EGMT 1540: God Told Me To

This course raises enduring questions about religion and tolerance in democratic societies. Historically, a wide range of political actors, from anti-slavery abolitionists to insurrectionists on January 6th, have named divine inspiration as their motivation for political decisions. Often religious traditions guide how these figures speak and interpret their own divine calling. What, though, does it mean to share life with someone who is appealing to supernatural experience when you do not share that experience? Drawing on historical examples where experience of the divine directly motivated political action, students will consider what it means to live with radical religious difference. Students will apply and become familiar with multiple theoretical lenses such as tolerance, strict exclusion of religion from politics, and communitarian proposals. As an engagement in ethics, this course ultimately invites students to consider: In a democratic society, what does it mean to live well with others? What should we expect from others and what are we willing to give in return?