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Reading AssignmentPolytheism: Perhaps the oldest and most familiar form of religion. It is the belief system with multiple Gods with each God having a specific purpose or “job.” The ancient world

Reading Assignment

Polytheism: Perhaps the oldest and most familiar form of religion. It is the belief system with multiple Gods with each God having a specific purpose or “job.”  The ancient world was basically fully polytheistic from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and through the Axial Age.  This lasted until the formation of the Abrahamic Religions – which are strictly monotheist.   

  • Fairbanks, A. (1898). Literary Influence in the Development of Greek Religion. The Biblical World,11(5), 294-305. Retrieved from
    • In Fairbanks (1898) read pages 294 to the end of the first paragraph on page 297.
    • Note how for the Greeks, the Gods also had strong Human characteristics.


  • Watch Professor of Sociology Frank Furedi’s 18-minute lecture on Humanism.:

Furedi, F. (2013). Alternative lectures: What is Humanism (Part 1). [Video File].  Available at

    • Who does Dr. Furedi say is the author of our destiny?  
  • Watch his 19-minute follow-up as well. 

Furedi, F. (2013). What is humanism? Part 2. [Video File].  Available at

The problem of Evil and Suffering to Religion:  Read the entire entry (all 11 sub-sections) from the IEP entry for the “Logical Problem of Evil” available at

Part 1

  • Your FIRST of TWO posts this week:
    • Please post your thoughts about who or whom you believe is the author of your destiny (Free Will or not).  Use the terms from class to describe your belief system. You may introduce other terms if something more concise would work better.
  • Your SECOND topic posts in the Discussion Forum this week:
    • Why do you think evil exists? If you believe in a God or Gods, why does he/she/they allow evil in the world? 

In your responses to each other locate and (politely) discuss the logical flaws in reasoning.

Part 2

Pick one of the three following and present a 3-page Research Paper on them, their views, and their specific Philosophical underpinnings to religion using the rubric below.

Please look briefly at each and pick the one that will give you the most rewarding experience to learn more about. 

Free Will vs. Omnipotence

  • How can we have Free Will if God knows everything that has or will happen, and therefore it has already happened or couldn’t be known?

Evil and Suffering

  • How does a purely good God allow evil to happen to good people?

Thomas Paine and God

  • Although a humanist, Paine believed in God and the afterlife. Explain his logic and offer your own.

In the paper, identify your topic of choice in the title and opening sentences.

From there:

  • Describe the challenge through the open-minded lens of philosophical inquiry
  • Give several examples of the arguments for and against the prevailing logic, for example:
    • For Free Will, for example, you may wish to discuss the ramifications of Free Will vs. a God who knows everything
    • For Evil and Suffering, you may want to explore why evil is necessary or could be argued to be so
    • For Thomas Paine, you may want to discuss how a humanist could also believe in a God and still be an actual humanist
  • Why is it still something modern students of philosophy are compelled to study? Why is this topic still important to the philosophy or religion?

Assignment Guidelines

Write a fully APA-compliant 3- page paper for this Unit

  • You should include a reference page, with APA citations, at the end of your paper.  This page is not part of the 3-pages of written work
  • Standard margins, 12-point font, New Times Roman or similar
  • Do not write less, do not write more
  • Be sure to read the assessment criteria before you begin writing

For more information on APA formatting:

Assessment Criteria

  • Does the paper clearly identify the chosen topic and why they chose it?
  • Does the paper consider the historical, theological, and cultural context of the chosen topic? 
  • Does the writer give at least two examples of the argument and defends them in a meaningful way? 
  • Presentation of reasonable argument for why the chosen topic is important to the philosophy of religion.
  • APA and overall look and feel of the paper is college-level work
Part 3For this week’s journal, please share what the most interesting part (lesson/discussion) this week was to you. How did that experience change your worldview? Please explain how you thought before, and how the new viewpoint changed that old thinking into something new.Minimum words is 250.
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