First Paper: Philosophy of Religion

First Paper: Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to Philosophy First Paper: Philosophy of Religion


The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your comprehension of three classic topics in the philosophy of religion: the problem of evil, Pascal’s wager, William’s James’s will-to-believe.Skills This assignment will help you practice the following skills:

  • Structuring an essay.
  • Writing analytically.
  • Comparing and contrasting different views.


This assignment will help you become familiar with the following content.

  • Arguments for and against the existence of God


For this assignment, you will be writing two small essays. The two essays should be included in the same document but should be given their own titles and there should be a page break between them.

Each topic asks for a complex discussion that will include several ideas from the textbook and lectures. Your grade depends on you accurately using the course material discussed so far to give a complete answer to the prompt’s questions. A complete answer for each prompt will require incorporating at least five substantial ideas into your discussion. Since each substantial idea deserves at least one paragraph of its own, your final draft (including introductory and supplementary paragraphs) should be at least twelve paragraphs.

Write a small essay for topic A and topic B. When your final draft is completed, upload your document through the link in Blackboard.Topic One:

Some philosopher believe that God’s existence is incompatible with the evil we find in the world. Summarize their reasoning to the best of your ability. What it is about a world with evil it (like ours) that is supposedly incompatible with God’s existence? Is God’s existence incompatible with all evil or only some types of evil? Make sure to use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you explain the reasoning. (30 points)

Not all philosophers are convinced that the problem of evil proves that God doesn’t exist. Explain how the free-will defense and the soul-making defense supposedly reconcile God’s existence with the existence of evil. For each defense, explain what you find either most compelling or most objectionable about it, and why. (30 points)

Topic Two:

Is it morally permissible to believe in God just because it is to your practical advantage to believe? Why or why not? Use the material in Vaughn’s book to help you explain how Pascal argues for belief in God. Explain the strengths and weaknesses that other thinkers have identified in his reasoning. (30 points)

William James argued that sometimes you can be justified in believing in God even if you don’t have sufficient evidence to prove that God exists. What are the conditions that James claims justify believing in God without decisive evidence? Could those same conditions justify being an atheist if you could not prove that God doesn’t exist, and, if so, how would one decide what to believe? (30 points)Editing and Style

Your paper must be in a double-spaced, professional 12-point font. The text must be left-aligned.  Give it an appropriate title and bold and/or underline the title. Make sure your name and date are on your paper, but don’t put the name of the professor.

  • The paper does not contain any “filler,” i.e. sentences unrelated to the prompt or their paragraph’s main idea.
  • The paper has the proper typesetting spelling, grammar, paragraph structure and editing.
  • Correctly following these criteria is worth 30 points.
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