Skeptics and Believers: Religious Debate in the Western Intellectual Tradition
(Skeptics and Believers)

Does God exist? Prior to the 17th century, that was not an acceptable question among intellectuals. But with the advent of modernity, the nature of that and related inquiries changed. "Modernity" is today’s historical period characterized by empirical investigations coupled with rigorous reasoning that are used to define what is acceptable “truths” and where intellectual and cultural authority no longer accept “truths” that are justified by past traditions or in divine revelation. In this era, Western intellectuals ask new questions about God, faith, and religion. For example, “Is religion a force for good in human life, or is it something that belongs to a past age, a symptom of the childhood of humanity?” This course looks at the evolving debate over religion as seen in the Western intellectual tradition.