THE 340 Atheism, Secularism and the Case for God (3 credits)
Over the past decade several best-selling authors have been dubbed "The New Atheists" for their concerted attacks on religion, which many readers find fresh and compelling. But the more important and enduring cultural phenomenon is the secularism that has increasingly dominated modernity since the Age of Enlightenment, when, for the first time in the history of civilization, religious belief and practice became significant options rather than cultural givens. This course deals with the question of whether secularism arose as a reaction to religion, or as one of religion’s greatest success stories. Much of the analysis is historical: When and how did the secular movement originate? What notion of "God" did it reject? Has natural science disproven religion, and is secularism properly understood as concurrent with scientific achievement?