Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Descriptions

GLS 520: Atheism and Unbelief

Instructor: Herbert Berg

the fool

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. -- Psalm 53:1

In this course we examine the beliefs, assumptions, arguments, and explanations of atheists. We begin by exploring an atheist's responses to the most common arguments put forth by theists in support of their belief in God/a god/gods. We then survey the history of atheism and unbelief in its various forms from philosophers from Epicurus and Ayer. Then we will examine the major philosophical arguments of atheists. We conclude by examining how some atheists explain all those things that theists need gods for. In particular, we will examine the major anthropological, psychological and sociological theories.


Baggini, Julian. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Gaskin, J.C.A., ed. Varieties of Unbelief: From Epicurus to Sartre. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1989.

Martin, Michael. Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

Pals, Daniel L. Eight Theories of Religion. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Mariner Books, 2008

Harris, Sam. Letter to a Christian Nation. Vintage, 2008.

Hitchens, Christopher. God is Not Great. Twelve, 2009.

Last Update: February 2, 2017