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Faith and reason – discussion board assignment


Prompt: Philosophers throughout the ages have been interested in the relationship between faith and reason. Some people insist faith and reason oppose each other, but that depends on how each are defined. For this assignment, you will read Lewis, pages 115–123, where he discusses the meaning(s) of the term “faith” in a Christian worldview.

In your thread, contrast the meanings of faith Lewis offers and explain what place he gives to reason. This will take the majority of your 350 words (minimum, not counting lengthy quotations). In your remaining words, share how Lewis’ explanations differ from your previous understanding of faith and reason, and why you disagree or agree with Lewis.

Reply Prompt: For your reply in this forum, find a point in a classmate’s thread that you disagree with and explain why. After giving your own thoughts, identify a concept or passage from your Reading & Study, and use it to support your position. Your total reply must be at least 200 words (not counting lengthy quotations).

 

 

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As with our previous DB, I’m providing you, here, the specific directions for DB Forum 2, “Faith and Reason.” 

 

1. PREPARATION

  • You might be able to write a DB thread in an evening but your preparation to write one will typically need to start several days earlier.
  • If you don’t have the concepts written out in your notes, and haven’t studied and researched to understand them well you cannot possibly complete the assignment—you can’t even begin to write a DB thread until you have things clear in your mind.
  • Remember, the post-first setting does not allow you to look at anyone else’s Thread until after you have posted your own. (Afterwards, you can go back and view others.)  If you get around this feature by posting a blank Thread first, that’s the one that will be graded, which means a zero grade for your Thread.

 

2. WRITING UP THE THREAD

  • Context: C. S. Lewis was a British scholar (Oxford, Cambridge) who converted from atheism to Christianity. He became a leading defender of the faith, whose writings appealed rationally even to skeptical thinkers.
  • Keep the goal in mind. The main purpose of this assignment is for you to demonstrate that you understand C. S. Lewis’ views of faith and reason. That’s the first and longest part of what you’ll write and during that stage you are not critiquing or defending him, just showing that you accurately understand his positions. Make sure that most of your Thread is dedicated to that first of all. To put it into numbers, I’d say about 200-250 words minimum just for that first part of your thread.  
  • Next, spend another 50-100 words minimum discussing how Lewis’ views on faith and reason compare with the views you hold/held when you first approached the readings. If they are/were the same, fine (though it’s unlikely they were exactly alike), but clearly articulate this. If they differ(ed), whether slightly or completely, that’s also fine, but be precise about it.
  • Save for last: 50-100 words minimum on whether you now agree or disagree with Lewis. Do not say something vague, broad or generic like “I agree with Lewis.” Be specific and take it point by point.
  • In that last part be sure to give your reasons for your conclusions. By reasons I mean evidence presented logically. Present the strongest and tightest argument you can for your conclusions; make sure we know why you think that way. This is a philosophical exercise.

 

  • While theology should permeate our thinking, especially when the topic is “faith,” it is not acceptable to redirect the purpose of this assignment and “sermonize” in place of actually answering the questions in philosophical terms. What I mean is that we don’t want arguments built upon sound-bites from Joel Osteen, etc., although citations of an academically legitimate theologian, or of Scripture, can be employed insofar as relevant. Even then, do not mishandle or misuse other sources you bring to the table, or just toss spiritual-sounding quotes/clichés at the problems instead of wrestling and working through them rationally.
  • In total, you will write at least 350 words for your Thread. But that’s the bare minimum.  There is no maximum.

 

 

3. POSTING THE THREAD

I’ve ordered these by letters instead of bullet points so when you contact me with trouble you can tell me exactly where you’re getting hung up:

(a) You can go directly to Forum 1 if you are already in the “Assignments” folder for Week 2 or 3. (Or, from the main page look on the left and click “Discussion Board,” then scroll down and click on Forum 1.)

(b) Once inside Forum 1, you will notice that you can’t see anyone else’s Thread, until after you have posted your own. Here is where you “Create Thread” (as you did in the Class Introduction DB in week 1). 

(c) If you followed my advice above, you’ve already written your work and now you will just copy-paste it into the text field of your Thread.  DO NOT “attach” the file: instead, copy-paste your written text into the text box.  I will not give credit for attached files. (Why? DBs are here for you to interact with and learn from each other.  But students who attach files don’t end up contributing to the learning experience because others simply won’t waste time opening up files.  Sure, write your DB out and save it to a file, but then only “paste” your text into the text box.)

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