Homework Questions

Home Work Questions for Lesson. 4:  The Epistemology of Religious Belief

Answer the following questions in essay style:

Specific Reminders, once again:

Essay-style means developed paragraphs, not one-line or one-word answers, unless the question explicitly asks for the latter. This may be the single most important thing to work on in preparation for the next exam.  Paragraphs allow you to go into the reasons in detail; and that is what is wanted, to do satisfactory work in a philosophy essay exam.  By this point in the course you should be working diligently on developing your sentences into paragraphs, with precise and complete reasons, good examples, and complete explanations of the reasons.  Particularly for the questions below: Some parts really require full explanations; one-line answers are guaranteed to be inadequate.

General Reminders, once again: 

Each part of the question MUST be divided accordingly, with the number, sub-letter,  and/or sub-number of each question clearly labeled: do not run everything together. Some of us are still notfollowing this procedure.
DO NOT COPYwhat the Lesson says; instead, rephrase what you read so you show you have understood what the content is.  Answers that straight-out copy material from the Lesson will not be accepted as a satisfactory answer.
Dont wait until the last minute to start this homework.  There is too much material in it to do a good job in understanding, if you rush at the end.  That is why I give you several days to do it.  You will benefit at exam time if you put in the time now, in the homework part of the course.

1. According to Clifford, the goal a religiously-minded person should have is to achieve a strong faith that God exists, because that is the most ethical way to believe.

a) Answer in one word whether this statement is Trueor False

            b) Explain why you answered a) as you did by applying the analysis of Cliffords shipowner to this question about religious belief.  In your answer include definitions of the terms, faith and self-deception, and explain their role in your answer. 

2. Faith in a fact helped create the fact.

            a) Identify the author of this statement, in one word.

            b) Explain why you answered a) as you did by applying the statement to the train robbery example.  A satisfactory answer MUST include clear analyses of the following items:

                        (i) a carefully detailed description of the train robbery example

                        (ii) a careful analysis of what the statement means. For example, what does

                                    faith mean and what fact is being referred to? 

                        (iii) a careful explanation of what this has to do with the religious belief that God


3. James proposes that because a belief in Gods existence can be a momentous one, that should be a good enough reason (or justification) for believing that God exists.

            a) Answer in one word whether this statement is True or False.

            b) Explain why you answered a) as you did by

                        (i) explaining what momentous means;

                        (ii) explaining in detail how a belief that God exists can be momentous;

                        (iii) explaining whether or not James would say that momentousness is a good

                                    reason for believing that God exists, and why;

                        (iv) explaining how Clifford would answer (iii), and why.


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