Introduction to Atheism and Christianity - RSST3510

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module will introduce students to atheism and Christianity as worldview traditions, through an appreciation of the key concepts and debates (including distinctions between nonreligious atheism and 'atheist religions'), and the diverse manifestation of atheism and Christianity in political and communal life. It traces the historic reasons why atheism has been differentiated from religion and other worldviews, and the competing interests that undergird the idea of a religion/atheism dichotomy, as well as the key reasons that contemporary scholars have challenged this idea. The second part of this module explores atheist and Christian traditions from around the world, including humanism in Europe, Communist atheism in Eastern Europe and Asia, agnosticism in Europe and Japan, and the nature and reaches of ‘Christendom’. Across these case studies, students will explore how atheism and Christianity worldviews manifest as lived traditions – in the beliefs, ritual and practices, art and culture, and social lives of so-called ‘non-believers’ – as well as locating these traditions in social and political context. Focusing on the close, often symbiotic relationship between Western atheism and Christianity, the module also introduces the ways in which religious and nonreligious traditions shape one another, and the significant, sometimes violent tensions that have also marked religious-nonreligious relations.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Total Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

13.1 Main assessment methods

Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 50%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 50%

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an appreciation of different concepts of 'atheism', and key examples of how and why these concepts have been used, including in relation to different aspects of atheism (identity, belief and practice), in different theoretical and cultural contexts and some atheisms' special relationship with Christianity.
2 Demonstrate an understanding of how atheism and Christianity can manifest in beliefs, practices and identities, and critically engage with theoretical debates concerning the status of atheism as a worldview analogous to Christianity and other religions.
3 Describe, articulate and compare two major atheist and/or Christian traditions, demonstrating an accurate and detailed understanding of how these traditions manifest in everyday belief and practice, and an awareness of the historical trajectories of these traditions.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a growing ability to communicate effectively as well as to organise information in a clear and coherent fashion;
2 Demonstrate a growing ability to work independently and effectively and to apply a variety of methodological perspectives.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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