12 Paragraph.

Introduction to Philosophy
First Paper: Philosophy of Religion

Purpose
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.

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

• Arguments for and against the existence of God

Task
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.

Purpose
Skills
Knowledge

Task
Topic One:
Topic Two:

Editing and Style