RELIGION 360 - Experiences of Atheism: A History of Skepticism and Unbelief
Section: 001
Term: FA 2019
Subject: Religion (RELIGION)
Department: LSA Studies in Religion
Requirements & Distribution:
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May not be repeated for credit.
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Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then why is there evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? (Epicurus)

All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher. (Lucretius)

The Christian God is a three headed monster: Cruel, vengeful and capricious One needs only to look at the caliber of people who serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites. (Jefferson)

God is dead. (Nietzsche)

Homo religiosus invents religious symbols, which he venerates and worships to save him from facing the finality of his death and dissolution. In the last analysis, it is the theist who can find no ultimate meaning in this life and who denigrates it. The theist can only find meaning by leaving this life for a transcendental world beyond the grave. (Kurtz)

An examination of the concepts and expressions of Atheism and disbelief in its historical, social and philosophical context in four periods in Western culture:

  1. the Greco-Roman world (Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius, Cicero);
  2. the Enlightenment (Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Darwin);
  3. the Founding Fathers (Paine, Jefferson, Madison);
  4. and the modern period (Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud.)

The course begins with an assessment of the current debate on religious belief and science in contemporary American life (the New Atheists: Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens).

RELIGION 360 - Experiences of Atheism: A History of Skepticism and Unbelief
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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