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Philosophy 250

Midterm for Philosophy of Religion

Explain the difference between natural religion and reavealed religion. Natural religion is based on reason and normal experiences. A revealed religion is based on scripture and religious experience.
What is the relationship of philosophy to religion or theology in the Middle Ages in the West? Philosophy and religion were very segregated during the Middle Ages. Philosophy at this time was focused on God's existence through reason.
Explain the difference between theism and pantheism. Theism is the belief in a higher being or Deity, whether single or multiple. Pantheism is the concept of comparing God to the universe and nature; God is everything and everything is God.
Explain the difference between "the philosopher's conception of God" and "the God of religion"? The philosopher's conception of God tries to discover the existence of God through reason and observation alone, without scripture. The God of religion is the ultimate creator of the universe and everything that it includes.
Explain what it means to say that God is self-existent. Is God self-existent according to Swinburne? Explain. God is the cause of everything and exists because of no others. Swinburne claims that God's existence is a brute fact and he is the cause and reason for his existence.
Explain the difference between a contingent being and a necessary being. A contingent being is one that can be thought of to exist or not exist. A necessary being is one that absolutely cannot be conceived not to exist.
Explain what negative theology is. Negative theology explains concepts in terms of what cannot be said about God's existence. Instead of being infinite, God is not finite.
We discussed two different ways in which God's omnipotence has traditionally been understood. Explain this difference. One explanation of God's omnipotence is that there is absolutely nothing God cannot and will not do. The other explanation states that God can do anything within logical sense, therefore, God could not defy the laws of logic like making a square round.
God's knowledge of what are called "future contingents" seems to conflict with the assumption that human beings possess free will. Explain this conflict. There is contradiction between God's ability to have future contingents and humans having the ability of free-will. The argument that if God is omniscient and can know the future's endeavors, it demeans the possibility of humans possessing free-will.
Explain briefly Swinburne's way of resolving the apparent conflict between God's omnipotence and human freedom. Swinburne agrees to both arguments, that God is omniscient and humans have free-will. He claims there is no fact of the matter for why humans are able to possess free-will, it is just a brute fact.
God has been understood as eternal in two different ways, what are they? One side of the argument explains that God exists outside of time, or is timeless and cannot possess future contingents. Others, like Swinburne, claim that God is sempiternal and exists at all times simultaneously.
Explain "reductio ad absurdum" as a mode of argumentation. Reductio ad absurdum is an argument style that allows one to support the opposing side. By presenting a contradiction, you can justify that your answer is correct and well-supported.
Gaunilo tries to show that if Anselm's argument is valid and sound then we can also show there must exist a "perfect island." Why is this not parallel with Anselm's argument? Anselm's argument solely relies on the greatest conceivable being, not the greatest conceivable object. Gaunilo's island is stuck in the the physically-limited laws of nature and reality.
Explain how the idea of God is like the idea of a triangle according to Decartes. Decartes states that in order for a triangle to be a triangle, it must have three angles and three sides. The conception of God is very similar. His existence is perfection and is necessary for the universe to exist.
Briefly explain what Kant means when he claims that existence is not a real predicate. Kant explains that God's existence is a logical, not a real predicate. This means that there is no "adding to" the subject matter. God exists because of God.
Why does Clark's cosmological argument explain that whatever exists has a cause or reason of its existence rather than just a cause? God does not have a cause for his existence that can be easily explained. He is the reason for his causal existence. Discussing the reason provides a stronger argument.
Briefly characterize the kalam cosmological argument. This argument refers to a supposed "uncaused cause." Whatever begins has a cause, the universe began to exist, so therefore the universe has a cause for its existence.
Explain how Demea's cosmological argument depends on the ontological argument according to Cleanthes. Cleanthes claims that Demea does not explain God's existence very strongly. Demea claims that God is a necessary being and is the reason for his own existence.
Briefly explain Cleanthes' point that if one can describe parts to the whole, an explanation of the whole is not necessary. Demea puts forth the argument that the universe as a whole deserves its own explanation. Cleanthes claims that if one can know and sufficiently explain the parts, a separate explanation (one of the universe) is unnecessary.
Explain how the teleological argument is an empirical one. It is an empirical argument because of the observations of the universe. Unlike the cosmological argument, it requires explanation and proof.
Explain how Paley's argument depends on analogy. Paley presents the argument of God being the designer of the world. He compares this to that of a watchmaker constructing a watch. Just as God created the universe and the parts that compose it, a watchmaker must put together parts to make the watch work.
Explain an important difference between Nature and a watch, and how Paley responds to this. Claims are made that the idea of a watchmaker making a watch is similar to that of God because of the ability of humans to reproduce. Paley claims that if a watch could reproduce itself, we would still observe the cleverness of the maker.
How does Cleanthes' teleological argument make him vulnerable to the charge of being anthropomorphic in his conception of God? Cleanthes claims that God is human-like and possesses human-like emotions and feelings. Many disagree because God would not be able to be a greater being with greater powers if he was in the same image as a human.
The objection is made against the teleological argument that the argument cannot establish the existence of a perfect being. Explain. Philo accuses Cleanthes' argument because it depends solely on analogy, and a weak one at that. Cleanthes claims that the designer of the universe is common sense, much like motion. We are created in His image, He is not created in ours.
Explain how Darwin's theory of natural selection affects the traditional teleological argument. The teleological argument simply states that the world was created by a designer, or artificer and presents a consistency in nature. Darwin's theories on evolution and natural selection present the idea of "disorder in nature" and the stronger will surviv
Explain the anthropic teleological argument. There exists specific constants to maintain physical structure and development. IF the numbers are off, even slightly, life could potentially not exist.
Explain the opposition between mysticism and philosophy. Mysticism relies on direct, religious experience through prayer and practice. Philosophy is a search for reason, proof, and validity in the existence of God.
Explain William James' justification for the mystical experiences. James explains that mysticism is very open-ended and has no authority to determine or validate anything. He concludes that people will believe what they do anyway, that it is precisely an individual experience.
Explain the difference between the mystical and the philosophical approaches to truth. Mysticism relies on direct experience that cannot be reportable or described in words alone. Philosophy relies on rationality through proof and reason. In order for something to be significant, it must be able to be repeated and explained.
Hume claims that "the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument can be imagined." Explain why he claims this. Miracles by definition are irrational. The laws of nature are rational and miracles defy these laws, therefore, miracles are not existent.
Define fideism. Fideism is the faith in something without reason.
Created by: SCK1490



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