Posted by: buckleyr | May 10, 2009

Next Year’s Senior Theologians

One of Dr. Robinette’s suggestions for a topic for us to blog about was our thoughts on the topic for next year’s senior seminar. Maybe it was because I spent the last year with a roommate who is an elementary education major, and thus I have learned to appreciate themes, but for some reason, this suggestion appealed to me.
A few weeks ago when the chair of the department came to visit our class, he mentioned some of the themes of the past class. I recall some of them sounding interesting, but I also distinctly remember silently thanking God that I was not in some of those classes. Not that I think that a deep study of a specific saint or theologian is not appealing nor worthwhile- I am a history minor after all. Still, I started thinking about my own experiences with this year’s senior seminar topic of the New Atheism and realized that the reason why I enjoyed this topic so much was because it seemed extremely pertinent to my life, relationships, and daily experiences- here and now. Many of my past theology classes, have dealt with topics that at times seem irrelevant to my life or that I simply have trouble relating to. However, several of my dearest friends are either atheists or agnostic, so learning about different thought processes and concerns of atheism really seemed to be much more pertinent to my life. Furthermore, the New Atheism is very indicative of the concerns and beliefs of people in the world today. Studying about this topic and researching various theistic responses really seemed to make theology more relevant to my daily life, rather than something I think about when I go to mass or class.
So, as far as a topic for next year, I cannot give a specific suggestion (maybe I should ask my roommate?). Still, I benefited greatly from this very contemporary topic and think that maybe others like me would enjoy something up-to-date and relevant.



  1. I couldn’t agree more! I love the nature of our theme this year. It’s not a secret that I wasn’t particularly fond of the topics in last semester’s course. However, New Atheism has opened up the doors to many intriguing questions. I hope the next theme maintains this fresh appeal and wide variety of directions. For me, it was great to see how many of us were able to incorporate our other majors into our projects. In my panel, I could see the importance of science in Rae’s project and creativity in Rachel’s. My work included studying several psychologists in conjunction with theological issues. It would be awesome if the next year seniors could have this opportunity as we did.

  2. I think one of the strengths of this subject matter is its relevance – to us, where we are as academics, as members of 21st century America, and as people of faith. This topic posed several challenges to us from which I have personally received great benefits. For one, I was asked to consider a religious perspective that I’ve never closely examined before. I saw the ways in which religious faith is often misrepresented and formed intelligent, rational responses to those objections. I saw the areas in which our faith has failed and am now more critical (in a wanting-to-make-improvements kind of way) of my faith system. This topic seemed like an odd choice at the beginning of the semester, but as we have taken the time to look deeply at the New Atheists and at the world of religious faith, it has proven to be immensely rewarding.

    Next year? Good luck. This will be a tough one to top.

  3. I agree completely I thoroughly welcomed the change from the topics of last semester to the topic of New Atheism. While I was very hesitant and skeptical of the topic, I have come to appreciate the relevance that it has in the world today if not only to bring about what the perception of Christians in the world today is like. One of my original worries for this topic is the fact that I thought all of the papers would be science based and incredibly difficult and boring. I was pleasantly surprised by how the topic of New Atheism tied in well with numerous different fields outside of science. I do not have any ideas for next semester but I would love to see it continue with something that is current and relevant.

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