L57 RelPol 4491

American Unbelief from the Enlightenment to the New Atheism

Fall 2017, W 2:30–5:30PM

This seminar examines American freethinkers, secularists, humanists, and atheists.

WUCRSL
line drawing of three people teaching superimposed on each other

This seminar examines American freethinkers, secularists, humanists, and atheists from Tom Paine and Ernestine Rose through Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Sam Harris. Topics emphasized include: church-state relations; social radicalism and women’s rights; secular versus Christian imaginings of the nation; and the recent flourishing of the new atheists and religious “Nones.”

  • really enjoyed learning about early American atheists, and how Enlightenment ideology influenced American thinkers.

    — Fall 2017

  • Though the focus is on atheism, the course gives a sense of America's general religious history, as we learned about the many religious ideologies that atheists have had to combat throughout American history.

    — Fall 2017