On the day of the final examination, you will be asked to write on three of five of the following questions. You may work together, consult the lecturer and others in preparation for the examination, but do not share answer outlines or specific ways of formulating the answers. If two answers are too much alike in either outline or content, both will be graded down for lack of originality. Be sure and check this site as the examination approaches for updated and edited questions. These are provisional formulations.
1. Explain the three different types of "religiosity." What different challenges does modernity pose for each? Which are best able to meet those challenges and why?
2. Give an account of either Taoism or Buddhism as systems of religious value. Then explain how its conception religious value differs from that of Christianity? Does either conception of religious value appeal to you? Why or why not?
3. Explain the argument from design for the existence of God. What is the major problem with it? Are its problems relevant to the kind of value sought in prophetic monotheism? Would such problems plague a mystical religiousity?
4. What is theodicy? Why might it be a branch of Judeo-Christian and Islamic theology but not of Buddhism or Taoism? Can theodicy succeed?
5. What does Nietzsche mean by the saying "God is dead"? What is the consequence of Nietzsche's insight for various views of the value of religiosity?
6. Explain and assess the moral argument for the existence of God?
7. "God is dead. Everything is permitted." Do you agree with this statement, and why, or why not?
8. Spinoza understands "love towards the eternal and infinite thing" in terms of an exchange, that is, "giving up a good by its nature uncertain for one uncertain not by its nature but only in respect to its attainment." Why, in Spinoza's view, is such an exchange necessary and worthwhile? In your view, is there a universal human need for this kind of exchange, or does the need vary with conditions of human life?
9. Explain Kierkegaard's distinction between (a) worldly wisdom (in the guise of religion), (b) Religiousness A, and (c) Religiousness B.
10. What does nihilism mean? How is nihilism possible?