Now There’s a B.A. in Atheism–What Next?

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal there’s an op-ed by Alan Jacobs on Pitzer College’s decision to create a new department and offer an undergraduate major in “secular studies.” It’s an interesting piece, and I encourage you to read it.

The big question, as Jacobs notes, is whether the department will offer a serious and critical program of study or whether it will just be cheerleading for the trend of secularization. The new department’s head, Phil Zuckerman, appears to be a cheerleader personally. Will he ask tough questions about his own beliefs in his scholarship?

The trolls in the article’s comments section deride Jacobs’s suggestion that we’ll know the department is serious when some majors who went in as devout atheists come out as theists, but I think he has a good point. Certainly there are millions of unreflective atheists and agnostics out there two generations after secularization of this culture accelerated in the 1960s, and if they’re confronted with some of the assumptions they’ve been taking for granted, some of them will have a change of heart.

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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2 Responses to Now There’s a B.A. in Atheism–What Next?

  1. Clint Box says:

    In the beginning, the Universe was in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly? I think that’s probably a better position for Atheism than your straw man depiction.

    • Dr. J says:

      Clint, I assume you’re referring to the graphic in the post. That’s not mine; it’s a tongue-in-cheek contrast someone else came up with, and I linked it. It’s a joke, not a serious argument. I’m surprised I have to explain this. Moreover, there is an increasing number of atheists whose views are closer to what’s in the graphic than they are to your summary. Stephen Hawking recently wrote, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

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