Faith and Reason – APOL 550

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

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.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog

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 Assignment

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 the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions 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. (MLOs: B, C, D, F)

Reason and Worship: Thesis and Sourced Outline Assignment

Students will submit a preliminary thesis statement and sourced outline for the Reason and Worship Assignment prior to completing the full paper. (MLOs: A, C, G)

Reason and Worship: Final Paper Assignment

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 1-2: Weeks 1-2 as well as relevant Scripture passages of the student’s choosing. (MLOs: A, C, G)

Reflection Journal Assignments (8)

Students will write a journal entry (400 word maximum) in each module in which they reflect on that module's assigned reading from Augustine's Confessions. Students should consider how the reading contributes to their understanding of faith, reason, and how the two relate. Students will also (though, not merely) express their insights, frustrations, and joys from their own experience as they have journeyed through the course and course materials. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, G)

Faith and Reason: Outline, Thesis, and Bibliography Assignment

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

Faith and Reason: Final Paper Assignment

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. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E, F).