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Catholic College Engages Atheism Head-on
Religion News Service ^ | 1/25/13 | Ron Csillag

Posted on 01/28/2013 2:06:56 PM PST by marshmallow

TORONTO (RNS) Talk about an unlikely course in an unlikely place.

The main chapel at Jesuit-run Regis College at the University of Toronto is adorned with stained glass windows, icons of Mary and Joseph, and the Stations of the Cross.

The eight-week course, which meets every Wednesday afternoon, is on atheism. Or more precisely, “Responding to 21st-Century Atheism.”

Atheism “has become militant, aggressive and proselytizing,” said Lewis, a Jesuit scripture scholar, who teaches the class with three other scholars. “It’s made great in-roads and is now socially acceptable. If you’re young and educated and believe in God, you’re (seen as) a jerk.”

While the course examines the increasing polarization between non-believers and people of faith, it will not be about confronting secularists or engaging in polemics, Lewis stressed before the first class of about 155 students in the adult-education program.

Both sides need to lighten up, he said.

“One idea for atheists to leave behind is that people who believe are stupid or naive,” Lewis suggested. “And perhaps we should leave behind the idea that an atheist is someone who is not ethical or a good person.

“A person can be a believer and be quite intelligent. A person can be an atheist and be quite a morally upright person.”

It’s the first time in memory that a Catholic academic institution in Canada has formally explored non-belief, but it nonetheless reflects the times. Five universities in the U.S. have secular humanist chaplains, and the University of Toronto now has two.

(Excerpt) Read more at religionnews.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/28/2013 2:07:02 PM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

We used to have some good Catholic Universities here in the states.

But - given the sorry performance of two of the largest: Georgetown and Notre Dame - perhaps no longer.


2 posted on 01/28/2013 2:13:23 PM PST by Da Coyote
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To: marshmallow

An atheist has to be the smartest and most knowledgeable person in the world, because, to be so 100% certain that there is no God, requires knowledge and smarts beyond the scope available to the rest of humanity.

An agnostic is at leas uncertain, but an atheist has absolute proof that there is no God. If the absolute proof is not available, then there can be no atheists.


3 posted on 01/28/2013 2:56:48 PM PST by adorno (Y)
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To: Da Coyote

This CANNOT be! A Jesuit institution where God is honored and even believed in? Who would believe that?


4 posted on 01/28/2013 3:15:56 PM PST by rcofdayton (.)
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To: marshmallow

It requires an act of faith to not believe in God.


5 posted on 01/28/2013 3:22:42 PM PST by 353FMG ( I refuse to specify whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: marshmallow
"A person can be an atheist and be quite a morally upright person.”

Only by borrowing Christian morality because an atheist has no objective foundation for morality.

6 posted on 01/29/2013 3:42:19 AM PST by circlecity
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To: marshmallow

If you want an challenging argument pick one with a Jesuit. But you better come prepared.


7 posted on 01/29/2013 9:50:54 AM PST by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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