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Activity 5: Time Line (3 minutes), Workshop 20: Atheism and Agnosticism—Not in Temples Made with Hands

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Religions Time Line
  • Sticky notes and fine point markers
  • World map or globe (optional)

Preparation for Activity

  • Hang Religions Time Line visibly in the space.
  • Have map or globe handy, if you are using it.
  • Create two sticky notes, one saying, "Atheists/Agnostics, prehistory," the other saying, "Atheists/Agnostics, 1650." Keep them out of sight.

Description of Activity

The time line is updated to add Atheism/Agnosticism.

Ask participants if they remember how far back in history atheists or agnostics are presumed to have existed. Comment that, since doubt is as strong a human characteristic as belief, it is safe to imagine that all human societies, dating back to the very earliest people, included doubters and nonbelievers. (Place a sticky note at farthest left edge of timeline.) Ask if participants remember the date at which some people began being more public about their disbelief. You could remind them that this arose with the Age of Enlightenment. (Place second sticky note at 1650 on the timeline.)

Ask participants where atheists and agnostics can be found. Affirm that nonbelievers can be found wherever human societies are, which is to say on every continent on earth.

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Last updated on Monday, December 12, 2011.

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