PHIL229-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)

Philosophy of Religion: Rationality, Science, and the God Hypothesis

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Why does the universe exist, rather than nothing at all? Does life imply a designer? Can we show by pure logic that a supreme being exists? Is a person a non-physical soul or only a neural net encased in a skull? Can I survive my death or is belief in an afterlife a trick of evolution? Isn't all the suffering in the world evidence against the hypothesis of a benevolent God? Can human beings tell what is morally right and wrong, or do we need a 'God's-eye-view'? Is science compatible with religion? Is there one and only one true religion? What is 'faith' and what is 'reason' - and who decides? This course presupposes no prior knowledge of the philosophy of religion; it is aimed at students from a wide range of backgrounds, as well as philosophy majors.

The philosophy of religion is both one of the most traditional and one of the most vibrant modern areas of philosophy—see what Diane thinks about new developments in philosophy of religion, why the subject is important, and what makes for good philosophizing about religion. We all know the political problems that religions create—find out the philosophical problems.

Learning Outcomes

The aim of this course is that you will:

1. Gain a detailed knowledge of central problems in the philosophy of religion and in the ‘science vs religion’ debate
2. Improve your communication skills
3. Improve your analytic reasoning skills
4. Enhance your ability to think independently
5. Enhance your ability to think systematically
6. Enhance your ability to think creatively
7. Become skilled in using digital sources and systems for research and reporting

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


Any 15 points at 100 level in PHIL, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA or the BSc.


RELS210, PHIL318

Course Coordinator

Diane Proudfoot

Contact Diane for further information.


Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

The text is Peterson, Hasker, Reichenbach, and Basinger, Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 5th edition (Oxford Univ. Press, 2012). This book is a very helpful guide to the subject.

Almost everything you need to know about the course is in the Learn PHIL229/318 website. The site guides you through the topics, in each case starting with user-friendly resources and tasks and moving to more challenging reading. Upload your essays in Learn and receive feedback electronically in Learn too—there is very little paper in this course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All PHIL229 Occurrences

  • PHIL229-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024
  • PHIL229-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)