8:15 AM - 9:30AM
This group is a video based lecture series on religion/theological or Biblical topics. The current study will end February 25 and the next study will begin March 10.
Current Study: Skeptics and Believers: Religious Debate in the Western Intellectual Tradition
Lecturer: Tyler Roberts, Ph.D. Professor, Grinnell College
With the advent of modernity, the questions on which philosophers and religious thinkers had been reflecting for centuries underwent a dramatic and unprecedented change. For over a thousand years, the existence of God and the importance of religion had gone unquestioned in the Western world. Any discussion was confined to the best ways of understanding and putting into practice a religious truth that had already been revealed. But beginning in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution began to erode the position of authority held by religion. A new willingness to confront religious authority and a new respect for reason and its accomplishments began to counter established ways of thinking based on revealed religious truth. As a result, modern philosophy began to separate from theology, and new philosophers began constructing a universal, human rationality independent of faith. For the first time in human history, it had become possible to not simply ponder faith and its forms of expression, but to challenge it as a fundamental truth-and to even question the very existence of God. This schism fundamentally changed the course of Western civilization, and it has had consequences that remain with us to this day.
Skeptics and Believers is not a course in religious doctrine but one of intellectual and philosophical exploration, examining more than three centuries of debate in the Western world about the nature of religious faith and its compatibility with reason. Drawing on some of Western civilization’s greatest theological and philosophical minds, Professor Roberts even-handedly follows and analyzes the arguments of a broad range of skeptics and believers, including the likes of Thomas Aquinas, Denis Diderot, Karl Barth, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Daniel Dennett, Martin Luther, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Soren Kierkegaard, and many others. Professor Roberts’s presentation maintains the sense of a true conversation across time, so that one never loses the thread of how one idea relates to another as he weaves a vast amount of material into a coherent whole that amounts to far more than the sum of its parts. The result is one of the most intellectually satisfying plunges into philosophical and theological thought you will ever take.
Next Study: The 24 lectures in the Questions of Value video series will provoke and stimulate your own thinking. The really fundamental questions of our lives are questions of value. There are questions of choice in a life. What is it that is really worth striving for? What is it that makes a life worth living? There are deeper questions regarding the nature of value itself. Is all value subjective? There are questions about the particular situation in which we find ourselves. Is value something that is merely culturally defined? How does death affect questions of value?