Course Memo

Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2008) notes the pluralism of beliefs--which includes secularism--and concludes that the contemporary self is more “buffered” from belief systems than in ages past. This course uses St Thomas’s writings on the virtue of religion and on the theological virtues (along with a selection of short readings from S. Freud, C. Jung, P. Reiff, C.S. Lewis, A. MacIntyre and others) to see how disengaging from beliefs in this way also robs them from delivering that which the self requires and most desires from them: the theological need to render divine worship and get divine assistance and the psychological need to commit to something that transcends the individual and to believe that one’s beliefs are true, not merely comforting, inspiring, functional, or otherwise therapeutic. If true,buffering bankrupts the self, a source of malaise and deep psychological dissatisfaction. Format: Lecture & discussion. Intended Audience: M.A. and M.T.S. students; other graduate students admitted upon request.