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The University of Southampton

PHIL1020 Faith and Reason

Module Overview

Debates between believers and non-believers are often fierce and can appear intractable, while the differences between them leads to social tension, conflict, and even war. Non-believers frequently charge believers with irrationality; in response, believers either try to show that faith has a rational basis or, more radically, deny that faith is a matter of reason at all. This module aims to introduce you to competing views concerning the nature of religious belief, and to give you the chance to explore critically some of the reasons given for and against it.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • competing accounts of faith and the nature of religious beliefs.
  • influential arguments offered in support of belief in the existence of God.
  • influential arguments against belief in the existence of God.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • contribute in an informed and dispassionate fashion to debates concerning the existence of God.
  • evaluate critically the arguments which both believers and non-believers advance in support of their views.
  • articulate and defend your own views concerning the nature and basis of religious faith.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • contribute to controversial debates in a critical and fair-minded way.
  • scrutinise complex texts and extract from them key information.
  • demonstrate skills in essay writing, planning and research.


You can expect to explore topics such as: - Arguments for religious belief - Arguments against religious belief - Life after death - Religious language - The nature of faith - The connection between religion and morality

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching activities include: - Lectures - In class discussion - One to one consultation with the module coordinator Learning activities include: - Attending classes - Contributing to class discussion - Doing independent research for and completing assessment tasks

Independent Study117
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

B Davies (2004). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. 

W Rowe (2001). Philosophy of Religion. 


M Murray & M Rea (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. 



Draft essay


MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion board activity 25%
Essay 50%
Presentation 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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