This course aims to analyze the subtext, the unsaid, and the presupposed, in the dialogue between believers and non-believers; between the defendants of a theistic worldview and the defendants of an atheistic worldview. We will focus on the so called “new atheism” movement, its arguments, and its clashes with the (mainly, but not only Christian) apologetic positions, both in books and videos. Students will discuss the subtext of these clashes: the aim is not to debunk the arguments of one side against the other, but to discover and unveil the implicit elements that sustain the two positions, such as a colonialist attitude, a patronizing attitude, or distorted ideas about reason, faith, and science. This course will be strongly characterized by a shared leadership: the students will have a fundamental role in the discussions, and any perspective and contribution coming from the students will be a fundamental element of the class.
Format: The course will be entirely synchronously online; each class will be an open discussion on the topics of the day.
Evaluation: The evaluation is: 25 % attendance; 25 % discussion; 50 % final essay.
Concerning the final essay, students will be asked to write a short (max 6 pages) reflective essay on the topics of the course. Threshold of positive evaluation of attendance is 70 % of classes.
Relates to Thresholds: Life in Religious Community and Interfaith Engagement; History of Dissenting Traditions and the Thea/ological Quest; Thea/ology in Culture and Context; Educating for Wholeness and Liberation.
Relates to MCF Competencies: Spiritual Development for Self and Others; Social Justice in the Public Square; Leads the faith into the future.
Intended Audience: MDiv, MA/MTS, or combination. 15 students max