Lecture 1: The New Atheism and the Old Church: A Failing Apologetics

Series: Facing a Secular Age: Notes for the Modern Sceptic
An SJU Mini-Course

The 2009-2010 Waterloo Catholic Discrict School Board Lecture

In political and social climates primarily understood as secular, what is the role of the Church? What is the meaning of “secular”? In an “age of information” is there a place for faith? Do faith and reason inevitably stand in opposition to one another?   In a scientific age is there any place for the “God” question? Can scepticism abide with the Christian faith? 

These and other questions are taken up in a three-part lecture series, intended for a popular audience. The series situates 21st century debates over religion in a wider perspective, contending that what is termed the “new” atheism is in fact a very old, outmoded argument and that contemporary Christians should attend rather to a more reflective “drama of atheistic humanism,” re-sourcing themselves in their own older tradition.

Lecture #1 Friday, January 8, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
The New Atheism and the Old Church: A failing apologetics

Lecture #2 Friday, January 15, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Part Two: The Old Agnosticism and the New Church: Making sense of the senseless

Lecture #3 Friday, January 22, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Part Three: Faith in the Fragments: The god [!] who wasn't there

Peter C. Erb

Peter C. Erb is a graduate of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, Toronto, Ontario. Peter was a faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ont., in the Department of English, 1971-1984, and thereafter in the Department of Religion and Culture, 1984-2008. He has recently retired as Visiting Professor of Catholic Studies through St. Dunstan’s University at the University of Prince Edward Island (2004-2009), and continues as Associate Director of Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, Pennsburg, Pa., a position he has held for the past 36 years. The author and editor of some 15 books and numerous articles on patristic and medieval spirituality, the Radical Reformation, German Pietism, German-American religion and culture, Catholic thought in the Romantic era, for the past two decades Peter has devoted most of his scholarly time to the study of nineteenth-century Anglican/Roman Catholic relations.

Friday, January 8, 2010 - 7:30pm
Siegfried Hall(1036)