The central topic of this course is the compatibility of God's existence with the widespread suffering of our world. We will spend some time getting clear on just what it is we are talking about, by carefully exploring the concept of God in philosophical theology. In the rest of the course, we will alternate between abstract philosophical writing and more 'popular' treatments (in essay, fiction, and film) of the question of God and evil. Some of these sources treat the issue generically, while others develop the issue in the context of traditional Christianity.
By taking this course, students will not only be able to acquire a firm grasp of the issue at hand, but also have occasion to think about the nature of human freedom, time, and the concept of probability and how it is used in confirming theories, whether philosophical or scientific. Another 'bonus feature' is that one may learn how to spot and assess imaginative developments of certain age-old philosophical ideas in pop culture, thereby joining that elite 5% of Americans who actually think when they read and watch the flicks!