Chautauqua Institution

2 p.m., Monday-Friday, Hall of Philosophy

This series is designed to present issues that impact the lived experience of everyday life from theological, ethical, moral, humanitarian, philosophical and religious perspectives.

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2 p.m., Monday-Friday, Hall of Philosophy

This series is designed to present issues that impact the lived experience of everyday life from theological, ethical, moral, humanitarian, philosophical and religious perspectives.


 Week One   ::  June 27 - July 4, 2015

Interfaith Literacy
With increasing religious diversity comes the possibility of misunderstanding, unintended disrespect, and conflict. In order to interact across boundaries of religious and spiritual difference, we need a purposeful “Interfaith Literacy” – basic knowledge, vocabulary, cultural fluency, and confidence to foster mutual respect and even appreciation.  In this week respected voices will help to challenge and raise our Interfaith IQ.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Two  ::  July 4 – 11, 2015

Boys Will Be Boys, Then Men
What’s happening to our boys? Boys are facing enormous challenges to developing into healthy, good men.  What do various faith communities and other caring organizations offer to support the perilous journey from boyhood to adulthood, partnering, parenthood, and engaged citizenship?  In this week we will learn about the rich resources for moral, ethical, and social development provided by nonprofit organizations and individuals inspiring models for life. Guest speakers will bring critically needed points of view to this week’s focus on fostering healthy male passages.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Three  ::  July 11 - 18, 2015

For We Were Strangers in a Strange Land
The human story is one of movement and migration in pursuit of a better life – all ethnic groups, tribes, and peoples have at one time been “Strangers in a Strange Land.”  Most cultural and religious traditions have standards of hospitality that require welcoming the stranger. Do we have an ethical imperative to welcome strangers today?  In this week we will ask how this standard of caring may be diminishing or at least evolving, and what its erosion will do to a planet with limited resources, national competition, and conflict. 

view Interfaith speakers

Week Four  ::  July 18 - 25, 2015

The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion and Violence
Each day we are challenged to wonder, “Are the world’s religions a source of concern or of hope for healing a broken world?  Why do religious actors regularly behave in ways that contradict their own belief systems and ethical values?”  In this week we will explore how and why religions consistently contradict their stated intentions by sponsoring intolerance, hate, and violence, and ask "What will reverse these irrational impulses?”
view Interfaith speakers

Week Five  ::  July 25 - Aug. 1, 2015

Art, Politics, Religion
Religion, art, and politics are significant expressions of a culture's deeply held values. Art represents, interprets, and educates a culture. Religion guides and inspires the communal and spiritual aspects of a culture.  Politics is about power and the art of the possible.   In this week we will explore the often complex interrelationship of art, religion, and politics to discern their interactive dynamism and power, and how collisions and collaborations impact society, culture, and the person.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Six  ::   Aug. 1 - 8, 2015

Religion: Vanishing and Emerging
In the late 20thand early 21st centuries, many religious communities in all traditions are facing decline.  Within Christianity around the globe, however, there has arisen a movement known as “Emergence Church."  Crossing theological boundaries and transcending traditional labels, it may have renewing counterparts in all the major religious traditions, as aspects of traditional religions decline and vanish amidst the pressures of globalization.  In this week we will look at the changing face of religions globally, from Christian, as well as Jewish and Muslim, perspectives.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Seven  ::   Aug. 8 - 15, 2015

Reimagining the Soul of Europe
The glorious religious past of Europe is no longer.   Once a defining and cohering factor, religion no longer occupies a central societal role that formerly defined its power and mass allegiance. Its heritage remains, but its future is uncertain; new peoples and traditions are interacting with the old. How will a noble heritage now be valued, and how will Europe express its identity and soul? This week we will explore possibilities for reimagining religion in postmodern Europe.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Eight  ::   Aug. 15 - 22, 2015

The Middle East: Preserving and Sharing Sacred Space
In the Middle East real estate is holy. Nearly every inch of Jerusalem carries ancient sacred memories and vibrant spiritual meaning for today. This is true of some other areas in the region as well – Cairo, Mecca, Damascus, Haifa. How are religious communities expressing interfaith ethics and etiquette for shared peace on shared space? This week we will listen to peacemakers and visionaries from various traditions who see a better future for the Middle East.
view Interfaith speakers

Week Nine  ::   Aug. 22 - 30, 2015

Spirituality in the Livable Community
We often hear that “It takes a village,” but who constitutes the “village” in contemporary society? Is spirituality a central component of the village ethos? In our fast-paced culture of economic pressures, in which community is often elusive, faith communities and organizations continue to nurture an ideal that contributes to a fuller experience of the livable – MLK called it “beloved” – community. In this week we will learn more about the spiritual resources that promote individual and communal flourishing.
view Interfaith speakers

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2016 Season Information


Children of Abraham (PDF)
Jews & Muslims in Conversation


Dr. Shahid Aziz helps Chautauquans to navigate conversations about death. 
Read the story
and watch the presentation on YouTube.




Robert M. Franklin
Director of Religion

Maureen Rovegno
Associate Director

Rev. Dr. Derek Austin
Project Director for Clergy Development