must be 3,000–3,600 words, and include at least 10 high-quality, scholarly sources (course textbooks and assigned scholarly articles may be used and do count toward this total) in current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F).

Quizzes (3)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the module/week in which it is assigned as well as the preceding module/week, except for Quiz 3. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 15 multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions, and have a 1-hour time limit. (MLO: C, E)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist

10

Discussion Board Forums (4 at 75 pts ea)

300

Reason and Worship Paper

75

Defining the Christian Faith Paper

125

Faith and Reason Paper: Outline, Thesis, and Bibliography

70

Faith and Reason Paper

250

Quizzes (3 at 60 pts ea)

180

Total

1010

Policies

Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit https://www.liberty.edu/online/online-disability-accommodation-support/. Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19155.

Schedule

 

APOL 550

Textbooks: Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind (2012).

Moreland & Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (2003).

Wilkins, Faith and Reason (2014).

Wolterstorff, Reason within the Bounds of Religion (1984).

Module/Week

Reading & Study

Assignments

Points

1

Moreland: chs. 1–3

Moreland & Craig: Preface–ch. 1

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

10

0

75

2

Moreland: chs. 4–5

Moreland & Craig: ch. 2

Wolterstorff: chs. 1–2

1 presentation

Reason and Worship Paper

Quiz 1

75

60

3

Moreland & Craig: chs. 3–7

Wolterstorff: chs. 3–9

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

Quiz 2

75

60

4

Wolterstorff: chs. 10–22

3 presentations

3 websites

Defining the Christian Faith Paper

125

5

Wilkens: Introduction–Part 2

1 presentation

Faith and Reason Paper: Outline, Thesis, and Bibliography

70

6

Moreland: ch. 6

Moreland & Craig: chs. 17–19

1 website

2 presentations

DB Forum 3

Quiz 3

75

60

7

Wilkens: Part 3, Conclusion

Moreland & Craig: chs. 8–10

1 presentation

Faith and Reason Paper

250

8

Moreland: chs. 9–10

Moreland & Craig: chs. 21, 25–28

1 presentation

DB Forum 4

75

Total

1010

DB = Discussion Board

 

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.