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Online · School of Divinity · Theological Studies

Current Issues in Apologetics
APOL-630

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Course Description

An investigation of current issues and trends in apologetics, such as the intersection of science and religion, the problem of evil, atheism, or secularism.

Requisites

Prerequisite

APOL 500

Rationale

This course uses the categories of morality—moral goodness, moral knowledge, moral obligations, moral rights, moral freedom, moral responsibility, moral transformation, and moral rationality—to equip the student with resources to defend the truth of theism and Christianity. It shows that a Christian framework, in particular, can explain each of these phenomena better than secular ethics can.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify versions of moral arguments that have been given in the history of philosophy.
  2. Describe the strengths of and challenges to theistic ethics.
  3. Evaluate various Euthyphro-inspired objections to divine command theory.
  4. Articulate and defend a four-fold variant of moral apologetics.
  5. Critique secular ethics and its efforts to explain moral facts, moral knowledge, moral transformation, and the convergence of happiness and morality.

Course Resources

Required Resources

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

Baggett, David, and Jerry L. Walls. God and Cosmos: Moral Truth and Human Meaning. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Baggett, David, and Jerry L. Walls. Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Copan, Paul, and Kenneth D. Litwak. The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Evans, C. Stephen. God & Moral Obligation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Garcia, Robert K., and Nathan L. King. Is Goodness without God Good Enough?: A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009.

Lewis, C. S. The Abolition of Man. New York: HarperOne, 2015.

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015.

Plato. Euthyphro. Istanbul: e-Kitap Projesi, 2014. (This required resource has been provided in the course free of charge. Therefore, the purchase of the physical copy of this textbook is optional.)

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 Resource

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Current ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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 (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will 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 will reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (Outcomes: A, B, C, E)

Interview Assessment

The student will write an assessment of at least 600 words on David Baggett’s interview with John Shook in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: B, C, E)

Debate Evaluation

The student will listen to any online debate between a theist and an atheist on God and ethics. The student will then write an assessment of at least 600 words on the debate in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: A, B, C, E)

Article Critique

The student will write a critical assessment of at least 600 words on George Mavrodes’ article “Religion and the Queerness of Morality” in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: A, B, C, E)

Letter to a Friend

The student will write a letter to a friend (real or hypothetical) of at least 900 words, laying out a version of the moral argument in an irenic, friendly, conversational manner for evangelistic purposes. The assignment must be in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: B, D, E)

Book Critique

The student will write a critical assessment of at least 900 words explaining whether or not he or she agrees with the assessment of Lewis’s The Abolition of Man provided in Chapter 8 of God and Cosmos. The assignment must be in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: A)

Research Paper

The student will write a 3,000–3,600-word research-based paper that identifies all 4 components of the moral argument. Following this, the student will spend the rest of the paper explaining and replying to objections to 1 of the 4 components of the moral argument. The assignment must be in current Turabian format. (Outcomes: B, C, D, E)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist

10

Discussion Board Forums (2 at 150 pts ea)

300

Interview Assessment

50

Debate Evaluation

100

Article Critique

100

Letter to a Friend

100

Book Critique

150

Research Paper

200

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 630

Textbooks: Baggett & Walls, God and Cosmos: Moral Truth and Human Meaning (2016).

Baggett & Walls, Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality (2011).

Copan & Litwak, The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas (2014).

Evans, God & Moral Obligation (2014).

Garcia & King, Is Goodness Without God Good Enough? (2009).

Lewis, The Abolition of Man (2015).

Lewis, Mere Christianity (2015).

Plato, Euthyphro (2014).

Module/Week

Reading & Study

Assignments

Points

1

Baggett & Walls (2011): Introduction–ch. 3

Copan & Litwak: Entire text

Plato: Entire text

Bible Readings

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

Interview Assessment

 

10

0

50

2

Baggett & Walls (2016): ch. 3

Baggett & Walls (2011): Appendix B, ch. 8

1 presentation

Debate Evaluation

100

3

Baggett & Walls (2016): chs. 1–2

Garcia & King: chs. 1–3, 5

1 presentation

1 website

Article Critique

100

4

Baggett & Walls (2011): chs. 5–7

Evans: chs. 1–2, 4–5

1 presentation

DB Forum 1

150

5

Baggett & Walls (2011): ch. 9

1 presentation

1 website

Letter to a Friend

100

6

Baggett & Walls (2016): ch. 7

Garcia & King: ch. 4

Lewis (Mere Christianity): Book 1

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

150

7

Baggett & Walls (2016): ch. 8

Lewis (The Abolition of Man): Entire text

1 presentation

Book Critique

150

8

Baggett & Walls (2016): ch. 9, Conclusion

Baggett & Walls (2011): ch. 10, Conclusion

Garcia & King: chs. 7, 9–10

1 presentation

Research Paper

200

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.