CCN: 33557 -- Time: Thursdays 6-8pm -- Location: GPB 100 -- First Day of Class: Feb 2nd
Faith & Reasons brings together faculty, scholars, and students from various academic interests who are striving to make better sense of the world by inquiring deeper beyond the limits of what is definitively known within the humanities and sciences. The aim of this course is to revisit some key principles that remain foundational to the pursuit of truth and help students solidify a more coherent perspective of the world. This course will address questions concerning the nature of doubt, existence, and God. Students and speakers are encouraged to engage in meaningful and serious conversations about what are commonly "un-answerable" or "controversial" perspectives. Ultimately, this course offers a safe space to examine, evaluate, and solidify a worldview based on faith and reasons.
Course Overview & Introduction:
Rationality is a defining property of humanity, and from it comes the desire to achieve an “ultimate truth," a grasp of what reality really is. There is not a person alive who does not have this desire, but its operation is sometimes obscured. Most crucial interventions in the history of western philosophy have addressed the structure of reality ("metaphysics"), for the simple reason that getting reality right is fundamental to getting everything else right. Yet most individuals leave these questions unanswered, or accept answers they have not fully examined. This course aims to revisit some of those big questions, and seek a reasoned account by allowing students to navigate the worldviews of others and of themselves.
The purpose of this course is to help students examine, inquire about, and challenge ideologies of the world and develop/solidify a resounding worldview of their own. Students will learn the basics of sound argumentation and will be able to engage in meaningful and intellectual dialogues with the symposium’s content.
Class Format: Discussion Symposium
This class is structured upon questions and concepts that lead to the construction of a worldview. Nearly every week, at least one guest speaker (mostly faculty members) will address the question/topic of the week(s). Talks/presentations are both evidence-based and formatted in a conversation-sparking manner in order to be as engaging and thought-provoking as possible. Plenty of time will be allotted for further questions, concerns, and/or clarification for the view(s) presented. The class is a safe space to raise objections about content materials while also exploring a theologically-inspired perspectives.
Class Presentation Methods:
~20min TED talk w/Q&A following.
The “TED talk” presentation method allows speakers to structure their lecture in a compelling and brief way, focused upon answering/addressing the question which can be formatted in many different ways (a story, a research discovery, a moving speech, etc).
~70 minute lecture-conversation
Lecture-conversations structured similar to typical class lectures but one that engages students in a conversations by gauging them to reason and question the materials being presented, thus allowing them to actively be a part of it.
Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the right thing to do? Harvard Lectures series
Panel of individuals with differing view discussing what to make of the topic; students can engage and ask further questions.
Feb 2. (Everyone - Diana)
Introduction, Rules of Engagement, Truth. Understanding a verifiable Reality.
Addressing the Biases and Presuppositions in Higher Academia. What is intolerance/tolerance? Sound Argumentation Overview. (Juliane)
The Conquest for Truth.
Feb 9. (Brooke w/Diana)
Gauging the differing Worldviews
Worldview charts & Overview.
Feb 16. (Abigail)
Limitations of Skepticism & Certainty
Hermeneutics: A Clash of Big Ideas and Authorities.
Speaker: David Carreon
Feb 23. (Diana)
What is faith? Is having faith reasonable?
Speaker: Laura Buchak
Mar 2. (Diana)
Why do we trust?
Culture, Power, & Identity Struggles.
An examination of the various forces involved in aspects of trust, what leads to distrust, and how issues of power and identity shape the discourse on worldviews.
Mar 9. (Brooke)
Science & Origins
Frameworks for looking at the conflicts/tension of science & faith.
Speaker: Jeff Reimer
Mar 16. (Brooke + Diana)
Does science give us more reasons to believe in an intelligent source out there that created the world?
Speaker: Hitoshi Murayama
Mar 23. (Ryan)
The Hard Problem - questioning and categorizing consciousness.
How is consciousness understood and what is the reach of understanding the “conscious experience”.Examining varies ways of conflating Quantum Theory, Dimensions, & Forces
Speaker: John Searle
April 6 (Abigail + Diana + Brooke)
The relationship between Metaphysics and Ethics
-The Source of Morality-
Digesting the distinction between the Metaphysics and Ethics and its points of intersection.
Do we have a moral standard? Where is it coming from?
Week 10 + 11
April 13 & 20 (Abigail +Brooke)
The Problem of Evil, Justice, & Mercy
What is the essence of goodness? Is there an absolute good in a world of Evil & Suffering?
April 27 (Abigail)
Looking at Perfection & Moving Forward
Is Jesus unique to other Religious leaders, and should this matter? Why should our standard be set to perfection - are we capable of being perfect - and how can we fully flourish?
The course alone is 2-units, but students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to add an extra unit (making the course 3 units) by taking a discussion section offered from 7-8:30pm Monday - Wednesdays.
45% Engagement Responses (x9 - 5 points each)
30% Quizzes (x3 - 10 points each)
25% Final Paper (25 points)
Every week, there will be something posted either during class or on Bcourses to assess the student’s engagement with the lecture and materials. This usually comes in the form of a free-response.
Quizzes at the end of each section chunk will assess student’s comprehension with the lecture talks and content materials. Quizzes may include both lecture and reading materials and may not necessarily be comprehensive to the entire section chunk. Quizzes will tend to ask deeper questions pertaining to the section in order to help students develop their perspective further and write their final paper.
At the end of the term, students will write a final paper assessing their worldview, while confronting the popular objections they might find against such perspective. Students are expected to talk about why they are placing faith in something and what sorts of reasons help shape their current beliefs.
Readings are listed to complement lecture materials. They do not replace class discussions or lecture talks.
Section 1: Weeks 1-4. Belief Systems
1. Skepticism & Certainty
Excerpts from Steven Pinker & Jonathan Haidt
Gauging the “Worldview Question” (Quiz)
1) On line-An overview of the beliefs of the religions of the world- http://www.religionfacts.com/big-religion-chart
2) “What is a World View?” Kenneth Samples
3) Excerpt from-“Worldview: History, Theology, Implications”-David Naugle
Buchak, Lara. "Can it be Rational to have Faith?." Probability in the Philosophy of Religion (2012): 225-247.
Trust & Authority
Barber, Bernard. "The logic and limits of trust." (1983).
Barth, Fredrik. Ethnic groups and boundaries: The social organization of culture difference. Waveland Press, 1998.
Tronto, Joan C. Moral boundaries: A political argument for an ethic of care. Psychology Press, 1993.
Section 2: Weeks 5-7 The Struggles of Science
Science & Faith?
1) Barbours typologies
2) “The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews ‘God’s Philosophers’”-by Tim O'Neill
Section 3: Weeks 8-10 Entertaining God & its Challenges
The Relationship between Metaphysics & Ethics
1) Jackson, Frank. From metaphysics to ethics: A defence of conceptual analysis. Oxford University Press, 1998.
2) Heathwood, Chris. "Could morality have a source." J. Ethics & Soc. Phil. 6 (2011): 1.
The Problem of Evil
1) Excerpt from: Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale (FaithWords: October 2014).
2) “The End of Evil”-neuroscientific skepticism
1) “Was Jesus Typical or Exceptional?”- L.T. Jeyachandran
2) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi –video-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIWqJ8tJ8JU
3) “What do Muslims believe about Jesus?”-web page