Nature of God
· Defining God's omniscience
· Difficulties in defining-How does God know? What do we mean to talk of knowledge?
· How omniscience coincides with God's other attributes: Omnipotence and Omnibenevolence. Problems?
· Key themes to do with Omniscience: Evil and Suffering, Freedom, Reward and Punishment.
· Moral problems i.e. Problem of Evil
· Philosophical Problems i.e. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Nature of God
- Different models of God, different ways of presenting God's knowledge and whether they strengthen or restrict the concept of God's omniscience.
· Feeds into Boethius' argument for foreknowledge and discussion from Eternity-opposing views of this. (Wholly simple timeless God and pre-destination-> FREE WILL)
· Everlasting God-Assess. More of a successful model of God than wholly simple? Peter Geach's Chessmaster.
· Genuine Freedom and Freedom to act according to our nature->meanings of each, is one more successful in defining free will and strengthening God's omniscience than the other?
Religious Experience (as a form of revelation)
· General definition of religious experience
· Are they easy to define?
· Philosophical Problems
· Value of religious experience to the a) Individual and b) Community
· Richard Swinburne's 5 ways of defining religious experience.
· Two broad types of religious experience: External and Internal. Sufficent examples i.e. Saul and which type is more credible.
· How does Swinburne attempt to address the issue? -> Principles of Credulity and Testimony
· William James (Realist approach)-4 marks of mystical experience. Criticisms of this approach?
· Nicholas Lash vs William James and anti-realist understanding of religious experience.
· Numinous experience: Define (Otto) and views of Schliermacher and Buber.
· Other types of religious experience i.e. Conversion? Prayer? More valid than mystical experience? Corporate experience e.g. Toronto Blessing-easier to believe?
· Challenges (4) to Religious Experience e.g. Conflicting Claims-> assess each challenge and whether it undermines the concept of religious experience.
Scripture (as a form of Revelation)
- Defining revelation
- Defining scripture and how that reveals God's nature
- God's Word, language-problems?
- Is the Bible divinely inspired?-> Logos of God
- Inspiration or revelation? Meaning?
- Propositional View, assess, who upholds the view? Faith and Reason.
- Criticisms of Propositional View
- Non-propositional view, assess, who upholds the view? Faith and Reason.
- Criticisms of the Non-Propositional View
- Views of Fundamentalist (Problems), Liberal and Conservative
Miracles (as a form of revelation)
- Definition of miracles-philosophical issues with this? How do they confirm, lead to belief?
- Different interpretations (realist, anti-realist)
- Aquinas' approach (3 ways)
- Traditional approach-HUME-Hume's view on miracles, working from a realist understanding. Implications for prayer?
- Criticisms of Hume
- Direct intervention of God is a miraculous occurence-moral problems?
- Wiles' view-implication on the view of Christ and of miracles in response to Hume.
- Criticisms of Wiles
- Contingency approach to miracles-Tillich&Holland-miracles as "signs" or coincidence events, is this more effective in describing the concept of miracle? Assess.
- Gareth Moore-anti-realist approach to miracles, God as a product of the human imagination, wishful thinking (Freud).
- What is language? What is religious language?
- Philosophical problems with religious language
- Different approaches-Cognitive/realist and Non-Cognitive/anti-realist
- Types of language, univocal, equivocal, negation etc.
- Hume's Fork-works with cognitive/realist approach, Nietzche
- Logical Positivism and Verification Principle (both forms)
- Problems with Verification Principle
- Hick's response to Verification Principle (Eschatological Verification), problems?
- Falsification Principle-more successful?
- Problems with Falsification Principle, University Debate-Basil Mitchell and RM Hare
- Other theories of language: Wittgenstein's Language Games (strengths and weaknesses), Symbol (Tillich), Myth and Analogy. Effective theories of language?